Sunday, December 28, 2008

CHRISTmas week at Susy's

Saturday, December 27, 2008
Lorraine's Report

It’s Saturday night and time to write for the blog. This was Christmas week and very few weeks are as busy as the days just before Christmas. It seems to me I should be slowing down, but so far, I don’t think that has happened for me yet.

Monday was spent doing laundry, baking and cooking. This park we are at is only 30 amp, so drying laundry takes longer to do. I finished four loads of laundry the next day, because of drying time.

I baked a double batch of chocolate chip cookies in the convection oven and what usually took me a half hour at home, took me three hours in the convection oven in the motor home. I also put on home made chicken noodle soup for dinner. Mark, our son in law, was off for the Christmas holiday and had been watching Kaitlyn. He called around 2:30 to ask if we would mind watching her, since he had more errands to run and Kaitlyn was tired. So he came over and dropped Kaitlyn off and she helped finish baking cookies and making a double batch of See’s home made chocolate fudge. Susy had to work and she and Mark came for dinner later on. We started playing “Pass the love” game. We played each night and I’m not sure who the big winner is.

Tuesday was our day for running errands. We were all over this area and didn’t finish until 4:30 or so. Susy had Mark pick up spaghetti for all of us for dinner, everyone was tired. After dinner, we went to see the Christmas lights a park puts up each year. They charge $15.00 a car load, it took us over an hour to get in, but the displays were beautiful. This was a big money maker for the parks department.

Wednesday was Christmas Eve Day and Susy was off work for that day. She had asked us to help finish getting her home and stuff ready for Christmas, another busy day. We went out to eat after having a little party with snacks in the late afternoon. Kaitlyn was getting excited and had a hard time going to sleep.

Christmas Day, Chuck and I got up and went to Susy’s home for opening presents at 9:00 am. Everyone was still asleep, because Kaitlyn had been awake until quite late, so she slept in a bit. Kaitlyn was so excited and had a great Christmas. She got her first two wheel bicycle and a baby doll and the Little Einstein’s Space Ship. She had so much stuff, Susy and I finally finished opening presents for her. She spent the day playing with all her new toys. We thoroughly enjoyed watching her open and play with her new toys. We cooked up a nice big ham with all the trimmings for dinner.

Christmas Day was hard for me this year. I missed all the hoop la that went on at our home in Bellingham, all the years before this. Christmas is my favorite holiday and we would decorate the tree and most rooms in our old home. I would bake tons of cookies and make up at least six or seven double batches of fudge and a variety of candy for family and friends. I missed that. I missed my son, who did call on Christmas Day, after working a fourteen hour day. Thank you, Rick, it was so great to hear from you. Thankfully, Susy understood me and made it a great day for me. I appreciate all you do for me.

On the day after Christmas, Susy and I went out shopping, trying to get some bargains for next Christmas. Papa watched Kaitlyn, so even Mark could go. Dinner was at the Outback, where we all enjoyed each others company.

Today we packed up all the Christmas decorations in the motor home and took it to Susy’s home to store till next year. We then watched Kaitlyn while Mark and Susy went to the Leonardo De Vinci exhibit in San Jose. They enjoyed a little alone time; they don’t get a lot of that too often.

I’m sad because tomorrow is our last day here. We will be heading to Palm Springs on Monday. We won’t be seeing our little family here until April, or if we can convince Susy, Mark and Kaitlyn to come to Yuma or Phoenix for Susy’s birthday in February.
I am going to miss seeing my little grand daughter each day as I have for the past two weeks. We’ve seen her for two week stretches since Halloween. I know Chuck will miss her just as much as me.

I just want to wish all our family and friends a Happy, Healthy and Blessed New Year.

So until next time, bye for now. See you down the road……Lorraine

Chuck's Report

I hope everyone had a very Merry CHRISTmas this week. We were able to spend it with our daughter, her husband and our grand daughter. Our son is working on the Ice Road in Alaska and wasn't able to be here with us but I'm know he was here in spirit.

This was another busy week, but I don't know what we did. We were able to spend time with Kaitlyn everyday, had supper with Susy, Mark and Kaitlyn every evening. Lorraine made some cookies and fudge (like I need to eat more) that was very good. She also finished decorating our coach with the few decorations we have.

On Tuesday we went to a city park in the area to look at their CHRISTmas decorations. I think they have businesses sponsor each display. They have large generators running to supply electrical power to these displays. We went to this last year also, there was a long line of cars waiting to get in, took us over an hour's wait to get to the front gate. Sure glad I don't live in that neighborhood, there isn't a lane for residents to get to their house so they would have to wait in line also. Anyway, once we got inside the park, it was nice. There must be over 30 displays, some with lights that appear the display is moving. I've included a few pictures of the displays, they don't show up too well but get the idea across.

CHRISTmas morning we got to Susy's house to spend the day. When we got there, Kaitlyn was up and all eyes, Santa Claus had come and left her presents! She had asked Santa for a bike and a dolly and she could see the bike beside the tree. She was so excited she could hardly contain herself. Once everyone else showed up, Kaitlyn jumped on the bike and rode it around the house a little bit.

Everyone finished opening their presents before breakfast except Kaitlyn, she wanted to play with the ones she had. Later on during the day, Mommy and Nana would get her to open another one or two then away she would go again. She sure had a good time.

Lorraine and Susy spent some time in the kitchen cooking a ham dinner for us. We had talked about going out to dinner but they decided to stay home and cook. It was a nice ham dinner with all the usual trimming.

Friday everyone except Kaitlyn and me wanted to go shopping for after CHRISTmas bargains. Kaitlyn and I stayed at their house, she played with her toys, rode her bike outside and we even went to the little park at their complex. After all of that, she was tired enough to just sit for awhile and watch a movie. As soon as everyone came home, she was off and running again, what energy.

Saturday Lorraine and I took down all our CHRISTmas decorations as we are going to store them in Susy's garage until next year. We were going to watch Kaitlyn while Susy and Mark go to a local museum. We get all the stuff stored, Susy and Mark take off, Lorraine and Kaitlyn start playing and I --- take a nap.

So that was our week. We enjoyed CHRISTmas and spending time with Susy, Mark and Kaitlyn. We will be leaving here this week, our plans have us returning in April for Kaitlyn's birthday party. It has been lots of fun being able to spend time with them almost everyday. We have been in/our of their lives since just before Halloween and it's time we left them so their lives can get back to normal. Although we will miss them, we do have our memories and pictures.

So this week is New Years. I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope it is a good one for all. I don't make resolutions but we do hope to see lots of our family and friends this year as we travel around. So may your New Year be happy, healthy and prosperous. Until next time

Thanks Chuck

Displays in the park
This was like a volcano of lights

A big pirate ship, shooting cannons

The big wreath at the exit

Kaitlyn picking a cookie for each of us. She and her daddy made these yesterday.

I got a bike from Santa Claus

First time on her new bike, not too much room but she didn't care.

Oh boy, Santa brought me a dolly too.

Just what I wanted.

Look, I can ride it all by myself.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Spent everyday with Kaitlyn this week.

Monday, December 22, 2008
Lorraine's Report

Well, here it is Monday, and I know I’m late in writing for the blog, but better late than never.

We got into LA last Saturday morning and drove to Soledad Canyon north of LA to spend several days resting. We spent Saturday afternoon unpacking from the cruise and cleaning the coach. But the news and weather report on TV said that a big winter storm was coming into the area. Sunday morning they kept talking about this big winter storm. I told Chuck I thought we should think about leaving. He looked at the weather map on line and at 9:45 he decided that we should leave to get through the “Grapevine” before the snow. We left there by 11 am heading north again. We had nice sunny driving weather. No snow, not much wind, even. We stopped around 3 pm just south of Coalinga for the night. I was still doing laundry and had started working on our Christmas letter for our non-traveling friends and family.

Monday we pulled into a Camping World to dry camp for the evening since we were a day early for our reservation at TT. Chuck unhooked the car and we took off to go get our granddaughter, Kaitlyn, from pre-school. On the way to pick up Kaitlyn, Chuck pulled into this motor home park, Trailer Tel and we asked if there was room. Lo and behold there were two openings. We took one and rushed back to get the motor home, as it was getting late in the afternoon and this park manager said if it got dark you couldn’t park your rig. I took off to pick up Kaitlyn from pre-school. You should have seen the look on her face when I got there. She came running into my arms, snuggling and kissing me. She was one happy baby.

Tuesday, we decorate the motor home for CHRISTmas. It hadn’t felt like CHRISTmas to me until we decorated. Chuck just goes and gets Kaitlyn from home, since we are only fifteen minutes away instead of forty five to fifty, depending on traffic. Kaitlyn has not been herself for several weeks, so we watched her all week while her parents work.
She loves being here with us.

Wednesday is time to get hair colored again. I looked up beauty salons on the computer and choose one. I got into one and show the gal my formula from my home town gal. She goes to work and my hair actually turns out almost the same as my home town gal. We go to Susy’s and I cooked dinner, then Susy and I wrapped her presents. We aren’t done yet, probably one more night should do it.

Thursday and Friday are the same. Saturday, we went to the swap meet here in San Jose. It was a sunny, bright day. Chuck took Kaitlyn, while Susy finished her shopping for CHRISTmas.

Sunday, I needed to go to Brookstone to do some last minute shopping. Susy and I went to two malls, Chuck watched football and Mark and Kaitlyn had to mail some packages.
Chuck cooked a pork roast and scalloped potatoes for us for dinner. We all had a great day.
So that brings us to today. It seems like we don’t live an exciting life, but we sure enjoy ourselves.

I’m missing my son; he went way north and is on the Ice Road in Alaska, working again. Take care of you, Rick. You have all my love.

I would like to wish all our family and friends a very Merry CHRISTmas and a wonderful New Year. Be well and we’ll see you down the road. Love to all…..Lorraine
Chuck's Report

This was a pretty uneventful week. Last week found us leaving the Los Angles area one day earlier than planned so we would miss the forecasted snow. That was a good thing as I read where the campground we were staying got snowed in, about a foot of snow and the road in/out was closed for three days. We did get some rain on the way up here to the San Francisco Bay area but only rain.
We had reserved a spot at 1000 Trails in Morgan Hill, about 45 minutes from Susy's starting on Tuesday so we pulled into a Camping World to see if we could spend the night in their parking lot on Monday night. They said it would be ok, we unhooked the car and went to pick up our grand daughter from day care. On the way, we stopped at a private campground just a few miles from Susy's that is almost always full. Lo and behold, they had two spots available so we decided to stay here for two weeks instead and not drive so far each day.
We picked Kaitlyn up from day care on Monday but were able to pick her up at their house every other day this week. She sure enjoyed spending time with Nana even though she wasn't feeling up to par. On Tuesday we needed to stock up with some food so we went to a super Wal-mart, Kaitlyn showed me what she wanted for Christmas. Boy do they have some fancy stuff for little kids nowadays. I remembered a picture I posted a couple weeks ago of her playing in a cardboard box.
We had a very hard rain on Tuesday, especially that night. They sure needed the rain here, but next morning there was snow in the hills around us. On Wednesday and Thursday night the temperature got down to freezing here but the daytime temperatures were in the low 60s. I even washed the motor home on Thursday but everyone blamed the rain that afternoon and night on me. Another good rain storm, that's two in one week.
Wednesday Lorraine decorated the motor home with her Christmas stuff. Sort of like cleaning the coach compared to our house only takes a short while, decorating only takes a short while also. Once she was done, she said she is now more in the Christmas spirit. She and Susy wrapped presents at Susy's house on Wednesday evening, that seemed to help put both of them in the spirit too. Me, I have been and still am a GRINCH!
I talked to a couple of friends from back home in Bellingham, there are experiencing a cold snap, worst in a decade. Although I am glad to not be there, especially glad I'm not working during it, I sure fell sorry for them. It was down to 7F with about 50 MPH wind, I know how miserable it can be with those conditions. The forecast calls for more snow tomorrow then warming up above freezing during the daytime, freezing at night for the next 4 days. Once again, I'm glad we're not there for this one.
Saturday Susy and Kaitlyn met us at the motor home and we went to the San Jose swap meet. This is one of the biggest, open Wednesday thru Sunday. I took Kaitlyn around all the tents, she sure enjoyed looking at all the toys and stuff. I found a blanket with all the Disney princesses for Kaitlyn, she wore it home and all evening at the coach.
Lorraine made a nice dinner each night, Tuesday stew, Wednesday pork steak and Thursday beef steak. Friday we went to Chili's for Mexican and everyone was tired today so we just ordered in pizza.
That was our week, spending time with Susy, Mark and Kaitlyn. This is just what we wanted to do while we are here and it turned out real nice. Next week promises more of the same.
As our next post should be next Sunday, I will take this opportunity to wish everyone a Very Merry CHRISTmas. I hope you are able to spend some time with family and friends, that is what makes the season. Also, remember, it's ok to eat too much, this is the only time you can have a piece of three different pies without being looked at funny. And lastly, I hope I don't get what I deserve for CHRISTmas but instead I get something good, ha.

Kaitlyn running through the coach wearing her Mommy's new shirt. She sure was happy that night.

Christmas tree in the coach. Doesn't take near as long to put the decorations on this tree.
Outside decorations.

Coach all decorated. For our family and friends back in Washington, notice the grapefruit tree behind the coach. Maybe I should have been standing outside wearing shorts and a tee shirt.

Kaitlyn and Mommy playing a game.

Susy seems to be tickled by this!

One more time!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Cruise to Mexico

December 14, 2008
Lorraine's Report

So now we’ve left Los Angeles on the Norwegian Star Cruise ship for a seven day trip to Mexico, with stops in Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. Both Chuck and I are excited and I even cry while talking with my sister Thelma, telling her bye. While we were both fighting heavy colds, we were looking forward to having a great time, and I hoped we would get some much needed rest, we’ve had some busy weeks this past month.

Saturday afternoon we spent the time exploring the ship. The staterooms weren’t ready for the new occupants-all 2200 of us. We heard that there were at least 500 plus other winners of this cruise from all fourteen Terrible Casino’s. This was their fifth year of taking winners on a cruise. They had a cruise a week for fourteen weeks give-a-way drawings. Norwegian Line calls this type of cruising Free Style, because you can choose where you want to eat, when you want to eat. There is no assigned time or place or people to eat with. You don’t have to dress up for dinner if you don’t want to. They do have dress up night, Sunday, and then again on Thursday if you wanted to dress and have your picture taken before dinner.

Saturday they had a welcome show in the main theater featuring all the assorted acts they had booked for the cruise. We enjoyed the show, retiring early.

Sunday was a day at sea, traveling to our port on Monday. We went to the buffet for breakfast; I went to a bingo game. On Ship they play bingo every day, you can buy four paper cards, with six cards per sheet for $29.00 for the four games they play. Or, you could buy an electronic bingo machine, which they load up with thirty six cards for the four games for $49.00 or you could buy the grand slam bingo machine with sixty nine cards for the four games for $89.00. You also received raffle tickets, based on what you spent for the drawing at the end of the cruise for a free cruise. I bought the $49.00 package and received three entries for the free cruise. The four games were over in a flash, with all winners coming from those who bought the $89.00 package. I didn’t play bingo again. But I did get a free mini facial from the drawings they had. The only catch was that the facial was good only on a port day, you needed to stay on board ship instead of going ashore. I ended up using it on Wednesday when we got back on ship early.

Later on, I went to a matinee in the movie theater, while Chuck watched football in the Pub.

This was dress up day, so we dressed up for pictures. We didn’t know they do not rent tuxes for evening any more. After pictures we went to Aqua dining room for dinner. We got behind a large family having pictures taken, and that made us late getting into dinner. We had forty five minutes to eat and get to the Andrew Lloyd Webber Show. We were fortunately put into a section of the dining room where the waitperson knew what to do when I whispered to her we wanted to attend the show. She had us seated, fed us appetizers, salad, main course and dessert in forty minutes. We made it to the show with minutes to spare. I wrote up a Thank You they give you on ship to fill out for outstanding service.

Of the three ports we were in I must say I liked Cabo San Lucas the best. It is a small fishing village at the end of Baja. I enjoyed the walk into town, the people and the air there was wonderful.

We did tours with six other people in a van for four hours in Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. I believe this was cheaper than booking an excursion on board for the same thing, and the tour drivers were just as knowledgeable and were able to give you extra attention. We saw the towns from end to end, the rain forest, the tequila factory, the beaches and shopping.

Coming back on the ocean I got sea sick and am still rolling from the waves, even though the weather was fine, with no storms or big winds. Guess I wasn’t meant to be a sailor.
I loved the cruise, I loved the sights, the sounds, the water, the warm air, and the food was good; I would do this again if I won another cruise.

Till next time, stay well and I’ll see you down the road….Lorraine

Chuck's report

Here it is Sunday night and I’m just getting started on this report from last week. We decided to move today so I didn’t get it done in the morning as usual.

Most of the prior week we were on the Norwegian Star, on the cruise that Lorraine won in May. We boarded on Saturday about noon but couldn’t go to our stateroom until later in the evening. We explored the ship, trying to find our way around and get the layout of where to go. We had an early dinner and retired early as we were still fighting our colds.

We did find out a couple of things about the cruise that we were unaware of before. I knew we would have to buy any alcoholic drinks we wanted but didn’t know we had to pay for soda and bottled water. Lorraine ordered a soda and with the included tip, it came to over $5.00. They have a “deal” on board that if you pay a fee upfront, you can get soda from all the bars and some of the restaurants without having to pay more. We decided to get one of these and share it between both of us.

Another unknown cost was a required $10.00/day gratuity per person. At first I was a bit upset about this but realized I wouldn’t be tipping at meals, wouldn’t tip the stewards for the room and wouldn’t tip the barmaids. Of course, when we left the ship, we did leave a tip for the stewards, they did an outstanding job of keeping our room nice. But all in all, I think I would rather decide who and how much I would tip but we didn’t fight this charge.

One more cost we were unaware of was two of the restaurants had cover charge just to go in. The steak house had a cover charge of $20/person. We could order a steak in any of the other restaurants so we never did go to the steak house. The Italian restaurant wanted a cover of $15/person so we didn’t go into it either.

On Sunday we wanted to sleep in a bit but because we had gone to bed early on Saturday, we woke up early. Having already found our way around a bit, we decided to go to the breakfast brunch. Afterwards, we attended an informational meeting in the theater room; they also had all the entertainment acts perform a short bit to show us what to expect. After that, Lorraine wanted to play Bingo. Turns out, this is a real big money maker for the ship too. They play 4 games, prizes from $150 - $500 but the cards cost $29 for 6 paper cards and up to $69 for an electronic machine with 24 cards loaded. With over 500 people playing, they took in some good money, I figured. Anyway, Lorraine didn’t win at Bingo but did get her name drawn for a free facial at the SPA.

We were told that I could rent a Tux on board for dress night, wrong again. They used to do that but don’t do that anymore. I didn’t bring a suit along, couldn’t rent one so my dress up was a good long sleeve shirt, even so I was dressed better than some. Lorraine had brought along some nice dresses so she looked very nice, not just for this dinner but for most of the evenings.

We had a nice dinner and then had formal pictures taken. They have quite a setup for taking pictures. They have formal setups for pictures every night, roving photographers at each meal and a setup every time we left the ship. They posted all this pictures and we could purchase any we wanted. Lorraine found a couple she liked but we didn’t get too many.

After pictures we went to the theater room for the evening’s entertainment. They had a dance/singing group that was good enough to perform at Las Vegas. They had the place jumping. Afterwards, we decided to try the casino, no luck at all there so back to the stateroom for the night.

Monday was a shore day at Cabo San Lucas. We anchored in the bay and caught shuttle boats to shore. Cabo is fairly small town at the end of the Baja peninsula and is set up just for cruise boat tourists. We enjoyed our time ashore, even the little tourist traps were fun. Some of the locals wouldn’t take no very easy but we just keep walking and they would attack the next person. The cruise ship has some shops they recommend and approve so we checked some of them out also. Of course, we had to try some local restaurant for lunch too. After shopping, we decided to go on a glass bottom boat tour in the bay. We saw some colored fish but the highlight was going out to the arches. This tour took about 45 minutes and we really enjoyed it, probably the highlight of our stop in Cabo.

We returned to the ship, cleaned up and put on good clothes and headed to dinner. We were able to get window seats and watched the sunset as the ship left the harbor. This was a busy day for us, not the relaxing time we hoped to have so we slept well that night.

On Tuesday, we had another shore day, this time in Mazatlan. This is a big town and we could have bought shore excursion trips on board the ship but decided to see what we could do on our own. We left the ship and rented a van with a driver for a tour of the city. This was a very good way of seeing the city and getting a bit of local flavor too. We did some shopping (not buying) here as well, they sure push different jewelry at each of the stores.

Wednesday was our last shore day, this time in Puerto Vallarta for a full day. Once again, we anchored out and took a short shuttle boat trip to shore. This is another big city and once again we waited until we got to the dock and rented a van with a driver. This tour was about 4 hours and very informative. We went through the city, out about 12 miles to an overlook, went though the rain forest and stopped at a Tequila factory with free samples. We actually left the van in town and had lunch at Buba Gump Shrimp restaurant. After lunch we caught a city cab back to the ship.

The ride from Puerto Vallarta across the bay was a bit rough on Wednesday night; Lorraine actually got a bit sea sick from the rocking. Thursday and Friday were both “at sea” days. On Thursday I sat outside in a lounge chair for a few hours (can you say, slept?) while Lorraine went to movie. There was always some sort of entertainment going on and of course someplace to eat at almost any hour. We didn’t over eat, most days we just had breakfast and dinner.

As we were both still not felling up to par, me with a cold and Lorraine being sea sick, we didn’t stay up and party until the early hours. Lorraine did return to the casino once more where she won back what she had lost the first time, we called it even and didn’t go back there. The slots were all pretty tight so we thought we were lucky to leave without losing.

The ship has it set up that you pay for all the extras you want using your room key card which is tied to a credit card. At the end of the cruise everyone got a statement of their charges. On Saturday morning we talked to a couple of folks who spent a lot more than we did, one couple said their bill was over $1500, this was just money spent once they boarded the ship. We noticed most people didn’t have alcoholic drinks with dinner, most had water only or a soda. If you wanted a glass of wine with dinner, you had to buy the whole bottle as they didn’t sell by the glass.

Reading back over this, it looks like I talked a lot about money. It really wasn’t that bad, just some costs we didn’t expect. It seems like they didn’t miss a chance to make some money from everyone. I guess I thought it would be more all inclusive and the extras would only have been alcohol and any excursions off the ship. Oh well, for our first cruise, it was a good learning experience and the cruise itself was free. We both agreed we enjoyed ourselves, had a good time and as more experienced cruise travelers, we would know more about what to expect.

So we dis-embarked about 10:00 on Saturday morning and headed to our motor home. We had to move from the storage area to the camping area, got set up and Lorraine started doing laundry. We had to TV turned to the local stations and they were predicting a storm on Sunday night through Wednesday, including snow in the hills where we were. As we were planning on leaving on Monday, we would have been in the worse of it and would have hit snow in the “grapevine” North of LA. So, once again we changed our plans and left on Sunday before the storm hit.

As I write this, we are in a campground about halfway between LA and the Bay area watching the Cowboys and Giants. It is raining, they really need the rain, it’s pretty dry around here. We are headed back to the Bay area on Tuesday and will spend Christmas with Susy, Mark and Kaitlyn. It’s only been a week and already Lorraine is missing her grandbaby time!

Since we left our home in October, 2007, I had to sleep in a hotel one night due to some painting being done on the coach. I have now been away from the coach for a total of 8 nights and can say it’s good to be back home! Home truly is where we park it. This was a different week for us, sort of like being on vacation. I don’t know, can someone take a vacation from this type lifestyle??

At the ship, before boarding on Saturday morning.
Center of the ship on Deck 7, Atrum coffee, bar and entertainment.

Dress up night, I didn't have a suit, can you believe that?

Lighthouse in Cabo San Lucas.

Beach in Mazatlan.

Arch in Mazatlan while on the glass bottom boat tour.

At dinner on board the Star, close to sunset time.

"Cliff" divers in Mazatlan. About 40' jump into 7' of water.

Overlook in Mazatlan.

Church in Mazatlan.

On the beach on Mazatlan.

One more from Mazatlan.

Driving in Puerto Vallarta, notice four lanes in each direction with palm tree median between each two lanes.

Puerto Vallarta from overlook.

Street vendor wares from overlook in previous picture.
Row of different Tequila in factory. These are from different small local producers.
So that concludes another week. I'll get this posted and be done. So until next time, be good to one another, remember, Santa may be watching.
Chuck and Lorraine


Sunday Evening, December 14, 2008
Lorraine's Report

I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I last wrote for the blog. But what a two week period it has been. Last time I wrote, we hadn’t been to Disneyland with Susy and Kaitlyn. Well, we made it there on Thursday, December 4th and 5th. The fourth, it was less crowded, it wasn’t hot and we all had a great time. Susy, Kaitlyn, Yami, and I all went. Chuck was catching my cold and was under the weather, so he stayed home, watching the dogs. We rode all of Kaitlyn’s favorite rides, did lots of looking and had a lot of fun just being together and hanging out. We saw them light Small World, and the main Disney Castle. Of course all the decorations around the park are beautiful, and the large tree on Main Street is a sight to behold. That is part of the wonder of Disney.

Friday was an entirely different day. Chuck had to take the motor home to Soledad Canyon to store it while we were on the trip to Mexico. He was still feeling pretty bad, but it had to be stored. So, off we go in Yami’s rented car, Susy, Kaitlyn, Yami and I.

It was really crowded and the afternoon was hot. We did make reservations to have lunch with the Princesses of Disneyland, which is a favorite of ours, especially Kaitlyn. We had lunch in the Grotto with the various Princesses coming to each table to let you take pictures with them. Of course, this is a favorite of many people, and seating is sometimes hard to get, this is at California Adventure. After lunch, we stayed in C. A. and went to ride our favorite rides. About halfway through the afternoon, I noticed one of Kaitlyn’s shoes was missing. She kicks off her shoes when she is tired and no one noticed, so one of NaNa’s shoes went missing (so named because I had just bought them for her). Well, Auntie Yami came to the rescue, she went and found and bought another pair of shoes for her to wear to finish off the afternoon. By then, all of us were tired so we decided to head for the hotel we were staying in for the night. We hadn’t checked in yet. We arrived back at the hotel just about the time Chuck was getting back from stowing the motor home.

By then, it was dinner time, so we all decided to stay in and order pizza, a great move for all of us. Susy and Kaitlyn have their own room for the night because Mark was driving down to spend the rest of the weekend with Susy, Kaitlyn, and Yami. He got in around 2 am. We all decide to go to bed early, even Kaitlyn. That was the first night away from them, because when they stayed in the motor home, Daddy gave us the king bed and he slept on the sofa, so us three gals were together for a week; great fun for all.

Saturday we all got up and Chuck took us all to breakfast before we had to leave for the ship.

I have to say I really enjoyed our time with Susy and Kaitlyn, and I loved seeing Yami again. What a great Christmas present. Thank you all. So bye for now until next time.
12/7/08 Actually written on 12/14/08
Chuck's report

This will be a week in review as we didn’t get a report out last week. Our original plans had us leaving the Bay area on Monday and heading towards Los Angles. Last May we were in La Grange, Missouri, at a casino where Lorraine had her name drawn and she won a week’s cruise out of Las Angles, leaving on Saturday 12/6/08. We intended to be in the area a few days early and just do some sightseeing.

Susy said if we waited until Tuesday to leave, she and Kaitlyn could go and spend the week with us. A quick change of plans and we decided to leave on Tuesday and go to Disneyland for a couple of days. So Tuesday found us on the road headed South towards Las Angles. With the air card for internet service on the road, Susy was able to “work from home” as we traveled. The trip was a bit longer than we normally drive but except for the GPS leading us through the streets of Pasadena, it was a pretty un-eventful trip. We did get to drive through LA rush hour traffic but I can’t tell the difference between normal and rush hour, there are too many cars on the road at any time.

Susy had set up with Yami, her girlfriend from Florida, to fly out and meet with us on Wednesday and spend the weekend. Good to see you again, Yami. Unfortunately, Lorraine had caught a cold on her plane trip to Bellingham last week and she shared that with me. I started feeling the effects on Monday and by Thursday; I knew I couldn’t spend all day in Disneyland so I stayed at the motor home while they had fun at Disneyland. Lorraine wasn’t feeling too well either so they didn’t make a long day of it, returning home in the early afternoon.

On Friday, they again went to Disneyland while I took the motor home about 80 miles away to a campground where we would store it for a week. Once again, I got to drive the motor home through LA traffic, lucky me. For those who have driven the freeways in LA, you know how sometimes the upcoming exit can be either on the left or right. Of course, one time I needed to go to a freeway on the left and I was in the far right hand lane, about 8 lanes away. I didn’t make it and got to do some unexpected sight seeing but finally got to the campground and put the motor home to sleep for a week.

We had plans to stay at a hotel on Friday night then drive to the docks at Long Beach to get on the ship Saturday morning. I got to travel back through LA to the hotel, arriving just about the time they were finishing up with Disneyland. We were all tired so we just ordered in a pizza and stayed close for the rest of evening. Our son-in-law, Mark, was driving down on Friday night to spend the remaining weekend with Susy, Kaitlyn and Yami; he got in about 2:00 AM. We were able to go to breakfast with them before we headed for the dock on Saturday morning. Even though we will be back with them in about two weeks, it still was rough to leave them.

We found the ship, unloaded our luggage and parked the car. We couldn’t go to our stateroom until late afternoon so we just explored the ship, trying to find our way around. There are really four main decks for food, casino, theater, swimming, etc. Our stateroom was on deck 9; most of the restaurants were on deck 7 or 12. The casino and theater were on deck 6; swimming, track and gym were on 13/14. By the time our stateroom was ready, the ship was underway heading towards Mexico.

We went to the room, changed for dinner and had an early bedtime; we were tired and not feeling too well yet. That was our Saturday, real exciting, huh?

As I usually try to have this posted on Sunday morning, guess I’ll stop here and make this a post for one week. Hope you had a good week and you don’t get this cold, it’s a bad one.

Kaitlyn in her car seat on the way to LA.

Some of the road conditions in California, that's LA smog in the distance.

Sun settting behind some clouds.

I don't know how to rotate this picture but it's Loraine with her favorite character, Goofy.

Maybe I should have gone to Disneyland and kept her from kissing this guy.

Lorraine, Susy and Kaitlyn in front of the big Christmas tree in Disneyland.

Susy and Kaitlyn waiting in line for a ride.

The magic kingdom all lit up at night.

More Christmas lights, this is at Small World.

Christmas decorations in the street.

Kaitlyn with one of the princesses.

Yami with one of the princessess.

Just a bunch of flowers.
So that is another week in review. Hope this finds you and your's well. I hear there is some bad weather across the US, stay warm if you can. Until next week, (actually hope to get this week's done today) ---- Chuck