Monday, November 25, 2013

CA Family Road Trip: San Diego

The following day, we woke up in Anaheim and played in the pool for a while in the morning before we had to check out. Here's a video you can watch of Trevor and Charlie playing while I sunbathed. It's pretty cute, especially when Charlie thinks he's drowning from the giant splash hahaha!

Mid-day we drove south toward San Diego and made an afternoon stop at Mission Beach. It was such a gorgeous beach!
It was a little cold in the water (as usual) but Charlie just loved it until he got hit by a bigger wave, and then he wasn't so fond of the water anymore. He kept running back towards the bike path on shore and saying "Bye bye!". So, instead of doing much swimming, we decided to take a nice long walk up and down the beach to look at some of the cool beach houses lining the boardwalk.
Pardon my awkwardness in that family photo. Ahem. :) After strolling the beach, we drove about a mile north to this AMAZING little hole-in-the-wall Mexican place we found on Yelp. I think it's called La Perla Cocina. So hard to find, but totally worth it! MMMMmmmm! I want to go back to California just for that food!

After dinner and then dessert at Cold Stone, we drove to our motel for the night. Here's a phone shot of downtown San Diego at dusk:
Our motel that night was a little Days Inn in San Diego. It wasn't *nearly* as nice as the place we stayed at in Anaheim, but it was only for one night so I figured we'd survive. And we did. ;) The next day we got up early and headed over to the San Diego Zoo!

One of the first activities we did was visit the petting zoo. Charlie loved to touch the goats! There came a point where he tripped and fell in the dirt pee-and-poop-stained ground, and that's when I decided we were ALL done. Yuck!
Next we went to the insect house, which was really small, but by far my and Trevor's favorite attraction! Is there a zoo with JUST bugs?! We want to go there. :)

Here's one part of the beehive at the zoo. The cool part is this tunnel that's attached that allows the bees to exit the building and fly around the zoo pollenating all the plant life! Seriously so cool that the zoo has its own bee colony!
They also had a giant wall that showed an ant colony. This picture is above ground, but you could also see all the underground tunnels and chambers they had created!
From the insects, we ventured into the rest of the zoo. We did stop for a show at 11am that was pretty fun where they had sea lions, tropical birds, dogs, and other animals performing and doing tricks. I think Charlie enjoyed that! :) Afterward, for what seemed like an eternity, but was more like 3 hours, we tried to go to as many spots in the zoo as possible! Trevor and I became scientists for the day ;)
And we saw lots and lots of animals:
After the zoo, we packed up the car and Charlie quickly fell asleep for a late afternoon nap! We started our trek back towards Utah, with tentative plans to stay the night in Las Vegas, which turned into St. George, Cedar City, and then just going ALL the way back in one fell swoop. Ugh! 12+ hours of driving AFTER a full day at the zoo was pure torture, and I wasn't exactly happy with Trevor's decision-making at that point, but he did drive the whole time! I have never been happier to be home in my own bed!
It really was such a fabulous first family vacation! We look forward to planning and executing more successful vacations in the near future! :) I hope you have enjoyed seeing our pictures, even though they were mostly taken on my iPhone. Shame on me! Next time I'll break out the nice camera, promise!

Friday, November 22, 2013

CA Family Road Trip: Disneyland

Warning: Fun picture overload!! :)

Here's Charlie on the shuttle our first day going to Disneyland! Look at that cute morning face! Haha.
Once we got there, we grabbed our "First Time Visitor" buttons for Charlie and headed straight for Fantasyland. Our first ride was Peter Pan, which made Charlie cry (ok, let's be honest, most rides that were remotely dark at any point made Charlie cry!). What a sensitive boy! But we quickly discovered that his favorites were the teacups and especially Dumbo! He's trying to wait so patiently for his turn...

After a few rides, we headed back to ToonTown, hoping to find some Mickey Mouse characters to visit and BOY did we luck out! Pluto, Mickey, AND Minnie! And we almost saw Goofy, but right as we got there they told us that Goofy was going on lunch break. :/ Oh well. Charlie was so funny when he saw the characters. He would get so excited that all he could think to do was sit on the ground and look at them with a big grin on his face!
We were getting near nap time by the time we got to see Minnie and Mickey... so his shyness was a little elevated at this point. :)
Can you tell? He doesn't even know how to handle himself when meeting Mickey!
Family feet shot in ToonTown! Right after this, we decided to shuttle back to our hotel so Charlie could take a nap. He was falling asleep on the shuttle ride back and we worked to keep him awake so he could sleep in his pack-n-play. Of course, we put him down, and 1.5 hours later he STILL isn't sleeping. What!?!? Trevor and I were mad that he was wasting our precious Disney time by not napping, so we just decided to head back, and go figure... he fell asleep ON the shuttle on the way back. We just let him sleep for a little bit in his stroller and things were fine. We enjoyed the rest of the day by letting us adults ride some rides like the Matterhorn. I think we may have also gone on the Nemo ride with Charlie, on which he TOTALLY freaked out, poor thing. No one told us there was a sudden, dark, loud, scary part. He just lost it. Word of advice: when the Disney workers tell you "Oh yeah, it's awesome! All the kids love it! You get to meet all of Nemo's friends!".... just remember that they "forgot" to tell you about the scary part. Hahahaha
We started off the next day in Disney's California Adventure park! When we first arrived, we saw a street show where Mickey was singing and dancing and Charlie thought it was pretty fun! Then we went to the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse live show. This was BY FAR the best thing we did the whole time! With bubbles falling from the sky and getting to see Mickey on stage singing the clubhouse songs, he was a pretty happy boy!
I think my pictures are a little out of order. We took the boat ride in Disneyland near the end of the first day, I think, and then ate at a little New Orleans restaurant nearby.
Okay back to California adventure the second day. We stood in line FOREVER to ride the ferris wheel. And we rode the part that swings back and forth. I was surprised, but Charlie actually liked it :) Then he got to ride King Triton's carousel all by himself (we rode nearby), big boy!
And finally, we bought him his first Disney souvenir - a stuffed Mickey! It was love at first sight...
Charlie was starting to get tired (nearly nap time) so Trev and I decided to take turns riding some "big kid" rides. I went first on the Tower of Terror and I was surprised to remember it was even scarier and more awesome than I remembered it! I came off with an adrenaline high and a bit of a headache! Haha :) Then it was Trevor's turn. I told him to take a picture of one of the photos they took on the ride and here it is. Can you spot him?! Hahahahaha...
We also rode the new Cars ride and it was AWESOME! I was surprised I liked it so much, but the concept where you get to race the car full of people next to you is really fun, and the whole ride was very well created and almost lifelike!
Toward the late afternoon of the second day, we ventured back over to Disneyland to let Charlie ride some of his favorite rides again. And Trevor finally got to ride Indiana Jones (his favorite!). We decided that two days was perfect for our little family! In the evening we stopped by the Legoland shop and I was in AWE at their creations. I wanted to buy everything seeing as I LOVE Legos! We ate dinner at the ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney and then started the long trek back to the shuttles and the hotel.
Charlie had a traveling companion in his stroller and on the last shuttle ride back to the hotel. 
It was really a very fun time! I'm so glad we went, even though lots of people thought Charlie might be too young and not appreciate it. There were times when I'd start to second guess the decision of going (like when he was freaking out on the Nemo submarine), but overall I know he had so much fun and we did too! I'm already wanting to go back. Or go to Disney World! :D

Sunday, November 3, 2013

CA Family Road Trip: Anaheim/LA

We arrived at our hotel, the Homewood Suites in Anaheim (which I would recommend to anyone with small children based on the two separated rooms and small included kitchen area) on Saturday during mid afternoon.

After a quick local grocery shopping trip at Vans, Trevor took a nap in the hotel while I took Charlie to a local park about 3 blocks from the hotel for a little play time since we'd been in the car for so many hours. He loved it, and we even made a couple friends while we were there. We did learn that the park was in a semi-sketchy area of town, but I never once felt unsafe, which was nice. Compared to Utah, which starts to get chilly in mid-September, Anaheim was nice and toasty warm, and after playing at the park Charlie had pink cheeks from all the heat. One of his favorite things to do at the park (and everywhere, for that matter) is spin the wheels/cranks that made the gears move.
Trevor and I had previously arranged to have a babysitter meet us at the hotel early that evening so we could have a date night out to the Dodger's game in Los Angeles. How lucky are we to get a babysitter through a personal recommendation in a town where we don't even live!? :) Once we navigated through SO MUCH TRAFFIC to get to L.A., we parked easily and made our way towards the game. The major "fail" of the night was neglecting to buy tickets ahead of time and trying to hunt down ticket scalpers. We ended up paying quite a bit because the game (vs the San Francisco Giants) was completely sold out. Plus we didn't have cash and these guys don't take credit cards. So, the scalper sent Trevor into the stadium with one of the tickets (on his honor) so he could get to the ATM for some cash. I waited outside with the scalper and my ticket. After talking with the scalper, he informed me that Trevor would not be able to leave the stadium and re-enter since the ticket had already been scanned, and would just need to send the cash through the fence to me. I tried calling him and texting him to let him know, but he didn't answer. Next thing I knew he was OUTSIDE the gates with the cash! I figured someone had let him out knowing the situation and that he would get back in just fine. I went through with my ticket no problem, but I soon realized that Trevor wasn't behind me. When they scanned his ticket, they told him that it had already been used and he couldn't enter. I freaked out... we just paid a lot of money for these tickets!! I went up to the ticket taker and tried to help explain the situation to him, but he wasn't having it. Fortunately, by some sort of mercy, he decided to trust us and let Trevor go back in. Whew. What a stressful way to enter a game! Moral of the story: buy tickets ahead of time!

We enjoyed the game from our seats on the front row of the second section up, down the 3rd base line. They were pretty awesome seats! Each of us enjoyed a "Dodger Dog" and Trevor even let me buy a blue Dodger foam finger! Yay :)
After the game, Trevor was really craving tacos from a real-live, legitimate taco truck. We hunted one down using Yelp and enjoyed some really DELICIOUS food! Mmmmm!
The next day was Sunday and we found a local ward that met about 10 minutes from our hotel at 11am. Charlie was so tired from all the fun we'd been having that he fell asleep on the way to church and even stayed asleep as we walked in. He slept through about half of Sacrament meeting looking just like this:
Later, after church, we donned our swimming gear and headed down to Newport Beach for some beach action and dinner. With all the wind and cold water, it was a bit chilly, but that didn't stop Charlie from LOVING every minute of it!
I just love doing vacations with my little family! Soon to come, tales of our adventures in Disneyland!!