Thursday, April 28, 2011

another fabulous trip - part 2

So where were we? I believe I left off in the middle of our wonderful week in California, visiting my Aunt Sue. We had already been to the beach twice, but Olivia was begging to go back one last time. Hard to resist, considering the weather was gorgeous. My Mom, Aunt and I relaxed on the beach while Olivia dug in the sand and splashed on the shore once again. This time she even found a pal to play with.

Of course all of that running around warrants a snack break. I just could not get over how at home Olivia seemed to be at the beach all week. I could have sat and watched her all day and I believe she would have been perfectly content spending every day there.

After a bit of a rest she was ready to go again. Out of the blue she asked Aunt Sue Sue to bury her in the sand. I was quite surprised, as I would not think that would be something Olivia would enjoy, but she loved it. The best part was busting out of the sand after being buried, head to toe!

Our third and final trip to the beach that week did not disappoint. I know it was one of the fondest memories she has from that trip and I am so glad we were able to spend so much time playing in the sand while we were there.

The next day we took our annual trip to Monterey to visit the aquarium. This was Olivia's 5th trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and at this point she knew the place like the back of her hand. On our drive into Monterey we stopped to see the sea lions. This is also one of our traditions and this time they put on quite a show for us. This time around they were packed on the pier like sardines, pushing each other off to make more room. They were fighting and yelping in a fierce way, unlike anything I have ever seen before. It was definitely entertaining.

Next we stopped for a very nice lunch right on the water and then it was on to the aquarium. We saw all of our favorite things and stopped at our usual picture spots. It was a fun day, but we realized that we have exhausted the aquarium and can probably take a break from visiting next time around.

That night we took Olivia to another of her favorite places...The Red Room. It is a restaurant/bar that we tried last time we were in town and Olivia LOVED it. Not sure why exactly, but she has been talking about it ever since our last trip to California. It is the one time we put on our fancier clothes and do a "Big Girl" thing, during a week filled with kid-related activities. As expected she enjoyed her trip to the Red Room and I enjoyed the Hors d'oeuvres. The only thing that would have made it better would have been a nice glass of wine. A few more months and I will be doing just that!

During our last day in California we took a drive to Los Gatos, a cute little town with tons of fun shops and restaurants. I asked Olivia if she would mind spending our last day doing big-girl things and she happily obliged. We had a nice girls lunch, followed by a few hours of shopping. I was shocked by how well she behaved as we went from store to store, looking at things that really did not interest her. We were primarily browsing through clothing stores and she occupied herself by bringing me things that she thought I may like. It was very sweet and most importantly it was keeping her from being bored. She could not have been a better sport that day!

It was our final night in California and we were enjoying it to the fullest. We went across the street to visit my Aunt's neighbors. They have the most amazing large poodle, Peter, that Olivia fell in love with during the week. Olivia saw Peter multiple times throughout the week and they quickly became besties. He really was the sweetest dog and I realized I could easily get used to having one around someday. Not only do my Aunt's neighbors have two awesome dogs, but they also have the most amazing house. Another highlight for Olivia was the coy pond in their front yard. The fish were huge and she was thrilled to be able to feed them a few times.

The next morning we headed to the airport for our trip back home. We had an amazing time in California, but Olivia was ready to get home to see her Daddy. We have been lucky enough to take Olivia out to visit her Aunt Sue Sue five times in under five years. Each time we have gone there have been challenges with traveling. I can honestly say that this was by far our best and easiest trip. She was a joy to travel with. She never threw any fits and was very helpful to me. I was proud with how well she handled herself the entire week.

I am not exactly sure when we will be able to go back. The baby will be here in a few months and I know I will not be jumping at the chance to hop on an airplane with two kids. One good thing is that now Olivia is older she can start taking trips with my Mom out to see Aunt Sue Sue on her own. A big thanks to my Aunt Sue and Uncle Ron for showing us, yet another fabulous time in California!

In other news I am quickly approaching my due date. We have two months left and still so much to do. Luckily I am feeling great and still able to be very productive. The nursery is just about ready to go and I will post some pictures next time. We also just celebrated a wonderful Easter and I have many pictures to share. So now you know what's to come!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

another fabulous trip - part 1

Olivia and I recently returned from another wonderful trip to Aptos, California to visit my Aunt Sue. This was Olivia's 5th trip to visit her Aunt Sue Sue and probably one of her best. Now that she is older she is easier to travel with and is more interested in doing the many activities we always have planned. We wanted to make one last trip out to California together before the baby was born and it suddenly becomes much more difficult to travel. Although we hope to return eventually with the new baby we realize that will be not be as easy as it is right now.

We had a fun filled week, packing in as many things as possible. We were blessed with absolutely gorgeous weather the entire week. One of the first things on our agenda was getting pedicures before enjoying a day at the beach. For some reason Olivia did not want to go to the beach until her toes looked pretty, so we rushed off to get our $10 pedicures. Olivia did this last year and enjoyed it tremendously. She seems to enjoy being pampered and I can't say I blame her.

Once we all had pretty toes we headed to the beach. Olivia could not wait to get her feet in that sand and dip her toes in the ocean. Although the sun was warm, the water was not. Did not seem to both Olivia though. She was not afraid of getting wet and loved waiting for the waves to crash up on the shore. I think she spent 3 solid hours playing in the sand that day and I am sure she would have stayed longer if we were not all completely exhausted. I got a tad too much sun that day, but it sure was nice relaxing on the beach watching my sweetie play in the sand and sun.

The next day we all took a short train ride to visit my cousin Justin at Berkeley. Olivia hasn't been on a train/subway since she was just months old, so it was a bit of an adventure for her.

My cousin just finished his Spring Break and was not be able to come home during our visit. We settled for lunch and a short walk around campus with him. Olivia has always loved Justin and even though she has not seen him since Thanksgiving they were back to being best buds in just minutes. It was a beautiful sunny day and we enjoyed spending time with Justin.

After two straight days of sun and warm temps, it cooled off a bit on Saturday. That did not stop us from continuing the fun activities. That morning we took Olivia to a lookout that is known for it's big waves and surfing. Because it was overcast the waves were pretty big and the surfers were out in full force. Olivia brought her own camera and was obsessed with taking photos of the waves and surfers.

That afternoon we took her to the Santa Cruz boardwalk. We have wanted to do this for awhile and this year she was finally old enough to go and enjoy the rides and attractions. She immediately spotted the kid's rides and wanted to go on every one. When it comes to amusement park rides Olivia has NO fear. Put a mascot in front of her and she loses her mind, but ask her if she wants to ride a roller coaster and she can hardly contain herself. I wish I could have gone on the rides with her that day, but being pregnant sort of rules out that possibility. Luckily my other cousin, Ryan was home for the weekend and came with us to the boardwalk. He agreed to go on the coaster with Olivia and I think she would have rather him go anyway.

When it was their turn they were first in line and Olivia could not pass up the chance to sit in the front car. My little thrill seeker squealed the entire time the coaster flew around the track. She came off bouncing with joy and I think she would have gone 10 more times if she could.

As soon as she was off that roller coaster it was on to the next ride. She was not tall enough for many of them, which disappointed her, but luckily there were quite a few just for kids. She enjoyed all of the rides that day and as we were leaving she told me it was her, "best day ever!".

We capped off our fun-filled day with an amazing lobster dinner. My aunt and uncle spoiled us with fresh Maine lobsters. It is something that I often crave but rarely treat myself to because they are so expensive, so this was a special treat. I thought Olivia would enjoy the lobster since she does like most seafood, but this was not for her. Part of the reason may have been because of the big deal we made about the lobsters before they were cooked. I can understand how eating something that was previously crawling on the kitchen floor may be a little unnerving for a 4-year old. Olivia enjoyed a pasta dinner while the rest of us devoured our lobsters. It was heaven!

On Sunday we took Olivia back to the beach. It was the one thing that she wanted to do over and over during our trip. First we took a nice, long walk by the shore. It was picture perfect that day, which made for perfect picture taking. I could get used to living so close to the ocean. The view is quite spectacular!

After our walk we went back down to the water. It was cooler that day, but that did not stop of her from getting down and dirty in the sand. I think our girl could also get used to living by the ocean. It seems to be second nature to her.

That afternoon we took another walk. This time we ventured into the redwood forest behind my Aunt's home. I wasn't sure Olivia would be up for a long walk but she handled it like a champ. It helped that she imagined that she was on a big pirate adventure. She talked us through her make-believe adventure the whole way. She collected flowers and other treasures along the way and had a great time! I have to hand it to her, it was quite a walk. Even I was exhausted by the end of it. Then again, I am carrying a bit of extra weight so hiking does not exactly come easy right now.

After a day full of outdoor activities we enjoyed a nice relaxing night in. My Aunt promised Olivia they would bake cupcakes together and there was no way Olivia was going to let her forget it. They did this during our last visit and I think it has become a tradition. She enjoyed it very much but quickly grew tired of icing the cupcakes. I ended up finishing the majority of them, while Olivia snuck tastes of icing at every chance.

It is hard to believe that with all of the fun things we had done so far on our trip we were only half way through the week. I am going to share the rest of our adventures for my next post. The fun continues...