Thursday, August 7, 2014

famILY Visits the OC Part 2

Hello blog family,
Well it is officially August. This year is flying by. It is going to be Christmas before we even know it. I'm normally a Grinch, but I especially can't wait for Christmas this year to spend more quality time with my family. This blog is dedicated to part 2/3 of my family visiting me in California.

In the last blog post I left off on Sunday and my awesome trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Monday-Wednesday I had to work :( while my family spent time at Disneyland. I didn't mind missing Disney since my last experience when my Mom was visiting was less than amazing. It was hard though because from my office window I look at Disneyland all day long. It sucked knowing, my family is here, I can literally see where they are, but I can't be with them. On Wednesday after work I drove over to the house they rented and my Dad cooked a huge delicious dinner for everyone. One of the things I miss most about home is my Daddy's cooking. He is an amazing cook, and made me turkey burgers (my favorite), shrimp, mussels, corn, and many other goodies. The cool thing about the house they rented is that it is only a flew blocks away from Disneyland. I can hear the fireworks every night from my apartment but can never actually see them. From their house, you can sit in the backyard or hot tub and watch the entire firework display uninterrupted. The house is so close to the fireworks that we could even hear the music that goes along with the show from the park. We sat outside a few nights and watched the fireworks light up the night's sky. It was great just spending time together, drinking wine, laughing, and telling old stories.

On Thursday I took off from work, so my parents picked me up from my apartment early to make the drive South to San Diego (about 70 miles from where I live). I've heard the San Diego Zoo is the best in the country so I knew my sisters would enjoy spending the day here. You could literally spend two full days here and still not see everything. It is huge and has every animal you could ever imagine. It even had some animals I didn't know existed. My sister Reece was most excited about seeing the pandas, which San Diego Zoo is one of four zoos in the country that actually have pandas. Every exhibit is decorated perfectly to how the animals would live in the wild and actually is really large. Most of the time when I go to the zoo I feel bad for the animals that are stuck in these small exhibits. The animals here are living in mansions compared to other zoos. The park was not crowded which made the day perfect. At some times, we were the only ones in a certain area. It felt like we had the place to ourselves. You can buy a 3 day pass ($150) that allows you to enter the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Safari Park, and also SeaWorld (watch the documentary Blackfish and you will never want to go here again). This zoo is hands down the best zoo I've ever been to and I've been to quite a few. If you are ever in San Diego, I recommend this be your first stop!
Logan with some crocs and a turtle
Just lounging around
With the elephants 
About to see some polar bears 

I took off again on Friday to spend another full day with my family this time in Disneyland. Disneyland has two theme parks, California Adventure and then Disneyland. When my Mom was here we went to Disneyland since it has the Sleepy Beauty castle and is more well known. Disneyland is geared more towards kids and has less thrill rides. I'm glad this time I got experience California Adventure with my Dad and family. If you only buy a one day/one park pass and have to pick between the two parks, definitely go to California Adventure. My last time at Disney I was bored standing in line most of the time, whereas this time I had a blast! My Dad was the king of the fast pass which I found out is free. We did almost every ride and the longest line we waited in was 30 minutes. Being at Disney, it made me realize just how big my sisters are getting. They went on every upside down roller coaster and thrill ride including the Tower of Terror, twice. I was probably more scared than they were (not probably most definitely). We stayed in the park till dinner time since I decided my sisters would have a sleepover at my apartment to give my parents an anniversary date night alone. I'm so glad I gave Disney another shot because I honestly had a great time.  
The ferris wheel that I can see from my office window
My loves  
Rapids ride that I got soaked on
Tower of Terror 
Yea, I was scared
Disney parade, NEMO!
A Bugs Life
Toy Story
Cars
I've been to the Irvine Spectrum a few times (blogged about it before) and every time I go I always think about how much I can't wait to bring my sisters here. I finally had that opportunity on Friday night after Disneyland. We of course had to ride the ferris wheel where my sisters and boyfriend made fun of me for being afraid of heights. They also rode the carousal after eating ice cream by one of the many water fountains. I'm so glad that I finally got to take my sisters here even though they wanted to buy every souvenir they laid their eyes on. We had a great night and sleepover just being silly sisters together.
Reece & Cho
Me & Logan
We survived the ride!
Eating ice cream 
Being silly
Riding the carousal 
I'll have one last blog post about my family's trip to California and I'll also be making an update on what's in store for us next.
XoXo,
Valerie