Thursday, February 19, 2015

San Diego Trip Day 5

Saying good bye to Grandma and Grandpa!

Well, I'm not sure that Day 5 of the San Diego trip deserves much mention, but there were a few highlights.

We drove the entire 10 hours on Sunday, and we got an early start. We needed it, since you lose an hour on the way back to Utah. We really only had 1 stop planned on the way back to Utah. We made a short detour to the Redlands Temple to add another page to the boys (and our) temple books. The temple was beautiful even though we couldn't get up close because the gates were locked.

The Redlands Temple 

Other than a short stop for dinner at Denny's in Baker, California, we just drove. Somehow, the boys were amazing. On the entire drive not one tear was shed, despite the fact that we left San Diego at 7:30 am and arrived home at 8 pm. It really was an amazing trip!

While we love going on vacations, there is truly no place like home!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

San Diego Trip Day 4

Look at that amazing weather in January!
On Day 4 of our trip to San Diego we went to SeaWorld. It was a lot different than when Mom and Dad were kids. There was much less emphasis on the dolphin and orca shows and much more focus on rides and exhibits.

As we entered the park, we went to the touch pools. Crabs, tiny fishes, and rays were among the things you could touch. We spent quite a bit of time there.

The boys loved the touch tanks.
In this one, the tiny fish came to suck your finger.
Mark and Dax loved the sharks.
This was a trip that the boys will never forget.
We spotted a black-crowned night heron in the tree.
We also checked out the penguin exhibits, the otters, and the arctic adventure. Dad and the boys were tall enough to go on the faux helicopter ride, but Mom and Seth had to go in the backdoor. As it turned out, they were the lucky ones, because they got to see the disgusting walrus and the beluga whales bobbing. But everyone enjoyed the beluga whales and the polar bear.
The pure white beluga whales are among the most stunning animals at SeaWorld.
The boys loved feeding the sea lions almost as much as the sea lions did!
We were also surprised by the number of rides at SeaWorld. There was an entire section of toddler rides with a Sesame Street theme. There was a very fast roller coaster that Mark loved (surprisingly!) The boys loved all of these rides, and we spent the entire day at the park.

Mark and Dad were big enough to go on this ride.
Everyone loved the teacups. The kids were a bit crazy with the spinning.
Seth had to be dragged away from the toddler rides.
A lot of adults were tired, so Mom and Dad ended up with many cousins.
Much to Mom's chagrin, Dad decided to sit in the splash zones at both the whale and dolphin show. He arrived early and saved seats, so she just had to live with it. As it turned out, though, the seats were perfectly and we ended up lightly splashed and nowhere near soaked. The shows were interesting in that the trainers didn't spend any time in the water with the orcas, and the dolphins and the humans only interacted a little. Still, we had a great time.

The boys weren't sure what to expect at the dolphin show.
Sitting several rows back to the side was just right.
The Orcas are really splashy!
There was a new baby orca swimming with it's mother.
He's right there under her belly.
After a full day at SeaWorld, we drove to a nice sea food restaurant. The fish was amazing! Dax insisted that he wanted trout, even though we tried to talk him into halibut. He threw a minor fit when the restaurant didn't have trout on the kids' menu. Finally, Dad asked the waitress to bring some of that flaky white "trout" that was caught in the ocean. Shhh! Don't tell Dax-- he still thinks it was trout. It was such a nice night, and a great way to end the trip!

One more family picture at the Sea Food restaurant.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

San Diego Trip Day 3

The San Diego Zoo was on the schedule for Day 3. It was a perfect day for a trip to the zoo. Being midweek, the crowds were thin, the weather was perfect, and the family was ready to get out on an adventure. Mark and Dax wondered if they'd see anything they hadn't seen before besides the pandas, which they'd been anticipating for weeks. By the time we'd passed the tasmanian devils, the koalas, and the flamingos, and it was only 9:15am, they decided they'd see plenty of new stuff. We covered the whole zoo (you can get all the details on our other site by clicking the link above).

Mom's awesome picture of a hummingbird.

Dax wanted a picture with every single animal statue.
Mark joined him on this one.

Mark was absolutely thrilled to see the cheetah--his favorite animal.

Mark loved helping Seth see the animals. I'm not sure how Seth felt about it.

A very nice lady handed Dax a quarter and let him try out the foot massager.

Seth walking with Grandpa Daniels.

My sister loves hippos! And so did these kiddos!

My mom, me, and my sister Steph!
The brunettes in my family!
My dad and Dax eating lunch. Dax had to sit in the sun because he was too cold in the shade!

Dax kept checking the map to make sure we didn't miss anything.

Mark with his cousin Daniel getting ready to ride the bus.

Riding the tour bus with the entire group...this is only a small part of us!

Seth loved the zoo!

"Look, mom! It's me!"
Seth loved the bus rides, Mark wanted to see every animal, and Dax was very interested in the map. We walked ourselves nearly to death-- that zoo is huge and built into a steep canyon! But everyone was happy by the end of the day. We stayed the entire time that the zoo was open because we wanted to see everything!

For dinner that night Grandpa had arranged for one of his favorite restaurants, an Italian place called Bucco de Beppo. There was a slightly exciting moment when one of the cousins dropped his mom's iPhone through a 1/2 inch space behind the bench that was screwed into the wall. The manager had to unscrew the entire 25 foot-long bench to get the phone out, but at least it was retrieved. It is something that we will all remember, much to my sister's dismay!

We ended the day with a little swimming at the hotel pool and hot tub. The water was too cold for Mom, but the boys and Dad all braved it and went swimming. It's more fun with cousins around, too! Grandpa, Uncle Jonny, and Mom spent a lot of time in the hot tub, and Seth went back and forth between pool and hot tub all night. And later when we came back from the trip, Seth said his favorite part was the hot pool. It always makes big trips seem so worth while when that is what the kids remember!

Seth and Dad had lots of fun in the pool

The boys didn't seem to mind the freezing water.

There was lot of jumping!

We played with cousins. These four jumped in the pool over and over again.

More jumping...

Aunt Britt came swimming too!

Monday, February 16, 2015

San Diego Trip Day 2

We wanted to leave bright and early for San Diego, and we had a few stops to make, so we took off around 7:30. Our first stop was in Barstow to change drivers. Dad doesn't do California driving. There are too many freeways, too many cars, and too many armed drivers for him. Mom is right at home in southern California, though, having grown up there.

The second stop was the Newport Beach Temple. None of us had seen this temple before, and though there'd be no time for a session, we certainly wanted to stop and see it. The first thing we noticed was the tropical California day. It was 75 degrees, pleasantly humid (at least to us desert-dwellers) and very green!

The Newport Beach temple...a new one for all of us!

We continued down to Balboa Island because we really wanted to have lunch at Ruby's on the Pier. Both Mom and Dad had eaten there before, and we new the boys would love it. It is such a great place to see the ocean, and since this was their first time, we knew they'd love it.

We walked out to the end of the pier, past the fishermen-- we even saw a fish pulled in-- and looked out into the water. Several brown pelicans were swimming and they took off and flew right over our heads. The boys were amazed that the seagulls were landing right on Ruby's tables, and they decided we should eat inside. As we were waiting for the burgers and fries to come, Dad walked Dax out for a potty break (off the side of the pier into the ocean) and they saw two sea lions. Of course, everyone had to come see, and again, the boys were amazed and delighted. The food was great, and the shakes were perfect. It was time to try out the beach.

Randy and I love Ruby's! We couldn't wait to share it with our boys.

One of the sea lions we spotted from the pier.

The brown pelicans were all over.

We went just off the north side of the pier and the boys didn't even change out of their shorts and t-shirts. They chased the waves down as they receded and ran screeching from them as they crashed onto the sand. Seth was so funny; he only wanted to get his toes wet. Then he went to play in the sand with the bucket and shovels well out of reach of the water. Mark was his usual cautiously optimistic self. It was Dax who had to tempt fate. He chased the water out a little to far, and he didn't notice a huge wave swelling inward. He turned to slowly skip up the beach, not realizing the wave was coming in faster than he thought, and had it crash right over his head! Of course he was soaked, and of course he came up shrieking with laughter. We spent a few more minutes (not enough according to the boys) and then headed off to surprise Grandma.

We love the beach, and we had it all to ourselves!
Mark loved running from the waves.

Seth was happy if the water didn't really touch him very much.

Here's Dax after he was drenched from the wave.
He still loves to tell the story!

Seth loved digging in the sand.
It was a beautiful day at the beach.

Even this little sandpiper was running from the waves.

The plan was to meet at the San Diego Temple, and all the families arrived their early. We snapped a few pictures and then took our places with our backs to the parking lot on a quadrant of benches. When Grandma arrived, she seemed thoroughly surprised, so we congratulated ourselves on keeping the secret for so long and so well.

Mom loves this temple. It is her temple!
She was so excited for the boys to see it.

All the grandkids waiting to surprise Grandma!

My mom was truly surprised. It was amazing.

Here is Nat's family! Just 5 sisters!
We really wanted to visit the Mormon Battalion Historic Site before dinner, so we hurried off after a million pictures of the family down to Old Town San Diego. When Mom was a little girl, the Mormon Battalion Site was just an old building to look at, but it has been completely redone and the tour is fantastic. Two missionaries take you on a tour that tells the story of the Mormon Battalion. There are talking pictures, short videos, and even chances to dress up as soldiers. Mom and Dad learned a lot about the Mormon Battalion that they didn't know. When the tour is complete, you can head out back and pan for gold, bake bricks, and pump water. We finished out our trip here by watching the sunset from up top of the Mormon Battalion building. It was beautiful!

The Mormon Battalion historic site was a great stop.

The boys loved panning for gold, especially because they could keep two pieces each!

They also loved dressing as soldiers. And yes, those rifles are heavy!

You get to take a picture at the end of your tour.

This is the view from the top of the Mormon Battalion Monument.

The last stop of the day before checking into the hotel was Claim Jumper for dinner. Grandpa rented a special room and there was Anniversary cake and plenty of food. The cousins were great at the restaurant, and the boys were a bit subdued from the long two days they'd spent mostly in the car. After relaxing for a few minutes in the hotel, we went through our usual scripture, prayer, story routine and they went straight to bed. Any worries that we'd had about them struggling on the trip were slipping away. They were doing great!

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