Thursday, May 4, 2017

Carlsbad 2

There are times you get a glimpse of your child's personality and no matter how much they grow, that glimpse reoccurs again and again in different ways.  For example, for as long as I can remember, Bud loves to build and to dig.  With all the wonders of Legoland around him, he could have spent the entire day here unearthing their dinosaur bones.  He had a willing, albeit clumsy helper in the form of Pumpkin.

Meanwhile, Bug is a ride junkie!  She loves the thrill of it, she may say,"I left my stomach behind" with stoicism but she giggles with delight as she recalls the sense of falling and the rush of the tilting rollercoaster.  On this day Kent and I took turns riding every thrill seeking ride as much as possible. You can catch her and Kent in the very last cart.

Pumpkin roaring like a newly born dinosaur!

The other big hit was the driving test - at least for the oldest two.  They got on over 6 times and actually got better at it as they went.  A few moms and I on the side laughed at their driving on the wrong side of the road, making jokes as to what the real thing will look like not too long from now.
Driving boats was not anymore successful, at least from Bug's expression!

Bubby tried it too.  He did figure out the gas but I think he was too startled with it and approaching the limit of his ablity to cope with the unfamiliar.  Pumpkin had a better time of it but once was enough for her.

Bubby needed tons of his calming activities so he did lots of stacking and sorting and enjoyed his climbing of stairs and inclines.

The aquarium was nice, much quieter than the small one they have here in phoenix.  It was calming for everyone who was feeling the fatigue of play.  The obtaining of stamps along the way kept Pumpkin busy as she was determined to do it herself! Of course Bug HAD to pet everything over and over!  She kept looking for ways to spend her money she had earned.  She's not into Legos much, the candy was too expensive (especially when we went to a grocery store later and she bought a ton to share with her siblings) and the jewelry didn't appeal.  She discovered  that donated money to the aquarium goes to helping rescue injured sea life and it hit home to her animal loving soul.  She promptly put in $2 and said she would have no regret, that somewhere, some 'cutie' living being needed it more than she!

Bug remarked that this pair of cuttle fish looked like dancers with their rippling skirts.

Another farmer's market where we purchase loquats, a Japanese plum.  They were really good and Bud got a kick out of what he saw when he bit into it.  (bathroom humor appeals to all boys!) Lucious greens, still 'living' with their roots attached, unique mushrooms which we bought and fried in butter to go with our eggs in the morning.

The following day we found an area where you could build your own cars and race them against others.  Pumpkin is like a miniature version of Bud and started with a minimalist edition of her car that became more 'girly' as she sought out some pink and purple blocks.  Bud raced a few times and was please his car won some of the races.  Bubby and Bug were with me on the other side, he was upt to his usual sorting and she attempted an artistic building that didn't survive a major earthquake.

The years go by entirely too fast so I decided to re-enact some pictures I remember years ago.  These are of Bug 6 years ago and now.

She's grown up so much and turned into such a beautiful young lady!
Pumpkin thought that if BBF is doing it, it must be cool!  "Pitcher, Mama, pitcher!!!"
Living things make Bug happy.  She's gotten over her fascination with pill bugs but Pumpkin hasn't.  She moved on to slugs and thankfully California has plenty of those.

There's a great playground there that all of us happily played in for over an hour and a half.  Pumpkin had made a friend with a little boy by bringing him Legos as he was building.  They wouldn't leave each other but Pumpkin was nearly a year younger and had a hard time keeping up with him.  Bubby ran up and down the ramps, Bud found a group of boys his age to play tag with and Bug collected snails and snail shells.  The following video has got to be one of my favorites.  I love how Pumpkin engages Bubby, how he is fully present and running to catch me. 
THESE, these are the moments that fill me with joy!

On our final day we went into San Diego to the Mormon Battalion Museum.  I had been before with a friend of mine which worked out well since Bubby wasn't going to sit through anything.  We wandered the Victorian park across the street while the kids had fun panning for gold and learning more about our history. 

While there we stopped in Balbo park in the Spanish Village - the art center of the area.  Bud found a museum devoted to gems that actually has a club with weekly activities.  For only $10 a year kids can come and learn and use their machines to cut, polish rocks for jewelry.  The homeschooler in me wished we were closer because something like this would feed his soul!  They have some amazing art classes and pottery classes for adults and kids so perhaps in the future we will find a way to make it a part of our schedule.

  A last minute stop at the beach was a must. 

It was a such a fun way to spend a week as a family.  I know everyone says life is made of little moments, but sometimes these big ones are pretty awesome too!  Love my family, love these kiddos and I'm so grateful we are blessed to make such fun memories!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Carlsbad (1)

Our family was much overdue for a vacation.  Even Kent felt it the weeks leading up to it and was counting down days which is unusual for him.  Usually I'm left scrambling to plan, but this time we were both eager for a change of scenery.  We had chosen Carlsbad CA since it was close and would be a good tester for a possible future trip to Disneyland.  We bought annual tickets since it would allow us to enter and leave without the feeling of missing something if Bubbalicious was too overwhelmed.  Beach days were a given as is the farmer's market that Kent and I love.

The first day was actually spent in LA.  We were so desperate to get away we left a day early and got a hotel to explore LA Science center.  It was amazing and FREE!  Kent said the exhibits were much better than San Diego's Science Center in Balboa and there was so much hands on learning.  The side lessons provided by workers on movable display carts were particularly interesting.  Secretly I was laughing that even on our vacation the kids were still getting in some learning!

Learning about wings and lift.  The oldest two could've spent hours playing with the Wright brother's airplane trying their hand and flying.  It was nice for Bud, especially since he doesn't like heights!

Unfortunately Bubby was locked into the stroller since he would not have been gentle on exhibits or would have kept me running.  They actually have wonderful learning centers in almost all the different areas that allowed me let him wander an enclosed area where everything was kid friendly.  He particularly liked the 'tree house' with it's pillows and books and dim lighting. 

The girls LOVED the marine life area and petting all the sea creatures.  Pumppkin isn't all too gentle and peole had to reminder her to only use two fingers which she dutifully showed them when they reminded her.

We were all pretty tuckered out after the driving from the night before so afterwards we headed to our week stay in Carlsbad.  The oldest two and pumpkin HAD to go to the beach right away, so they took off while I unpacked everything and Bubby and explored. 

The little man LOVES his basketball and was thrilled to see people shooting hoops.  Usually when he comes running up in all his excitement to join it people don't know how to respond.  From years of experience I can tell those who 'feel bad' and hand him a ball and just step away, never really trying to engage him.  But this group of people were totally different.  As soon as Bubby came up jumping excitedly they crouched down, said hello and asked if he wanted the ball.  My Bubby just kept pretending to shoot hoops and when they offered again, he shook his head.  They asked if he wanted to watch and counted down to take the shot.  He screamed his encouragement and clapped enthusiastically even when they missed.  At some point they offered again and before I knew it he was passing and shooting with them.   One of the wives on the side came up to me and asked his name.  We got chatting and I learned that their first son was born with so many health difficulties that he has been wheelchair bound all his life.  I chatted with 16 year old Chance, a bright young man, smaller physically than Eli but clearly a teenager in mind.  His mom and I chatted about how hard it is to find family vacations to fit the whole family.  We laughed about how our 'bonus' babies were what we needed, how Chance's sister, a full 10 year his junior was the one to get him talking and how Pumpkin is pushing Bubby to do more.  It was wonderful to connect with someone who know just what it's like to be a special needs mom - all the worries, the social awkwardness, the laughs.  It was such a short interaction but one where it filled my bucket beautifully and gave Bubby a chance to really play with others.

The following day was our first day at Legoland.  We took the slowest rides to get Bubby into it.

Beaches on the following day, bright and early!  Pumpkin hung onto Kent in awe of the huge waves that contrasted so sharply to the slow ones we usually see at Rocky Point.  It was fun to watch the parasails and dig in the sand.

Back to Legoland for some more adventurous rides!  We have since learned is that Pumpkin is a little sensitive to lots of motion and Bubby loves it but needs the security of me right by their side. 

Pumpkin was too small to ride many things but this one was fun because we could push the button and soak her siblings!

After riding this airplane a few times with Bubby we decided to have him try it without me and suddenly it wasn't so fun anymore. 

Bubby's first roller coaster

We tried his riding with others and so long as Bug could distract him with his favorite game it was good but once it got started the poor boy was so not happy.  After this ride we stopped and while we took turns riding he had time to chill and sort to his heart's content.

Bud was more interested in building too.  The sorting and stacking was a good way to calm down Bubby.

The following day we started it with Prager Bro's bread - stuff to die for!  We got cheese and combined that with the strawberries we picked in the field right near our hotel we were a happy crew!

My kiddos LOVE fruit.  It was like heaven for my kids, we had juices dripping everywhere.  Bubby walked into the middle of it and just sat down to eat from all sides. 

Our hotel has a small water park in addition to the pool and hot tubs.  It was quiet so it was just perfect for my brood.

To make our trip cheaper I had double cooked our meals three weeks before and froze all of it.  There was curry, palak paneer, lasagna, spaghetti , enchiladas, no shortage and all of it a simple easy heat up.  We did splurge though to go out to meet up with some old college friends of mine out near Del Mar. There was a bird sanctuary on the way and of course the beach and farmer's market we had to stop at.

This was my favorite fellow!  So beautiful.

There's something about meeting up with old friends from college days.  It reminds you of your youth and enthusiasm, stupidity and fun.  It had been 6 year since Kent and I had seen Jonathan and Lori.  At that time their youngest was only a year old and we only had two kiddos.  I had so much fun chatting that I forgot to take pictures (yet again!) until the night was over and thankfully they had a selfie stick so we could manage this one for comparision of the years that have passed.

Connecting with people, no matter how brief truly fills my soul!  So glad for good friends, growing families and memories that make it so sweet!