Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas in Sacramento

In a feet of awesomeness Kim's parents paid for Kim, my three girls and myself to fly out to Sacramento for Christmas. They also bought tickets for Katie and Annmarie to fly out as well. Technically Arianna was free because she just sat in our lap.
Our plane left at 6am out of Jacksonville last Sunday morning. We drove out to Jacksonville the night before and staid at a hotel.
We got to sleep at midnight and woke up at 3:00am. We also scheduled a wake-up call at 3:10 that we never got. Katie and Annmarie where great about getting up on time, which is something that I was worried about. The only hiccup in the morning was Athena who threw a big fit.
We where at the airport around 4am. The only thing that was open that early in the airport was Starbucks. Everyone got bagels and coffee (or some variation thereof.) Athena and I held out to see what was offered past the security check.
I was worried about going through security as we had some baby food and other questionable items but we got through without a problem.
On the other side of security was nothing but a snack shop that charged 3X+ the real value of the items they where selling. I settled for a sausage and cheese biscuit for ~$3.50 and Athena got an Apple (it's what she asked for.) We also split a sports drink. In all I paid around eight dollars. The biscuit was of lower quality than McDonalds and would have cost less than a dollar there.
The plan came forty minutes late but all of the kids where good about waiting around. On the plain the trip was very good. All of the girls where well behaved and I got a window seat.
Once we landed we heard on the loud speaker that our next flight was departing. We originally had some time between the lay over, but with the late flight we were pressed to make our connecting flight.
We rushed to our next terminal and made it on the plane in time.
This plan ride was not so pleasant. The girls where great again, but there was a lot of turbulence. It just so happens that I am not a fan of turbulence.
The first bout came from a big gust of wind that really pushed the plan around. Everyone on the plane made sounds of discontent except the girls who both said, "'Whee!"
I was holding Arianna and was really scared by the movement of the plane. You could feel it being lifted up and then down beyond the will of the plane and its pilots. I started having problems breathing and had to hand Arianna to Kim. This big gusts was followed by much more mild turbulence. I was unable to sit peacefully until all of the turbulence was gone.
We had about fifteen minutes of time with no turbulence and we where allowed to get up when the turbulence picked back up.
This was no good as I had to use the restroom since the time I got off of the previous flight. After a flight laden with turbulence it settled down again for a while and I jetted for the rest room. I wasn't back for long when the turbulence picked back up.
When we finally landed you could tell by the look on everyone's face that all was happy to be land lubbin' again.
At the airport two of our items never came out of the luggage pickup. Apparently because of the short amount of time between our connecting flights two of our items never made the connection.
Unfortunately one of these items was Arianna's car seat. The airliner happened to have a longer on hand. That afternoon our missing bag was personally delivered to our door. The next day the car seat was delivered.
Boo for missing luggage. Yay for the airliner doing everything it could to correct the mistake.
None of us had eaten since about five am Eastern time. Once at Chris and Steve's we raided the refrigerator. We where also running not only jet lagged but also on three hours of sleep.
I think everyone but Kim took a long nap. Fortunately even after our nap, at around nine at night everyone was ready for bed. Jet lag was solved that quickly for all of us.
Monday we went to a vineyard and an apple orchard that sold all sorts of apple goods.
The vineyard was nice and had wine tasting, as vineyards apparently tend to do. For $10 you could do premium wine tasting that included more expensive wines and also includes a glass. Kim and Katie took up the premium wine tasting. I did a few of the free ones, but once I felt the wine starting to hit me (which didn't take long) I gave up. I'm not a wine person anyhow.
The vineyard was beautiful. Grape season is long gone, but some old dried-up grapes still sat on some of the vines.
The apple orchard there was a store. The inside of the store was very old-timey lookingl. They sold all sorts of apple goods like apple pies, apple dumplings, apple butter, etc. They also had a line of different fudges.
Today for Christmas we started by opening presents of course. Then we headed out for a sledding park. Two types of snow sledding where available. Snow tubing was for adults and kids with guts for fast paced snow action. The other was sledding for kids.
The sleds where little plastic circles that look like over sized garbage can lids.
Tubes could be hooked together, so we started off with hitching the kids to our tubes and going down the big slope. Aurora was scared and ended the trip with crying. Athena loved it and wanted to go again.
I took Aurora to the kid sledding and she really enjoyed that. After showing her how to push herself off and how to get off once done and get out of the way, I watched her try her hand at all sorts of sledding tricks. She would make herself spin around or go down backwards.
Then I had Chris and Steve watch her go down the kids sled and I got back in line to go tubing. As I was getting back in line everyone was just going down their second bout of the tubes. Apparently Annmarie and Athena got stuck and when Kim went down she hit Athena's tube and flipped her over. She was now sufficiently scared of tubing so she joined her grandpeeps at kid sledding, which she enjoyed.
Tubing was a lot of fun and as time past the line got shorter and shorter, which allowed for more tubing.
Afterwards we went home and had lasagna for dinner.

So far this trip has been amazing and I really look forward to the days to come.