The day started early. We woke up at 5:00 a.m. and Marci and Chuck drove us to DFW Airport at 5:30 a.m. There was a long line at the curb side check-in, but we got through it and into the airport in plenty of time. The flight was rough at the beginning, but smoothed out after the first hour. I don’t understand why so many people carry their luggage onto the plane and then try and store it in the over head bins. Just check it in. Are they afraid they are going to lose their luggage? Anyway, we arrived at LAX Airport at 9:00 a.m. PST. It was a three hour flight, but we lost two hours crossing two time zones.
It took forever to get our bags at baggage claim. Maybe those people who carry their luggage onto the plane have a good idea. We caught a shuttle from LAX to our hotel in Pasadena. The smog was pretty think over Los Angeles, but it was cool to see around the city with the Hollywood hills in the background. The city looks pretty trashy. There seemed to be graffiti all along the freeway. Jennifer refused to look forward and kept looking out the side because our driver kept swerving while he was messing with his cell phone.
We got to the hotel in one piece and got our hotel room. It’s on the first floor and has stairs walking down to where the bed is. So, it has a pretty tall ceiling, which makes the room feel a whole lot bigger. We checked in with our tour and received our tickets to the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl. We are sitting in section 23, row 31. It’s on the corner of one of the end zones. For the parade we are sitting in one of the grand stands right after the first turn of the parade.
We explored around downtown Pasadena and then went to a reception for the tour. We met some other Longhorn fans, some older ladies some of whom are faculty at the University of Texas’s Nursing School. It was nice visiting with them and they offered to give us a ride to the Longhorn Bash on Tuesday.
Today’s picture is a surprise we had when we opened up one of our luggage. Emily had stowed away! Actually, this was from last week. One day Emily fell asleep in one of the suitcases while taking a nap.
We spent the past week in Houston with Jennifer’s parents and had a great time. At one point, we went into Clear Lake and looked at our old apartment and ate at one of our old favorite restaurants, Han’s Mongolian BBQ. One day we met George and Heather at The Melting Pot and caught up with the year’s past events while eating. On Christmas Eve, I went with George to Reliant Stadium to see the Houston Texans take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. Up until the end of the third quarter I thought the Texans might actually have an upset in the works, but they completely fell apart and lost pretty poorly.
When I got back from the game we went over to Christina and Mike’s in order to open presents. There were a ton of presents and Abby and Emily helped distribute them. After that, it was time to head home and go to sleep so that Santa Claus could show up. Abby was very concerned and made us remove some bells that were hanging over the chimney as well as move the sofa so that Santa wouldn’t bump into them. In turns out that Santa had dirty boots and left tracks for a couple of steps as he left the chimney.
The day after Christmas we got up early and headed to Lindale to my Grandparent’s house where my family was meeting to open our Christmas presents. There was another ton of presents to open, but the kids plowed through them. We stayed the night and then headed to Shreveport leaving Austin in the care of MaMaw and PaPaw.
We stayed in Shreveport for a couple of days and then left the kids with my parents and borrowed my mom’s car today and headed to Dallas for the first day for our Tournament of Roses Tour. Abby was sad to see us go and was crying, while Emily was running after the car yelling, “Bye, Mommy! Bye, Daddy!” We will miss them. We drove three hours to my Aunt and Uncle’s house where we went out to eat Chinese food with them and my cousin Kevin and his wife Christie. We finally got to see their “new” house (they’ve been in it for a year and a half, but this is the first time we’ve seen it, so it’s new to us). It was really nice and well decorated. We are now gearing up for our flight in the morning to Los Angeles.
Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written. We’ve been busy getting ready for our big trip to Texas as well as buying presents for Christmas. At work, I was moved onto a new project: NFL Head Coach. They are about to start finaling and I’m going to be working on getting them through the process. It’s tough since I just finaled Madden Next Gen, but I think I can be a lot of help. NFL Head Coach is another football game, but instead of being the player you are the coach. It’s more of a strategy game than an arcade game like Madden.
Abby was counting the days until we leave for Texas. Each morning she would ask, “How long until we leave for Grandma and Poppa’s house?” Well, the past two days were spent traveling from Orlando to Houston. We are staying with Jennifer’s parents for the next week through Christmas day. We spent the night in a hotel in Mobile, Alabama and traveled through the Katrina hurricane damaged areas of South Mississippi and Louisiana. It was amazing how much damage was still visible from the Interstate. We saw some crumpled “Golden Arches” and a lot of miscellaneous garbage on the side of the road; and, of course, a ton of downed trees. Mississippi was worse than Louisiana, but then we didn’t go down to New Orleans. We took I-12, which bypasses New Orleans and goes directly to Baton Rouge. Once we passed all that, we hit all the damage from Rita in South Louisiana and Texas. There were a ton of blue tarps which reminded us of Orlando two years ago.
Anyway, we safely made it to Houston and we are glad to finally not be in the Sequoia anymore. Within fifteen minutes of being here Emily had already broken one of Grandma’s nativity scenes. For dinner, Christiana and Mike came over and we all had dinner together. I brought out the Xbox 360 and showed them Madden and Mike and I played some Need for Speed: Most Wanted.
We left Austin’s bed at home so we had to go out to Target and get him another one. We also stopped by Best Buy so I could get a 512 MB card for our camera. I swiped the one we had previously so that I could use it in my new Palm pilot. I’ve been using it as an MP3 player, my PSP has gotten too bulky. My Palm pilot worked great and I listened to all the Podcasts I was behind on all the way from Orlando to Houston. I caught up on This Week in Tech, Security Now!, and Inside the Net. There are still several hours that I still need to listen to in order to officially “catch up”. I got behind while I was finaling Madden Next Gen.