Friday, February 17, 2017


Last week we boarded an airplane and headed to sunny California for a week! We travel pretty frequently, but always to visit family, since my entire family is out of state. We had never taken the girls on a vacation just the 4 of us! This last year with foster care has been really hard. Emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally draining. The girls have been such troopers through their little lives being turned upside down...something they never asked for. We really wanted to give them a week that was totally focused on them. And that's just what we did! We loved on them, had tons of fun adventures and made amazing memories together! The girls were at the perfect ages (almost 4, and 5) for a trip like this. I am already wishing we could be back in the warmth and sunshine. We purposely planned this trip for when we knew we would be getting really sick of winter. It was a genius idea except that when we came back it was hard to adjust back to the freezing cold! Here are some pictures (and a little commentary...) about our vacation! 

We had to get up about 4:30 a.m. to get to the airport and it was a long day of travel. 

 We got to see the beautiful sunrise! It was this little lady's first time flying that she can remember (last time she was a baby), so she was extra excited to go on an airplane!

 We got to California about noon (we gained 2 hours going that way) and headed straight for lunch in the sunshine!

We explored around the water for a little while after lunch (with Ben & Jerry's, of course!) and then headed for the zoo for a couple hours until we could check into our hotel! 

We got checked into our hotel, everyone showered and we decided to just order room service and call it a night! We were all asleep between 6-7 p.m. since we had been up since about 2:30 a.m. Cali time! 

The next morning, my oldest was up by 5 a.m., suck on Central was rough! Since nothing opened for hours yet and my little one really needed to sleep, I took her out to explore our little resort area. It was still dark and we were in our pajamas, but it was so quiet and peaceful out. 

 The fish in the ponds were HUGE...she thought they were so cool!
 We were right next to the Marina...I've never seen so many boats in my life.

She and I made an early morning grocery run for some breakfast and snack stuff, and once everyone was up and at 'em we headed for Sea World for the day! 

Saturday, we hit a local farmer's market for breakfast. It was rainy (well, it's what we would call drizzly because we are used to downpours), so there was not a lot of foot traffic. We had so much delicious food and it was really fun to check out the local scene! 

After breakfast, we decided to go back to the zoo for a little while. It rained on and off and was chilly but it wasn't too bad. We did about 1/3 of the zoo at that time maybe and were there for maybe 2 hours until we decided we wanted to be warm and dry!
 This gorilla kept putting his fist up against the window, but would not make eye contact!

 If you look behind us you can see the hippo sleeping with just its nose above the cute. Then look behind that and you can see another hippo snuggled up on its back :)
 Of all the animals we saw, the snail was her favorite. Crazy girl.
As we were leaving the sun peeked out so we decided to grab some lunch. We thought we might go to the Children's museum after, but it had already been a long morning (they were still stuck on central time), so we decided to go back to the hotel to try for naps, and then went swimming for a bit after! (Well, I stayed in the hot tub mostly...60 degrees is not really pool weather!) 
The next day we had plans to meet up with a blogging friend of mine, Jordan, and her family! Some of you may remember her from her blog, The Smelly Life. She and I connected probably close to 7 years ago, when we had first started blogging! We really connected when we were both struggling to get pregnant with our firsts, and then our first daughters were born just a couple months apart. But, we had never met in person, so it was so fun to be out in their area! We grabbed donuts, had a quick breakfast at their place, and then went to the Safari Park! 

 It was so fun to see our kids make friends. It was like we had all known each other forever! 

The girls fell asleep on the way home, and were in so much need of a nap! So we drove to La Jolla and did a spontaneous beach trip. We never ended up making it to where the seals are because they were too obsessed with the ocean to do anything else, so we just went for it. We had no change of clothes or towels, or anything. They did end up regretting their time in the ocean afterwards when the sun was setting and they were freezing, but I think now they would say it was worth it ;) 

The next morning we went back to the zoo one last time in hopes of hitting the animals we hadn't seen yet (even though we had been twice already, we really had only spent a few hours there), but the girls got sucked into the reptile areas and we pretty much did that for an hour and then left! We headed to their children's museum to check that out. It was pretty neat! We spent a couple hours there, then left for lunch and pool time since the sun was finally all the way out! 

That evening, we met up with Jordan's family again to do a sunset beach hike and dinner. It was SO beautiful! 

Tuesday was our last full day there, so we made it Disney day! It was a very long, full, but magical day! We left pretty early in the morning to get down there by the time it opened. 

The next morning was our last day :( We had really wanted to make it to Coronado Island, but hadn't had a chance, so we went over that morning for a couple hours to walk the beach. It was really foggy and overcast when we first got there, but eventually the sun came out for us one last time! The sand was so soft and we just enjoyed walking the beach, playing, and listening to the waves. 

We had a long day of travel ahead (about 12 hours from the time we checked out of the hotel, to the time we got home), but we scheduled a long layover in Denver so that my family could come have dinner with us. We hadn't told the girls, just in case we had a delay or something and it didn't work out, so they were very surprised and excited to see their Grammie, cousins, aunt and uncle! 

We had a quick dinner, then let the girls run around and play! It is always so fun to see them with their only cousins, but also makes me so sad that we all live so far apart :( They were all so sad to say goodbye after a couple short hours. 
We had quite the time getting through security! Because of our oldest's peanut allergy, we have to carry benadryl and an epipen. In San Diego, it took us about an hour to take care of it was a little crazy. My husband ended up having to get a full pat down, and they went through and tested everything in his bag. The benadryl was completely sealed and had never even been opened. We have never had a problem taking it through before! Then in Denver, they flagged us for it again and did the little strip thing and apparently it tested for something. So they had to call over the explosives specialist, go through another pat down, and search and test the bag again. While that was going on, another woman came over and started talking with me and the girls. Turns out we used to live in the same down so we were talking about that and I thought she was just keeping us company until the explosives specialist pointed to me and she gave him a thumbs up behind her! Apparently I was being questioned without realizing it (looking back after that it was pretty obvious by some of the questions she had asked that were seemingly friendly at the time, like asking the kids "oh! is that your medicine?!" Totally thought she was just making conversation, but I'm sure she had things she was looking for.) They finally let us go once they determined we were not terrorists. My travel buddy fell asleep on the plane, but her little sister was wide awake and completely juiced when we got home past midnight! 

My big girl stayed asleep through landing, through me carrying her through the entire airport, getting her into the car and the whole drive home. She was spent!
When we got home and pulled into the garage, we could hear our fire alarms going off. We had gotten a message from the fire department earlier in the week that a neighbor had called and they went over to check it out but didn't see anything wrong from the outside. So we had someone go over and shut it off and that was the last we heard of it. So at this point, we had no idea if it had been going off for several days at this point. I feel so bad if the neighbors could hear that for almost the entire week! We had a 2 in 1 smoke and carbon monoxide detector, and since obviously there wasn't a fire or smoke, we called the fire dept. to come and see if it was carbon monoxide. At this point, I was MORE than ready for bed and just wanted to go inside, but we waited in the car while they checked it all out (the girls slept through the whole thing, luckily). They cleared us to go in and said we probably have a faulty detector. 
We have spent the last couple days doing laundry and getting back on track! It was one of the best vacations I've ever been on! Being able to give our girls our full attention for a whole week was one of the best gifts ever. 
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