Thursday, June 14, 2007

Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

Yes, we're in San Jose! (Well, technically we're in Santa Clara, which is where our hotel is, but everything is very close together down here.)

On Tuesday evening (yes, Amanda's birthday) we drove down from Vancouver to Seattle. It was a bit of a marathon trip - we didn't get away until almost 7 pm, then we stopped for dinner in Bellingham so Amanda would at least have something reasonable to eat for her "birthday dinner". We ate at Red Robin's and they gave Amanda an ice cream sundae and sang to her, which she found quite thrilling. We also had a few small gifts for her to open in the restaurant. After all that, we didn't arrive in Seattle until very late - probably around 11 pm - so it was a long night.

Silly Glasses!

The next morning we were up bright and early to catch a 7 am shuttle to the airport. Our flight was at 9 am, and we made it on board without any problems. Amanda was excited beyond belief - so much so that people were commenting on it in the airport! She kept kind of dancing around, and she was really hyper. This was her first airplane ride and we'd been talking about it for several weeks, so she'd really been looking forward to it. She was absolutely perfect during the flight, sitting quietly with some books and toys and pointing to things outside the window. And, for those of you who are wondering, she did the whole trip (drive down to Seattle and flight) in "big girl underwear"! It was quite funny...I took her to the washroom on the plane as a preemptive measure, then she "had to go" another 2 times during the flight...the first time just to show Daddy the toilet that worked like a vacuum, and then I think another time just for fun. :) Hey, whatever works! Luckily we were only a few rows from the back so it wasn't a big deal for her to get up often.

Intrepid Traveler

I'm On A Plane!

After picking up our car at the airport (we got upgraded to a "luxury car" for free since they were out of our original request), we grabbed some lunch, then headed to our hotel and relaxed for a bit, including a dip in the hotel pool. Amanda was understandably very tired after the late night and early morning and all the excitement. Wednesday evening we met up with Thelma, Danny, Rosalie, and Miguel for dinner and had a very nice time chatting. True to her normal form, Amanda took a few minutes to get over her shyness, but then turned into a monkey and was very animated for the rest of the evening...but again, very well behaved. We do know how lucky we are to have a child who behaves herself in restaurants!!

Thursday morning after breakfast we hopped in the car and drove down to Santa Cruz. One of the things we wanted to do on this trip was take Amanda to a real beach. We had a really great time - Santa Cruz has a huge boardwalk that has been around for 100 years, and the atmosphere was a lot of fun. We did agree that it would probably be crazy in the summer, but this time of year (and on a weekday) it was about perfect. There are miles of beautiful beach, and tons of pelicans and seals play in the water - several times we saw seals within 10 or 12 feet of swimmers, which would freak me out but oh well! We did lots of walking, traveling the length of the pier and walking up and down the beach and boardwalk a few times. Amanda's favourite part of the day was walking in the water - she loved how the waves would come in and "move her body"...we think she was talking about how the sand swirls around your feet and almost turns into quicksand stuff. She would get the giggles every time a big wave would come up. A few times we got quite wet when I misjudged how big the waves would be, but for the most part we were relatively unscathed. In other big news, Amanda had a great time on the rides on the boardwalk. As soon as she saw them, she kept asking us to go on them, and it turned out there were lots of kiddie rides. Of course, she wanted to go on the big rides...she kept asking about the pirate ship thing and the ones that spin around really fast (i.e., the ones that make me sick). It's obvious she has no problems with rides, and Jeff is looking forward to when the two of them can ride together (since I never want to go on the big scary rides, except at Disneyland). We enjoyed a quick ice cream, then headed home. She zonked out in the car and had a good nap, after all the excitement!

One other funny thing...Jeff got a navigation system for our rental car (which is handy but has also sent us on a few wrong turns...a story for another day). It's not too obtrusive, but it does say things like "in 500 metres, turn right". Well, Amanda started repeating the instructions for us, like she doesn't think Jeff can understand them (which kind of makes sense, seeing as how we've had trouble following them sometimes if the truth be known!). So the navigation lady will say "Turn right, then keep right" and Amanda will repeat it..."Turn right, then right Dad!". What's really funny is that she can never remember which one is right vs. left, so she doesn't actually understand her own fact, sometimes she'll say "are you turning right, Dad?" just to make sure he's following her instructions.

We have taken about a million pictures (big surprise!), so check out the Flickr site. And it really is as hot as it looks - since we've arrived it's been around 30C. I think it's supposed to cool down by a few degrees for the weekend, which would be about perfect!

There are lots of photos linked above; here are a few more:
Big Girl Rides the Carousel!
Playing In the Sand
On the Ferris Wheel!
The Beach Beyond

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