Sunday, July 26, 2009

Back from vacation

Hello everyone! I'm back from vacation and can't wait to share some photos with you. I've had a lot of people asking about seeing photos from everything that's been going on this summer. The photo above is one of my favorites from the trip. The girls always love to dress up and this was a great opportunity for one of those "old time" photos. The funny thing about it was the woman who selected the dresses for the girls had no idea that red is Ali's and Cassie's favorite color and that purple is Katie's! Posing for photos is one of the girls' favorite things to do, and this photographer let them run the gamut. They were so cute and we even had people coming up and asking if they belonged to us, because people were having so much fun watching them be so animated :-)

Our trip started a couple days after my nephew left when we took off for the trip down south. Cassie turned 18 last week, so, although the trip was not specifically a birthday present for her, we decided to make it a surprise for Cass! Since my favorite place for clam chowder is Splash Cafe, we opted to stop in SLO for dinner and then drive to Solvang to spend the evening. Since I knew we weren't going to be needing anything elaborate for the evening, we found a little place within walking distance of downtown. I thought the name of the hotel was appropriate since one of Ali's majors was english...the Hamlet Motel :) We all love Solvang and an added bonus was that one of Ali's best friends from high school lives in SLO. Kristi was able to join us for a couple of house in Solvang before we took off for San Diego.
I've never spent much time in San Diego, and couldn't believe how beautiful it was! The resort we stayed at was amazing and I'm hoping we can go back there next year. We all love Hawaii and when I saw the photos of the hotel on the web, I knew this place was for us. An added bonus is that they have concerts there and Sunday night we sat out on our patio while listening to Jewel!
Part of the surprise for Cassie was that my parents came to the hotel on Saturday for her birthday. May dad stayed for lunch and we all sat around the pool and had a great time. At this point, Cassie still didn't know what all the plans were, but she was ecstatic that Granny was going to spend the weekend with us. We've been anticipating for months how we were going to tell Cassie the biggest surprise of all. After we decided we couldn't keep the secret any longer, we decided to tell Cassie Saturday evening that the vacation wasn't going to end on Monday like she originally thought, but that we were getting on a cruise ship!
Let's say it's an understatement that Cassie birthday was celebrated for days :)
The girls have never been on a cruise before, so we thought a four day cruise would be a great option for these novices. One of the best parts of the week was that NO ONE got seasick. My mom is prone to getting sick the second day in, but because of the ginger pills I brought, we all were able to enjoy the trip. It was great timing that we went when we did, because with the fact that Cass just turned 18, she was able to go everywhere here sisters did. The casino was a big hit and the girls had a lot of fun spending the little bit of money we gave them ($10 each). They played the slots and saw that although they might have one a little bit here and there, it is very easy to lose a lot of money VERY quickly. I think they all got that lesson that I tried to teach them. The only thing she couldn't do was drink alcohol. Actually, she was able to have something when we went to Mexico. Fortunately, she didn't like the margarita or the other drink that Ali wanted her to try :)
Louie joined a blackjack tournament one night and had a lot of fun. Unfortunately, he didn't make it into the finals, but his score kept him in the running until the very end. He and granny had a lot of fun watching the tournament all evening and it was a cheap form of entertainment for the two of them.
One of my favorite nights on the trip was the last night. The five of us went to the piano bar for a sing along. The musician played a lot of great songs and it was fun singing along and being silly.

As you would expect, the food was delicious. We had all sorts of fun (and probably way too much of it), but the meal that was the most unusual was the one we had in Mexico on Thursday. Cassie ordered a burrito, and as you can tell from the photo, this thing was ENORMOUS!!! It had to have been a foot long!
Our vacation was fantastic, but it's time to get back to the real world. Sadly, there's less than a month before school starts. I'm always sad to see the summer end, because it means the girls are back in school. Although, the next two months for us will be unlike any other. We have an exchange student arriving from Germany on Thursday. Johanna will be staying with us for two months and we're excited about learning about her culture and teaching her all about the US!

I made a little slideshow for you, with a mix of our summer activities. Enjoy the summer slideshow and I'll be back in a week or so with some wedding photos from Colleen and Stan's wedding :)

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