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Vacation Scrapbook: California, Here We Come!!!

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Well, after what seems like a hundred sponsored posts, I’m happy to share some fun times about our family!  We recently returned from a trip to California.  My sister and her family live out there.  We’ve been wanting to visit for years, but it isn’t easy to get our big family from Chicago to California so we hadn’t done it before.

Then, my mom (who also lived in California) suddenly passed away.  Since she had spent her last 5 years out there, we decided to have the funeral there.

I called the airlines to see what they could do about getting us flights with our frequent flier miles.  We were able to get 6 free tickets, buy 3, and the baby could ride free!  What I didn’t realize until we had everything set was that the flight leaving here left at 10 p.m. and the one coming home left at 8 a.m.  Not the best times for a young family to travel!  However, God was gracious and worked out so many details for us.  The plane travel wasn’t nearly as stressful as I expected it to be.

We had a friend from church drive our van and drop us off at the airport.  We quickly figured out a routine of who was carrying what or pushing which stroller.  My husband led and I brought up the rear.  I was so afraid of losing a child–or a piece of luggage.  We had 4 carseats, 2 strollers, 3 big suitcases.  At one point I counted that we had 16 items to carry on the plane!

The first hurdle was that the 10 p.m. flight was delayed to midnight.  When we were waiting in line to get on the plane we were next to a really nice older lady who just loved my kids.  She ended up being the seatmate of my baby and me!  Perfect!

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We arrived in San Francisco at 4 a.m. and finally made it to the hotel (in 2 different mini-van cabs).

I highly recommend the hotel we stayed at in both San Francisco and Los Angeles--Staybridge Suites.

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Opening some presents:

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The next day we explored San Francisco!

The Golden Gate Bridge:

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Stinson Beach:

It was a really neat, scenic drive to Stinson Beach:

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These bathroom signs really made us laugh.  My daughter is trying to decide which side to go into.

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The Warming Hut (where my uncle–my mom’s brother– works):

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We did a LOT of driving this day to see as much of the city as we could.  We drove through Fisherman’s Wharf, over to Oakland, and saw several college campuses.  I think we drove over every different bridge–just to say we did. 🙂

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The next morning we woke up early and drove to Sacramento.  We had a funny situation with the van we rented.  We were supposed to get a 12-passenger, but they gave us a 15-passenger.  It was awful–about 150,000 miles and didn’t drive well at all.  Since we were going to be driving all over California, after the first day they came and switched it out for us.  It was still a 15-passenger van, but drove better.  Then when we were on our way to Sacramento the next morning they called and said they had a 12-passenger and wanted to switch with us again. We had a deadline, so we couldn’t stop for long to meet up with them.  Everytime we stopped, they weren’t there yet, so they ended up chasing us all the way to Sacramento!

When we got there we had lunch at Carl’s Jr. (for the 1st of 3 times on the trip) and then my husband dropped me and my four oldest kids at the theater to see. . .  Wicked!  My sister met us there.  We had spent the previous few weeks at home listening to the soundtrack over and over and memorizing every word.  It was so good!  (By the way, don’t read the book.  It is nothing like the musical.)

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While we watched the show, my husband switched out the van, drove around Sacramento, and played in the park with the kids.  They even saw these awesome redwood trees!

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After the show, we ate at Chili’s and then drove to my sister’s house in the Sierra Nevada’s.  I’ll share about the adventures we had there next time!

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Here are our other California scrapbook posts:

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