Wow. I don't really know if there's another word in my vocabulary that can express the last 8 days so vividly. Jason and I have just been overwhelmed with how blessed we are. Seeing these two sweet boys experience all the "firsts" has been completely mind boggling. I will try to share all the magic with you, but I know that my human words will completely fall short of how much was experienced.
Monday: The start of the fun was at 4:30AM when we all got up and started getting ready for the adventure! My fabulous aunt graciously agreed to not only watch Liberty during our excursion, but also take us to the airport at 6AM. Thank goodness we live 5 minutes from the airport and didn't have to get up any earlier! Andrew was a ball of nerves but a quick trip to Walmart to get him a drawing notebook and pencils seemed to calm him down. We made it to the airport without a hitch, breezed through security, and got on our plane for the boys very first plane ride. I took an amazing video of Andrew experiencing take-off. He laughs harder than I've ever seen him laugh before! I think Jacob probably had the same thing going, but seeing as I was in the row ahead of them, I couldn't get both reactions. We landed in LA, grabbed our luggage and rent car, which was NOT waiting for us at the gate, much to Andrew's disappointment, and headed out to find food. In-and-Out Burger was the meal of champions (and much better since we only waited 5 minutes and not the 125 minutes that they are still experiencing in Frisco at the new one!) and decided that the boys just HAD to see the beach! We found our way to the Santa Monica pier and spent the next few hours splashing happily in the ocean and teaching the boys how to body surf the waves. It was a frigid 65 degrees (considering we had left TX at 100!), but the sun still kissed us a tad. I think I got the worst of anyone! We left the beach and headed to our hotel in Anaheim and checked in right in time to watch the Disney firework show out our balcony! What an amazing experience!
Tuesday: Disneyland adventures begin! Let me start out by saying this was not my first trip to a Disney park. I'd consider myself an expert...not to brag, but this was just one of my family's favorite vacation spots. Going so many times allowed me to have an idea of how to maneuver the parks the most efficient way possible! Introducing the Disney experience to two people who had no idea what to expect was phenomenal. Our hotel was a short walk away from the tram station so we didn't have to pay to park! We got there as the doors were opening and started the amazing day! I don't think the boys have walked that much in a day before! SO many cool rides and things to experience! I was able to go on quite a bit, but did have to miss out on some of my favorites. It absolutely did NOT matter though! Seeing those faces come off Space Mountain and Indiana Jones was enough! Everyone got the cherished Mickey Mouse ears, including Olivia's tiny pink set. We finished out the day around 9PM and dragged our tired and worn out bodies back to our hotel!
Wednesday: One of the boys favorite rides from the day before was the brand new 3D Star Wars ride, so we went back to the Disneyland park to ride it first thing. While we were there waiting to get on, we rode Andrew's favorite Haunted Mansion for the 3rd time. After the Star Wars ride, we went over to the Disney California Adventure park and rode fabulous things! Since that park is more new, it doesn't have quite the amount of rides as the original, so after we had conquered all at that park, we went right back over to Disneyland and rode more, including the 4th go at Haunted Mansion! :) The boys were SO exhausted, but kept right on trekking. I introduced them to the very fabulous Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar, my absolute favorite thing to eat at the park. Because of my surgery, I wasn't able to enjoy one the last time I was there, but thanks to the pregnancy hormones, I took full advantage! I think the only downside to these two days was that the boys were wearing Converse shoes, not the best choice for L O N G days of walking, but they were so determined to have fun that we didn't hear much about it! Another fabulous night closed out with our watching the fireworks from our very convenient hotel balcony!
Thursday: Break day! We all slept in and caught up on some much needed body and foot rest! After checking out of our hotel, we headed south to the San Diego area for leg 2 of the adventure. We stopped to get the boys some actual tennis shoes (for which their feet were supremely thankful!) and found our way to our hotel in Escondido, CA. Our plan was to get a hotel in the middle of our adventures in San Diego without being right in the heart of the city. It actually turned out to be a great location! We spent the afternoon swimming in the pool and just relaxing. By this time in the trip, I think Jason and I had both heard about 25 "thank you SO much for taking us on this amazing trip". Precious. We found a great little sushi restaurant, which is what Andrew had been asking to eat for nearly 2 weeks. He devoured his spicy tuna roll in no time flat!
Friday: Legoland! I've been hearing about this park for years, but had never actually been there! I was pretty sure that the rides wouldn't be the same caliber as Disneyland, but knowing the two Lego fanatics that were with us, I wasn't worried. It did not disappoint! The park itself was smaller than a Disney park, the rides less flashy, but the Legos were AMAZING. They even had a brand new Star Wars lego section that had only recently been unveiled. The park was so detailed, even down to the name badges of the employees! We saw mini versions of Washington DC, Las Vegas, New Orleans, New York, and of course, the many planets found in Star Wars! Jacob and Andrew's eyes just kept getting bigger and bigger! We ended the day in the Lego gift shop, which you can imagine was absolute heaven! I had NO idea that there were that many lego sets available! Michael always loved Legos and had a TON, but seeing as he and I probably haven't put a lego set together since about 1991, it's grown quite a bit! :) Both boys were able to get a really cool Star Wars set (naturally!). This park closes early, which was a nice change from the very late evenings the previous days. We decided to go scope out some beaches for San Diego beach fun, so it was a relaxing car trip down the coast.
Saturday: San Diego ZOO! Andrew had been waiting all week for this day! He actually woke up without a hesitation and said "I've been alive for NINE years and today I actually get to see a live panda!" He was off the wall excited from the moment he opened his eyes! We made our way to the Zoo and spent the day experiencing one of the cleanest and most well done zoos in the nation. The highlight was definitely the pandas! We got to their exhibit at the absolute perfect time...right after the opening rush had left and before everyone else found their way back there! Normally, there is a line outside waiting to go into the exhibit and you only get about 5 minutes to watch. We got about 20-25 minutes and actually saw the youngest panda wake up, waddle around, and eat! Andrew's eyes were as big as saucers. By early evening, everyone was tired and hungry so we headed back to our hotel for a much deserved rest.
Sunday: We checked out of our San Diego hotel and headed to the beach we had scoped out two days before! La Jolla Shores is one of the most widely photographed Southern California beaches. Ever since their first beach experience on Monday, the boys had been itching to get back in the water! We spent several hours playing in the surf, and then walking to the cliffs on the north side of the beach. This is where I learned the hard way that Target sunscreen is GARBAGE. Even at a high SPF and when reapplied in the correct fashion, all of us were burned. RUDE! I hate that! We left the beach and made our way to a fabulous hole in the wall pizza place that Jason had discovered online. We were STARVED and scarfed down an ginormous pizza in no time flat! After dinner, we piled our sandy bodies back into the car for the trip back up to Los Angeles for one more night. After checking into our hotel, it didn't take long for the effects of the day of sunshine to hit and everyone got to sleep quickly.
Monday: The hotel we were at actually had good HOT breakfast (not just the sugar rush party of donuts and juice), so we got up a little earlier than we needed in order to take advantage of it. Afterwards, we packed up the suitcases (one completely full of dirty clothes!) and checked out of the hotel. It's become our tradition to take the boys to see the new Pixar movie of the year, so we found a local movie theater and saw Cars 2. SO cute! I especially loved the fact that the Pixar short was a Toy Story themed one! We ate lunch at a place that Jason's been raving about (Tommy's Hamburgers...and with good reason. YUM!), and headed to the airport to drop off our car and start the long process of getting home. We finally got back to our house at 11PM to one very excited (and slightly chunky, a hazard of Camp Aunt Connie) Liberty. The boys barely had the energy to make their beds before passing out for the night. Jason and I did some small things around the house and then passed out ourselves!
Today, I'm back at work, trying desperately to not think about being in vacation mode still! I wish I was at home with my family. Of course, my sweet husband is being the laundry fairy today and I think it's gonna be a very lazy day for all the boys.
My favorite parts of the week would be hard to pinpoint, but I will attempt to list them in no particular order:
1. Seeing the faces of Jacob and Andrew as they put their feet in the ocean for the first time in their lives.
2. Having Olivia create a small show for her brothers so they could both SEE her moving around and feel her antics. Her new favorite pose is to stick her butt up right under my rib cage and make me appear deformed as she maneuvers her way around. My stomach then resembles a camel's hump. Awesome.
3. Deep conversations about Jesus in the car on the way to and from each of our locations. Both Jason and I love making these boys THINK and use those very smart brains they have both been given.
4. Spending time laughing and just being silly with my family. It didn't have to be anywhere special or while doing anything important.
WHEW! Now you know why we're all exhausted today! Olivia did fabulously and only had a few times where she just told me that I was doing too much and needed a slow down time. She's still exceptionally active, but I have no earthly idea whether she's turned or not. Our next dr. appointment and sonogram is Thursday, so we'll see whether or not she chooses to behave. I'm hoping she does, but I'm not laying any bets on this fiesty girl of ours.
I'll leave you with my favorite picture of the week. At the beginning of this pregnancy, I wanted to really make sure that these boys bonded with their sister, even in utero. Oh believe me, they have. Not a day goes by where I don't hear how much they can't wait to meet her and what they are going to do with her. This picture just makes me smile.
Thanks for reading about our adventures. We're gonna keep it chill here for a little bit...
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