Kansas City Downtown

Its always fun to drive through a downtown area after being on what seems to be country roads for a while. This is Kansas City, Missouri. I love how each city has its own unique skyline.

Farm, Silo, Barn

We saw lots of these on the trip in Missouri, Kansas, and a few in Colorado.

Christian Science Church

This is a Christian Science Church, on the way on our trip. It is in a cute old house, very nice!

Day One, Saint Louis to Colorado Springs

Colorado or Bust!

After a long, 12 hour drive, we have arrived in Colorado Springs Colorado. We took I-70 almost all the way here, going west of course. Kansas is one long state to cross, East to West. Here are a few photos of the day, and while they are nothing exciting, it gives a feel for our very long day.

One of my favorite things, was seeing a huge field with sunflower after sunflower in it. I was driving at that point, so I couldn't capture it, but I don't know that it would have turned out anyway. So lovely!

One thing to note in particular, is that we are still in a long drought through many states in the United States right now. We saw many dried up ponds, and scorched corn fields, which was so sad. We even saw some cows standing or laying in a dried up pond area. One thing that was encouraging, is that a little bit of rain hit certain parts of the state of Kansas, which was a relief. Poor cows!

The photos above, tell about my day.

Day 7, From Chicago to St. Louis Missouri Area

I evidently skipped a lot of days from the last post, but I wanted to write about this while it was fresh in my mind still. Today's drive was somewhat uneventful, but that can be a good thing. There were a few highlights.

Getting ready to leave for home on the last day of a trip can be unexpectedly exhausting! I forgot about that part! Packing every last thing, dragging along after a hard week of pushing yourself can be tough!

We left our hotel, Embassy Suites, one of my favorites, right after noon. We had to take a quick drive by a potential college up there for our oldest son. So that was interesting. In the process of doing that however, I realized I was leaving one of the great lakes without really getting to see it. It was lake Michigan! I realized, I had only seen a very little bit of it, through reflected light our first night in Chicago. It was pretty, but I definitely didn't get to see that lake!

We drove around on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. It was actually a very beautiful place! The buildings on one side were so cool, and the huge lake on the other and its beaches full of people. It was like the ocean to me! I was so happy to see it.

My husband dropped me off for a few minutes in one spot, and told me to be ready in five minutes. I snapped a bunch of photos of Lake Michigan! I was so happy. It amazes me how content I can be with seeing and being near a large body of water, no matter what it is!

We then drove home many hours down main interstates. My main thing I began to do at one point was to take photos of random barns along the path through Illinois. I didn't remember parts of Illinois being pretty, but I saw lots of nice little things on this trip. I made many comments about it also. I liked the trees, ponds, rivers, fields, and barns all along the way. It was kind of nice. I decided that with barns and their sometimes short lived lives, I wanted to capture whatever I could. I took a good couple of handfuls of photos of them.

We stopped at a rest stop, something I never mind doing. We ate at Wendy's again. I love their value menu. We are home. Man, home is such a nice place to come back to when you have been gone from it. Sometimes, going on a trip helps to cure any possible "the grass is greener" kinds of thoughts people can have.

Home is nice, no matter how imperfect it is, isn't it? Thanks to my family for a great time! Thank you God for allowing me to go on a nice trip again. I feel so grateful.

Day One, Saturday. Saint Louis, Missouri to Dayton, Ohio

Day One - Saturday.

We were going to leave earlier, but this Saturday was part one of a two day long hiking class for a college P.E. credit. We wanted him to finish, so we left later on.

This was kind of a non eventful day, driving from Saint Louis Missouri area, to Dayton Ohio.

One special thing that happened was that we got rain finally, as it was during a drought, and then a rainbow! Then, add to that, another rainbow! So, it was a double rainbow! That never happens. We were so happy, and I will try to find my "not so great photo" of that rainbow, as we were driving and it was hard to capture it.

One other strange memory I have of this mainly "driving" day, was in Terre Haute Indiana. We ate dinner, and had to get some gas. We stopped in Terre Haute Indiana, and the pumps were all filled. No one wanted to leave their spot, and we were waiting a long time, and it was late and we were tired. It was crazy how they didn't move out of their spot to let others in. Just odd.

Excited to be on the trip though!

Family Trip to a New Place

This year, 2012, we are going on a trip that "kind of " revolves around my oldest son's interest in traveling. This is rare, but he graduated from High School, and its kind of a gift for him, in a sense.

He has always wanted to go to Toronto, Canada. He has his reasons, and it turns out to be a neat place to create a trip around.

We wanted to include of course, Niagra Falls. We are coming home through Chicago. Stay tuned to see what we did and how it went.

Happy Graduation from High School Caleb!

Cody, Wyoming to Keystone South Dakota. Summer Vacation

Tuesday on our trip, we woke up and got on the road in Cody Wyoming, and travelled to Keystone South Dakota by the end of the day. We were fortunate enough to go to the Devils Tower in North East Wyoming. It was an awesome, and very spiritual place, which sounds odd to say. Its held very sacred, the whole place is, to many Native American people and others as well. You can see prayer cloths tied to trees, even prayer yarns and threads. I hope to learn more about the history behind that, and the meaning. They ask all visitors to pay respect to these people and the place, by not touching or moving any prayer cloths, etc. There were a couple different places to do a hike, and I was so proud that I did the whole walk all the way around, as I wasn't initially feeling up to it. It was truly beautiful, with the woods/forest just being so beautiful all around.

The sights and sounds of the forest area, along with the little critters were so awesome. There were even lots of mosses and lichens all around. Loved the trees, rocks, everything, but especially the tower itself as it was a massive unique natural structure. I never had seen anything like that.

We drove on to Keystone South Dakota, and got in very late, and I had some herb tea. We are staying at K Bar S Lodge there, which is very nice. The strip looks fun, and Mt. Rushmore is gorgeous so far, that I can see.

West Yellowstone, Montana to Cody, Wyoming - Monday

Today we woke up in West Yellowstone at Three Bear Lodge in Montana, and got breakfast at McDonalds, which had pretty high prices....felt a little gorged there. We went right back into the park, and there was some road work, and lots of cars going in. It was fun to see all the Harley Davidson Motorcycles.

We saw a neat waterfall, and a few more waterfalls throughout the day. We went to a place called Sheepeater Canyon, which has amazing stones and geological structures going on. We went to Mammoth Hot Springs, which was pretty cool. It was where we had lunch, and seemed like a neat older area, that paid attention to detail in their buildings. We had good food there for lunch.

We took a scenic drive on our way to Tower Junction, and saw a neat black bear there, foraging among the hillside. It was so neat, and we were so excited. We could hear him breathe and eating a few times, and probably got a little too close, but were safe.

Then we stopped at Tower Falls, which was beautiful! So many different falls were just breath taking. Canyon Falls was another place we went ,and we saw elk there too. The animals are just amazing. I saw a very cute ground squirrel as well, and we made friends with a neat huge black raven. Artist Point in particular, was especially stunning, we couldn't hardly believe the colors in the canyon, but the Canyon Falls were powerful and amazing.

On our way to Yellowstone Lake, we saw a lot of Elk and Buffalo. They are beautiful and amazing creatures, and we knew we were so lucky to see them up close like we did. The sulfur smells along the way were at times almost overwhelming, and you can hear the bubbling, and see the boiling water very often from the geysers... They are all over the place. One other thing I noticed all day was the dead or dying trees, often piled up like matchsticks very oddly. This was something I did not anticipate seeing, but was almost overwhelmed by the number of dead trees. If I had a question to ask a ranger, it would be about that, as I don't think they were all from fire.

Other little perks were seeing moths and butterflies, bees, and the many wildflowers everywhere. The clouds were breathtaking. I could go on and on about each point.

On our way out of the park we finally hit the amazing Yellowstone Lake, which had wonderful waves lapping the shore. It was very big! The sun was setting, and we saw a Mother Bear with her Baby bear cub, and it was so awesome. We drove around the lake and it was just lovely.

I have to say that I am a huge fan of Yellowstone National Park. I have heard about it all my life. This is written when I am totally exhausted, to be completely honest! I cannot begin to cover all the wonderful places we visited today and the other days on our trip. If I had the time, I would go back and do just that, and I hope to.

Tomorrow, we go to South Dakota, and will be heading for Mount Rushmore, and the Black Hills. Our trip is flying by and if I don't write at least a little bit about it each day, I am worried I won't remember even the big points of the day.

Sunday Trip, Wyoming to Montana

We drove and stopped off and on all day it seemed, except for some parts in Yellowstone National Park. We saw the geysers there, like Old Faithful, etc. It rained on us during part of that time, and we were cold and wet for some of that time. I got some neat pictures though, and it was so neat to see how the water spurts up from the earth, often boiling. There was lots of sulfer mixed into parts of the water, which had an interesting smell and color as well. Life doesn't grow too well where the water does this.... its just pretty barren, but there were some really neat pools.

One of the prettiest areas was a particular canyon on the way out of Yellowstone park, which was a one way drive. I loved that area. There are many pretty creeks along the way which were breathtaking. Tomorrow we see more in Yellowstone, which I am excited about. People are starting to get tired I think...we need good sleep. We are staying at Three Bear Lodge in Montana, just outside of Yellowstone.

Other trips I went on with the group

Our current trip is in Jackson Hole Wyoming, a very beautiful place! Never been to this part of the US. We stayed four nights in the Snake River Lodge.

I first went to Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco. We stayed at the Ritz Carlton, a hotel I had never stayed at before. I really liked that area and there were some beautiful views there.

Second trip we went to Cancun, Mexico. That was the first and last "big trip" we took with them. I loved seeing the ruins in Tulum, Mayan I believe, and on the coast there. Very neat! We stayed at the Ritz Carlton as well, there. I loved that.

Third trip I went to Whistler, Canada. That was also an amazing place! I would love to go back any time I ever could. We stayed at the Fairmont there.

Fourth Trip I went on was to Dana Point, California. We stayed at the St. Regis at Monarch Bay, I believe. there which was very nice.

The places I missed going to were Lake Tahoe, Nevada, where they stayed at the Hyatt Regency. They also went to West Virginia, at the Greenbrier. Its really nice they put on such nice trips. Optisource is a wonderful company.

Saturday in Jackson Hole Wyoming

We woke up, had breakfast, coffee and juice. We are getting too spoiled, as we never have this nice of breakfasts at home. Then we left for a day drive the Grand Teton National Park. It is so beautiful to drive through there. You see more of the Grand Tetons of course there, and we saw String Lake and Jenny Lake, both very beautiful places.

One of my favorite things on this trip are the Aspen trees. I love their white bark, and how I learned something new about them. Generally speaking, a grove of Aspen trees are all from one main root system. They are one of the largest living organisms in the world. Isn't that cool? I loved learning that bit of trivia.

Even more cool than that however, was seeing a grey or blonde looking wolf! I kid you not, we saw a wolf, because it was too large to be a fox, and its ears and head looked like a wolf. My boys didn't see it, and were so disappointed though. Later, we saw a big brown bear! THAT was so exciting! He was foraging around in the forest in the grasses and logs. Almost as interesting as that, was the people stopping their cars to all observe the bear. It was a crazy mess, and the forest rangers came around eventually to get on the people/kids getting too close to the bear. We saw a sign that there was a mother bear and her cubs crossing the road, but we never saw them.

Later, almost back home, we saw a mother moose and her baby in a pond area, and I got a picture and I am so excited about that!!!!!! It was just beautiful to me to see. We all loved it, and the people loved it too that saw it. I hope to see more wildlife before this trip was over.

Tonight, our dinner was on site..and it was another very nice buffet.

Snake River and The Grand Tetons Photo

The beautiful Snake River in the Grand Tetons in Jackson Hole Wyoming. Thanks to Jon Sullivan for this photo he shared on Wikimedia Commons. I hope that some of my own photos turned out so well, but I wanted to share this beautiful view all the same, and now as I am writing this blog. Thank you to Jon Sullivan for your lovely capture of the Snake River in Wyoming.

This was the river we did a beautiful scenic float trip on.

Friday in Jackson Hole Wyoming, a family trip

Our trip is great, but man am I exhausted! I wouldn't trade it though, and I feel very thankful to be a part of this trip. Woke up to a nice breakfast that they serve, scrambled eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage patties, some kind of breakfast bread with syrup (pancakes one day, french toast the next), juice, and starbucks coffee, so a real treat.

I had an appointment at the Spa at Snake River Lodge to get a pedicure and manicure....Not too much to say right now about that.... It was a very nice set up, relaxing, and I had a nice talk with the lady there about her dad and my dad and their struggles with health, etc. I felt like I knew her and her dad by the end, and it wasn't forced, just a nice talk.

After that, I went back to the room, and my boys were out on a hiking trail that said there could be bears there! My son said he thought he heard a bear a couple of times, and I said to get back soon as he could because of that lol, but more so because we had to go on our float trip with the larger group of people. It was a nice, long, floating trip down Snake River, very very beautiful and scenic, more than a white water rafting trip. Lots of people said they thought it would be more of a white water rafting scenario, but it was never advertised quite like that...Just a scenic trip which was perfect for the group we were with. It included smaller children, and older adults as well, and lots of beginners. The float trip was a super lovely beautiful time. I took over a hundred photos of just that, lol(oops...don't usually share how many I take..who cares though anyway :p)

It was a long float trip, and all were tired when we got back but it was time to get ready to go again...so we did. For dinner, we took the mountain gondola ride up the mountain, VERY high up! This was to go to dinner up at the top in a nice restaurant up there, and to mingle again during a reception time. They served bison/buffalo and lots of other food that was so fun to try. Even at the end, the baker that made all the desserts was there and I had the best lemon meringue pie I ever had in my life. Fun night, talking with some wonderful people from Puerto Rico about business down there...oh and there was live entertainment, one lady singing and playing on a keyboard. My younger son kept asking me if she might play a Charlie Brown Song, and she did when I asked! She got a big smile on her face and did awesome! Many people requested music, and we were so full, and I had some coffee and green tea while we visited the rest of the night. Earlier, I had some of the white wine they offered... My boys had Shirley Temples...one of my favorite ever drinks. :)

Thursday in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Our first full day in Jackson Hole was not too eventful but very nice all the same. We did actually go down the Alpine Slide in Jackson. All four of us did go on it after all, even though I was kind of scared at first! Its a huge slide down a mountain, two actually, side by side. You go up on a ski lift to the top, then slide down. Both the ride up and sliding down was so fun! I raced my husband, and my boys raced each other. You can slow it down quite a bit actually, so it feels safe as you need it to feel. The boys loved it, and so did we. My favorite part of that was the views and I did keep on smiling all the way down, it was exciting!

After that, we did walk down in the shopping area of Jackson, Wyoming. We saw lots of art galleries, and one really neat Fine Art Photography Gallery. We saw the four corners of antler or horn arches around a central park kind of area there. When I looked up in advance, to see pictures of Jackson Hole, I always saw those antler arches. :)

For dinner, we went off site to the Granary Restaurant, which was so nice! We were the private party up there, and there was a reception time where there was mingling and drinks, etc. Such lovely beautiful views, and even a lightning "show" at the end with a storm that kicked up. We were kind of running to the cars as the wind got crazy and it started to sprinkle. :) The food was delicious...I had a filet mignon little steak, with potatoes and broccolli, but the surf and turf dish was out of this world, with bison and fish and more.

Cheyenne to Jackson Hole Wyoming

We had a long day today, but it was very beautiful. I am currently very very exhausted. Its late, and I can finally sit down, its after 10pm. The Cheyenne downtown was so cool looking, and I wish I had more time to enjoy that city. I would highly recommend the Great Plains Hotel there.

We took the scenic drive through very beautiful places today. One city that surprised us was Debois, WY. There were beautiful hills there, like the Painted Desert. It was just so pretty. We drove through an Indian Reservation as well, called Wind River. The rivers flowing in and around all these parts of Wyoming are swift and so beautiful.

We are now at the Snake River lodge, in Teton Village, not that far from Jackson Wyoming. I guess the greater area is called Jackson Hole. We have not seen too much, but one of the amazing things we saw were some buffalo, lots of them! They were beautiful, huge creatures, and we could hear them as well in the distance.

Looking forward to maybe exploring a bit tomorrow, but for now, I am just drained.

Driving from Colorado to Wyoming Today

Today we woke up in Aurora Colorado, then drove to Denver Botanical Gardens in Denver Colorado. The garden was so nice! It was lovely to see its unique features and we ended it all with the O'Fallon Perennial Walk garden, just lovely!

We spent most of our day driving all through the Rocky Mountain National Park. There were so many twists and turns, it was so nice! We went up above the tree line, and it got down to 48 degrees on August 2nd! There were spots of snow up high, and creatures all around. Beautiful Moose, elk and deer and chipmunks, all kinds of birds, etc. We took some time really looking around, and stopping out at different pull outs for terrific views. I loved the water spots... and it was so neat because it was a partially stormy, rainy day with breaks in that. So we had lots of clouds, and cooler weather.

After that we went through Estes Park and loved that area. We got coffees at Kind Coffee, lol. Out the back, there is a river flowing pretty hard and it was so cool. I got a coffee drink called Ring of Fire, lol. It is a mocha, with cayenne pepper in it. It was hot and so awesome. It might be one of my favorite coffee drinks ever.

Tonight, we are in Cheyenne Wyoming, at a really neat,100 year old hotel, called The Historic Plains Hotel. Movie Stars and Presidents have stayed here. Its neat to have this experience, in a area and State that none of us have ever been before. Keeping it kind of brief, and so tired... Having fun seeing all the beauty on day two. I am taking way too many photos too, lol.

Day 1 of "Jackson Hole, Wyoming" Trip

We traveled today to Aurora Colorado, by car. It was a long drive, and we were on the road for over 12 hours... So you could imagine how happy we were to get in. :) The hotel is Spring Hill Suites, by Marriott. We are very impressed with the design inside, very cool and even the boys are commenting on it.

We drove through Missouri, and Kansas, and went on into Denver area to Wahoo's Fish Tacos for dinner, then walked around a little mall area. It was very nice. Tomorrow, we are going to Denver Botanical Gardens, which I am looking forward to, then on into the Rocky Mountains more.

My Trip To North West Arkansas Area

I recently returned from a short weekend trip to beautiful Northwest Arkansas in the USA. This is actually VERY beautiful country, in my opinion. I may be swayed a little bit because my mother was born there, but I don't think so! I also had a sweet grandmother that always spoke fondly of this area, and I was too young to ever take the trips. So its neat for me to get to go.

We left mid day on Friday, drove about 6 hours, and had a fun pizza and salad dinner with some of our family members that live there. :) My Mom's cousin lives in Springdale Arkansas, and that was our first stop. She has a daughter, a little older than myself, and she has her own daughter that just got married. It was wonderful to meet two new husbands that I had never met before. The family there is small, but growing clearly. :)

There are many pretty lakes, creeks, streams and rivers around. Not too far a drive away you will see bluffs and cliffs. It was hot, but it was also July so it was to be expected. I love the calmness there, the wind would blow and I could hear it in my hotel room. That is one of my favorite things to hear.

I tried to take pictures, like of the many barns we passed but didn't have much luck because of the light of day, or the speed of travel. Its just another reason to record in words what I couldn't fully capture in photography.

We had the pleasure of visiting their church as well, on Sunday. It was just lovely, and two of my cousins were in the praise band and really love to lead and sing songs. It was very heart warming, inspirational, and encouraging. The sermon was preached by a young man, coming back from Macedonia as a missionary. He is just wonderful, and going to the University of Arkansas for a business major.

One highlight of our trip, was Saturday night dinner, where we had live entertainment! It was at a cute little restaurant that I would highly recommend called the Front Porch Diner, I believe. Their food was incredible, and the live band was awesome! Ever had a fried coconut creme pie? Oh my, its on the top of the list almost, of some of my favorite foods ever, now. Go visit Arkansas if you can, its a lovely state. :)

Midweek, in Southern Calirnornia, Aliso in Laguna

I just wanted to highlight one portion of this day, because I want to always remember it. This has been a long haul, learning all there is to learn (and I haven't touched the surface of that really, this i still new to me), and taking it all in. I was able to go down to the beach, by myself, as people were busy, etc, and it really gave me some time to reflect, think things over, get some more shells and pictures, and see the beauty along the coastline. These are some of my very favorite things. I was there when the the sun went down. I went down to the left, where the tide pool area is. I remember being here years ago, with my two boys, and my dad. He was showing them all kinds of things, like he used to show me when I was a young girl. Not much time has passed really, or doesn't really seem so. A lot has changed though. So I was there, watching the waves crash, and it was neat to be by myself, and see some others at the beach too. I love to watch the birds, and I was just observing everything. I helped a little sand crab get back to the water, he had been washed up higher up on the beach there. Because of the storms, and rain the prior days, there was a lot of driftwood on the beach, and some shells and rocks left, that I don't normally see. I watched the beautiful sky change, so quickly really.

One of my favorite views was of the waves crashing, with the sunlight shing through them, as the sun was setting. The sun was so low in the sky, that the light came right on through the side of the wave, or back of the wave. It illuminated the water for quick seconds, and it made me feel really good to see that. I love the ocean, and never take it for granted when I get to see it.

As I was leaving, the temperature dropped, and people were starting a couple fires in the firepits. They were using some of the wood that washed up on the beach for fires. I listened to music on the way home, and thought some more about everything. My sisters husband picked up In and Out Burgers on the way home. I'm very thankful to my family, and to God for everything.

Thursday and Friday

Jumping back to a few days prior, here is what we did on Thursday. When I mentioned earlier, about what my dad wanted to do, he mentioned that we should do what we did before. He said we could go to the beach again, to Balboa Pier, and get breakfast, etc. When I asked him, he said yes, that sounds nice. So, that is exactly what we did! I thought...maybe it will help reinforce the memory some, but we both love that so much, that even if it didn't, it would be good and enjoyable for him. A change of pace, a chance to get out and get some exercise, etc.

They were actually working on the pier, with very large equipment. It didn't hamper the visit though. We got some pictures also, which I will always treasure. Something that was very sweet, is that my dad now eats very very slow... He takes his time, but I find that this is great for all of us. You just have to budget your time in such a way, that they enjoy it, and you all can enjoy each other. No pressure... So, that is exactly what we did :) He got a great breakfast, we watched some people fishing, he joked around, etc. Our favorite thing, was their cinnamon roll french toast, its wonderful! Coffee, eggs, bacon or sausage, its all so good. I would highly recommend it. In the mornings, on the weekdays, in January, is a great time to take your time out there. I will try to share some pictures from the pier later on. So be sure to check back.


In the evening, we arranged to go see my Uncle's daughter play in her water polo tournament at her highschool. Before we did that, we met my one Aunt at Starbucks for coffee. It was a great night, and we got to see my Uncle, and his wife too. We had nachos with jalapenos on them, and rooted for my cousin. It was a good time.

Last 2 days...

Monday, was a day spent getting ready to go really, and helping to go over ideas for future care of my dad. I spent some time talking to my sister, and to my husband, and to people on the phone that help others dealing with parents that have alzheimer's. So that was fruitful, and gave us some more information during this hard time. I was hoping to maybe go one more place, but it was more important to cover some other things. We had a good time still too, and we watched shows together with my niece and laughed and had a good time, eating left over candy from the movies, and having lemony iced tea.

When the next morning rolled around, it was time to get going quickly, as we wanted to meet up with my Aunt Donna for breakfast at Mimi's Cafe, then go on to say goodbye to my dad. We had a great breakfast together, in my favorite booth there :)

Going to say bye to my dad gave me mixed feelings, because there wasn't much time :( He was confused some, but happy overall, and wanted to know about all going to Hawaii together, like that was where I was going, lol. What was so odd, is he couldn't have known we were just talking about Hawaii over breakfast, when he wasn't there. He oddly, seems to know some things that we have been thinking about or knowing about, something we never noticed before. Its just coincidence, but funny still.

They have a nice backyard where he lives, and we went out there some before we left.
My flight was out of John Wayne Airport... stopped once on a layover, then on home later in the night, and on to work the next morning.

I am so thankful, for the chance to visit with my dad. I don't know what the near future holds for us all. I worry about him, and don't know how much time he has. I know that one of the best medicine's for him, can cause sudden heart failure, and that really scares me. So again, that, with the combination of memory loss, makes me feel incredibly grateful to get to see him. He knows me still, and is happy and calm, and that means the world to me. He seems comfortable, despite all the changes in his health and life. I am going to keep praying for him. Sending love to my dad and hugs...


Part of this trip to Southern California, was to visit my aging great Aunt, who is 84, I believe. She is on dialysis, and has beat so many odds, her whole life. I wanted to take my dad with me to see her too. She has always been like a grandmother to me, and I have many memories with her growing up. She is my dad's Aunt, and they have always been a part of each other's lives, since he was born.

She is a talker, and we had some great conversations, especially about her health lol. She is great though, and so full of life. She has this great elephant collection, that keeps growing over the years. Many of us have tried to cut back on the giving of elephants, but someone always still does. She gives some away, like to my older son, when he was younger, she gave him a stuffed animal elephant once. It made him very happy, and it was a treasure simply because it was from her. :) Anyway, it was good for my dad to get out and about some more, and see people he for sure remembers from his distant past. By the way, I wanted to mention, that he definitely is remembering prior days on this trip, like when we went to the beach for breakfast on the pier, at Ruby's Diner. That is a huge deal, for people with Alzheimer's, if I am not mistaken. Now, if he can remember it in a few weeks, will be another story. That he remembers me, and that he can remember the last few days, or parts of them (like seeing starfish in the sand, something we never saw before!), is a big deal.

We had a wonderful visit with my Aunt... I love her so much. She took us to the backyard, gave us some lemons from her amazing lemon tree!! I made tea later on , and put LOTS of lemon juice in it when I poured a glass. She also gave me some bulbs, from her beautiful purple Irises!!! I LOVE these gorgeous flowers, and it really made my day :) My dad was silly off and on throughout the visit, and happy, though he did say later he was getting tired of all the talking, which I totally understand.

On the way home, we went by Duke's Hamburgers, a favorite of his. The burgers are HUGE, and really good. He was starting to get very tired though, and I could really tell. It was good to get him back to where he lives, and let him rest. I loved spending the time with him that I did though.


On Saturday, we did some basic household things, but later we went to see a matinee movie, Leap Year. It was so fun, I went with my sister and her daughter, my niece. We got candy, soda, and popcorn of course, which makes it the most fun. Its a fun movie, kind of a chick flick, about a lady that is pursuing love and marriage, but learns a lot about herself in the process. It takes place in Ireland, mostly, and there are some really cute and lovely scenes. I would recommend it, I know we all enjoyed it.

Later, we went to my sister's church, its a huge church, and they have Saturday services. I always enjoy visiting new churches, and seeing how they operate, etc. They have lots of great things for kids of all ages. I had been struggling off and on with my sinuses, but thought maybe I had been getting sick. I didn't see my dad on this day, but that is fine, as seeing him everyday may have been overkill anyway. It spread out the visits a little while I was there.

Visiting family

I went to see my dad, and it was raining, so we stayed indoors. Still, we had a great time together. My dad is fun and silly sometimes, which I love, as it keeps things light, and not so serious. He is struggling with some health issues, but he has help for those right now, and it means so much. We talked about old times, and I was able to meet some of the people he spends a lot of time with. He lives in a wonderful place, and gets taken care of fully. They cook meals for him, he has a lovely little room, and a great outside area with an aviary, etc. I may go more into this later.

After I left there, I went by my uncle's house, and his wife wanted to give me a couple things that belonged to him. This meant the world to me, but I didn't know what to do because of how my uncle was acting. I didn't have a way to bring the things home, and they had to leave suddenly. Still, I am thankful that my Aunt was thinking of me, she's wonderful and married into our family. We are all lucky to have her. I don't know if I will be able to get those items, but I hope so. Tomorrow, I plan on visiting my great aunt, who is 84 I believe. She has dialysis a couple times a week to help her out, but other than that she is doing very well. I will go by her house tomorrow.

Anyway, will update more later on.

On to Laguna Beach

Next morning, my sister and I headed out early to go to Laguna Beach, the main beach. This is the one where there are volleyball courts, lifeguard stands, etc. I hadn't been to this beach in some time, and its where my sister wanted to go. Right before we got there though, we stopped at a nearby beach, just to get a quick picture, and I am so glad we did. It was the beach where Aliso Creek is. It empties out there. I LOVE this beach, and went there many times as a kid and growing up. I truly miss the big huge pier that used to be there, what ever happened to that pier? Never had I seen such a neat pier. I need to research sometime, what happened to that pier. Anyway, I got some neat pictures that showed some birds and the coastline there. :)

Right after, we did go to the main beach on Laguna. I was so happy to find, that the recent storms they had, washed up a LOT of really cool shells. Mind you, I was born and raised in Southern California, and NEVER, have I seen a beach full of cool shells as I did this day. If you knew how much I love all things having to do with the ocean, you would know how happy I was. I wish I had a big bucket, or bags to carry all I was finding. Besides a wide array of shells, I found sea glass, as well as sea "pottery" or sea "china". This was an absolute first to me! There was a broken piece of china or pottery, that was white with a blue desgin on it. It was smoothed around the edges, just as it would have been from rolling around in sand and rocks. I grabbed it up. I also tried to take pictures, but they weren't as great in my opinion as the first quick stop we made. The color was better, and more rain was on the way, so perhaps that inhibited the better color for pictures.

I went on through to the area at the right on the beach, but no longer picked up anything after that point where the sign says not to. Still, I found the coolest shells, from that beach, many in pretty good condition. This was a super high point of my trip.

To top it off, we went to BJ's pizza, there at Laguna right on the other side of PCH. (Pacific Coast Highway, 1) They have great deep dish pizza, and I got the buffalo chicken pizza, but the plain cheese with tomato is great too, thats what my sister got. Before we left this area, we stopped by the See's Candy store on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), to get some of our favorite chocolates.

Later that night, my sister and I went to a movie called, It's Complicated, which was really fun. We got popcorn, etc. That was really a fun day, and I am so thankful for the shells and pictures and memories. :)

My first day in Southern California

On this trip, the first day was one of the best ones. We got up early, went to pick up my aunt, and she showed me her new house. I love her house, its lovely with a great front and back yard. I am so happy for her.

We went to pick up my dad,and I was so nervous, as I wasn't sure he would remember me. He totally DID remember me , and for this I am so grateful.

We went to one of our favorite places, the beach!! In Southern California, there are many to choose from, but we went to Balboa Pier, where there is a restaurant on the end called Ruby's Diner. I loved this, as did my dad, sister, and Aunt. We had a GREAT breakfast, and spent a long time visiting with my dad.

The views, were spectacular, and we saw starfish on the beach, and were able to collect some great shells. There had been days of rain and some storms, so much was washed up. The starfish were bigger than my hands, coral pink colored and purple colors. What a great day, the temperatures, the breeze, the view, seeing Catalina Island in the distance, wow, I loved it all.

Thank you to God for allowing my life, my family and the little joys that mean everything to me. These are the kinds of things that make me smile and bring a joy in my heart. I never want to forget all the things, colors, smells, etc, and the palm trees made me even smile. Most of all, that my dad enjoyed the day. :)

My flight to California

I was going on this trip because an opportunity arose with a great deal from Southwest Airlines. They were having a 3 day sale,and so I knew it was the time to book a trip. I checked with my husband, and he helped to make it happen. I am very thankful for the opportunity to go.

It was a pretty uneventful trip, and a small layover in Colorado, but we stayed on the plane. I had a nice seat, in the front right of the plane. So while there was no place to put my stuff, I had plenty of leg room. They were nice, gave peanuts and crackers and drinks, so it was all good. The bathroom situation was pleasant....my favorite part was arriving at my destination, and the sunset on the way. It was a darker sunset, but it was still nice, and i love to have a window seat.

My California Trip

I have made many trips to California, but this blog is made to start keeping better track of my trip, as life gets so busy and I can forget the details I want to remember. This trip will be the first record of hopefully many more trips to come. What prompted this trip is actually my father's failing health, but it may just be shock and no real reason for alarm. Truth be told, we are thinking its a severe form of dementia though, maybe beginning alzheimer's.

So here I am, visiting my dad and some other family, but the focus is mainly my father. Already I have had some great days, so I don't want to forget those.

Some of what I have done though here, is something others may want to do on a visit to California, so I will share some of my favorite things here. I took pictures too, those will be coming later on.

I love California, and probably always will. :)