Wednesday, August 20, 2014

California Adventures: Santa Cruz Day 2

Our first full day began with a very cute and smiley pajama clad baby.

He really enjoyed getting some quality time with his grandma.

After breakfast, I had lots of fun dressing Evan for cool weather. This beautiful blanket made by my sister was a lovely and very useful source of warmth for Evan throughout our trip. 

His little bunny hat was from my parents when he was born (in honor of his Easter birthdate). It was huge when he was born but fits perfectly now. I was also so excited for him to get to wear the little hoodie I got for him and the jeggings from his grandma.

We decided to spend our morning going for a walk around the lagoon. We also decided to try Evan in the "big boy" part of the stroller for the first time. He did great!

We walked on the pathway across the lagoon, taking a stop when we saw our rental. 

After we finished the trail, we wound our way through the neighborhood until we reached the ocean. 

It was a beautiful foggy morning at Pleasure Point - a popular surfing destination. 

There were lots in the water, including a 5 year old boy surfing his first wave! His family (?) was cheering him on from the sidelines. 

Poppies always make my heart happy. As does the sun breaking through and transforming the ocean from grey to blue. 

That afternoon/evening, we had the pleasure of getting together with some good friends, who we hadn't seen in a year. They had a little girl 3 months before we had Evan, and it was to fun to see the babies together. 

A lovely end to our day. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

California Adventures: Santa Cruz Day 1

After 7 1/2 hours of traveling, my parents, Evan, and I arrived in Santa Cruz! After stopping by UCSC campus to say "hi" to Ed and introduce Evan to his coworkers, we headed to our rental. We rented a very sweet home near East Cliff, a few blocks from the ocean. Besides some very unfortunate issues (messed up electricity, no hot water for almost 3 days, no internet for 2, and ants), it was a very cute place to stay. Without the issues, it would have been perfect :). 

We immediately settled on what would be our main hang out spot in the home - the couch with the lagoon and ocean views. 

Evan was happy to be finished with his longest day of traveling so far, and very glad to be out of the carseat and in his Papa's arms. 

After getting settled, my parents headed out to the store, while Evan and I played around out back. 

The views from the deck were lovely, and it was so nice to be spending time out in the cool air. While we were out there, I had fun playing around with the camera, and Evan thankfully played along. 

It was nice just to sit and enjoy our little slice of ocean view. 

Soon, both my parents and Ed returned to the home. So, funny story. We ordered takeout for dinner and had Ed pick it up. Of course, in my travel tired brain, I really didn't think things through and didn't remember to order Ed any dinner. Oops. Luckily, the burgers were huge, so between my mom and I, Ed still got a full meal. Evan enjoyed being part of the group, and we enjoyed a delicious dinner. 

Afterwards, we went for a walk down to the beach that was oh so close. 

The pathway went through a beautiful grove of eucalyptus trees on its way to the ocean.

Plus, it gave some lovely lagoon views.

The beach was beautiful, especially basking in the early evening light. 

It was, though, perhaps a little past Evan's bedtime...

Our little home also looked beautiful as day turned to night.

When we got back, we started Evan's bedtime routine, which included a bath in his new tub, purchased just for this trip. While it was a bit trickier than his regular tub, its portability couldn't be beat, making it perfect for our trip. 

After bath, it was time for bed. We all needed lots of rest to be ready for our first full vacation day!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

California Adventures: Mission Viejo

Our journey began early on a Sunday morning, though not quite as early as we'd planned. We'd decided we'd leave when Evan did his first wake up - usually around 3:30-4am, because we (I) we're nervous about how he'd handle the long drive. However, give it to Evan to chose that night to be the first time he slept 8 hours! He woke up at 5am, surprising both of us, which meant for a later start, around 5:45.

Luckily he was a fantastic rider - this is what he looked like almost the entire drive! He slept solidly until we hit Blythe, and he woke up just in time for breakfast. 

Then back in the car, and back asleep! He slept another 2.5 hours, until just before we got on the Toll Road (about 30 minutes from my parents), when everything suddenly became NOT OKAY. Evan went from happy to crazy screaming in a split second. Strategic use of the pacifier and "Baby Beluga" helped us make it to my parents without having to stop again. Total travel time was 6.5 hours with only one stop! A great way to start the trip. 

Once we got there, of course Evan had to be passed around (and once he ate, he was happy to be passed)

His grandparents were, of course, thrilled to see him. 

Later that afternoon, my sister and her family arrived. It was so fun to introduce Evan to his cousin Amelia,

and his Uncle James.

Of course, the puppies couldn't get left out.

Amelia loved playing with the baby, "petting" him and reading him stories.

One thing we did while in Orange County was visit the Discovery Museum. All but my dad were able to go. We we're most excited about the Mythbusters exhibit that had been advertised, but enjoyed the rest of the museum as well. 

Evan slept through most of it while we were exploring. 

We especially enjoyed upstairs, where they had displays for all the 50 states. This display for California got us excited to head north for the rest of our trip and see that beautiful central coast. 

And of course, we had to visit our state's display. 

We went out to our first "fancy" meal with Evan, which I was a bit nervous about, but which went great. It makes things much, much easier when you have 4 extra adults willing to walk around with a squirmy baby. 

Everyone got some quality Evan time while we waited to eat.

Ed and I also too Amelia for a walk while waiting (with Evan in the wrap). It was fun to imagine what it would be like as a family of 4, though we're happy to wait a while until that happens :).

Afterwards, we grabbed dessert at the nearby Baskin and Robbins - a perfect end to the evening!

Our other big adventure was Evan's first trip to the beach:

We found a spot with a lovely view of the San Clemente Pier

that was also perfectly shaded - excellent especially for the little ones in the group.

Evan enjoyed napping while Amelia dug in the sand. 

Once Evan woke up and ate, we had fun playing with him.

And, as we started to lose the shade, we enjoyed dressing him up for the weather.

The pants looked pretty ridiculous, but gave him plenty of coverage for his lower body.

Soon, though, Evan got tired, so we headed out for a walk on the pier. As soon as we had walked over there, Evan promptly fell asleep, making me increasingly grateful for my ring sling purchase, which served me wonderfully on the trip. 

We walked out to the end and took in the beautiful view. Ed and I reflected on how we forgot just how much we loved the ocean.

Afterwards, we grabbed lunch at a restaurant on the pier, and topped off the meal with their infamous mud pie. We had fun teasing Amelia that we were eating real mud, but I don't think she believed us :).

Evan stayed asleep all the way through lunch and the car ride home! The beach wore him out. 

It was so special to get to start our visit with some wonderful family time.