Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sea World

You can't go to San Diego and not go to Sea World!
I love Sea World.
I tried to describe it to a friend once and the best I could come up with was Disneyland meshed with the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  It has the magic of Disneyland mixed with all the different marine life you can imagine.  I love everything about it...even the sometimes questionable smells from the sea lions!
For our third and final full day in San Diego, Kim and I took the kids to a holiday decorated Sea World on a perfectly sunny day.  It was also Daxton's favorite.  He takes after his mommy and LOVES aquariums.  He is quickly mesmerized by the different colors and shapes.

At the entrance of the park...
We got to the park right as it was opening and stayed til the sun went down.  The first thing we did (besides stopping for photo opportunities) was to check out the Shamu show featuring several different Orcas.
We chose to sit a few rows back so we wouldn't get splashed, but Daxton still couldn't take his eyes off the water.

After the show we walked around to the back training tank to get a better look at two of the Orcas.  Daxton was in heaven and did not want to leave.

After Shamu, we wondered over to the sea lions and watched as several people fed them fish.
 At first I was a little disappointed that they had changed the Manatee enclosure to Turtle Reef.  I love Manatees, but Sea World shipped them to the Florida Sea World, so they could be in a more natural habitat.  I also LOVE turtles, so Turtle Reef quickly became my favorite place in the park.  We sat there and ate our lunches while watching them swim through the gorgeous coral reef.

Couldn't help but get Daxton a little Turtle souvenir.
I love his facial expression...pretty "turtlelike" if you ask me!
After Turtle Reef, we headed over to the Polar exhibits.
We were able to watch the Beluga whales feed, a polar bear swim, and a chunky walrus.  I placed Daxton up against the window for some pictures and he loved being able to get a closer look at the Belugas.

We also got to see the new dolphin and bird show, Blue Horizons.
It featured Cirque de Solei performers in the air and water along with the different animals.  It was pretty amazing.
On our way over to the Manta Ray area, we were able to witness a gorgeous sunset among the flamingos.
I love the Manta Rays!
Daxton was quite exhausted after the fun day.  He snuggled right in to his stroller for a long nap.
Playing with gorgeous Layla!
Such a smiley sweetheart.
Another reason I came to San Diego was to see Maren (I've blogged about Maren and I's adventures many times!)  She has a pretty demanding work schedule and wasn't able to meet up with Kim and I until the evenings.  She did get to spend the week at the hotel with Daxton and I, which I loved.  We were able to stay up late catching up all week.  I sure do love that girl!
After Sea World, we all went back to the hotel and hung out with Maren.  We reminisced about our "Dev" years and caught up on each others' lives.  I love Maren and Kim so much.  They've both been amazing friends to me over the years and I count myself so incredibly blessed to have them as my close friends!

(On a side note)
A little after midnight, Daxton woke by projectile vomiting all over himself and the crib.  Needless to say it was a VERY long night trying to clean everything up, soothe him back to sleep, and make sure everything was packed for our journey home.  I got about three hours of sleep.  He threw up again in the morning, so after I cleaned him up again, we threw everything in the car and started our drive home.  It took a lot of prayer and Diet Coke to arrive safely home, but we made it.  And then a day later...I came down with the stomach flu (I'm sure from Daxton, sweet boy!)  Daddy came home to two sickies once again... Welcome home, Daddy!

Beach Baby

Our second day in San Diego we decided to drive 20 minutes north to meet up with Kim and her little ones at a beach in Carlsbad.  Carlsbad is easily one of my favorite beach towns along the west coast.  We went to a great beach off of the Tamarack exit between life guard towers 32 and 33.  It was a long stretch of calm waves and clean sand (no animals allowed) and we were literally the ONLY people on the beach.  It was absolutely perfect!
Kim taught me the ins and outs of going to the beach with a baby/toddler; including which strollers work the best, how to pack and pull them through the sand, and the most amazing powder bath for after a long day playing in the sand...AMAZING!
 This was Daxton's first time feeling sand.
He's been to several beaches, but most beaches in Northern California are cold and windy, so we usually have him bundled up tight.  This was his first time truly experiencing the joys of a warm sandy beach.
And he LOVED every minute of it!
I realize that there are a ton of pictures, but I couldn't help but post all of those amazing expressions.  I just wish I knew what he was thinking!

First touch and taste of the sand...

 A very happy baby!

I'd say it's been a pretty perfect day if your baby is that happy after over three hours of playing in the sand, no nap, and still smiling.
He truly is my baby; Beach bum at heart.

San Diego Zoo

Three days after we returned from Casper for Thanksgiving, I decided to do something a little crazy...
Dallas had left for a business trip to Asia and was going to be gone for a few days so I figured I would take little Daxton on an adventure.  I packed up the car (with literally EVERYTHING we might need), booked a hotel, and took my first road trip with just me and my little man.  I have taken hundreds of road trips in my day; I've even taken several with a baby, but I had NEVER taken a road trip on my own and a baby.  I felt quite brave embarking on our journey...and then pretty exhausted by the end...
Daxton and I left early Monday morning after Thanksgiving and drove down to San Diego.  I tried to leave as early as possible so we wouldn't have to hit L.A. traffic.  Daxton did amazing in the car, only crying to let me know when he was hungry.  He literally slept or sang along with mommy for the entire drive.  We did end up hitting some traffic while trying to maneuver through the L.A. area and then again when we hit San Diego, which made for a 7.5 hour drive into a 9.5 hour drive.  By the time we reached our hotel we were both exhausted and ready for bed.
The biggest realization I had within the first day of our adventure...
How much I missed Dallas!
I have definitely been spoiled by that man and having to do everything on my own made me appreciate him that much more.  Traveling with a baby is a lot of work; everything from putting up his port-a-crib to grocery shopping.  I was exhausted!
Don't you worry, though.  The very next day I met up with my dear friends from college, sisters Kim and Becky, and their four children.  They have passes to the San Diego Zoo so we thought a day exploring would be the perfect way to catch up.
I wish I could put into words how much I love these girls.
To know them; is to love them.
The day was perfect, even down to the crying melt downs from each of our children.  It was SO good to catch up with them and see their gorgeous families.

  All the kiddos lined up at the entrance of the Zoo.
LtoR: Naomi (Becky's youngest), Layla (Kim's youngest), Daxton (my little man), Hattie (Becky's oldest), and Lydia (Kim's oldest)
Yes, almost all of them were picking their noses for the picture...and it was perfect!

Checking out the Koi pond
We love the San Diego Zoo!
Learned a very interesting fact about how males check for females' fertility...the male will taste the females urine...yuck!  It made our ovulation pee sticks seem pretty great.
Daxton loved being around so many kids.  He also loved sitting everywhere BUT his own car seat.  Mommy's back was killing by the end of the day having to take him in and out of the baby carrier.  He loved looking at sweet Layla, though.  They are already matched for the future!
We loved the Elephant Odyssey portion of the zoo.  They've done an amazing job with the design of each of the enclosures.  As you can tell, Daxton LOVED watching the elephants and especially loved how they worked their trunks to get food.
Watching the elephants
LOVE my Kimmy
Many a perfect memory with this girl!
I loved watching all the kiddos play throughout the different exhibits.  I also thought our caravan of packed strollers was quite the sight!
Playing in the Polar Bear ice bergs while Daxton was napping.
Another favorite of mine was visiting the Panda Trek.
There were a few pandas, but my favorite was the lounging one in the tree.  He reminded me of a Winnie the Pooh cartoon!
Loving all the different animals!
Becky with Lydia, Hattie, and Naomi.
It was such a PERFECT day and SO much fun to see Kim and Becky.  I love them so much and count myself incredibly blessed to call them dear friends.

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