So long Big Island……

Kailua-Kona……Treasures to last a lifetime.

Hilo…….Moments engraved in our minds.

Sadly, we must say farewell to the most beautiful, breathtaking, magnificent island in the world. Big Island was definitely a great choice for the Chapman Family. In Kailua-Kona, everyday was an adventure. Hilo, with its magnificent, dramatic waterfalls, fertile rainforest, volcano craters and blooming gardens was extraordinary. We will not forget our time spent on the Big Island. Jordan and Alexandra had the time of their lives. Christopher and I did as well.

Thank you for the fantastic MEMORIES!!!

Big Island Visitor Bureau Website – Hawaii

Kailua-Kona……Fantastic Island

Kailua-Kona was a great island to visit. There was plenty to see and explore. Some days we drove to our destinations and other times, we walked. There was always some new thing to discover. The views were amazing. The children had plenty of open space to run around. They loved that. They will not soon forget their stay in Kailua-Kona.

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Lombard Street…… The Very Crookedest

You can’t go to San Francisco without visiting the famous Lombard Street. ——–“Lombard Street is an east–west street in San Francisco, California that is famous for a steep, one-way block section with eight sharp hairpin turns. The street was named after Lombard Street in Philadelphia by San Francisco surveyor Jasper O’Farrell”.——- San Francisco’s Lombard Street is also referred to as “the Crookedest Street in the world.” It is a must….especially for children. They can trip & fall and it would not be your fault as a parent. You weren’t being irresponsible. You did tell the little rugrats to stop running up and down the hill. The street was simply too crooked. And they were having too much fun to listen.

I of course, was dying after going up the first few steps. You better be in  shape to battle with that hill. I can tell you I was in no shape to climb. So I told the three of them to go and I would meet them on the way down. Alexandra had the nerve to tell me that I was embarrassing her with my huffing and puffing. Really!!! Walking up that hill was nothing. I should look at her because she was running. She’d be the first one to cry when she gets hurt. She kept saying, “come on Mommy, you’re slowing us down”. Really!! If you know this little girl, you can just imagine the face and the attitude she’s giving to me while making her comments. This is the first vacation that Christopher and I did not have to drag/lug a BIG STROLLER around for her. Now she was complaining that I was TOO SLOW. Imagine that!!!

Between you and me, I did puff a bit more than needed because I knew it would get a strong reaction out of both children. Jordan was vocal too. The more I acted as if I couldn’t do it, the more they wanted to prove how strong and fast they were.

Lombard Street has such a lovely collection of flowers. Being there simply makes you feel real good. The area is really not that big, but it attracts a lot of people. When you’re there, you definitely see why Lombard Street is so popular. Once up top, you are privy to the most beautiful views of San Francisco.

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Enjoying San Francisco’s Various Piers…….

My children’s favorite part was seeing so many birds on Alcatraz Island. Christopher’s favorite was the weather (my least favorite). It was very comfortable for him. Temp. changed drastically doing the day. You have to have your jacket just in case. You know me, I will take a bit of sun whenever I can get it. Lunch was my favorite part of the day. I was so looking forward to that clam chowder. I was NOT disappointed.

We had lunch at the Blue Mermaid Chowder House & Bar, Fisherman’s Wharf , Pier 41.

I had to try  the New England Clam Chowder. It was soooooo good. Service was fast. We ate well. Alex never fails to try out different foods. She may choose not to eat more than a bite, but she will always try it. Jordan will not!!  IMG_4981

Between lunch and dinner, we walked and walked; tasting this and that. They had so much fun. We snacked nonstop. I love that. We played on the streets.IMG_8436 IMG_8433 IMG_8435 IMG_8432 IMG_8431 IMG_8430 IMG_8437 IMG_8438 IMG_8439 IMG_8440 IMG_8441IMG_0600IMG_0599IMG_0605IMG_0606IMG_0608IMG_0610IMG_0611IMG_0603IMG_0604IMG_0612IMG_0614IMG_0618IMG_0619IMG_0621IMG_0623IMG_0626IMG_0627IMG_0632IMG_0634IMG_0635IMG_0636

We are definitely making memories. What I love about our family, we truly enjoyed being together. We walked around a bit more before heading back to the hotel to rest (not me). I stayed back to unpack somewhat while Christopher took the children to the hotel pool. It could be 30 degrees and my children would still go full force in the water.

We had dinner at the Wipeout Bar and Grill. My son only had french fries once again. Jordan is not at all adventurous when it comes to food. I’m not worried about him. I know that will change. After dinner, we walked around for about two hours, taking in the sights.  Yes, my little people were exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel.IMG_8450 IMG_8448 IMG_8446 IMG_8444 IMG_8443IMG_0654IMG_0653IMG_0661IMG_0642IMG_0641

Aside

Alcatraz Island: An Inescapable Experience

Unfortunately, we could not stay in to sleep because I had The Alcatraz Tour booked for 11 in the morning. I gave both children a break from homework today. Yeah me!!!! I have to tell you, they were very grateful for that small favor. So we headed out of the hotel room by 9 am.  We quickly figured out where we had to go. We were staying two minutes from Fisherman’s Wharf. We were withing walking distance. We then went to breakfast. From that point on, the day was a breeze. It turned out to be a wonderful day after we got over being tired. We didn’t have to rush anywhere. Jordan and Alex loved the ferry shuttle to Alcatraz Island. It was a bit cool for me , but I was okay.

 

IMG_4977 IMG_4971 IMG_4972 Jordan said that he could swim from Alcatraz Island back to Pier 31 in about 5 hours. He would have no problems. I think he could PROBABLY do it…….in a little more than 5 hours……if he doesn’t get eaten by a big shark.

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IMG_0483IMG_0489IMG_0493IMG_0496IMG_0499IMG_0502IMG_0505IMG_0508IMG_0515IMG_0520IMG_0544IMG_0545IMG_0551IMG_0555IMG_0557IMG_0558IMG_0562IMG_0565IMG_0566IMG_0571IMG_0572IMG_0575IMG_0458IMG_0578IMG_0579IMG_0580IMG_0581IMG_0582IMG_0584IMG_0585IMG_0590IMG_0528IMG_0530IMG_0532IMG_0539IMG_0536IMG_0593IMG_0595There was a lot to take in and experience.

 

Flight Disaster……

This vacation would not be a Chapman Adventure without some glitches along the way. Remember last year, I forgot my license at home. Jeanine had to drive me back home and we almost missed the flight. Well, this year, a little different, but same drama.

You would not believe our start to San Francisco! We were all ready to walk out of the house by 4:45 pm for a 7:26 flight. 3 pm, Christopher received the text that flight was delayed until 9:26. 10 minutes later, another text stating that delayed was ’til 10 pm. 6 pm, (while I’m cleaning kitchen again), text that the flight was delayed until 10:59 pm. No, I’m not joking or happy about the delays. You see, I was done with cleaning, laundry, packing, feeding little people, the fish etc….. The more delays, the more work I still had to do at home. I couldn’t honestly ask my two little angels to sit still until we walked out of the house. Well,….I could have, but they weren’t going to listen. Flight was delayed three times! By 6:30 pm, children were bouncing off of the walls. They wanted to get their vacations started. It seemed, every two minutes they were asking, “Can we go now?” “Is it time yet?” “When are we leaving?” “I’m hungry!”

No more text came, so finally we left the house by 8:45 pm. I’m hoping that I did not forget anything important. Flight did not take off until 11:35 pm. Don’t ask me why! One highlight, the crew on the flight was great throughout the night. They were very attentive to all of the passengers. The children were invited into the cockpit to talk to the pilots and take pictures. IMG_4964 IMG_4963 IMG_4961 IMG_4960 IMG_4959 IMG_4958No complaints about the flight itself. Looking forward to a smooth ride to hotel…….not so fast. We landed in SF around 2:44. The shuttle we reserved said they had no one available to pick us up this late. Baggage claim: 30 minutes later, we were still missing our bags. I wish I was making this up.

United left two pieces of our luggage in Newark. I’m not kidding! I packed extra clothing in the carry on for everyone else except me. Guess which bag was missing? You guessed it. Yours truly! Jordan’s luggage was also missing, but I had clothes for him. Now we’re talking 3:30 SF time ( but really 6:30 am). They all slept on the plane. I did not. Why? I’m too nosy. And because Alex was using me as her pillow. I was afraid if I closed my eyes she’d fall. So how did it all turned out?

United provided transport to the Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf Hotel. The room we reserved was no longer available because of our late arrival. I saw Christopher almost lost it. That was the last straw for him.  The front desk heard Christopher ‘s frustration and they quickly handled the situation. We would keep the small room just until 3 pm.  Needless to say the flight delays had serious impact. It made our first impression of SF not so exciting. OHHHH, did I forget to mention how cold it was. Now who in their right mind felt the need to leave Jersey with 87-90 degrees to come to SF only 47-50 Definitely not me!.IMG_8416 IMG_8412 IMG_8406 IMG_4966 IMG_4968 IMG_8419 IMG_8420 IMG_8421 IMG_8422 IMG_8423

San Francisco: The Golden Gate City

San Franscisco, here we come!!!!

  1. We are heading on the road once again, ready for a new and exciting adventure. Jordan and Alexandra have been counting down days since July 2nd. They are so WIRED about this upcoming trip. I honestly did not think that they were going to sleep the last night. I finally was able to make them relax long enough to go to sleep by 10pm. The work then continued for me. Vacations are wonderful, but so much work goes into every little detail. And if I could learn just one thing……LEARN TO PACK LIGHT….. Of course that’s never going to happen! I’ve tried. Granted, my two babies look absolutely adorable. No matter, I have to do better. Needless to say, I barely slept because I was still packing. Vacation didn’t even start yet, and I’m exhausted.

Homeward Bound……

The Last Hour….

Time to go home! We were leaving Vermont and heading for more snow in NJ. I can deal with that. After a scrumptious breakfast (Christopher cooked), Val took Jordan and Eddie to snowboard one more time. Thank you Val! You know I was done with the snow and the cold. Actually it was 11 degrees. Much better right…..lol! We would not drive in the dead of the night.  I packed while the children played dominoes and had fun.

All in all, the children had a fantastic time. The adults did as well. We enjoyed being together.

A special Thank you goes out to Joyce and Diego Visceglia for sharing their beautiful winter home with us. The two of you are simply the best!!

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Snowmobiles Tours……..-30

Yes, we are going BACK outside!!!

We went back to the house shortly after being out in that dreadful windy freezing cold. Jordan and Alex had to finish their homework anyway. Their teachers do not give homework on the weekends, but we do! Did I forget to mention that Maddie (Alexandra’s Baby) came on the trip as well? Maddie never stays home.

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If I thought it was cold in the morning, just wait until that evening. Did I make you understand how much I did not want to go back outside, not even for a half a second. So by 3:30 pm, we returned all rentals. I’m sorry….Christopher returned everything. I was only going back out when I had to. Val and I got the children ready. Once again, they were so excited. They knew SNOWMOBILE RIDES were coming. Finally it was happening. It didn’t matter how cold it was. Let’s go!!!!! Thank goodness for summer, heat, the beach, the pool, ice cream …..I digress.

My children and I gained so much weight in these past few days. We added more and more layers to fight off the cold. I could barely move. The cold and I just don’t mix. We have a strange relationship. No, I’m not moving to a warmer climate. I like New Jersey. I’m ok with NJ’s weather. I just can’t function elsewhere. Jordan loves the cold. Sometimes, I have to wonder if he’s my child. No kidding! 4:30 pm, we arrived at Stratton Snowmobile & ATV Tours at Stratton Mountain Resort . The children were bouncing out of their seats. The adults went first. One hour and 10 minutes going up the mountain on snowmobiles with the wind whipping us around like ragdolls. With all that said, it was not so bad.

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Buckingham Palace

08/05/13

We are told to always expect the unexpected when it comes to weather in London. No disappointment there!!!! I did not pack with London’s weather in mind at all. Cold one minute; hot the next. It rained several times this Monday, but the rain did not stop the sheer excitement for Buckingham Palace which was our main sight of interest today. Awesome Palace! The children were looking forward to the changing of the guards which is at 11 a.m. everyday.  Would you believe, they did not do the changing of the guards today of all days. There were several signs in bold letters stating, “THERE WILL BE NO CHANGING OF THE GUARDS TODAY”. (They apparently forgot to send me the memo knowing I’be be bringing the children today especially after traveling so far. A simple phone call from one of the Queen’s aids would have sufficed). No, I am not kidding!!!!!  Jordan finds the guards absolutely fascinating. Ever since we went to Windsor Castle and saw the guards, he has been imitating their statuesque movements. He attempts to stand very still like them with a serious face. We all find it quite amusing. He was very upset until he noticed what kind of menace he can get into outside the Palace. We were three families sight seeing today which brings the number to 12 people including 6 children, 2 young adults and 4 adults. You are constantly counting heads. N’diaye’s friend Nora from Paris was also visiting London this week with her two children. We decided to meet at Buckingham Palace. Nora has an 11-year-old Imane and a nine-year-old BOY. Four hyper little boys under 10…….did I remember to pack my Tylenol?  They wanted to climb up and down on all of the statues. My nerves were constantly on edge thinking that they might fall. The last place I wanted to be in a foreign country was the emergency room. Alexandra and Imane were just quietly and patiently observing the chaos that is “the boys”.Please don’t forget to add to the mix  A POUTING TEENAGER!!!

Janel is not happy at all. She pretty much pouted all day long.  She wanted things to move on her pace. Her demeanor was such. She wanted to see Buckingham Palace.  But mostly, she wished that she did not have to deal with the children. She did not want the all-inclusive package of chaotic children. She wanted the freedom to go places with the adults; laugh and take pictures; shop around for this & that; walk at her pace; not always having to wait on children; hearing & seeing the cries; dealing from a distant with the tantrums; tasting great supple dishes everyday; and definitely not having to eat fries and pizza everyday.  (You go ahead and try to come up with a plan for lunch with three families). Not an easy task at all especially when the menu has to also include pizza and fries) . She was miserable with the rain. She had her umbrella with her. However, it was raining this day just to spite her. She was getting a cold which did not make her mood any better. Did I forget to mention that we were in London with another teenager?  N’diaye’s 18- year-old nephew was with us. The difference is that he has three younger siblings ranging from ages 16-6. So he did not come from the entitlement mentally of typical teenagers.  He was very grateful and happy to be on this trip with us. He lives in France, but had the opportunity to go to London until now. Bottom line, you better have the patience of a SAINT to travel  with children no matter what the age.

From Buckingham Palace, we had lunch around 1:30 p.m. More often for lunch, we had very happy children, unsatisfied teenager and the adults were satisfied as long as the children were happy. We made our way to the Science Museum for children. It lived up to it  reputation. One of Jordan’s favorite places to be in NJ was Liberty Science Center. Just about every Sunday afternoon, Christopher took him there to explore. Now Alex loves to go. They each have their favorite floor. The Science Museum in London was very similar to Liberty Science Center except they did not have a floor dedicated to insects & reptiles. We spent over three hours exploring. We were able to take in a live interactive experimental show on rockets. Children were able to answer questions and be part of the experiments. The children were riveted to their seats. A long tired and satisfied day for the children. We said so long to Nora and her children before heading home around 5:45 pm.

See pictures below:

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