Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Week 29

Here we go again but this time with last week's photos like it should be.  It was a great week.  We have been on vacation and have enjoyed a lot of family fun together which we all needed.  It's not exactly my favorite type of vacation--long lines in crowded amusement parks.  I'd rather be on a tropical island or exploring a new country but the kids sure loved it with all the wild thrill rides and excitement.  We were also able to bond and connect while stuck together in those long lines so all-in-all I'd say it was a successful vacation and one the kids will never forget.

Here's a look at how we spent our days last week:


Day 192- Monday, 7/11/16
Universal Studios was at the top of Brandon's list.  He really wanted to see the new Harry Potter world and I'm glad we didn't have to go to Florida to make that happen.  The village with all the shops were so detailed and looked like fun to go through but it was extremely crowded so we didn't really get to see much.  Brandon did get his wand though and was quite skilled at casting spells through the village to make magical things happen.  He made those lights behind him light up in the window and was so proud.  He shares his birthday with Harry Potter so he's quite fond of all thing related.  Thankfully some of the other areas in the park weren't as crowded so we also enjoyed a lot of other fun rides and the studio tour of course. 






Day 193- Tuesday, 7/12/18
First thing this morning was dropping Tyler of at UCLA for his 3-day orientation.  We'll join him on Thursday for the family portion so in the meantime the rest of us continued to have fun.  We took a Warner Bros. Studio Tour that was by appointment so not crowded at all which was a great treat after 3 days of fighting the masses.  Then we headed to the coast and checked in at Santa Monica Pier.  Time to slow things down a bit and relax more.






Day 194- Wednesday, 7/13/16
We spent most the day at the beach and enjoyed the ocean waves and sea breeze before heading inland to Westwood which is UCLA's college town.  We had time to kill before checking into our hotel so we hit up Diddy Riese--the go-to ice-cream and cookie sandwich shop.  They are to die for and really reasonably priced which the student's love.  Later John met up with an ex co-worker for dinner so the younger boys and I took in a movie at one of Westwood's legendary theaters.  They often have movie premiers with the stars and red carpet here since Hollywood is so close.  Pretty cool.





Day 195- Thursday, 7/14/16
Everyone spent the day on the UCLA campus for family orientation.  It really is a beautiful campus with amazing architecture and so many fun traditions.  We learned a lot, saw a lot, and even got our oldest back.  Tyler was "Bruintized" at the inverted fountain, has his class list for fall quarter, bought a new hat, and even got his official Bruin Card and UCLA email address.  How is this happening so fast?  At least with the quarter system they have a later start date so we still have a couple months before moving him in.





Day 196- Friday, 7/15/16
One last day of fun since we're all back together again.  This time it's at Knott's Berry Farm for some serious fast and huge coasters.  Justin was in heaven.  It was also another crowded and hot day but we still had a good time.  For dinner there was a cool tribute to rock restaurant across the street from our hotel that was fun to eat at.  It was a good way to end our trip.  Tomorrow we head home.





Day 197- Saturday, 7/16/16
Our plan was to get an early start to avoid LA traffic getting out of town, and we did that but then we hit something in the road that blew our tire so we lost all our progress. At least we broke down close to Bakersfield where there was quick AAA service close by.  They had us back on the road in less than an hour.  We still made it home around midday which was great because I got a jump start on the dreaded vacation laundry.





Day 198- Sunday, 7/17/16
Today it's back to normal routines which the pets are really happy about.  I missed my pup and was happy to volunteer to be the one to walk her this evening. 




Wait!  One more:

July's Family Photo


One of the better family shots on our trip where someone took our picture instead of us trying to get a decent selfie ;0)  It's been 8 years since we were last at Disney and I gotta say it was a lot more fun with the kids being older.




Ok- all done.  We really did have a good time but are also happy to be home.  Only 4 weeks until the younger 2 head back to school and we plan to continue to make the most of those weeks.


Week 28

Welcome to Tuesday!  I'll be doing 2 posts today.  This one is for the first full week in July and the next will be for last week.  It's been an eventful couple of weeks as you will see.

Here are Week 28's pictures:


Day 185 - Monday, 7/4/16
Happy 4th of July!  We had a nice quiet day at home together with some swimming, great BBQ, and a good refreshing dessert followed by fireworks of course.  I hope everyone else had a wonderful 4th too.





Day 186 - Tuesday, 7/5/16
Tyler and Bella both missed each other while Tyler was gone last week but they are making up for lost time.  What will they do when he's gone for longer periods of time away at college?  I suppose we'll all adjust.





Day 187 - Wednesday, 7/6/16
It wouldn't be a real summer without a couple of skinned elbows and knees.  Brandon bit it on his scooter coming home from camp today and really did a number on himself.  One of his knees also looks pretty bad.  Ouch!





Day 188 - Thursday, 7/7/16
At the beginning of each month the liquid nitrogen tanks at work that hold all our isolates have to be topped off.  We have three large tanks so it takes awhile.  I've got to get this done before leaving on vacation at the end of the week.  Later at home Brandon had a migraine episode which is never fun but we're all actually glad it's happening now since it means he more than likely will not have one on our trip.  Vacations and travel are one of his triggers.





Day 189 - Friday, 7/8/16
Time to pack.  We'll be gone for 7 days so that's a lot of clothes with 5 people especially since we'll need layers and extra sets in case things get wet.  This is about half of what we'll be taking.  Still more packing to do and the pets know suitcases mean bad things so they are antsy and nervous right now.





Day 190 - Saturday, 7/9/16
Today we drove to LA and got here at Disneyland around lunch time.  Sadly it's over crowded and the boys are less than thrilled with the line waits, but we quickly figured out the fastpass system which made all the difference in the world.  The rest of the day went great.  We spent most our time in California Adventure but later made our way to Disney taking in all the Star Wars stuff. So much walking!  My feet hurt and it's only day one.









Day 191 - Sunday, 7/10/16
On this gorgeous day we spent most our time in Disneyland and got here early enough to enjoy the park before the masses showed up.  I love that tea cup picture especially since you can also see John and Tyler in a cup behind us.  That was totally not planned but a happy accident.  It got rather hot today so we were happy to find Dole Whips.  The last time we had those was in Hawaii--so good and so refreshing.  Once it got dark we headed back to California Adventure to ride some of our favorites at night.  We all love the Tower of Terror and this picture they snapped as we dropped turned out great.  Brandon and Tyler were competing for best pose on all the picture rides which was fun to watch.  Me, I'm just trying to survive and can never figure out when the pictures are being taken.  LOL!



That's it for this week.  It's pretty exciting to be starting our vacation and we look forward to more fun.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Week 27

Welcome back and happy July.  Really? It's July?!  Wow!  I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. Ours was nice and relaxing and much cooler than it has been so pretty wonderful all around.  We're happy to have Tyler back and are looking forward to a short week before starting our family summer trip.  Never a dull moment.

Until then, here's a look at last week's pictures:


Day 178- Monday, 6/27/16
Justin's  favorite thing after spending a few hours at tennis club is to unwind playing his video games.  This is where I can find him most afternoons.  Meanwhile down in Central America Tyler and his group have crossed the border into Nicaragua where they will spend the next few days.  They were happy to see the ocean and find this beautiful beach near Grenada.





Day 179- Tuesday, 6/28/16
Our heatwave continues and of course the afternoons are the worst so we find different ways to cool down.  Today we busted out our favorite popsicles called OutShine--100% juice and oh so good.  Tyler is also experiencing warmer weather and finally seeing blue skies and more sunshine.  Today they toured Grenada by horse drawn carriage and then headed out on Las Isletas (Lake Nicaragua) for a boat excursion where they saw some wild howler monkeys.  You can see one on the rocks just to the left of the group.





Day 180- Wednesday, 6/29/16
Work, work, and more work.  Summers are always the busiest in the lab, but I don't mind because we usually have the most interesting projects going on then.  I am trying to tie up a few loose ends before heading out on a week long vacation.  Speaking of vacation this is the last touring day for Tyler's group on their trip.  It was pretty windy and rainy on their hike this morning in Masaya Volcano National Park so they didn't stay long but as you can see still had great fun.  They also hit up the craft markets and later went to a local school to donated some supplies for them.  Tyler said the kids were super excited to have visitors.





Day 181- Thursday, 6/30/16
It's an exciting day.  My boy is coming home and it's hard to wait all day for his return, but I distracted myself this afternoon and evening by walking the dog and taking some pictures of the pretty wild sunflowers that are growing all over our area.  Nothing says summer quite like a pretty sunflower.  Tyler's group started home at 3 am this morning, made back to the states around 9 am, and then had a 7 hour layover in Texas--ouch!  But by late evening they were finally all home in Sacramento and we were all really happy to have them back.  What a great experience they had.  I'd like to thank Lindsay, Brett and Tyler for keeping me happy by sending pictures throughout their journey and also Donna for keeping me well informed.





Day 182- Friday, 7/1/16
It's July 1st!  Brandon is chilling in the pool with his new donut floaty and agreed to hold my monthly marker since July is his birthday month.  I also got to look through Tyler's stuff from is trip.  I should have taken a picture of all the laundry that exploded in his room after unpacking but I forgot.  He didn't bring back many souvenirs but did get some new stamps in his passport, some coffee with a mug for us, and a $24 pair of Nike shoes from Nicaragua.  LOL!  That is so him and the funniest part is his shoes were missing one lace. At least that's an easy fix.





Day 183- Saturday, 7/2/16
Yay for the weekend and a 3-day weekend at that!  The boys and I made some homemade ice cream to add to our weekend feasting.  We made strawberry, cookies and cream, and chocolate peanut butter cup.  So fresh and so good.





Day 184- Sunday, 7/3/16
Bella is making a new friend.  Justin walked Gracie the neighbor dog while her family is away and I walked Bella.  They were both a little too excited at first but then just clicked and did really well together.  It was hot out though so they needed many shade breaks.




That wraps up another fantastic summer week.  I can't believe there is only this one short week left until our family's summer vacation trip.  By the time we return there will only be 1 month left before school starts again.  Crazy!