We just got back from a week in southern California. It was heaven.
The kids were so excited for a vacation-- we all were!
We split the drive there into two days. We stopped in Vegas the first night and had a great time walking around in warmer weather and seeing some sights!
We met my sister's family at the Sugar Factory for dinner on the strip. It was a lot of fun (though very loud!) and the food was awesome. They have a candy store adjoining the restaurant with cool stuff like popcorn frozen with liquid nitrogen (your mouth "smokes" when you eat it!)
The next day we woke up and drove the rest of the way to Anaheim. We got in some beach time at Huntington beach in the afternoon. It wasn't super warm, but the kids had a blast and got to run off some of their energy after being in the car.
I sort of love this picture.
On a side note, that night we tried a pizza place called "Pieology" and it was AWESOME. Highly recommend.
The next morning we were ready for Disneyland!
Bode has a special bond with my dad and wanted to hug and be near him the entire trip. While we were waiting for the shuttle, he stayed in this position without moving for a good 10 minutes.
The kids met some of their favorites early on:
Seriously, February is the time to go. We either walked right on or waited less than 10 minutes for 90% of the rides. Soooo nice!
I got to go on the Winnie the Pooh ride with his #1 fan:
Outside the Haunted Mansion
Daddy getting some love in line for Pirates of the Caribbean
Disneyland can wear even this kid out
Waiting for the parade down Main Street Disney with grandma
The parade was so much fun!
As soon as we got back to the hotel and the kids' heads hit their pillows, they were out.
We rode Astro Blasters several times. We love that ride! I am especially proud of the fact that I beat Sean a total of three times-- a MAJOR accomplishment in my book.
Bumper cars with my buddy
… and these cool cats
In line for Midway Mania-- another family favorite (Lookin' good, Sean!)
California Screamin'. My favorite is Hayley's face in this picture. She was so brave! This ended up being her favorite ride.
And then there was the magical place known as Cars Land.
A dream come true for this kid.
Seriously, Cars Land is amazing. It literally transports you into the movie and is darling. SO much fun.
Luigi's flying tires:
Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. Bode's all-time favorite ride. We rode this one over and over because it brought our little butterball so much joy :)
Radiator Springs Racers:
We also rode this one several times and it was one of our new favorites. I am still in awe at how well done this ride is.
Tower of Terror:
Jackson is usually pretty fearless when it comes to roller coasters, however, he did not love this one. He made sure to tell me he never wanted to ride it again and that it was "a little bit scary."
Bode found this hat in California Adventure and wouldn't take it off. I thought it fit his personality so well that I bought it :) Of course he wasn't as interested in wearing it after I bought it!
We also bought the big guy his first set of ears:
Heading to Soarin' Over California. This was an important ride for Mr. Max and grandpa. Max (and my dad) were pretty sad when he was too short to ride it two years ago. This time he made the height requirement and loved it!
We knew we needed to make meeting Pooh Bear a top priority, seeing as Bode LOVES him. We also got to meet Tigger:
Bode running up to Pooh and giving him a big hug with a huge, toothy grin on his face is something I will remember for a long, long time. Sean and I both think it was one of the very best moments of the entire trip. He had been kind of a bear himself that morning, but when he saw Pooh, he turned into a big softie :)
At the end of the night, Jackson and I rode Star Tours together. Sean got sick on this one a few years ago, so we almost skipped it, but I am so glad we didn't because it ended up being one of Jackson's favorites.
We ended the night riding Astro Blasters one more time as a family. It was a great ending to three days of so much fun. As we were walking out of the park on the final night, I couldn't help being choked up. Such a great time.
The next morning, we ventured south to San Diego. We spent the afternoon at Sea World. Sean and I hadn't been since we were kids, so we weren't sure what to expect. I thought the price was pretty steep, but the kids loved it and we were happy we went.
Favorites included the dolphins,
And of course the Shamu show:
Jackson also loved the sea lions
and this obstacle course thing:
We were lucky enough to stay with one of my best friends, Taryn. Her hubby, Grant, was on a Navy retreat. We were sad we missed him, but so happy to get to spend some time with her. It is quite the perk that they happen to live right on the beach :)
We had fun beach combing and throwing rocks
Bode decided to eat a handful of sand...
...which made its way to his diaper this morning!
Since Jackson loved the sea lions so much, we headed to La Jolla to see more of them:
These were my favorite-- all snuggled up, with a little baby in the middle.
Oh, and I loved this one too. I just wanted to go give him a big hug!
We drove over to Coronado and checked out the cool houses and hotel. It was pretty chilly over there, so we didn't get out of the car too long.
We ended the day at one of my very favorite places, "Extraordinary Desserts."
Can you see why it is one of my favorite places?
I know I have mentioned this place before, but it is incredible. There are dozens of insane desserts to choose from.
Here were the four we chose. They were all pretty amazing, but Jackson's flourless chocolate cake (top right) was the winner because of all of the awesome sauces it came with. Amazingly, Sean had several gluten free options-- this being one of them!
On our way back to Taryn's, we stopped by the San Diego temple. So beautiful!
We woke up the next morning with this gorgeous view:
It happened to be my birthday and Sean surprised me with some very thoughtful gifts. Taryn had to fly out early that morning and I am kicking myself that we didn't get a picture together with her cute, little baby bump! I found this waiting for me:
So many great memories with this girl. This picture is from when we were at BYU Hawaii together. She is moving to Japan for the next three years, and I am already trying to figure out a way to make it over there for a visit.
It was finally time for our vacation to come to a close, so we packed up and hit the road. We made a pit stop in Vegas, where I found a new purse for my birthday (no more diaper bag!). The boys were a dream in the car, and Bode sang me happy birthday from his carseat in the sweetest little voice I have ever heard. We finally made it home despite having to drive through a terrible snow storm in Cedar City.
I am not ready for the vacation to be over, but I suppose that is the best way to end it-- on a high note!