Topic: The States
(Click on the above slide show to view as a web album.)
It was exhausting getting from the airport to Larry's mom's house. We had to do all the usual things, like wait for luggage and go through customs. We then had to wait an unusually long time for the shuttle bus from the airport to the car rental, then renting the car took quite a while. It was a long drive from LAX to Indio. It's amazing we didn't fall asleep on the road. Once we were there and settled though, we had an enjoyable visit. It was tough getting over jet lag, with Ryan waking up at three and four in the morning. However, we expected it, and knew it was temporary.
The weather was sunny, and almost hot for us after being acclimatized to England's weather. However, it was a good feeling. It was fun being able to go for a swim at night!
The best part of course, was seeing Larry's mom, Joyce, and her husband, Norm!
After a couple of days, we headed out to Las Vegas to see Larry's dad, grandma, and uncle. We had reservations at Arizona Charlie's, a hotel/casino just around the corner from Larry's dad's house, but once we saw the room, we decided to go elsewhere. (Larry and I have stayed in some funky places, but this place was dirty and had bugs on the walls.) We wound up at Texas instead, which was definitely better!
It was great seeing Larry Sr., and Grandma Gen, and Larry's uncle Barry. It was particularly enjoyable to see how much fun Ryan and his grandpa had playing together. It was hard to tell who was having more fun, Ryan, or Larry Sr.! Ryan had the best time shaking little boxes of TicTacs, and playing with a planter that was shaped like a car. Nevermind that we'd brought some toys with us!
One of the nights we were there, we visited Greg and Toya, and their kids, Bethany and Byron. We had a really good time catching up. Ryan seemed to especially have fun with Byron.
The last full day we were in Vegas, we had some time to kill, so we went over to see the big cat enclosure at the Mirage. That was really neat! The enclosure was huge, and there was even a glass tunnel you could walk through to view the kitties from underneath.
We also walked over to New York, New York, since Larry had never been there. It was fun to take in the sights. We even played a few games in the huge arcade they have there.
We spent our last night (Thursday, Nov. 15) in Nevada at Buffalo Bill's in Primm. Larry had a long day of driving ahead, since he would have to drop me and Ryan off in Palmdale, then drive to LAX to catch his flight to Maryland. We figured it would make the trip less onerous to start from State Line.
I have to say, that through all the craziness of staying in a different place every couple of nights, and sometimes every night, Ryan was a trooper and a champ. He took it all in such good stride.
It was good to arrive at my parents' house, and know we finally weren't going anywhere for a while.
The next morning was beautiful, so I took Ryan and went for a walk. I hadn't had Jamba Juice since my visit out here last year, so I headed there. I wound up running into my friend Manisha, whom I hadn't seen in several years! It was great to reconnect. I love it when serendipity brings friends together again.
The rest of my first full day in Palmdale turned out to be eventful, as well. My parents and Ryan and I went to my favorite Mexican restaurant ever, Ernie's Jr. in Eaglerock, Ca. Yum! In the late afternoon/early evening, my mom and Ryan and I went to an open house the the Antelope Valley Winery. That was fun! For $5 you get a wine glass with the winery's logo etched on it, and 12 tickets for wine tasting. I did my best, but only made it through seven of my tickets! My mom and I bought a few bottles, of course.
From there we went over to the mall, where they were having their first ever Christmas tree lighting ceremony. It was fun! The Lancaster Community Orchestra (which I hadn't been aware existed until then) played Christmas carols, then the Mayor of Palmdale read the poem, "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." Next was a fireworks display - by far, Ryan's favorite! I had just as much fun watching Ryan's face as I did the fireworks! After the fireworks, the tree (which was actually fairly small) was lit, immediately followed by a shower of snow - fake snow... in 60 degree weather! It was a wonderful incongruity! Ryan got a kick out of it!
The Coffee Bean had been giving out coupons for $1 cups of hot chocolate, so we definitely took advantage of that. Mom got beverages and yummy goodies to snack on during the festivities.
We also saw my friend Teresa's dad, Ray. He was photographing the event. I tried to get his attention, but wasn't able to. My mom embarrassed me by yelling his name! It did the trick though, and he came over and we said hi.
That night, JoAnna came by and picked me and Ryan up. JoAnna and I had wine and cheese and crackers and had fun catching up. We stayed the night at her house. I had to laugh because we'd only stayed one night at my parents' house, and here we were, staying somewhere else! Ryan was used to it all by then, so he went right to sleep, once I put him to bed.
Tuesday the 20th, I got to have a little girls' only time! Ryan was napping, so my mom watched him while I went to lunch with JoAnna at the Olive Garden. That was nice.
Wednesday some of my stuff arrived from the UK. I had the jogging stroller, some of Ryan's toys, and a few odds and ends sent here. Ryan was happy to have some of his things, and I was happy to have the jogging stroller!
Thursday was Thanksgiving. My parents and Ryan and I drove to Indio and had Thanksgiving with Joyce and Norm. It was a beautiful day. We ate outside! We had a really great, enjoyable, relaxing time. It was great to spend some more time with Joyce and Norm, and I can't help but mention that the food was great!
The next day I got to see my friends Kris and Teresa, and their kids Abby and Joshua. They were staying with Kris' parents in Palmdale for Thanksgiving. (I got to see Kris' mom, Jan, too.) It was great to see them! Ryan had a lot of fun playing with Abbey and Josh. Jan has a play set in the back yard, which Ryan loved, of course!
I have to say, it's a good feeling to know I don't have to try to rush to cram seeing everyone in, before heading back across the pond. It's also a good feeling to know my friends are just a short drive away, not an arduous plane ride!
Saturday the 23rd I took Ryan and walked to Panera (one of my favorite places to lunch). I hadn't been there in a year. As I was getting my food, I hear someone behind me call my name. It was a friend from high school, Amy! I hadn't seen her since we graduated. That's what I love about the AV - you run into people!
Later on in the afternoon, Mariano, a dear family friend, came up. It was great to see him. The last time I saw him, Ryan was taking his first steps at Mariano's birthday party down in Diamond Bar.
Mariano hung out and worked on our computers, while we all chatted and generally had an enjoyable time. Mariano brought wine, my mom made dinner, and a good time was had by all.
Monday the 26th I ran for the first time since my last run with the Harrogate Harriers. Even though I felt sluggish (no surprises there), it felt wonderful to run again. Having my running stroller makes it a lot easier to get out and run.
Also on Monday, Ryan made cookies for the very first time! We made sugar cookies, and Ryan helped. He added ingredients and stirred. His favorite part though, was rolling out the dough, and using the cookie cutters. (Although he definitely enjoyed shaking on the sprinkles.)
Tuesday I went for a much longer run than I originally anticipated. I thought I would run to a nearby park, let Ryan play, and run back. It took me nearly half an hour just to get to the park. Ugh! Oh well. I can always use the exercise!
Wednesday, Ryan pulled his first wishbone, and won!
Thursday, Ryan finger painted for the first time - and loved it, of course!
Later in the evening, we went to a Lia Sophia party JoAnna had invited us to. Lia Sophia is an in-home sales jewelery company. I did wind up buying some things, and my mom and I got roped into hosting a party! (That will be in January, if anyone is interested!)
Holy moly! Am I really caught up? Yay!!! Tomorrow I will be launching my new blog. Stay tuned!