Expect the Unexpected!

I’ve been thinking about his post for a while now…as our trip to California was nearly two months ago and it’s taken me this long to not only get through all of the incredible pictures, but to process the trip in general.

The girls did great on the flights out – Reese and I were a little nervous about the tin can that we flew to Denver in and the wind that accompanied us, but Sylvia was cool as a cucumber and kept us in line. Cyndi met us at baggage claim late Thursday evening and things could not have gone smoother…claiming bags, getting car seats in the car, getting dinner, and getting the girls to bed so that we would be prepared for a fun day at the zoo.

And We're Off to San Fran

A little apprehensive about the flight

My View...Little Plane

The zoo on Friday was fabulous. We enjoyed lovely weather – warm with just the right amount of humidity and Reese entertained us with animal impersonations at each exhibit. It’s a great zoo…just the right size for a 3 year old to explore in one afternoon, yet we still managed to wear her out! During the entire trip, Cyndi kept saying, “we should go here or we need to do this,” but there’s only so much you can do with two kids and 3 short days! I guess we’ll have to go back.

Lovin the new stroller set up

Hanging with her Godmother

When in Rome...

She scraped her leg at the most opportune time to pose as a flamingo


Train Time

The Carroll Girls

This is what you get after a day at the zoo

Here’s where the first “unexpected” comes in… Let me preface this by saying that the half marathon was amazing and awesome! I would do it again in a heart beat…okay many, many very fast heart beats, but I would do it again. The thing is that we encountered about 3 times the vertical footage that we expected. It nearly did us in, but our efforts were rewarded with incredible views of San Francisco, the Bay and Golden Gate Bridge! Wish I could provide more pictures, but I didn’t carry a camera, so we’ve only got beginning and ending photos provided by our cheering section – Todd and Reese! Another little unexpected tidbit came in a complete blast from my past. At about mile 6 or 7, we wound our way down and through a group of stables…suddenly, I had a flashback and told Cyndi that I had been there before during 4th grade field trip – absolutely no doubt in my mind! I distinctly remember stepping in a runny cowpie – this was a big deal before I became a Montana Girl.

Pre 13 miles and 2600 vertical - So, so Naive

Happy Birthday Cyndi Lu

One More Hill at the Finish

Good Stuff

Ready to hop in the car

So, we survived the run, we treated ourselves to pedicures and mochas, we forced everyone else to join us for sushi, and basically relished the rest of the day. All of those things almost cost as much as Sylvia’s babysitter for the 5 hours we were gone…gotta love San Francisco!

Sunday could not have been a more beautiful day. We headed to one of the Wheeler’s favorite spots – Crissy Field. It’s an old military air force base that’s located at the entrance to the Bay, so it has incredible views of the city and of the Golden Gate Bridge. In this case, pictures say more than words!!! I love the pictures from this portion of the trip…it was so hard to decide which ones to use here.

Reese at Crissy Field

Cyndi and the Girls


Yes, Todd was there too

I felt like Paparazzi taking this pics

After soaking up some sun and salt water, we cruised around the city – we even did the ultimate touristy drive down Lombard Street under the guise that, “we might as well because the girls are asleep anyway.” Thanks to Todd and Cyndi for humoring us. We finished up the day with a quick stop at a local chocolatier, some wine and cheese on the Embarcadero and the most unexpectedly delicious mocha ever at Blue Bottle Coffee. I would go back to San Francisco for one more mocha.

On the Embarcadero

Todd drove Lombard Street at about 60 mph

Hang with me folks…this post is only half way finished!

On Monday, Cyndi’s 35th Birthday and our motivation for making this trip, the girls and I headed out. Just prior to making the trip, we learned that Jeff had a business trip to CO, so we decided that we would just skip our flight from Denver to Billings and meet him in Denver so that we could enjoy some time with our Colorado Family. Apparently the airlines frown on this. I thought the hard part of my day was over when I got the girls and all of our stuff from the curb to the counter…so, so, so naive. The poor lady at the gate really didn’t want to only check my suitcase and the car seats to Denver – after some intense pleading and a few tears, so agreed to check the suitcase and made me take the car seats. The car seats alone would not have been a problem, but I also had a stroller, a diaper bag, Reese’s backpack and oh yeah – TWO SMALL CHILDREN to lug through security! Fortunately, TSA was very helpful and we managed to board the plane. Again, I thought I was all set because I’d arranged for Jeff to meet me at the gate to haul all the stuff through DIA. What I didn’t anticipate this time is that Frontier might break our stroller – WOW! What a fiasco. I’ll spare you the rest of the crazy details and leave it that after a strongly worded letter to Frontier, they paid for the wheel and I won’t be trying to cut another trip short again soon.

As usual, we really enjoyed our time in Colorado. We spent a few days with Bob and Char. We went out shopping with Grandma Dee, we had a great dinner with my cousins Amanda and Autumn (and finally got to meet their kiddos), and we spent a couple fun days in Fort Collins with Casey and Shannon. All the while, Jeff was having a grand time in Aspen!

Reese loved the manequins

Blue Eyed Beauties

Tickle Tickle

Cookie decorating with Lawrences and Hurleys

Reese and Jillian


Happy Sylvia

Uncle Casey bringing the smiles

Sylvia's gettin high

Getting love from Aunt Shannon

Big Man on a little slide

Out to coffee with Mom and Dad

World's Best Uncle

The final unexpected event of the trip came with a call from my Grandmother that Grandpa wasn’t doing well and needed to get to the hospital. As with all of the other unexpected events of the trip, the outcome was also better than expected. Grandpa did have a tumor in his lower intestine / colon, but they successfully removed it and he’s doing quite well. Casey and I were able to meet Grandma and Grandpa at the hospital and see them through day 1 of what turned out to be a 6+ week ordeal. I was so thankful to have been there and even more thankful that everything has turned out okay.

What a trip! Regardless of some unexpected experiences that I might not have chosen, it turned out to be an incredible trip with my two special girls that I will cherish forever.

In case you didn’t get enough pictures, click here to see the Kodak Gallery of all the April photos.

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