Friday, July 08, 2016

Oh, the places we went...

So I failed my attempt to blog for each of my children each day for a whole week.  That was a while ago.  In any case, this one isn't about my lack of blogging, but rather a recap of our recent vacation!

In celebration of Mike and my 10th anniversary, we went on an epic road trip.  Originally, we had a destination in mind, Lake Tahoe, where we got married.  The plan several months back was to fly to Reno, spend a few days there and then drive up to Tahoe, take the boat ride around the lake, stay another day or two and then go back home.  A few things changed our ultimate plans, as I'll explain.  One is that the airline times were a bit squishy.  And by squishy, I mean that the direct, non-stop flights from Phoenix to Reno were either really early or really late.  They weren't great.  The second was the price of the flights.  Tag on renting a car in Reno and then paying for the hotels that we really wanted, it started to get a bit pricey.  Since we were already spending money, I idly started looking at ways to extend our trip (do something fun, right?) and started looking at going to Disneyland or Legoland to have some fun with the kids.  Our one week fly to Reno and back turned into an almost two week road trip.

So here we go...

Day 1 was Saturday June 18th.  We intended to leave as early as we could (shooting for maybe 8am?), but we ended up not getting out of the house til around 11.  Oh well.  We still made pretty good time to Las Vegas, which was our first destination!  We drove straight through, which was pretty impressive not to stop for a potty break or a food break.  So we made it to Vegas, checked into our hotel (Treasure Island) and the first stop (a request/wish from Daniel) was the giant Coke bottle.  The last time we were in Las Vegas, he REALLY wanted to go up inside of it.  There's an Outback up there, so we had dinner there.

Day 2, Sunday, the first full day in Las Vegas.  The kids slept in relatively late, thanks to blackout curtains...hooray!  Plans for the day included hitting up the pool in the morning and then taking the kids to Circus Circus.  The pool was a hit, but as an unfortunate parent fail, Laurel got a bit sunburned.  Ouch.  At Circus Circus, we played a few video games and had lunch at the McDonalds there (exciting, I know, but the kids like it!).  We went to the Venetian as well to walk around and bought a few things (toys, hats, know, the important stuff).

Day 3, Monday, a travel day.  Time to check out of TI and make our way up to our next destination, Reno!  This was the longest driving day of our trip, so it was pretty exhausting.  On our way, we stopped to visit uncle Gary for an hour or so in Fernley.  Then onto Reno where we checked into the Peppermill.  The kids were already excited to have a hottub in the room.

Day 4, Tuesday.  Lots of just relaxation and a quick trip out to Target for supplies.  We took the kids to the game room at the Peppermill, which was definitely a hit (and repeated a few more times!).

Day 5, Wednesday.  The kids are still sleeping in pretty well (yay blackout curtains) and the only plans for today were a lunch with one of Mike's former co-workers.  Then back to the hotel, more splashing around in the hot tub in the room and so on.

Day 6, Thursday.  Today the pool was on the agenda!  All of us hit up the pools at the Peppermill and had a pretty good time splashing about.  We met up with another of Mike's former co-workers and family for dinner before returning to the hotel and finishing up the day in the game room again.  Over the 3 days of playing, the kids got to pick out the toys they wanted from the tickets they'd accumulated over the past few days.

Day 7, Friday June 24th.  Checkout of the Peppermill day and onto Tahoe!  It's also our anniversary!  The plan was to go on the 2:30 boat cruise on the MS Dixie (since the Tahoe Queen, the boat we got married on, wasn't's being renovated, and out of it's dock due to low lake levels).  We met up with Gary who accompanied us on the ride around the lake.  The kids liked looking out on the water the whole trip (Daniel the most, Kaitlyn probably next, and Jared got a little restless and wanted to run up and down the stairs between decks.  Laurel was happy whereever!).  At the end of the ride, we went to check into our hotel (Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel) and ordered some pizza for dinner.  Perfect anniversary!

Day 8, Saturday.  Another day at Tahoe!  We FINALLY were able to go on the Heavenly Gondola!  We'd attempted to go on it a few times in the past, but it was shut down due to weather or some other odd reason.  At the top, we went to play on the playground, and let Daniel attempt the rock wall (which he totally rocked!  Up three times in no time at all!).  A ride back down on the gondola and dinner with Gary and Kiara!  They had to leave to go pick up Grandma Stone from the airport in Reno,  We hit up the pool for a little while in the evening before tucking in for the night

Day 9, Sunday.  Check out and departing Tahoe. Our destination was Yosemite!  None of us had ever been there, and we are kind of kicking ourselves that we used to live so close to it, yet we never went!  It was about a 2 hour drive to the park entrance from South Lake Tahoe.  From there, we took the road through to the west side and down to Yosemite Valley (where all the "good" stuff is).  It was a very memorable trip!  It was busy in places, but we still had a few opportunities to get out and get some pictures.  We saw one coyote and one bear while there (exciting, I know, but I honestly wasn't expecting to see much of anything, I suppose).  Backing out of Yosemite, we headed for Fresno for the night.

Day 10, Monday.  Heading out of Fresno and towards Anaheim!  We hadn't told the kids that we were going to Disneyland, and we were really rushing to try and get out of Fresno and on our way!  Traffic was sort of icky in some places, but we made it to our hotel around 2pm!  The kids were still kind of clueless about where we were (Jared kept insisting that we needed to go to the zoo), and it really didn't hit them until they saw a big statue of Goofy in the lobby of our hotel.  We got checked in and headed out to Disneyland (since we were at Paradise Pier, one of the resort hotels, it was a pretty quick walk).  We got to go on the rocket ride, as well as hit up the AstroBlasters.  We were all pretty tired, ordering room service for dinner.

Day 11, Tuesday.  One of the perks of staying at a resort hotel is getting into the park an hour early.  Daniel and I were the ones to get up and head out (the others were sleeping in a bit).  We hit up (Hyper) Space Mountain and Star Tours (and grabbed a few more Fast Passes for Space Mountain) before heading back to get the rest of the gang.  Our plans for the day included a few more rides, like Thunder Mountain Railroad, Autopia, and so on. Making use of FastPass and Rider Swap made it so both Mike and I could ride the ride, and sometimes the kids got to go twice.

Day 12, Wednesday.  California Adventure Day!  We got in early and got our FastPass to the Radiator Springs Racers (that was our goal, since the last time we were there, all of the FastPasses were gone and we never got to ride it).  While waiting for our time (about an hour), we all got to ride on some things in A Bugs Life land/area...Flik's flyers, the Lady Bugs and the Chew-Chew Train.  We did the Radiator Springs Racers (yay!) and got two more Fast Passes for that.  A few more rides (Mater's Junkyard Jambouree and Luigi's thing in Cars Land) and back to the hotel for just a bit.  Mike headed out to get a few more Fast Passes for the Grizzly River Rapids and came back for us so we could head out for a 2nd round of Radiator Springs Racers.  Riding the rapids (Jared went once, then refused the 2nd time) and over to ride Mike and Sully to the rescue (Monsters Inc) twice.  After that, we headed to the hotel again and then prepared to go out to see the World of Color (we'd picked up reserved passes earlier in the day).  It was a tiring day, but worth it!

Day 13, Thursday.  Our last day!  We checked out of our hotel and headed to Disneyland to meet Gillianne and her family!  Before we'd met, Mike took the boys to wait in line for the Matterhorn.  The ride broke down so we ended up needing to go at a later time.  Upon meeting up with Gillianne, we went on Pirates of the Caribbean (all of us did!), and Splash Mountain.  Daniel got his wish to go on the Matterhorn (the boys got to go twice, once with Mike, once with me!), and then on a boat ride in Storybook Land, and ending out the day with the spinning teacups (Mike, Daniel, Jared and Kaitlyn).  We headed for home and arrived about 12:30 am.  Tired...happy...did I mention tired?

We're still recovering a week later...but it was a fun trip!  We showed ourselves that we can do it with our complete family of six!