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create your own personalized map of the USA

Hmm, I need to get cracking on the upper New England States.  And Alaska.
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Where in San Francisco can someone get really good sushi?  G and I are celebrating our birthdays while we're out there by skipping dinner here and going for something good!  He wants sushi...any ideas??
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I need some suggestions....

We are looking to do a family reunion with my mom's brothers and sisters "before Grandma dies" which they have been warning about for years now. But anyway, we are looking for something not TOO expensive in a warm place. Possibly in January, but anytime between late Aug. and, well, next summer. March could also be a good possibility with spring break. We will have kiddos from about 6-12, a high schooler, possibly my sister, me, my mom's sibs, and my grandma, who is not super mobile. So there needs to be enough to do to keep the kiddos entertained, yet not a crazy active place that grandma needs to be running around.

Initial ideas were the FL keys or NC, but that puts us in hurricane season, so that might get vetoed. If you are thinking that, too, any ideas on how to find a big ol' beach house in those areas? Any other ideas??
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WE ARE *OFFICIALLY* GOING TO CALIFORNIA THIS SUMMER!!!!

After work on Friday, G picked me up and we went to his house for Chinese food with his mom. After dinner, we booked our flight and looked into hotel and car reservations. (Need to go to AAA to see if we can get some discounts through them before we book those!) This will now be four major birthdays that I'll miss spending with the fam. (16 at ASP, 18 in Africa, 21 on ASP and now 25 at a wedding in CA!) The past three have been worth it--I am guessing this one will be, too! =)

On Saturday morning, I woke up and made a Target run with Tania. Then she and Kym went to Montgomery Mall, but I had to go to White Flint to pick up my pictures, so I didn't get to go with them there. After I got my pictures, I went to Borders to see if I could find any books on driving Highway 101 out in CA, since that's part of our trip this summer, but nothing really stood out to me. I went to AC Moore Crafts afterwards and got this huge 28-opening picture frame on clearance for $14.50, which I am excited about using for a new Project. I think I want to find baby pictures of me and Jes and our mom and dad and then throw in a couple of G and his sister (since they are so darn cute too!) and frame 'em all up. We'll see how that goes...

After running my errands, I spent about an hour organizing my pictures into chronological order, then got about 1/6 of them put in an album in another hour. I went to G's house and we headed to Silver Spring to meet up with his friend Eugene. After a less than stellar performance at Chick-fil-A (seriously, the girl who took my order was an idiot) we were back at another Borders to meet Eugene. We decided to go to Coldstone Creamery for dessert and we waited in line for AN HOUR AND A HALF. And there were...maybe 20 people ahead of us. The guys working there were even dumber than the Chick-fil-A girl. Ugh. But my Strawberry Shortcake ice cream was totally worth it, plus we got to talk and hang out, which was what we wanted in the first place. After ice cream, we went back to Borders (again!) to look at some books, then headed home. I went home after Weekend Update on SNL, since we were both falling asleep at that point.

Sunday I woke up late, skipped breakfast, and raced to church. Jes came in even later than I did, so I felt less bad. ;) We had a great sermon, then Jes and I went down to Fellowship Hall to find Dad. We talked to him for a little bit, then Jes left and I changed into scrubby clothes. Yesterday was our Middle School vs. High School UMYF Superbowl Game. I QB'd at first and almost threw a touchdown, but it was not to be, so the High Schoolers took over right at our endzone. After a quick interception by one of my co-counselors, the Middle Schoolers had the ball back. I passed on QBing and ended up as a reciever and caught the first touchdown of the day!!! (And had a nifty little touchdown dance! =P)

After the Mudbowl ended, I headed back home to spend some more time with Dad. We looked through some old photos of my mom to help me with my Project, but we couldn't find any of him, so we have to wait for Mom to get home and tell us where they are. (My Mom went to Copenhagen for the week with some friends, since she's never been before. Yeah. Talk about disposable income!) I headed over to G's and made it a little before 6, so we were off to Giant for burrito fixin's, a la Chipotle. We had a YUM dinner with his mom, then watched the game. YAY STEELERS!!! This is the first time that "my team" has won the Superbowl when G and I have watched it together. Afterwards, we watched "Grey's Anatomy" which was quite excellent, but left us with a cliffhanger. I hate that!!!

Today I am sooo sleeeeeepy!! Apparently, everyone is, though, since I talked to both our office administrator and maintenance guy and they both said they were dragging today as well. But I am super happy from this weekend and I am getting totally excited about planning our CA trip! I'm probably going to take off a little early on Thursday to meet G at the AAA office near him so we can get books and maps and all that other fun stuff AAA gives you!
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Vegas rocked.

We went in almost every casino on the strip:
*The Wynn (new $3 Billion dollar one that was GORGEOUS)
*The Bellagio (and its fountain show)
*The Mirage (and its light/fountain volcano show)
*Treasure Island (went to Kahunaville for drinks and got TANKED but missed the pirate ship show)
*Cesear's Palace (damn that mall is LONG)
*New York, New York (can't think of anything for this one)
*The Flamingo (it has PINK windows!!!)
*Excalibur (where mom won $23 on a quarter slot machine)
*MGM Grand (where you could pay $200 cash to hold a baby lion for 5 minutes)
*Paris (went up in the Eiffel Tower)
*Imperial Palace (where we stayed and went to the Auto Collection)
*The Venetian (can't think of anything for this one either)
*Harrah's (where Jes won $6 on a penny slot machine)
*Alladin (where Miss America contest was the day we left)

We saw two shows:
*Cirque du Soleil's Mystere at Treasure Island - AWESOME! It was all about dance and acrobatics and elaborate costumes and opera music that reminded me of The Fifth Element. Grandma kept falling asleep but I kept poking her awake since she really wanted to see this one.
*Blue Man Group at The Venetian - AWESOME! Most of their show was about music and lights and they played a lot of PVC-made instruments. Grandma kept falling asleep (despite the fact that they handed out EARPLUGS since it was so loud!!) but we let her sleep through this one!

We went to one nightclub: (well, Jes and I did)
*Studio 54 in MGM Grand - Fun until the house music came on. I don't understand why DJ's take perfectly good dancing songs and muck them up so you can't even find a beat. The average age of the patron in this club was probably 45 and to see them try to dance to a trancey/ravey kind of music was quite entertaining.

We did a buffet almost every day we were there:
*A few at the Imperial Palace because it was there and convenient.
*One at The Bellagio which was HEAVEN. Oh my. One of the best offerings of food I have EVER had. I took much pictures of just our desserts, which were sooo yummy.

The weather was ok...mostly in the 50's, but not rainy, so that was good.

All in all...FABULOUS trip!! I had a blast. =)
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We leave for Vegas early tomorrow morning! WHEEEEE!!!!
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My little sister is now 21!!!!

As Erik wrote on her card, "Hide the children, the McClurg's are drinking as a team!!!"

Last night was so very fun celebrating Seeby's birthday.

We leave for Las Vegas on Wednesday morning.

What a super week!!!
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Mostly for myself, but if anyone wants to know what I am taking to the beach, read on!

swim suit
clothes
queen size sheets
pillows
blanket? (I'll try to remember to bring one)
towels for bathing
towels for beach
athletic shoes/socks/clothes
tennis racket/tennis balls
food from Jen's house
beach mats
beach chairs
alcohol from G's house
phone charger
food from McClurg's house--cold cuts and frozen dinner
cooler
SUNBLOCK!!!!

Does it look like I'm missing anything?
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This weekend was phenomenal. Yes, it was really that good.

I took Friday off and G and I drove up to Boston. WOO Boston! We left around 7am and even with an hour stop for lunch, we made it to our hotel by 3:30ish. We were staying about 45 mins from Boston near Concord, so after we checked in we checked out a map and decided to do some random touring. We ended up in Concord and we saw the monument where "the shot heard 'round the world" took place--basically, the shot that started the revolutionary war. It was so neat to be in such a historically significant place the weekend of July 4th!

Saturday we had pre-bought tickets to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts where Ralph Lauren's AMAZING car collection was on show.  Here's the link to that info (Speed, Style, and Beauty) and here's a link to some photos that other people took of the cars.  When I get mine posted, I'll put that up for y'all to check out.  After the museum, we did part of the Freedom Trail through downtown Boston and ended at Paul Revere's House in Little Italy.  After a SO yummy Italian dinner, we headed back to Quincy Market to check out some shopping and have some ice cream.

On Sunday, we met up with a friend of G's and 2 of his friends and we all went down to Newport, RI.  WOOO BEACH!!  Unfortunately, I left the sunblock at our hotel, about 2 1/2 hours away.  Fortunately, we got there around 1:30ish, so we didn't get too much of a sunburn.  After the beach, we walked around Newport for a bit and got dinner.  Then we drove down Ocean Drive, which has all of the holy-freaking-cow-these-are-the-biggest-houses-I've-ever-seen-in-my-LIFE mansions.  And we saw the sunset.  Pretty.  Then we headed over to some park and got to see fireworks over the harbour.  AWESOME!!!!!!!  G and I got back to the hotel pretty late and we were exhausted.

Yesterday we got up and headed back to MD.  My dad gave us directions home that let us totally bypass NYC, which was great in terms of traffic.  After dinner at G's uncle's house, we headed back home.  We caught the tail end of Wheaton fireworks, then hauled all my stuff up to my room and looked at my digital pics, a lot of which turned out great.

All in all, a FABULOUS trip!!!!  It was just great.

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