Monday, April 29, 2013

California - Part 1

We just spent the most amazing week in California.  Mike had meetings for four days in San Diego and then we extended our trip couple days so that we could take the boys to Disney Land. It was such an awesome family vacation.  I want to do it all over again! :)

Part 1 - San Diego

Out of all the flights we have taken with the kiddos, this was probably my most favorite/easiest.  Yes, most favorite flight MUST be combined with easiest.  For starters, we left at the perfect time.  Our flight went out at 11:15am.  Not too early, not too late.  It seems like every time we are traveling somewhere we end up on an 8:00am flight...meaning we have to leave our house at 5 or 6am, waking up at 4am.  That is usually not fun for any of us...eek!

The kids were able to get a full night of sleep the night before which made for a very happy morning. :)

Oh...on a side note...
At about 3pm on Friday, the day before we needed to be in California, I realized our flight was booked for SUNDAY.  I frantically called Mike to tell him the news and he quickly called Southwest Airlines. They were amazing.  We were prepared to buy completely new tickets because we HAD to be there on Saturday.  Southwest completely reimbursed us and booked us on the Saturday morning flight.  The whole process, from the time I first called Mike to the solution of our problem, took about 15 minutes.  I was thoroughly impressed by their customer service.

Our little pilots waiting to board the plane.  Poor daddy's back had to be killing him.  These boys are getting so big...and heavy! They love their daddy so much.  Mike is a total trooper for always carrying our precious cargo.

Just found our seats! Time to get situated for the 5 hour flight to Vegas! 

Every single time we fly Braxton grabs the sky mall magazine and browses.  He's so funny.  He likes to shop in the air as much as his mommy! ;)

Our little cuties kept busy watching a few episodes of Bubble Guppies and other things we downloaded on the iPad.  It didn't keep them occupied the ENTIRE flight but we were able to use it for an episode...then have a snack...then another episode...then snack....iPads and snacks made the flight run pretty smoothly. 

This picture cracks me up.  I knew Brenton was going to need a nap during the first leg of our journey. At home, we just put him in his crib and he just quietly rolls around until he falls asleep. It's perfect.  This sweet boy cannot fall asleep without tossing, turning and crying when he's in your lap.  I knew he'd fall asleep eventually....but I'd have to wrestle the alligator for a bit until he would finally konk out. Braxton and Mike are clearly not phased by the craziness that is happening on my lap.  Brax is in another world with his headphones and iPad....and Mike..well, he got up at 5am to run into work for a quick meeting before we took this flight.  He was exhausted.  

 ....aaaaand, he's out! I absolutely loved this snuggle time with my little boy.  Moments like this do not come around very often.  I soaked up every last second of it!
Sleepy Daddy! 

Braxton was so tired too.  The boys were amazing.  I could not have asked for a better flying scenario.  I was a very proud mommy! 

We made it to San Diego! 

This is us...and ALL of our stuff waiting patiently for the rental car shuttle to pick us up.  Two carseats, two suitcases, two back packs, a computer bag and two kids...with one stroller. Some day we will be able to travel more lightly!  

On the shuttle! Brenton is ready for bed at this point.  Our flight landed in San Diego at the same time he goes to bed back home. 

Braxton took a great snooze on the plane so he's ready to take San Diego by storm! :) 

Made it to our hotel! 

Checking out the views of the bay and the city. 

Hellooooooo San Diego!!! 

Snuggled up waiting for dinner.  

Mike's 20 group always does a big group dinner during the meetings. After a long travel day and a 3 hour time difference we opted to keep the kiddos at the hotel with me while just daddy went to the dinner.  The boys got to eat a room service carpet picnic in our room.  They loved it! They were so tired - they were both asleep by 6:30 California time (9:30 Florida time...).   

This little guy woke up at 4:30 and was ready for the day.  This is him snuggled in the big bed at 6:30am when he was already ready for his nap.  The first couple days of adjusting to the time were a little rough - but we did it! :) 

Wiki Sticks....Such an awesome toy to play with while traveling! They entertained the boys for the longest time...with NO mess! :)

While Mike had his meetings the kids and I took the 20 minute walk down to Seaport Village.  It was such a cute little area with tons of places to shop, eat and play.  The boys had the best time watching the boats, the live music and checking out the cutest toy store I have ever seen! 

We love to make wishes in fountains! 

Braxton was so fascinated with the Seal land and sea vehicles. 

The Birds...YUCK.
The only thing me and the boys were not a fan of at Seaport Village were the birds. The obnoxious, bold, disgusting birds.  Gross. Sorry...I'm all grossed out just typing about them!

The kids and I walked to the village super early in the morning.  Since the boys woke up around 4:30am they were itching to get out of the room by 8am. The only places that were open when we got there were coffee shops and breakfast joints. Braxton decided he wanted to find a place with blueberry muffins....and this momma needed coffee. Badly. We found a cute little seaside cafe that advertised fresh pastries.  We walked in and my little muffin man sadly found out they did not have blueberry muffins at the moment.  They did have carrot and zucchini muffins but they might as well have told him that he could get a big delicious bowl of brussel sprouts in place of a sugary muffin. He was disappointed.  The nice man working the counter was able to sell him on a delicious blueberry scone.  The only reason this is really even relevant to say, is that "scone" has now become a part of my 3 year olds daily vocabulary.  It cracks me up.  Just this morning he asked if I know how to make scones so that he could have some for breakfast.

....looks like I'll be paying my gooseberry patch cookbook a visit soon for delicious scone recipes!

We took our food to one of the little outside tables to eat and watch the boats.  Within seconds of sitting down we were attacked by the most obnoxious birds I have ever seen.  Living in Florida you see obnoxious sea gulls regularly at the beach....these topped any seagull I have ever scene. These things were sitting on top of Brenton stroller.  Walking across our table and biting bits of scone out of Braxton's hand.  It was terrible.  We lasted maybe 5 minutes at this table and then had to pack up our food and leave.

We're being surrounded! 

Notice the bird just sitting on our table eyeing B's scone? Yuck. 

Brenton was NOT impressed.  Check out the big bird right by his foot.  

Poor Braxton was so annoyed too. 

Here he is shooing one of the bold birds away.
 What a mess.  Thankfully, we were able to find a new location on a bench where the birds did not bother us anymore!

Me and the boys hanging out at our new bench.  Birdie free! 

Such a monkey! 

The San Diego fire dept. was exercising at the village that day. The boys loved watching the big red fire truck. 

A view of some of the shops at the village. 

These sweet little ducklings were such a special treat! The boys and I were watching all the birds on the lake when out of nowhere this momma duck and her babies came walking right in front of us.  The baby ducks stayed right at Braxton's feet for the longest time and would follow him wherever he moved.  I think they may have like his semi-undone shoelace? It was just precious! They were as cute as can be.

Brenton was so excited over the ducks.  He said like this the entire time quacking.  Quack! Quack!

Day 2! The boys played on the iPad while I got dressed for the day.  Braxton is such a sweet helper.  His latest thing to say is "Ok Brenton, let me teach you.  I can teach you this baby." 

The boys and I ran down to a little breakfast joint at the bottom of our hotel.  I ordered this meal for them to share....about 5 minutes later everything was gone and they were asking for more eggs! I was able to get a plate of just eggs for these growing boys. I think the days of them sharing one meal may be behind us! 

After Mike finished his meetings, we headed to the San Diego Zoo.  On the way to the zoo is where we first heard of the terrible bombings at the Boston Marathon. I prayed for the victims, their families and their friends and asked God to cover them with comfort and strength.  Such a senseless act.  It just makes me sick to my stomach. 

When we arrived at the zoo, Braxton spotted peacocks just walking around the entrance.  He was SO fascinated. They really are an amazing bird.  Their colors and their size are just beautiful! I'll admit, I was just as intrigued as him! Brax and I would have probably been satisfied just hanging out with the peacocks all day! 

The SD Zoo does an awesome double decker bus tour that will show you 70% of the zoo during your 45 minute ride.  We opted to do this right as we walked in since we really didn't have a game plan for our visit.  This helped show us what animals we could see as well as giving fun facts about each animal along the way.   Braxton and I sat at the back of the bus and Brenton and Daddy had seats in front of us.  I have a couple pictures of them - but they must be on my camera, not my phone.  I'll add the camera pics soon! :) 

Since it was only day 2 - our boys were still on FL time.  Brax was so tired that he ended up dozing off the last 15 minutes of the ride. 

This beautiful giraffe is pregnant...they said she was due any day.  The baby giraffe is already 6 feet tall ...the gestation period for a giraffe is 14 months. A 6ft baby? 14 month pregnancy? I am so glad that I am not a giraffe!! Holy smokes!

I was so so SO excited to see the panda!  I have never seen a panda in real life.  This animal was amazing.  He was just sitting there eating shoots of bamboo - it was seriously exactly what I pictured seeing a panda would be like. You always see pictures of bamboo and pandas - and it was JUST THAT. Ha! Perfect!

As we were watching this panda - natured called for this amazing creature.  Braxton yelled out as the panda was going "OH NO!! Guys! Oh no!!! The panda is spilling all over the place! He's spilling all of his stuff!" Mike and I - and all the people that could hear him, were laughing so hard.  He's such a funny kid.  Kids say the darnedest things....

My three sweet boys.  Daddy is such a champ.  He walks around with both of them hanging off of him all the time.  His back must be so sore at the end of the day, but he never complains.  He's always so happy to be hanging onto his boys.  He loves his boys so much - and they are over the moon in love with their daddy. :) Makes my heart smile. 

Next, Braxton decided it was time to see the tigers.  The only way to the tigers was to take a massive hike.  We weren't sure where the elevators or the ramps were located so Daddy, the champ, carried Brenton in his stroller up many flights of stairs.  This was my view as Brax and I walked behind him.  He's a trooper. A serious trooper. 

Our navigator.  Braxton has a new love of maps and directions.  He was our tour guide as we wandered around the zoo :) 

So cool to see so many animals this close. 

Watching the gorillas. 

Sweet, sweet Brenton was thoroughly amazed by the hippos.  He even said hippo for the first time while we were at the zoo! (I was even able to capture that on video!) He ran back and forth clapping and laughing at all the fish and the two pigmy hippos. 

Look how excited he is!! 

After what seemed like miles of hiking and stair climbing, we found the tigers! 

The tiger did not disappoint. It paced back in forth in front of us for the longest time.  It was awesome.  The truly are beautiful animals ---- as long as i'm on this side of the plexiglass! ;)  

Look at those huge paws! 

We had so much fun at the San Diego Zoo.  So many people told us that we HAD to go while we were out there.  We've been to Zoos...we weren't exactly sure how this one could be different.  We were happily truly was a must see! The zoo is huge.  Any animal you can imagine calls this place home.  I was very impressed. Next time someone tells me they are going to San Diego, I will be one of those people telling them that they MUST go to the zoo! ;) 

After the zoo we drove around and toured the city a bit.  We stumbled upon Petco Park where the SD Padres play.

This is the Gas Lamp District with tons of shopping and places to eat.

We decided we were going to try and have dinner in the Gas Lamp District after the zoo.  It was about 5:30 and we thought we may be able to sneak a quick dinner in before the boys got over tired.  We were wrong.  Bless their hearts...they were troopers for the most part but right as our dinner arrived at the table poor Brenton needed to go to bed.  Our sweet little peanut normally goes to bed around 6 or 6:30 at home (not by OUR choice....he hangs on his crib and wants bedtime!).  He loves his sleep.  In his mind it was 8:30 and he was done.  He and I walked outside and I snuggled and rocked him (which was SO much better than dinner anyway....he's getting so big, I don't get to do that very often!) and Mike and Braxton packed up all of our food so that we could eat it in the hotel room.  This picture captures the scenario perfectly.  Braxton was quiet and over it.  Brenton needed bed ASAP.  At this point Mike is searching youtube for Mickey Mouse episodes to buy us a little extra time.  It helped for a few minutes but our boys needed their beds.  Fast. 

The next morning Mike wrapped up his meeting and the kids and I packed up the hotel room.  As soon as Mike finished we were headed North to Anaheim to spend some time at Disney Land! 
The boys watched a little television while I finished getting everything together.  Brenton was so ready for a nap.  I love this picture of him laying next to Brax watching TV. 

We had such a fun time in San Diego! It was really fun to go to a place that none of us had ever been.  
I loved the city, I found it and its people delightful.  I would definitely go back again! 

Next stop.....DISNEY LAND!! Part 2 will be up soon! 


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