Sunday, September 28, 2008

My poor, old van is getting very old & tired!

We had an interesting Friday night!
My almost 8 year old van has been acting up since we got back from vacation. Last Sunday, while on the way to make-up soccer pictures for S, my van would not start. M was working and the van was blocking our truck (even though I can't drive it since I never wanted to learn how to drive stick:)) since our dear neighbors like to take the van's parking space on the street all the time (this is another story). My great, wonderful friend was able to help us out and drove us. She is such a sweet heart and I owe her big time!! To make a long story short, M played with the van a bit and got it to start the next day. M took it to work for a couple of days and it worked fine. On Friday, we went to Costco in the evening. (for some of my friends who are counting, yes, I did go to Costco 3 times last week as I somehow kept on forgetting things on my list). Everything things was fine on the way to Costco and after we loaded the back of the van, it would not fully start again! We tried a few times after fiddling under the hood, but it would not start. It's a good thing I still have my AAA card. I called AAA and after 30 mins we had the van towed to the dodge dealership. The very nice tow truck driver was even willing to take all 4 of us in his extra cab truck and drop us off at home after unloading the van at the dealership. Keep in mind, we had our Costco stuff in our laps and hands. It was a funny sight, but I was ever so grateful to the driver! I wish I had remembered his name because I want to send a thank you card to him.
M and I have been talking about my old van and we were hoping that it would last another year. I really like my old van as I can see so much better in the van with being up more and they kids have more room with the bucket seats and don't like driving M's car very much. And I really don't want a car payment right now. We really like not having any car payments. We did agree if the cost to fix my van was over 1k, we were going to just donate or junk it.
We got the results yesterday and it's the fuel pump and will be less than 1k! Yeah! I will have my van back by mid-week! I really happy and can't wait to have my van back!

Friday, September 26, 2008

100 things....

A few other bloggers have done this, so I thought I would give it a try. I will try to get to 100, but we will see. So here it goes...

1. I was born in San Jose, California
2. I lived in Santa Clara until I was 4 years old.
3. I grew up in Pleasanton, California
4. My husband and I went to rival high school's, but did not know each other until we were in our 20's.
5. I have one sister (who is 21 months younger)
6. While growing up many people did not think we were sisters because we were so opposite in looks (dark brown hair vs. blond, almond shaped eyes vs round eyes, fair skinned vs easy to tan, etc....)
7. I was named after a radio talk show host (thanks, Dad)
8. I did not travel much as a kid except for the every other year trip to visit relatives in Oregon and Washington
9 I live to travel
10. Traveling is one of many things that hubby and I have in common
11. My dream trip would be Australia/New Zealand
12. I love Mexican food
13. I could eat Mexican food every day
14. I love chocolate
15. My favorite soda is Diet Cherry Coke
16. I also love coffee!
17 I started drinking coffee around 12 when my uncle let me try a taste of his coffee (with cream and sugar)
18 My first job was at Swenson's Ice Cream
19. Ice cream became my theme job for the next 3 years
20. My favorite, but most rewarding job is being a Mom
21. My favorite color is red
22. My Grandma was neighbors with Bing Crosby
23. My Grandma was a natural in playing baseball (she could have played in a girl's league)
24. I believe that my daughter has this gift too!
25. Both my kids were named by my husband; I came up with the middle names
26. We had our daughter's name picked out during our first year dating; she is named after a Fleetwood Mac song.
27. My son is named after one of my husband's favorite camp counselors
28 My first concert was a Madonna concert
29 I did not get married until I was 27
30 I had my first child at age 30
31. I went to 3 different colleges and graduated from 2
32. I was the first in my family to graduate from college
33. My husband and I are 10 months apart to the day
34. Both my husband and I are the oldest in our families
35. I love to create photobooks on shutterfly
36. I did not like mushrooms until I met my husband
37. I had braces for 5 years
38 I got my braces off on Halloween when I was in 8th grade (and I had a carmel apple to celebrate!)
39 I love to have popcorn with lots of butter when I go to the movies
40 I cannot sing; many people ask me to stop signing becuase it's not very good
41 In high school my friends called me "Sing Along Pam" because I would create new words for the songs but not for fun; I just heard the words incorrectly in the song:))
42. I was in drama in high school
43. I ended up finding my best skill in drama was being the make-up artist and not acting
44. I was also the Sports and Clubs editor for the high school yearbook
45 And one of my 2 page spreads in the yearbook won an award
46 I got in big trouble in 4th grade for chewing gum
47 I love getting pedicures
48 I love being barefoot; I don't like to wear shoes
49 One of my favorite vacations is being on a cruise
50 My favorite cruise was in 2005 when I went with my parents, sister & family, and my family
51. My favorite cruise excursion was horse back riding on the beach with my family
52. My favorite cruise destination is the Caribbean
53. My favorite cruise line is Royal Caribbean
54. I once ate 3 helpings of Tiramsu on a cruise
55. I can be shy at times, usually when I first meet you
56. I prefer small gatherings instead of large ones
57. I have trouble hearing in crowded areas
58. I popped my eardrum in high school and lost about 10% hearing in that ear; all from an ear infection that I did not know I had. (I have a high tolerance for pain)
59. My blond hair is natural; I do get it highlighted about twice a year
60. I'm the only natural blond in my family (my sis and mom dye their hair)
61. The first thing my father in-law asked me when I met him is if my blond hair was real
62. My son is more like me
63. My daughter is more like my hubby
64. I love details
65. I love to plan our travel trips by doings lots of research
66. I love ladybugs
67. I love children's books
68 I love to read
69 I love reality TV shows
70 My favorite movie is the Wizard of Oz
71. Grease, Mama Mia, Wedding Singer and Valley Girl come in 2nd
72. My favorite place to be is by the beach
73. I love sunsets
74. I love to hear waves
75. I sleep the best when I'm on a cruise; the waves just rock me to sleep
76. I love Fall
77. My favorite holiday is Christmas
78. Second is Halloween
79. I love to cook and bake
80. I don't like to mop floors
81. I like doing dishes
82. I love to read a good book
83. I had my tonsils taken out when I was in 1st grade
84. I stayed back in Kindergarten; I started when I was 4 years old & we just moved to a new town
85. My husband and I have been to Disneyland/Disneyworld every year except one since we met (didn't go the year our son was born)
86. My daughter went to Disneyland at 3 months old
87. I was in drama with 2 people who became famous (David Yost~the first blue Power Ranger, Kristin Baer~Romi and Michelle's High School Reunion
88. I love anything with cheese
89. In the winter, I love to curl up with a blanket and my family and watch a movie
90. For the last 20 or so years, we have had an ornament exchange during Christmas with my side of the family
91. My favorite flower is the rose
92. I wish I could be about 5 inches taller
93. My feet grew 1/2 a size with each kid
94. My middle fingers on both hands are very crooked; unfortunately my son inherited this
95. I love the smell on baking apples, roses, citrus, and clean clothes
96. I love going wine tasting
97. I don't like to drive when there is another adult in the car; I guess I'm self-conscience of the way I drive
98. I did not get my driver's license until I was 19 years old
99. I almost hit a power source when I was learning how to drive
100. I'm a very cautious driver
oh my... I made it. I did not think that I would make it to 100! Hope I did not bore you!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Still on Vacation Mode

I'm still on vacation mode. I've been spending all my free time creating shutterfly photo books to capture the memories. If you want to take a peak at my finished books. The links are below.

I promise this will be my last post about our vacation;))

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day 8 San Diego Vacation 9/13/08

Day 8 of our vacation 9/13/08
Legoland, Claim Jumpers & Outlet Shopping

Today was the last official day of our vacation. When I was planning out our days, I found out that this weekend was Star Wars weekend which both the kids & M love. We arrived to the park before it opened and it was pretty crowded but neat to see all the Star Wars characters. Lots of people even dressed up as their favorite characters. We participated in a Droid Capture Contest and a Stormtropper Letter Hunt. For the hunt, we had to go to the mini village area and there were mini stormtroppers action figures holding letters hidden within certain areas. For example, in the Las Vegas area we needed to find 4 stormtroppers holding 4 letters. Early on in our letter hunt, I figured out the puzzle. (May The Force Be With You). T and M were impressed that I figured it out before them since I'm not really a big Star Wars fan. Legoland was not my favorite park and I feel it's better suited for little kids who are 6 or younger. T did have lots of fun spending his $ on 2 Star Wars lego sets. He is now addicted to legos as has joined their lego magazine club, played with his legos a million times since we got back, on the lego website daily, and created a lego wish list for x-mas.

After Legoland, we headed to Claim Jumper (my Mom gave me a coupon right before we left and noticed that there was one near one of our vacation stops). After dinner, we headed to the outlet shops that were across the freeway. S got her first pair of Vans. They are totally her with flames and skulls.

This is the end of our vacation! The next day was just a long travel day home. I hope I did not bore everyone with our adventures. We really had a great time and are thinking about another San Diego vacation in the future!

Day 7 San Diego Vacation 9/12/08

Day 7 of our vacation 9/12/08

Wild Animal Park, Fudruckers, Gaslamp walk down 5th Street, Ghirardelli

Today we went to the Wild Animal Park which was about 40 minutes from our hotel. I didn't like the Wild Animal Park as much as the zoo, but we still had fun and saw some animals that we would have never seen up close if we had not gone. The Journey to Africa Tram ride was cool (and similar to one at the Disney World's animal kingdom, but larger). I loved seeing the baby giraffes, cheetahs, mercats, and lions up close. We learned that cheetahs are very close to being extinct and the Wild Animal Park has a very successful breeding facility on site that might help with them not becoming extinct.
After the Wild Animal Park we headed back to our hotel. We were very hungry and decided to walk over to Fudruckers which was right behind our hotel. I have not been to a Fudruckers since Mitch and I were first dating (18+ years). I loved my hamburger. The kids ordered little cheeseburger sliders and had fun assembling their burgers.
Since we were so full, we decided to walk down 5th street for awhile and window shop. We walked down to the Petco Park area again. On our way back, we stopped to the Ghiraradelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop. The 4 of us shared 2 sundaes: Hot Fudge and Mint Bliss. They were awesome and fixed my chocolate craving!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day 6 San Diego Vacation

Day 6 San Diego Vacation 9/11/08
Belmont Park, Flowrider, Phil's BBQ, & Giants/Padres Game

Today we went to Belmont Park which is like Santa Cruz but smaller. We went on a few rides. One of them was the Giant Dipper which is the same roller coaster in Santa Cruz (which is one of my dad's favorite rides. He even drove to Santa Cruz on his 70th b-day just to ride the roller coaster;) We were the only ones on the coaster and they guys working the coaster let us go twice in a row without getting off. It was a lot of fun! We also went on the bumper cars and the crazy cars (see S's picture above). On the Belmont Park property is a Flowrider which is the same as some of the Royal Caribbean cruises. Once we watched a group of boys/young men doing it, T had to do it! (This was also included in our Go San Diego card~well, almost everything we did on this trip except for food was included!) T & I ran to our van to get his swim trunks and rash guard and off he went on the flowrider. T was the youngest on the flowrider and he had a ball. He wiped out a few times.

Next we headed to Phil's BBQ which I had read a few places was the best BBQ place in San Diego. Phil's did NOT disappoint. The BEST RIBS I've ever had! Everyone loved the food! I wish we had Phil's nearby because I'm craving the ribs and mac salad right now.

Next we headed back to our hotel to drop off the van and walked over to Petco Park. The Padres won 11 to 2. Since my dad is a die-hard Giants fan, I called him during the game. Since it was 9/11, they had a Navy unit bring out a huge American flag onto the field and their band played the national anthem. It was nice to see something in remembrance of 9/11! Every time the Padres had a home run they would shoot off fireworks in the Padres' colors of blue, white and beige. We actually ended up on TV believe it or not. We watched a delayed version of the game that we found on TV when we got back to our hotel. Because we were near 1st base, every time a left handed hitter was up at bat, you could see us. We were able to spot us out because we saw my red jean jacket & S's light pink sweatshirt.


Oops! I almost forgot. September 10 was my nephew's 6th Birthday. We all called and sang happy birthday to him over the phone. Happy Birthday, buddy!! We miss you! Hopefully soon you will be back in California! ( my sister sent me pics from his actual birthday and the crown was from his teacher who has the same birthday);)

Day 5 San Diego Vacation

Day 5 San Diego Vacation 9/10/08
Padres Petco Park Tour, Harbor Tours, USS Midway, Double Decker Bus Tour & Old Town

Today was one of my favorite days of the vacation even though it was jam-packed with activities. We did not plan for it to be so jam-packed, but it just kind of happened because of location of the activities and our willingness to do more.

We started out by walking to Petco Park for our tour. The tour was awesome! Our tour guide, Don, was so informative about the park. We only had 6 on the tour; the 4 of us and a couple from New Jersey. Don showed us all around from the press box, a luxury box, the green room (where those who sing the national anthem wait), food delivery area, speciality restaurants, dug out, and walking on the field (not the grass). The picture above is us sitting in the Padres dugout. There is even air conditioning vents on the wood benches! Don even gave T & S padres tee-shirts which they both ended up wearing to the game the next night (see Day 6 entry coming soon).

Next we happened to meet a man (who we later found out was homeless) near the trolley station by Petco Park. He was so nice in showing us how to purchase tickets and how to ride the trolley. He actually rode the trolley with us to Harbor tour section. Mitch ended up giving him some $ and we offered to give him some food, but he refused. He made sure we were headed in the right direction and then said goodbye. We went on a 2 hour harbor tour which was 2-1 hour opposite direction tours. I love being on the water! It really relaxes me. We saw lots of seals, boats, helicopters, navy ships, coronado bridge, airplanes, etc... on the tour.

Since the USS Midway was right next door to the harbor tour we decided to take a quick tour. I wanted to see their sleeping quarters and M and the kids wanted to see the planes. It's amazing how much they can fit on the midway in way of people and aircraft.

We decided we wanted to go to Old Town for Mexican food for our "LaDinner". We saw that the double decker bus was stopped near us and knew that we could use our Go San Diego cards for the bus. So we hopped on and went to the open top of the bus and headed over to Old Town. I had read that there was 2 places that were comparable in way of Mexican food, so we tried the Cafe Coyote. The food was great! M ordered carne asada tacos, S had taquitos, T had a huge adult sized carne asada burrito, and I ordered a combo plate of a beef taco & cheese enchilada (not as good as our favorite Tracy Mexican resturant, La Villa). We walked around Old Town and then took the trolley back to the Petco Park station and walked back to our hotel. This was a long, but fun day:))

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Family Photos at the Hotel Del

Well, our disc arrived today. I've only viewed the 134 pictures twice, but here are a few of my first favorites.

I hope I'm not boring everyone with my vacation. I just live for vacations! Look for more postings of the rest of the days of our vacation soon;))

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 4- San Diego 9/9/08

Day 4- Aquarium, Miramar Speed Circuit, Boomers, and Family Photos

Aquarium- the best parts of the aquarium were the tide pools (the sea cucumbers felt soft & slimy, the unemies (Nemo's home) felt like the kid's sticky hand toys that stick to walls and doors) and the feeding of the sharks off a pole with a clothes pin. They actually make sure each and every shark is feed and keep track of what they eat, including the vitamins that they stuff in the fish that they feed them;))

Miramar Speed Circuit~ next we headed to Miramar Speed Circuit. M and T had a blast. It was neat to see T driving a car!
Boomers~ since we had time to do something else today, we checked out Go San Diego Card booklet and saw that Boomers was close. We played a round of mini golf. T got 2 hole in ones & I had 1!. After Boomers, we headed to Red Robin for "LaDinner".
We had an appointment for family pictures at the Hotel Del Coronado at 5:50pm. We were a little early and so was our photographer so Michele started taking pictures of us early in the hotel garden area and then we were off to the beach for pictures. The sand on the beach was one of the softest, finest grain sand! I can't wait to see the pictures! I should have the CD in the mail any day now. (I will post some once they arrive). Michele was very nice and patient. We saw a seagull knock over a man's Corona beer and started drinking the beer from the sand. It was a funny sight. M informed the wife of man so that she knew what happened to his brand new beer. Michele recommended that we walk around the hotel and shops after our photo shoot. I loved the hotel and would love to stay here someday! It was so beautiful! We had ice cream at the hotel's own ice creamery (like Coldstone). T and S shared a choc/vanilla large ice cream cup and M & I shared a chocolate/peanut butter with Recees' pieces sundae. YUM!!

A Little History!

A little history about our hotel (timeshare) in San Diego.

The hotel, Gaslamp Plaza Suites, was built in 1913 and was known to be the city's first "skyscraper" - 11 stories of marble, brass, mosaic tile, and Australian gumwood. The building was first occupied by banking, financial and jewelry businesses. Many of the original architectural aspects are still evident such as original marble on walls and stairways, coiffured ceilings, brass elevator doors, and Australian gumwood carpentry around the etched glass windows and doors. All are preserved meticulously in keeping with our status of being listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It was like going back in time, especially going from the very contemporary Aloft hotel the night before to this historic hotel.
I was a little worried about staying in downtown area of San Diego when we first exchanged our timeshare, but the location was perfect for us. We were able to walk to many areas, there was lots of places to eat nearby and the kids got an education (homeless, nightlife, smells of things that were not cigarettes;))

Day 3- San Diego Vacation

San Diego Vacation DAY 3- Sept 8

San Diego Zoo, Museum of Natural History & Corvette Diner

We started off all of our days at the top of our timeshare hotel, the Gaslamp Plaza Suites (more info on the old historic hotel later) for breakfast. The views were incredible!

Next we headed to the San Diego Zoo. The last time we went to the zoo as in 2001 (sept 12, 2001~ yes, the day after 9/11. We were on vacation in Anaheim and thought the zoo would be a very safe place to go.) S was only 3 months old. So this was all new to her. We loved seeing all the animals. My all-time favorite is still the giraffes.
A few more wild animals!

We took the double decker bus tour and the sky tram along the zoo. Other animals that we loved seeing where mericats, an eagle (eating a rabbit- YUK!), and a peacock that came right up to me and I did not have my camera on (darn). It was so beautiful and the bluest cobalt blue I've seen around it's neck.
After the zoo, we went next door to the Museum of Natural History. The new H2O Exhibit was the best. We learned/realized that there is not very much drinkable water in the world and I got grossed out by the unsafe drinking water organisms living in water and can kill someone within 3 days. Scary! We actually got in trouble at the museum because we were having a lot of fun in the H2O area and did not realize that the museum had actually closed and were told to leave.

Next, I surprised the kids by taking them to a really neat old 1950's type diner called Corvette Diner. I had read about it on-line and decided to not tell the kids anything about it. All the employees dress in 50's style type of clothes, they have an old corvette inside the diner and all the decor and music is in 50's style. Our waitress decided to wait until we were not looking and threw straws all over us and the table. The kid's and M laughed so hard! M and the kids had homemade ice cream milk shakes and they looked yummy. I decided to order a diet cherry coke. Well, it was more like a bowl or cherries with a little diet coke. (see picture below). We all got a laugh at this along with the waitress throwing Bazooka bubble gum all over us at the end of our meal.

After dinner, we headed back to our hotel and the roof hoping to see the sunset but some buildings got in the way. Instead, we had a bubble blowing contest with all of our bazooka gum from dinner.