This year is my sister-in-law Melissa's 30th Birthday! If you haven't seen her blog, check out Moore Craziness to see all her awesome kiddos and stuff they're up to. For her birthday this year, we decided to go on a girls cruise to the bahamas, yay!!!
Last year for Labor Day, we went over to Homosassa, FL on the west coast for our first scalloping trip. We had so much fun that we decided to plan another trip. Since 4th of July was on a Thursday this year, we figured we could go for an extra day or two by going on 4th of July instead of labor day. Last year we had 8 people but this year we got 12 signed up: Me & Ryan, Ashley & Matt (flew in from California), Ryan's mom Mary (from St. Augustine), Al & Doreen, Charlie & Mary (and their baby), Pete & Vicki, and Eddie (flew in from Marlyand).
Last year we stayed at a cheap motel and it wasn't that great - the hardest part was that we had no way to cook any scallops we caught. This year we decided to rent a house and we ended up a little farther south than last year based on where we could find a rental house. The house we rented is in Hernando Beach, FL and has 3 bedrooms plus a loft and a library so we have 3 actual beds, one futon, two full size air mattresses and one person on a couch (we brought an air mattress but there are a lot of couches here).
It seems like just yesterday that I was sitting at Nate and Kayla's New Year's Eve party, wondering what the year would bring. Ryan had mentioned the possibility of a "secret vacation" and I was excited but trying to make sure I didn't expect him to propose on the trip. As I started thinking more about it, I decided to look back and appreciate all that has happened this year.
Thursday we actually got up a little earlier because a van was waiting to pick us up at 8am and take us to the Goldmine Ranch for a horseback ride. The ranch was on the opposite side of the island but it still only took around 20 minutes to get there because Aruba really is a tiny island! We got to the ranch and there were about 6 other people who were going on the same ride as us plus two guides. First they asked everyone how many times they had ridden so they could give the most gentle/calm horses to the least experienced riders. Ryan had ridden more than anyone else in the group so they gave him the "local" horse, LOL. When the guide was using that horse to show how to get up in the saddle, the horse kept walking away from him and moving right when or before he would step up. Then we found out Ryan's horse was blind in one eye so the whole ride he kind of ran with his head cocked so he could see more out of his one good eye. My horse was really good and pretty much did all the work for me, which was good since I haven't been on a horse in years.
So I forgot to tell you about our wedding crashers!! About 2/3 of the way through the reception, Ryan saw these four people dancing and he said "I have no idea who those people are, I think they might be wedding crashers. Do you know them?" I looked over and sure enough, neither of us knew them. Now I've been to some really big weddings where there were numerous people the bride and groom had never met but that wasn't the case at ours. There were a few people on my side Ryan had never met and a few people on his side I had never met - but no one was invited that neither of us knew. So then one of the groomsmen went and started messing with them. It turns out it was the lady's 50th birthday and her husband wanted to take her to Cobalt and was disappointed to find out it was closed for a private event. Pretty gutsy to just join the party though, LOL. If i see them in any of our reception pictures I will definitely point them out :)
I'm slowly but surely getting caught up on my blog, lol. It's been a little crazy around here!
After we left San Francisco at the end of our secret vacation (Friday 5/25) we flew to Colorado to spend the weekend with my family. My parents were there, plus my brother and sister, my Aunt Katie, my mom's friend Cindy and my grandmother too. After we got there we all went to lunch together and hung out for the afternoon while we waited for everyone to get into town. We didn't do a whole lot of planned activities over the weekend but it was nice to just hang out together and have some fun. But there were two pretty cool things that happened:
After we got to San Francisco, we went down to Pier 39 and got some dinner. We were going to to go Fisherman's wharf but we were having trouble finding parking and when we finally found some, it was closer to Pier 39. The restaurant was about average but it was pretty entertaining because we could watch the sea lions fight over the docks at the pier.
After dinner, I called up one of my best friends who lives in San Francisco to see what they were up to and then we went and met them. Ashley and Matt were getting ready to do some skydiving practice at the windtunnel and it was pretty fun to watch! We all went back to their house afterwards and chatted for a while.
On Thursday, Ashley took us for a tour of the city. First we went to the Google office, which was pretty awesome! They had lounge chairs outside for people to work in and one guy was even chilling in a hot tub. Next we went to downtown San Francisco. We rode the cable cars, ate ice cream at Ghirardelli square, walked up and down Lombard street and just checked everything out.
Tuesday night in California, I found a charming little motel called The Ravenwood Motel. From the outside, it looks like an average little motel in the middle of nowhere. But on the inside, all the rooms had been redone beautifully - new carpets and tile, fancy furniture and lighting, nicely painted and decorated. The place was also immaculately clean - I doubt a white glove could have found a spec of dust or dirt. The owner was very friendly and had a common room where there were books, games, a piano and breakfast in the morning. The best part was that this was still one of the cheapest places we stayed on the whole trip!
In the morning, we started our Redwood forest trek with an obligatory touristy event: driving through a redwood tree. They blew out the bottom of this giant tree but it's still alive and growing hundreds of feet above the base and you can drive your car through it.
After we woke up in Seaside, OR we went to a charming little breakfast place (I think it was called Auntie M's or something like that) where Ryan got a muffin but I got a delicious ham, egg & cheese breakfast sandwich on a croissant. Unfortunately, our sunny weather was gone...it was gray, cold, foggy and drizzling. We didn't mind the drizzling and cold so much but the fog pretty much made any scenic viewpoint useless because all we could see was fog. Doh! We traveled south down highway 101 all the way down the coast, stopping to see a lighthouse and some tide pools. The tide pools were pretty neat because you could see star fish and such in them. There was also a sea lion on the beach and tons and tons of seagulls around.