Friday, December 29, 2017

Kickin' It In Carlsbad

After our big day at the zoo, we decided on a quieter day. We walked a very energetic Joey over to the playground at the resort, and then played for a while in the Kids Club. One Joey was worn out and ready for a nap, we brought out Yahtzee and watched Johnny's stress-levels go through the roof. He's just like his Daddy...he doesn't handle games of chance very well! :)

Then we spent some time swimming as a family. It was a little chilly, but not bad. And there was no way we were passing up this scene in December!!

We promised the kids two things on this trip...we'd do sunset at the beach (our tradition) and they could shop for souvenirs. They had dutifully been saving their money for months! So we went down to Carlsbad Village and walked around, feeling super touristy and super cool. :) But seriously, Carlsbad Village is a pretty hip place to spend an evening! We found an okay souvenir shop...we were hoping for more general California souvenirs, but it was full of Carlsbad stuff. Though Sophie found the perfect hoodie for herself, and she's been wanting a hoodie ever since Claire got her awesome one in Yellowstone. We were feeling a little bummed that we didn't find the type of store we were looking for, but then across a very busy street we saw another shop. And this one was perfect!! Both girls found the cutest California shirts and Johnny got a California hat and surfer bracelet...perfect for our Cali native. :) Danny also picked up a couple decks of souvenir California playing cards to add to our botchi collection. It was the perfect souvenir shopping trip!

Finally it was time for our most favorite part of being in Carlsbad...sunset at the beach. Carlsbad has amazing beaches, and this was a particularly beautiful evening. The girls donned their beach hats, Johnny wore his souvenir Cali hat, and Joey just loved every inch of sand! 

This sunset was made even more awesome by the dolphin pods we could see from the beach. It made for quite an exciting evening for us, even though we could only see their dorsal fins poking out of the water every so often. Even so, there were real live dolphins out there and everybody loves real live dolphins!! We stayed until the last bit of the sun was gone, and for that last few minutes we just watched the sun dip below the horizon. It was the perfect evening in every way.

On our way home, we stopped to get Chinese takeout at our favorite restaurant in Oceanside where the portions are huge and the price is low...and even better the food is delicious! Once we were back to the resort, we had to bathe Joey first thing since he brought sand home in every nook and cranny of his adorable little body. This is what happens when you leave Sophie to watch Joey in the bathtub. :)

Dinner was beyond delicious, and we all ate until we could eat no more. Then Johnny insisted that we play some Botchi with our newly acquired souvenir card decks. Danny and I are loving that we can play card games with the kids now!

Our day in Carlsbad was perfection, and made us wish we had more days to just spend there at the resort and around town. But our trip was quickly coming to an end, with just two more days of fun!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Joey Goes To The Zoo...

As we were planning this trip a few months before Christmas, it occurred to me that our Joey had never been to the zoo. And our little Joey LOVES animals. So we knew we needed to hit the world famous San Diego Zoo! We went during our trip after Luke's funeral, and honestly I hadn't been impressed. But Danny brought up a good point that we went to the zoo at the very end of that trip and  we were three steps past completely exhausted and in a haze of grief. I had to admit that he made a very good point! So I was optimistic that we'd have a great time this time around. :)

We got to the zoo right at opening, and having purchased our tickets through the resort we were able to walk right in. And I knew we needed to make a beeline to the pandas! The line to see the pandas can get hours long, and that didn't sound like the way to spend our day at the zoo. Getting there first thing, we only waited about 20 minutes. Last time we went, we only saw that back of the panda...or as we affectionately called it, "Panda Butt". We were hopeful to see more this time, and lucky us, we got to see "Panda Back and Shoulder"! :) But as we moved on, we actually got to see the younger panda awake and eating, and that made the whole trip worth it right there. Little did we know, we were in for one of the best animal days we'd ever had!

The leopards gave us quite a show! There were two of them, and they jumped through their habitat and played together. It was so cool! Joey loved watching them run around from the comfort of the hiking back pack. It was the perfect way to navigate the zoo with him. He was content on Daddy's back, and because of Daddy's height he had a really good view! But we took plenty of breaks to let him run around, too.

We spent a lot of time at the polar bear exhibit. The polar bears were so active! They wrestled and played, and we got a front row seat for all of it! And there was a little play area there as well, which was great for letting Joey get some wiggles out. 

We walked and walked and walked all around the zoo, and the kids were doing great! They're pretty experienced hikers, and having them wear their Camelbaks was genius. And Joey is quite the experienced hiker as well, and knows exactly how to sneak in a nap when he's tired. :)

Because of the route we took, we ended up back by the panda habitat. And boy, was that line long now that it was afternoon! We were all so glad we did the pandas first thing. :) But if you're willing to stand in line, the pandas are more active in the afternoon. And Danny's height allowed him to see and photograph..."Panda Face"! He even lifted each kid up to see. :) 

We also got to see Tony, the baby hippo, who apparently shares a birthday with Danny! We all loved those chubby baby hippo legs. :) 

Towards the end of our visit we looped around toward the petting zoo and park. Joey got a huge kick out of being able to pet the goats! And he and Johnny enjoyed climbing on the play ground equipment, though Joey was nearing the end of his limit. He was super happy one minute, and then writhing on the floor in a flood of emotions the next. It's a hard thing being a toddler!

We still had one section of the zoo to see, namely the section with the koalas, but unfortunately it was clear on the other side of the zoo. Lucky for us, we were right by the tram! Johnny and I were less than thrilled, but we did it anyway. Honesty, neither of us enjoyed the experience a whole bunch. But Danny, Joey, and the girls loved it! And in a grand total of about 3 minutes we were at the other end of the zoo.

We finished out the day seeing a few more animals, and the koalas were definitely a high light. Claire and Sophie definitely want one as a pet. :)

We ended up spending six hours at the zoo...with a toddler...and the day was a grand success! We all had such a great time! Totally worth the sales pitch for a time share to get these tickets. :) 

Every time we've been at the resort, we've gone into San Diego. And so we've passed the San Diego temple probably a dozen times, but never pulled off the freeway to take a closer look. We decided that today was as good a day as any, and while we kept the kids in the car (Joey was sleeping) we all enjoyed getting to see the outside of this incredible temple. Danny and I are anxious to do a session there someday. Just need Claire to get old enough to babysit!

We were well into our vacation at the point, and loving every minute of it!!