Tuesday, April 5, 2011


This past weekend we made a quick trip to California for my mother-in-law's BIG BIRTHDAY BASH! It was Sam's first trip on an airplane, too!

I got up at 0 DARK:30 (3:45 a.m.) Friday morning and jumped in the shower. I wanted to be ready to leave the house by 5:45 to make it to the airport by 6:30 for our 8:30 flight. The night before I had everything packed and even put Sam to bed in some comfortable clothes so he could just fly in them, and I wouldn't have to get him up so early. After I was done in the bathroom I went to the kitchen to make coffee and instead of it being 4:15...the clock said 5:15...oh no! Sam had played with the clock....now instead of having an hour and 1/2 to finish getting ready and to have some breakfast, we had only 30 minutes. I got Richard in the shower with the correct time and starting racing around the house. I got Sam up and ready with his sippy cup and got the car packed. Richard took a VERY QUICK shower, but no breakfast for us, no emails checked and no breakfast for the dog. We got out of the house by 6:00.

After a very long treck from long term parking carrying: purse, napsack, carseat, rolling 2 suitcases, and Sam in his stroller....we made it to security, which was a very short line. Sam had a short melt down when he had to relinquish his "blankie" to the x-ray conveyor belt. He was very happy to see it come out the other side.

I love that now that we are a "family," it doesn't matter what group we are in, we get to board first! What a perk!

We got on the plane and took off on time. I wish I had thought to take more pictures, but oh well....Sam was great on the plane and very excited. He gripped the arms when we lifted off, but other then that he loved it. As far as my worries about the change in air pressure bothering him....there wasn't an issue....he kept his paci in his mouth and it worked like a dream. I brought plenty of snacks and toys and the 2 and 1/2 hours passed pretty quickly.

Small piece of advice....check through the car seat or better yet, just rent one from the rental car place on the other end. It's too much of a bother to bring along.

We got to Oakland on time and took a shuttle to the rental car place, with our many bags, and after much conversation with the rental car lady, ("No, I do not want more insurance....just what we ordered, please. No, I don't want satellite radio, just what we ordered, please. No, I do not want turn by turn direction, just what we ordered please. No, I do not want...." Ugghhh! Thank God, Richard is more patient then I am)......we were finally on the road. We drove from Oakland airport, north, to Saint Helena...about an hour and 40 minutes. Saint Helena is just north of Napa and is gorgeous. Amazing vineyards and a cozy home town feel.

We dropped off our bags at "Apple's" (Richard' mother is called Apple because his sister's kids have a Spanish speaking nanny and in Spanish the word for Grandmother is abuela and they couldn't say that, so it became Apple.) and picked up my sister-in-law, Leslie's, two kids, Jack and Annie and went to a local park.

After about an hour there, we were all hot and tired so we went home and napped. We thought we were going to put Sam in another room in a pac-n-play to sleep, but he would have none of that and in a matter of minutes climbed out and was knocking on the door. Sam has never done that before. So, we moved the pac-n-play into our room and we finally settled down for a 2 hour nap. After that Sam met three of Apple's friends. They were the ladies that gave Sam his personalized rocker motorcycle. They had presents for him and he loved the attention.

Next, we went to a great place for families to eat where the kids can run around. This is Sam chasing his cousin Annie. He loves ladies and spent the night flirting. He got to see his first train up close and talked about it constantly.

He loved the freedom and I loved the fence....until....

...I realized that on the other side of the fence is a creek. We had great food and Sam was up very late.

The next morning we took a walk and Sam saw turkey vultures sunning their wings on the grape vine poles, a man mowing his field in a tractor, walked over a bridge with a creek running under it and heard woodpeckers up in the trees. He loved every minute of it and talked about these things all weekend.

That night was Apple's BIG BIRTHDAY PARTY! This is Sam giving "knuckles" to Apple. He gave knuckles to everyone, multiple times....thanks for being patient, everyone!

Here is Sam hanging out with his cousins, Jack and Annie.

Isn't Annie's dress the cutest?!

Aunt Leslie taught Sam how to blow bubbles in his water cup.

Now he wants to blow bubbles in everything.....thanks, Aunt Leslie.

Let me introduce you to my husband's mom, Fran, known to us all as, Apple, Richard's, older brother, Dan and younger sister, Leslie.

I love this picture....from left to right: me, Richard, Apple, Dan, Karen (Dan's wife), Leslie and Cal (Leslie's husband), Jack and Annie's parents.

Sam spent the night workin' the room with his drink in hand.

I love this picture of Annie in the grass.

Here is Sam with "Lady Marilyn." Sam was calling all the women "Lady." Then when I would tell him their names, he would put "lady" in front of the name, so Marilyn became Lady Marilyn. Voila! Now she has a title.

Here is everyone toasting Apple.

The Birthday Girl with her cake!!! Happy Birthday Apple!

We had a great weekend!

The next morning we had brunch with the family and then left for the airport around noon. At the car rental return we saw one customer fighting with the staff over whether or not they smelled marijuana in the car and another trying to explain away the dents on the front.

We carried our many bags back on the shuttle....checked through the car seat this time and stood in the LONG.....LONG....LONG (winding back on itself 6 times) security line.....BUT....there is good news....I didn't know there is a FAMILY LINE in security! You basically get to CUT around all the other people. Who knew?! Thank you to the South West Airlines lady who spotted us heading around curve two and pulled us out! Then Sam had the same melt down again when "blankie" was put in the x-ray machine.

Finally, we got to the gate and relaxed with Carmel Macchiatos and muffins and let Sam run up and down the concourse.

The plane left 45 minutes late, but Sam was a trooper. When we landed and the lights in the plane came on, Sam stood up in his seat and yelled, "We're home!" It made everyone within hearing distance, laugh and smile!

Sam fell asleep half way home. We made it home around 9:00 and everyone was in bed by 10:30. It was a quick, busy trip, but lots of fun seeing family!


Connie said...

Those quick trips are so crazy and hectic, but always worthwhile. Congrats on getting one under your belt!

stART said...

What an adventure! I love the photo of Annie in the grass, too, and the one of Sam blowing bubbles in the glass of water is priceless! This brought back a raft of fond memories - thank you for sharing!

ArlenBrumlik said...

Loved viewing all your pictures & so happy you were with your California Family for Apple's Celebration . . .
It sounds like you all had a Wonderful Time!!!
Sending Love,
Arlen & Don