Tuesday I flew to LA with two of my co-workers, Nancy and Mike. Mike's wife Lorraine also traveled with us. We were sent to Holly-wood to attend the annual National Sexual Assault Prevention Convention, The convention was Wednesday, Thursday and half of Friday so I spent Wednesday and Thursday going to workshops and hanging out with my co-workers. Then, Lowell and the kiddos arrived at the hotel on Thursday night. They were pooped from driving all day but I was so excited to see them! And they were thrilled to be staying in a "fancy" hotel. :)
The sleeping arrangements were tight: Lowell took the bed right next to the air conditioner with Nathan next to him; the girls and I took the other bed and Tubbs got his own place on the floor made out of comforters and his blankets. Surprisingly we all slept well!
Our hotel was just down the hill from Universal Studios and CityWalk so we spent Thursday evening walking around and sight-seeing. We explored a fancy candy store, say movie artifacts and drank smoothies. We even found a restaurant and bowling alley named "Jillians". :)Friday morning we drove over to the hotel for my last workshop, walked around the Chinese Theater and put our hands in some of the star's handprints, admired some of the Stars on the Walk of Fame and watched some street performers.
And then headed for Santa Monica! The weather was beautiful and calm and the drive over was easy. We parked right on the beach and started the trek to the water. There was a lovely sail boat out on the horizon and the kids kept calling it a pirate ship!
Wyatt wasn't at all thrilled with how warm the sand was, and honestly, it was burning the spaces between my toes too! So, Lowell and I ended up carrying him most of the way to the shore. We threw down the blanket Lowell had packed and I took the bigger kids to the water. The Biggies dove right in. They waded out into the waves, they "surfed" the waves coming in, they tried to swim, I taught them to dig for sand crabs and they looked for sea shells.
Wyatt was a very different story.
He wanted nothing to do with the water. He wanted nothing to do with the sand. He wasn't interested in building sand castles and would not even put his feet on the ground anywhere near the water. What he did want to do was watch the sea gulls, the other children, the boats and the helicopters that were patrolling the beach. So, bless his heart, Lowell stayed on the blanket with Wyatt the entire time we were at the beach and watched the rest of us frolick in the water.
The traffic going out of town was not nearly as accommodating as the drive to the beach. (Everything about LA is about leaving it, right?) So, we rumbled along in traffic with about half a million other people who were leaving LA for the Labor Day weekend. Our original plan was to hit Cabazon on the way home Friday and just get into Buckeye late that night. With the traffic delay however, it turned out that we needed to get a hotel room in California and then hit the dinosaurs Saturday morning. We stayed at a little hole in the wall motel and listened to a rain storm that evening. It was peaceful and relaxing.
|Notice how small they look under his belly|
and in his toes!
One feature of the dinosaur place is being able to climb up into the TRex and look out into the distance. You can also go inside the brontosaurus where the gift shop is located. Behind the statues, there is a separate area filled with many more dinosaurs, a rock panning area, another gift shop and a couple mechanical dinosaurs the smaller children can ride on.
We all panned for rocks, Lowell took the kids up in the TRex and we walked the nature trails around looking at what it would have been like to see dinosaurs in the "wild". There was also an area filled with sand for the kids to dig for "bones" like archeologists. If they found a rock, they got a small toy from the gift shop. (Chloe found about 6!)
These last few pictures are the kids posing next to their "favorite" dinosaurs. I couldn't even begin to name them, but I think my kiddos are adorable! :)
Kind of cheesy, but fun. :)
As if that wasn't enough to squeeze into a weekend, on the way home we decided to drive around Palm Springs. We drove around and looked at the homes and neighborhoods and then stopped at a park.
I'm used to heat - Buckeye is hot. But Palm Springs was MISERABLE! And it was only about 102 degrees! It was so humid that it was oppressive. The kids were happy to run around, but everyone got tired of the stickiness pretty quickly and then we were back in the van. We drove up to see the aerial tram that takes people to top of the Jacinto mountains -- about 8500 feet at its peak. We would have loved to take that trip, but we hadn't budgeted for that expense for this trip -- next time for sure!
Such a blessing to spend this time with my family. Love these guys!!!