So... where was I?? Oh yes. We had just left Sequoia National Park and were on our way to the Sacramento area to see family.
We got to my cousin Ann's house around dinner time. She had planned a family get-together for dinner that evening. I haven't seen my Uncle Tom in well over 20 years, nor my cousins since I was too young to remember. However, two of my cousins and I have been in frequent contact for the past few years (thanks to cell phones and Facebook!) and I was really looking forward to seeing them and my uncle and aunt.
I know this is a fuzzy picture, but it's the best one I have of this group. Maybe I should have used my flash...
From left to right - Robert and Ann, Kampol and Eugenia. Kampol and Ann are my cousins, and the others are their spouses.
From left to right: Kampol, Ann, Tom, and Kanya
Kampol and Eugenia
(They've been married a year and a half, but I think they still count as newlyweds, can't you tell?)
On Thursday, Ann took us on a tour of downtown Sacramento. We started off our day of excitement with a trip on the "Light Rail" (i.e. commuter train). First we got to validate our passes. You know you are a tourist when you find that exciting.
Then we waited for the train.
While we waited, we admired my mother's new hair-do...
...and Ann's beautiful smile.
Once we got on the train, the girls were full of excitement.
Though it was hard to tell by looking at them.
Ann, being the Sacramento native she is, read her newspaper in true commuter style.
We got off the Light Rail near Old Sacramento, and it didn't take long for me to start seeing some beautiful flowers. If I don't remember anything else about California in general, I will remember that everywhere I went I saw colorful flowers that I've never seen before!
Off we headed to Old Sacramento.
This flower (I believe) is a camellia. Apparently I am one of the few people who didn't know what a camellia looked like.
Old Sac has a cool train museum, and nearby is this huge clamp-looking thing.
I don't know what it does, but it sure had Olivia concerned.
We saw the "ziggerat" building (background) and the Delta King. I think Ann told us the Delta King doesn't go up and down the river anymore. They've converted it into an upscale restaurant.
Here's some of the trains we saw parked on the tracks by the river. I'm pretty sure these don't run anymore, but they were fun to see.
As we were walking down the sidewalk, a store employee came out and handed us a coupon for a free sample from one of the candy stores.
The girls had a really hard time deciding.
Then we went across the street to the old school house, where Kelsey pretended she was a "school marm". (Check out the hat!)
Finally, the girls got to visit the coolest store of the day.
For some reason, every time I see this picture it makes me want to sing...
"Walk like an Egyptian..."
"Walk like an Egyptian..."
The girls had a blast trying on these masks.
And Olivia finally bought one to bring home.
From Old Sacramento we headed towards the State Capitol. By this time, our young tourists were complaining about their feet hurting, so we stopped to rest. (We really need to work on these kids' stamina!)
Well, Olivia rested. Kelsey says she "needs" to rest, but then I notice she can't sit still and starts climbing on things.
As we walked through the mall to get to the Capitol, Kelsey saw this statue and insisted I take a picture.
And while looking for the restrooms, we found a giant checkers/chess set instead. The girls wanted to play, which we did for about 10 minutes or so. Until they remembered that we really did need to find that restroom.
Since the restrooms were by the food court, we went ahead and stopped for lunch. Kelsey's fortune seemed inspired: "You could prosper in the field of wacky inventions."
Ain't that the truth.
Finally we got to the State Capitol and it's beautiful grounds.
What child could pass a tree like this and not try to climb on it?
I only got two pictures inside the Capitol itself. One of was of the dome, of course. I think the capitol domes are so amazing every time I see one.
The other picture was of Kelsey by the bear statue outside the governor's office. There were guards outside the door, which made me nervous taking this picture.
Behind the capitol there were more gardens, though the roses we had hoped to see weren't out yet. We did however, see....
this little fella. He's a red-eared slider turtle. We know, because we got to hold one at the zoo once. Now we will never forget.
After the Capitol we headed to the Light Rail stop to go by Ann's office. Kelsey was exhausted, apparently.
And so was Olivia.
We hopped on the train to head out to Ann's office. On the way, Kelsey realized that she had left her sweater at the train stop. She had taken it off to use as a pillow. It was a tragedy! She loves that sweater. So after stopping at Ann's office complex, we got BACK on the train to see if it was still there. This picture was taken when I was trying to show Kelsey how many stops we had left to go before we got to the Archives Plaza where we had boarded.
It was a wonderful day in downtown Sacramento!
That evening we went back to Ann's for dinner, and the headed to the park down the street. Passing (of course), more flowers that I had to take pictures of.
Kelsey loved being able to play with her cousin, Briann.
She's about a year younger than Kelsey, and so adorable. She and Kelsey seem to have a lot of the same energy levels.
Which is nice, because then they can wear each other out.
At this point in our trip, the girls were tired of me taking their pictures. Fortunately for me, Briann loves the camera!
(And her mother.)
I think this photo is my favorite from the playground. Briann really cracks me up.
Friday morning it was time for us to head south back to Riverside. Ann and Briann joined us at the hotel for breakfast before school.
It was a little bittersweet, but we had such a great visit with them.
When I was going through our pictures from the trip for this blog post, Kelsey came in and saw me working. Her comment sums up how we all feel.
"I miss my cousin."
Thanks for the great visit, Ann! Maybe one day we'll get the chance to do it again. Let's just hope it doesn't take another 20 years...