Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Last Week-#4

Our last week of our month long vacation we said goodbye to daddy and headed to Arizona for a week of fun in the sun. We drove from California to AZ and I have to say the kids are getting good about driving long distance in the car. I didn't hear a peep out of either of them. Once we got to Arizona I realized a great reason for us moving. It is so freaking hot there. I blame it on the cooler weather on the beach. But also I think that when you live in Arizona you have time to acclimate yourself with the heat rather than being thrown right into it. Seriously we got out of the car and it felt like a hair drying blowing us in the face.

That night Brandon and I got some alone time and headed off to see the final Harry Potter movie while the Aunts babysat for us. It was nice to spend some time alone with my hubby. BTW the movie was okay. Too short but summed up the story nicely.

Then Brandon had to go home on Sunday while we spent a week hanging by the pool and meeting up with old friends. We went to the mall splash pad with Gabby and Heather. Gabriella never likes splash pads but I think Liz and Jack were having so much fun she decided to give it a try...and she LOVED it.

We also met up with a bunch of friends from our old mother's group and went bowling. Jackson was awesome. He rolled the heavy ball and had pretty good form for a 3 year old. Lizzy just liked dancing around and watching. It was so nice to see all our friends. I miss them so much. I never had girl friends in high school or even many in college but these women are so amazing and I love every one of them. It felt like home.

We spent most of our days swimming in the pool and hanging out with the family. Jackson went down the slide all by himself. So brave! All Brandon's sisters were still in AZ so it was fun shopping, chatting, and doing girl stuff with all of them. Sometimes I forget that they are my SIL, because I feel so close to them. All I can say is Cameron better marry somebody amazing if she wants to get into the Stoker Club (lol). (Sporting their Napoleon Dynamite shirts from the dollar store)

By Sunday we were sad to go but it was time to head back to our new rental house (we only lived there for 5 days before we left on vacation). The trip was stressful but wonderful. Seeing all the people we love and are so far away from, it is just nice to be with family.

Friday, August 26, 2011

We Love the Beach

From Seattle we flew to California to meet up with Brandon and the rest of his family at Newport Beach. (For those of you counting this is week 3 of vacation). Brandon flew to AZ and drove over to California with his family to meet us there. They rented a house right off the beach. It was amazing. A short walk to the best sand and about 2 miles from the pier. I have never been to Newport and I have to say this is going to be a yearly trip if I can make it happen. We had the best time. I realized something as I was lying on the beach reading a book...the beach is the best place for a family with young kids. The kids don't go too far in the water but have plenty of things to do. They can dig in the sand, play in the waves, find shells, entertainment for hours. And I could actually relax. Trust me I needed it after the stressful trip to Washington.

Jackson loved it the most. He made new friends with kids on the beach every day and just had a blast running in the waves. We rented bikes for the week too. I have to admit I haven't gone on a bike ride in years. Both Jack and Liz loved the back seat on the bike and feeling the wind in their face. It was the most fun and relaxing vacation we have ever taken as a family. Just lots of family, sun, and fun.

Here are a few things we enjoyed while in Newport:

Knott's Berry Farm. Verdict...very inefficient staff but still fun. It was the first time either of them were brave enough to go on rides, and they loved it. They even went down the log ride. Liz rode with Grandma and Grandpa and when she got off she smiled and said, "Mom, I got wet, WOW." It was so cute. Jackson rode with Brandon and I and he looked terrified in the picture they took but said it was really fun after we got off.

We ate corn dogs on the beach. Jackson ate the whole thing. Fitting the entire corn dog around his mouth with every bite. Funniest thing I have ever seen.

We went for walks and bike rides on the beach and even got in a few morning beach runs. Nothing like exercising with the smell of the ocean.

Lots of boogie boarding. The waves were huge! A little scary but still super fun. And I wiped out a few times.

Made sand castles every day, just so Jack could knock them over.

We also had a chance to fly a kite. Jackson has been wanting to fly a kite for like a year. He was so serious holding the string.

Eating salt water taffy and Balboa bars on Balboa Island.

Enjoying fresh seafood, Mexican style at The Rockn' Baja.

Spending time with the whole family (minus Felipe who had to stay and work...we missed him).

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Our Last Weekend in Seattle

Our last weekend in Seattle was really special because we got to attend my cousin Mark's wedding. He is such a wonderful guy and his wife has been with him since they were in high school. It truly is a match made in heaven. The setting was gorgeous. In North Seattle at a house on the water. They house was not so much a house but more a mansion with these amazing winding gardens and an amazing view. Mark and Morgan were married outside, I seriously can't think of a more magnificant backdrop for them to say their vows. Most of my family was there so that was really nice too. They had all kinds of fun activities but super laid back. Croquet, bouchie ball, and even crackers with bubbles for the guests. You can tell the kids had a blast. Plus they served Thia food because that is the location of their honeymoon. It was so YUMMY. Just a great celebration of love. Plus the photographers fell in love with Elizabeth and Jackson so I am expecting a lot of great professional shots of the kids and me.

Jackson and I in the secret garden.

Lovely sisters.

Concentrating just like daddy.

My little beauty.

Uncle Adam giving instructions to Jack, lol.
Looks a little guilty doesn't he?

The dogs were definitely a highlight.

Erica and her handsome son, Ryder.

Oh Seattle how I love you. Best part right here: