Sunday, February 1, 2009

My Trip to California With Jason........

Well, I am back from my amazing trip to Anaheim, California with Jason. I was really looking forward to traveling with him. He is a very adventurous person and I knew he would make this a true adventure.

This was his first time flying. We had to get up at 3am in order to make it to Toronto for our 7:15 departure. None of this seemed to bother him, although I am sure if I told him he had to get up this early for school he may have objected.

I really don't like the airport experience too much. Once the luggage is checked and we have gone through security it is a little more relaxing, but by the time I've done all that I feel like I need a shower. Jason, on the other hand, thought it was very cool. He thought that the security process was exciting. He wondered what they might do if they found something they didn't like. I am fine with just wondering, I don't really need to know.

He was amazed that we had t.v screens to watch. They even had satellite and movie channels. We didn't need a movie, we had Jason. He was really intrigued by the map. The fact that we were going 491 mph was a thrill as well as being 30 000 ft in the air. I try not to think about these things, but Jason pointed them out often.

He also liked the fact that he had a fold down tray to eat the food and drinks that the flight attendants brought. This was better than eating in front of the t.v at home. About 3 1/2 hours into the flight he was getting a little tired of looking out the window and studying the map, so he pulled out a deck of cards. This too seemed much more interesting than doing it at home. It was a brand new deck and the cards kept sliding off the tray and onto the floor.

Once we landed we had to take a shuttle to the car rental agency. I think I was now impressing Jason. He was amazed at how well I knew where to go and what to do next. This was my third time doing this, but I didn't let him know that......I took advantage of the fact that he was impressed with anything that I did.

Below is a photo of our rental car!

No, just kidding. Jason found this car in a parking lot and did a little photo shoot. We did not rent a Porsche for the week.

Above is our real rental car. When we got to the rental agency they sent us out into a big parking lot and we could pick any car in row C. I let Jason pick and this was the sportiest one they had. It was a 'sweet' ride and did the job.

The next hurdle we had was to navigate our way through traffic in Los Angeles and make our way to our hotel. Although I have done this before, it had been a year and I had forgotten everything. Jason was in charge of the GPS and we finally made it without too many wrong turns.

Below are a few shots of the hotel that we stayed at. I wish we had flowers blooming in January.

The pool looked really inviting. Most of the hotels have outdoor pools (heated) but our first few days were overcast and only about 18 degrees. I need it to be a little warmer to swim. These photos were taken on our last day and it was a very sunny day. We were heading to Disney so we had no time to swim.

This is a photo of the patio outside our room. Jason would come back in the afternoon while I was at the show and he would sit out here with his laptop and soak up the sun. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon. All his friends were very jealous.

I have to be honest, the one thing I was not looking forward to was eating with Jason. He is a very picky eater. His diet is very limited and I wasn't sure how he would do with all the eating out we had to do. Normally the restaurants at the hotels are very expensive and they offer really big breakfasts. We don't really eat like that and luckily our hotel was very reasonable and they made a special menu just for us.

They had an outdoor patio so we could eat breakfast outside. We didn't take advantage of that until the last day, due to weather and rushing to the show, but it was really nice to sit outside in the sunshine in January. I really could get used to this. Maybe I will retire here.

Above are the photos of what we ate every day for breakfast. I didn't mind the repetitive dishes. It was really good. By the 2nd day we didn't even have to order. The same lady waited on us every day and she had it down to an art.

Now that we were settled, it was time to head out and do some fun stuff. We went to Universal Studios so we had to drive back towards LA. Jason had the camera in hand and he was fascinated with the graffiti. He was also surprised by the amount of traffic and litter at the sides of the road. Even though the temperatures were not very high, there was still alot of smog in the air. Over LA you could see a hovering brown cloud of smog and pollution. It was still a very enjoyable experience.

Here is Jason and I out front of the entrance to Universal. We took photos for several people and they returned the favour by taking a photo of Jason and I in front of the big Universal Studio's rotating globe.

We also had to get our photo taken in front of the famous 'Hollywood' sign. This is just a backdrop. The real sign is way up in the mountains. I wouldn't even attempt to find it. Who knows were we would end up.

Jason and I went on a Simpson's simulation ride and when we came out we were greeted by the stars. I convinced Jason that he needed a photo for Facebook (sneaky eh?)

They also had a great pyrotechnics show called Waterworld. I had seen it before, and I knew Jason would love it. It is filled with all sorts of special effects and explosions. He didn't move the entire time the show was on.

After the show, the cast came out and you could get photos taken with them. The bald guy in this photo actually stared in CSI LasVegas.

We took a tour of the backlot where they shoot alot of movies. The most impressive set was one of a plane crash (maybe not something we needed to see).

This dinosaur befriended Jason when we were walking around. I think it was a girl.

Jason convinced me that I needed to go on this ride with him. I couldn't say no. I really hate rides. It was in the dark, fast and we went backwards too. Yuck!!!!

We experienced a 4-D movie while we were there. It was interesting, but I didn't really get much out of it. Plus we had to wear these goofy glasses.

After a fun filled day, we stopped and shopped at some of the stores on the way out of the park. We came across a candy store that had an entire section dedicated to M & M's. I immediately thought of my bff and took this photo for her!

Being a huge Guitar Hero/Rock Band fan, Jason couldn't get over the size of the guitar outside the Hard Rock Cafe. He definitely needed a photo of that.

We almost made it out of the park and Jason discovered this sky diving simulator. He begged me to sign him up for a lesson and before I knew it he was in the tube, flying!

In the evenings we would walk over to Downtown Disney. It was a great place to get something to eat and just wander around. One evening we went into a Disney store and Jason had fun trying on all the hats. I took full advantage of this for a photo shoot. I think that the Goofy hat suits him best.

Now is was time for some California culture. I really wanted to take Jason to Venice Beach. It is very interesting and I thought that he would love the experience.

Jason took the photo of the sign......he is a true scrapbooker eh? He thought it would make a good addition to a scrapbook page, and I agreed. He found these really cool sunglasses. They wouldn't block out much of the sun, however they did look pretty cool. We both loved watching the graffiti artists at work. I am not sure what half the stuff said, but it was pretty impressive.

This feathered friend didn't seem to mind having his photo taken. We are not sure what type of bird this was. It would dig its beak into the sand looking for bugs. Jason climbed up on these big rocks to get a glimpse of the Pacific ocean. It was a very calm day but the waves were very big. After every visit to a beach he would write the name of the beach in the sand. This is the shot of Venice Beach.

We also visited Hermosa and Huntington beaches too. We didn't spend as much time at them because we spent so much time at Venice. As the sun started to set it got quite cool out. You needed a sweatshirt for sure. I would have been happier with a jacket. It was a great day, despite the clouds.

I worked very hard to finish all my shopping at the show so that I could take Jason to Disney on our last day there. He had been so patient while the show was on and I know that it was boring for him. My hard work paid off and we were able to go. It was a beautiful day and we were both very excited.

Jason studied the map and picked out the best route to all the rides he wanted to go on. One thing you need to understand is that I hate rides. I have to take Gravol just to enter Canada's Wonderland. I was a good sport and forced myself to go on many of the rides that he wanted to go on. I refused to go on the Hollywood Tower of Terror. The name alone freaked me out. However, I did go on my very fist upside down roller coaster. I actually did very well, and I would probably go on it again.

We both enjoyed taking photos of each other in different areas of the park.

These are my favourite shots of the day. I have always been very jealous of my customers that are able to do Disney albums. I now have lots of photos to create numerous Disney layouts.

After a week in California, Jason and I were both having hockey withdrawal. We bought tickets to see the Anaheim Ducks play the Chicago Blackhawks at the Honda Center. It was very close to our hotel. It was a very exciting game, but the Ducks lost in the end.

My trip to California was great. I am so lucky to have a job that takes me to a place that is warm in the winter and I get to shop for all sorts of great supplies for our store. But better than that, I was able to spend 8 days with my son. That is truly priceless. I will treasure them forever. Hopefully he feels as fortunate as me.

Love you Jay! Thanks for a great week.


  1. Awww, thanks for sharing Carolyn!!!

    What great memories to share with you boy!!!

  2. we went to universal last year when we went to florida and i believe we have mared our children when it came to the mummy was crazy...

    it looks like you had an amazing trip and had some incredible bonding time with so glad for you..

    and its wonderful to have you back, you were missed!!

  3. He may not admit it now, but someday he will acknowledge he truly does have a pretty cool mom. You have 3 great kids, you are very lucky.

  4. Awesome pictures Carolyn!!!!! Looks like you and Jason had a fabulous time!!!!

  5. what a great trip..thanks for sharing! I'm going to have to work on getting a job that travels to sunny places in the winter :)

  6. awesome recap!!!! I'm glad you had a great trip!! :)

  7. You are a very cool Mom and Jason seems to be a really neat kid. It is so great that you 2 did so much and had fun together in California.
    Anne Marie

  8. I am glad you had a really great time away, great memories. You both are lucky!!