Monday, October 26, 2009

California Dreamin' - part 1

Last week Olivia and I got back from a fun filled week in California, visiting my Aunt. My Mom was already out there with a couple of her friends and the day they left we arrived. Olivia and I had been looking forward to going on this trip for awhile but we were sad to be leaving Todd behind. Aside from him not being able to vacation with us I also happened to be away during our 5th wedding anniversary! I know...bad wife. He was a really good sport about it though because he knew that Olivia would have a great time.

I was a little nervous about traveling with Olivia alone, but it turned out to be quite easy. Aside from one short delay things went as planned and she was quite good. It is definitely easier having an extra pair of hands, but at least I know I can do it. We arrived on a Wednesday afternoon into San Jose which is about 40 minutes from where my Aunt lives, in Aptos, CA. We were pretty tired so we just went back to her house and relaxed. Of course one of the first things I had to do was step onto her patio and enjoy the amazing view of the Pacific Ocean.

We all went to bed fairly early because we had big plans the next day and we needed to catch up on our sleep. The next morning we headed to Monterey for a day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We made a couple of stops on the way. First, we pulled over to an area on the side of the road that was just covered with sea lions. I guess it is just an area that they like to congregate and rest. It was amazing to see so many sea lions in one place. They were very loud and quite smelly too, but super fascinating!

After that we stopped at an amazing produce stand. There are so many fresh fruits and vegetables that are grown around the area where my Aunt lives. There are produce stands everywhere and the fruits and veggies are super cheap. Olivia was in heaven since those are her two favorite things to eat! She was immediately drawn to the strawberries. Who wouldn't be...don't they look yummy?

Next we arrived at the aquarium. This is Olivia's second time at the aquarium. We have visited my Aunt three times so far, once for each year she has lived in California. She was still pretty young when we took her last year and all she wanted to do was push the stroller around. This year was a little better, but her attention span was still quite short. We did see some amazing things and I think that each year we go she will start to appreciate it more and more.

She really enjoyed the kid area. It allowed her to get hands on with some of the exhibits and do a little water play as well. She was out of her mind with all there was to do. So many buttons to push and levers to pull. I think she was more interested in the interactive stuff than the actual fish...and there were some pretty amazing fish. They currently are featuring a fascinating seahorse exhibit. I never knew there were so many different types of sea horses. And in case you did not know...the males are the ones that carry and deliver the babies. Now I like that idea!

There was one area of the aquarium that Olivia absolutely loved last year, and I knew she would love it again this year...the water wall. Every 20 seconds or so a huge wave of water rushes over a glass wall above your head, giving you the feeling of being caught it a huge wave. It is really amazing. I think she stood in that area for a good 20 minutes last year and she is still talking about how that was her favorite part of her aquarium visit this year. I have to is pretty cool.

It was a fun day but pretty exhausting for Olivia. She immediately fell asleep in the car on the way home. The next morning we woke up and took a drive to see an area that monarch butterflies flock to during this time of year. After a short walk into the forest you look up and see a sky full of butterflies. They are hanging from the trees in hundreds. I have never seen anything like it. While we were looking at the butterflies a little preschool class came along. The tour guide told the kids to have a seat on the bench while he talked to them about the butterflies. Well Olivia made herself at home and decided to join the preschool class. I turn around and there she is sitting with all of the kids, looking up at the sky through her binoculars, try to see the butterflies. It was beyond funny!

Afterwards we stopped at a beautiful overlook to watch some of the surfers. It was another beautiful day and everyone was out enjoying the weather. It had been quite cold and rainy before we arrived so we were thrilled to have warm, sunny weather when we landed in California. All of our days were nice except our last day. We were very lucky! Olivia would not have cared about the weather but I was relieved because we would not have been able to do most of what we did if it was raining. She still would have had a blast just spending time with her Great Aunt Sue-Sue. They get along so well and Olivia just loves it when she comes to visit or when we are lucky enough to visit her.

If there was one thing Olivia was looking forward to the most during our trip it was going to the beach! (Another reason I was praying for good weather.) Well on the day we choose to hit the beach it was not only nice and sunny but it was quite warm too. I brought her bathing suit along just in case and I am glad I did. She was so excited she could hardly contain herself. The second her feet hit the sand it was like she was at home. She ran right for the water and I think she would have dove right in if I didn't stop her.

Although it was warm outside the water was like ice. It was OK to dip your feet in but after awhile they would go a bit numb. Olivia did not seem to mind the temp of the water, until a wave knocked her down and soaked her. After that she decided to stick to playing in the sand. We built sandcastles for the longest time. She was so happy just digging in that sand. She is definitely a beach baby...loves the ocean and the sand.

I tried to convince her to come back down by the water with me but she was not too sure about that idea. After awhile I talked her into it and she slowly eased her way back to the edge. Well wouldn't you know it...within minutes she was practically trying to drag me back in. Each time a wave would crash she would get more and more excited. Before I knew it she was over her fear of falling and was throwing herself down in the water. The frigid water did not bother her at all. I on the other hand, had started losing the feeling in my feet. She was having the best time and that was all that mattered. We were sad to have to pack up and leave the beach that day, but I know that she had more fun than she ever imagined. I cannot wait to take her back next year and do it again.

I have so much more to share about our trip but I think it will have to wait until the next post. We were so busy during the first half of our trip that Olivia started to get a little worn out. She was not getting as much sleep as she was used to and it was starting to show. There were a few melt downs and difficult times, but after a long nap and a good night's sleep she was like a whole new child. You get so wrapped up in trying to show them a good time that you forget that their little bodies cannot handle as much as we can. Sometimes she just wanted to lay low and relax at the house. But she was definitely enjoying herself and I was enjoying seeing her so happy. More to come...


Anonymous said...

We enjoyed having you all visit so much..Olivia was so much fun and truly so darn funny. I miss her so much and I hope to see her again soon..Love you Livie...Love Aunt Sue Sue xxooo

Anonymous said...

It was fun reliving our trip through your blog...great post! Olivia sure loves her aunt and uncle!

Aunt Chris said...

What a great post!! So many cool pictures. Looks like you had a great time!! I LOVED the look on those little kids faces when they were "admiring" Olivia's binoculars..HILARIOUS!!! Hope to see you soon. Bring her over for trick-or-treat if possible. I may have a trick and a treat...LOL