Proposed Northern West Coast Trip

This is mainly for the use of people in my family, but I suppose there’s nothing wrong with posting it to the general public.  I mean, I guess some wise guy could see this and then jump on and buy all the plane tickets or something but I really don’t see that happening.

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The triangle-oid on the map shows approximately what we would be doing, except we would fly, on Alaska Airlines, to San Francisco (Seriously, those guys are giving all the other airlines a run for their money.  You can fly to SFO for 59 dollars from Utah on Alaska, and freakin’ Delta wants to charge you like 200…), and then ride the Amtrak Coast Starlight train line (yes, Amtrak still exists) north to Portland, Oregon, chill there for a few days, and then continue on northward to Seattle, Washington on the Amtrak Cascades line.  We would remain in Seattle for approximately a week and then return by air to Utah.

The point of this was to outline transportation and lodging costs in my proposed trip itinerary, so it might get boring.

We would depart on Alaska Airlines flight 743 (an approximate $290 total in airfare….I don’t have much experience in air travel but I think for five people on an airplane that’s like way cheap) early in the morning on Monday, March 23, (about three weeks after we return from California), and arrive in San Francisco (of course he planned San Francisco as the first stop… XD) at a still very decent time in the morning, with that extra hour on our side.  We would rent a car from the airport (on the house rental I found for Monday night they said that discount car rental was available) and then head across the bridge to the northern peninsula, to the Muir Woods and Beach, just like last time.  Maybe even go to the same phantom Starbucks and 7-11 as last time.  And then stay in our vacation rental in the northeast section of San Francisco.  It’s listed on VRBO at about $159.  Also we would need to acquire Muni (which is San Francisco’s equivalent of Utah’s UTA) passes (17 dollars each for a one day pass) the night before to avoid the outrageous downtown parking costs.

Still following the general plot of our last excursion to San Fran (which can be viewed on my homepage), the next day we would leave our car at our rental house and ride Muni into downtown and go from there.  We would just need to get the rental car back to SFO in the evening and catch the BART train (BART airport line is $8.50) per person from the airport to The Embarcadero, where we would catch a bus at the Ferry Building to take us to the train station to catch 14 Coast Starlight, on which we would ride through the night and until it arrived in Portland the next afternoon.  For all five of us, the total cost for Coast Starlight to Portland overnight and the shuttle bus to the train is about $388.

I found a vacation rental in Portland, listed on VRBO for $150 per night, where we would remain for three nights as we did whatever people do when they go to Portland.  I think Mount Hood and Mount Rainier are near the area, and I like mountains but I don’t know if everyone else in my travelling party could relate.

After our Portland experience, we would board 516 Amtrak Cascades to Seattle, and my plan is that we would stay there from Saturday the 28th through Friday, April 1st (and I think my dad would come and meet us either on Friday night in Portland and ride the train with us to Washington State and stay in Seattle with us for a short period, or maybe meet us in Seattle Saturday night), and then fly back to Salt Lake Friday night.  I found a very nice rental house in Seattle, listed at $119 for March.  We would do whatever one does in Seattle. (Seriously I don’t know hardly anything about these places, they just sound appealing.  I know Oregon has forests and mountains, as well as Washington State.  I also know that Seattle is near the ocean and has this fancy space needle building.  And that’s pretty much it.)  And then we would go back to Utah on Alaska flight 706.  The über cheap fares no longer apply, so to get all five of us on that flight would cost about $621, but that’s still cheaper than anything I found on Google Flights, as well as Southwest and jetBlue, which I always thought were also supposed to be affordable but, like I said, I don’t know much about airlines.

So there you go.

Amy’s House

KIDS AND AMY January 12-16, 2015

Before we go to our rental house by the beach (where we are staying for most of the California trip) we were stopping at some friends house’s and doing some things around the areas I grew up in. We stayed at a friend named Amy’s house for several days. Amy was watching her grandma for most of our stay in her house, but we will see her quite a bit. Amy is my mom’s good friend. When I was a baby, Amy loved to hold me and she is really good with kids.

We got to her house really late at night. It was about an hour after we dropped of Ben and Dad at the Long Beach airport. I didn’t know that Amy wouldn’t stay there the whole time with us so I was nervous that we may go in the wrong house when w e arrived at her home. We went inside and her house is gorgeous. It looks small from the outside but the inside is really open and pretty. My mom and Noah stayed in one of her extra rooms and me and Lucy stayed in bunk beds in a guest room.SAN DIEGO BEACH

In the morning we were all a bit tired and cranky. We didn’t know the internet password till about 10 a.m. so we got a late start on our school. That day we spent a lot of time outside because she has a big back yard and it is very green with some trees that my siblings would climb. While we were at Amy’s, we relaxed a lot and didn’t do much.

The next day, we did school and then went to the beach. We met with Amy at the beach and we were there for four and a half hours. After, we went to the store to pick up some food.

The day after we went to the beach, Amy came back to stay with us. In the morning we went on a walk on a really pretty trail. Then, we picked fruit and tried different kinds like passion fruit (except for Noah, he didn’t want to try the new fruits). That night my mom and my watched Divergent because she had not seen it yetREPACKING AGAIN.

The next day we decided that that the next day we would go to San Diego and go inside the USS Midway and then after have pizza with Amy. And the next day we had a wonderful time in San Diego. I love going to new places and doing things like that. I also learned a lot while we were at the museum (Read San Diego and USS Midway).

I’ve Been Afraid of Changes

Not really, I love change—I am fueled by variety.  But I love that song, because I’m a walking mid-life crisis, and that song is the anthem of the female mid-life crisis.  Let’s just remind ourselves of how great it is:

And yes, I built my life around a lot of things that the landslide brought down, but this little family remains.

So, changes.  First of all, the kids and I never spent this much time together, and now it’s sort of isn’t an option. I don’t think I fully understood that my alone time was officially over.  It might have made me nervous had I realized it earlier, but I’m surprised how comfortable it is to be with the kids all the time now.  That’s not to say I’m not crabby and yelling too much still, but I don’t feel like I want to run and hide like I used to.

Ben will go and body surf or longboard on his own, and Sophie and he will ride the beach cruiser bikes that came with the house around our little beach community. But very often we are all together, driving for a little sightseeing, shopping, actually preparing and eating meals together. I realize this is normal for many people and doesn’t require such extreme measures to make happen, but this wasn’t the case for me, apparently.

We eat in, we get bored.  It’s nice.

I heard from Amy (a brilliant psychologist, so it must be true) that it’s a good idea to change environments when you want to make changes, because the old physical environment and associated triggers will be gone, and you can create new habits that go with the new surroundings.  I have definitely seen that.  The kids are more diligent on the daily job charts, the house seems to be running way more smoothly.  Aside from my own personal habits that still need attention, the family functioning is greatly improved at this point over how we were.

You can say perhaps the novelty will wear off, but aha!—the experiment has perpetual novelty built in.  So bam! [Mic drop].

[mic retrieved] So a big factor is that when schoolwork is over, sometime after lunch, there is no where to be. No music lessons, no gymnastics, no activities planned.  It’s so interesting to see what happens then.  Ben and Noah play foosball and actually interact sometimes, and I can see Noah just loves that. Noah discovers a puzzle in the cupboard and puts it together, or he pulls out his Legos.  People get out the kites in the garage.  Sometimes the kids go to the beach without me (although they don’t love that because Noah and Lucy can’t get in all the way).

Of course, everyone still begs for screen time, which I begrudgingly indulge more than I should to get my work done. I justify it when I think about how much time I watched TV as a kid, and look how great I turned . . . . oh, wait. Dang.

But overall, it is clear our family is getting more familiar with each other, and, unable to avoid each other, actually are building some friendships.  More inside jokes are popping up.  Older kids are interacting with younger kids, explaining stuff.  We have interesting discussions at the dinner table that happen spontaneously.

It seems by opening up our home to include the whole world, our little family seems more of a central unit.  Whereas before, our little physical home used to be the center, yet we were all simply satellites in our own orbits.