The 14 hour drive is LONG, and of course there are moments with sad babies, and frustration, but overall, the kids traveled really well.
We arrived in Winters, CA at Sam and Sherean's house just before midnight.
We woke up, ate breakfast, the kids played with all of the farm animals, and then it was off to 6 Flags/Marine world! We could not have asked for a better day. The weather was perfect, not too hot, not too cold, and it was a weekday, so we rarely waited in line for more than 5 minutes. We completely scored!
This was a last minute decision, and I am so glad we went. This place was a dream land for our kids. It had rollercoasters for all ages, rides for all ages, and lots of seriously awesome water shows. We saw a Siberian Tiger show...where Mary was picked out of the crowd to feed the tigers!
|the dude is putting the food on the end of the pole...the tiger is anxiously waiting.|
|feeding the tiger|
This show was truly unbelievable!!! The kids got front row seats, and sat in the "splash zone," where they were soaked by the dolphins. The dolphins were doing double back flips, splashing the crowd, and giving rides to their trainers. It was so cool.
We went back and forth between shows and rides most of the day. The kids were in absolute heaven.
|Mary, Alina, Sam, Sterling, William|
The younger three were completely exhausted and done by dinner time, so Sharean and I took them home in our car, and the older kids and dad's stayed a few hours longer.
It was a very fun day!!! I think my kids were in shock that such a cool place exists. I love seeing them so happy and excited.
The next day, Dan and Kristen and their kids came to the house, so we hung around with them all day. The kids rode horses, and played in the giant fig tree fort. We had a crazy yummy barbeque dinner, and just hung out together. It was a good time.
|Libby, Molly, Luke|
|Alina and Mary|
For the first time, the beach was sunny!!! We rented boogie boards for Mary, Sam, and Sam and Sherean's kids, grabbed the best hamburgers ever at the Snack Shack, and walked down to the ocean.
Again, the weather was perfect. It was amazing. William, Luke and Molly got their feet wet, and played in the sand the whole time. They caught little crabs, collected shells, chased the tide, and explored the beach.
|coolest crab ever!|
|luke dug a huge hole|
I decided to try out my first ever beach run.
I pictured running in this serene setting, the ocean breeze blowing through my hair, the sweet salty air in my face, the cushion of sand under my feet, the refreshing and rejuvenating ebb and tide of the waves.
uumm....it was more like dodging people right and left, sand piling in my shoes time and time again, nasty salt chapping my lips and making me crazy thirsty, the "breeze" throwing my earbuds and hair all over my arms and face, getting super dizzy from the waves going up and down while I am trying to run, tripping over and over again in holes in the sand, and getting extremely lost, when the beach ended and I was frantically running through residential roads in desperate need of a bathroom! (which I never found, until I finished my run, and even then, the porta potty was out of toilet paper...awesome.)
Needless to say, it was a torturous 6 miles, but hey, I did it. When I got back to where our group was hanging out, I pulled out my hair tie, to let my hair down, and my hair stayed up in a ponytail all on it's own, in all of it's salty, crunchy, sweaty, crusty glory. Rock on. Go me. Guess I'm not the next shining star of Baywatch.
Anywhoo....Mary, Sam, Alina, and Sterling ended up boogie boarding until 8:30pm! They played in the ocean for 8 hours!!
Ben and I left with the younger kids around 6:00pm. Before we left though, we got to see a pod of dolphins swim by! It was so cool.
Mary and Sam had the time of their lives. Even when they finally did get out, Sherean said they begged to stay longer! My kids sure love the ocean. Believe it or not, they said the liked it better than 6 flags, and that is saying something!
We all arrived back at the house completely exhausted, but happy.
The next morning, we sadly packed our bags and got ready to head home. I have not seen Mary and Sam so devastated in a long time. The poor kids just cried and cried. It was completely heartbreaking.
|Sterling, Mary, Molly, Alina, Sam|
We all said a sad goodbye, and we made the LOOOONG 14 hour trek back home.
We got home a couple days ago, and have spent the time since then getting back to normal, and figuring out our new summer routine.
I am so grateful we have this trip to look forward to each year, and I love that the kids absolutely love this vacation, and this time with their cousins. It is by far the most looked forward to trip of our year, every year.
Until next time...