Saturday, October 17, 2015

California: Days 1-3

As so many things do in our world, our California road trip kicked off a bit more slowly than we had hoped.

One of the more unexpected side effects of homeschooling is that our kids tend to run entirely on their own time.  Even though we maintain a pretty well-scheduled routine, getting our kids anywhere in a timely manner is not our strong suit.  

Our intention was to be in the car, on the road around 7 a.m.  

At 7 a.m. back in the world of reality, bleary-eyed children were straggling out of their rooms without pants, all attempts at breakfast were going poorly, and the car stood, trunk open in the driveway only half packed.

After only a little bribery, a lot of patience and some mad running about, we did eventually make it out the door.

We stopped for a picnic lunch in Vail before heading on, ultimately stopping in Saint George, Utah for the night.

We are so lucky that our kids are good travelers.  I had been prepping things to bring for several months, and I had a whole bucket of treasures stored up.  The biggest hit by far, though, were these sticker padfrom Melissa and Doug.  They were great for both kids, although they kept Leah entertained literally for hours.

The next day, we stopped in Vegas for lunch, and to let the kids take a quick look around at the Venetian.

Because... man is there a lot to see at the Venetian!

From the gondolas to all the treasures in shop windows, to gelato and even a living statue.

Vegas was actually a great place to stop with the kids.  There was plenty of space to get out and stretch our legs, and lots to see and do to keep them entertained.

We have done our share of traveling by car, but this year was particularly fun because our littles are big enough to pay attention and enjoy a book on tape.  We listened to Frog and Toad, The Wizard of Oz, and a variety of short books we found on youtube - mostly that they were already familiar with - like Pete the Cat, Room on the Broom and the Rainbow Fish.

I wish that I had taken more photos of our hotel room those first couple of days in California.  We stayed at the Double Tree in San Diego, which had a separate room with a bunk bed for the kids.  They were absolutely thrilled!

I can tell you that they loved the pool!

Even though we didn't get in until about 7:00 that evening, the kids were so excited to get in the pool!

It was really sweet and fun to have the kids all in the same room together.  They did an awesome job, maybe in part because we kept them busy and they were worn out!  Success!  Logan is our little up with the sun boy, and he takes his job as family alarm clock very seriously. 

We came in the next morning to find that he had abandoned his bunk bed in favor of Olivia's pack and play.  Go figure. 

Up first on our California agenda: Sea World!

And it was ah-ma-zing!!!

The kids had so much fun exploring, touching and learning about these little sharks.  Along with our CC curriculum, we're learning all about animals - classification, vertebrates vs. invertebrates, etc, and at the risk of getting all "educational" (c'mon, you knew I would, right?), this was such a fun opportunity to take an up close and personal look at the things we've been memorizing.

They also stuck their hands into this little pool of sucker fish - much to their mother's horror.  ICK!

We had such a fun morning.  But the stars of the day, by far, were the whales and dolphins.  

Because, that face right there?  It's exactly how we all felt!

Oh my.  They are incredible. 

Even Livvy gaped and smiled and clapped and pointed with all the excitement her 14 months could muster. 

It was so much fun.  It really reminds us of the wonderful world God created for us to enjoy, and how important it is that we are good stewards of our world.  

We had lunch at the park, and a little somebody got pretty sleepy.  We are lucky that she is still in baby mode - Olivia fell asleep right on me.  While she slept, we went inside where it was cool and dark to see the aquarium.  

After the littlest one woke up, we pet and fed some stingrays. 

I was super proud of Leah, who went on a raft ride with me that was really fun and quite grown up. 

And, of course, we got soaked!

After little ice cream, we were ready to watch the dolphin show, which was equally as awe-inspiring as watching the whales.  

I love, love, love dolphins!  They are magical!

The kids were pretty enthralled, too.

Despite the fact that we had warned the kids that they would get wet if we sat down low, they insisted.  Adamantly.  They wanted to get splashed, they said.  It would be fun, they insisted.

Of course, when push came to shove, and they actually got soaked, it wasn't quite as endearing.  There was a bit of crying.  It may or may not have been hysterical.  And some very last minute running up the stairs to reach drier ground.  

It was an absolutely wonderful way to kick off our vacation.  Our little adventurers had such an awesome time!  And, because I am sappy, I have to mention that it is entirely more fun to experience these moments with my children, through their eyes, than simply on our own.  

And, I have to make special mention of my wonderful husband, who made one of my life-long dreams come true!  But, that's a topic for another post. 

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