Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Fourth Week of January- NoCal Trip

I had to post this darling picture Kate drew during sacrament meeting at church. We are really into Moana at our house! We spent the beginning of the week packing and preparing for our NoCal trip.
The girls spent all Sunday after church playing together and dressing up. I love watching these sisters get along. Kate also enjoyed her 100th Day of Kindergarten!

Then as soon as Tim could get home from work (I think it was about 6:15 when we left) we headed out. The drive was awesome! Millie and Henry fell asleep for the night right away. We drove to Torrance, CA where we spent the night. We headed to Santa Monica with the plan that we could enjoy a slightly warmer SoCal beach for the morning and then hit up a Sokol family favorite restaurant before heading up the coast. The girls were in heaven. Especially Kate. The second we hit the sand Kate had stripped off her clothes and was down at the water. Check out those smiles of pure joy!

The girls could have cared less that it was chilly. I mean no one got in past their knees but they were happy chasing waves and playing in the sand. This was Henry's first beach experience! He HATED the sand (see his picture a few down) but LOVED being held and having the waves crash at our feet. He laughed and giggle every time. It was so fun! Being at the beach is just so relaxing. Just hearing the waves crash and watching the girls scamper about was just heaven. We enjoyed the beach for a few hours before heading to El Cholo for lunch.

I've been going to El Cholo since I was a baby. My mom grew up in SoCal and it was a family favorite then. The Santa Monica location has this great patio...the second we walked up Kate exclaimed it was "like we are in Elena!" We are big Elena of Avalor fans at our house too! Our food was delicious of course! It was so fun to have a little SoCal fun (and nice to break up the drive) before our drive to Monterey!

Car ride fun

We got to Monterey at about 7pm so it was dark. It was incredible waking up the next morning to this! Our hotel was not even 50 yards from the ocean. This was my view from breakfast. 

The whole reason we came on this trip was for Tim to attend this pediatric conference in Carmel, CA. After breakfast we quickly checked out Lovers Point then Tim headed to his conference and the kids and I walked along the coast to the Aquarium. 

Tim had a great time at his conference and made some really good connections. We had a fabulous day at the aquarium. I remember going as a kid but couldn't remember much. We loved it. The girls especially loved the kids Splash Zone, gift shop (of course) and this fun area where you could color a fish on these tablet and then "send it to the reef." They had these big screens up on the wall that looked like an aquarium and when you sent your colored fish to the reef it would actually pop up and swim in the water. Technology is so amazing! We also loved the jelly fish, open water exhibit, the penguins and Millie loved this cool place where you could sit under a wave and the Finding Nemo tank.

This is the coloring fish thing I so poorly explained.
Here are a few of the fish that the girls colored.

Friday while Tim was at his conference we spent the morning exploring Monterey. I had to go take pictures by the old beach house my family stayed in as kids. One of my family's favorite pictures of me and my three brothers was taken on this railing. So of course we had to snap a picture.

I also had plans to recreate another childhood favorite picture of mine at the Dennis the Menace park. But was heartbroken to find out the park was closed until March as they made it handicap accessible. Fortunately we were able to find another playground to play on for a bit. 

We then hit the road to San Francisco! And went full steam ahead. Our hotel was on Lombard Street but we had to made quite the trek up the crazy hills of San Fran to get to it. It was no easy feat!

We were happy to left our car parked at the hotel and just enjoyed walking and trolleying were we wanted to go. We walked down Lombard Street, ate ice cream at Ghirardelli Square, riding the famous trolleys, checking out Fisherman's Wharf and enjoying a delicious Boudin bread bowl full of clam chowder. The girls were really excited to be in San Fran. Thank you Disney's Inside Out. Seriously! The girls couldn't wait to see the Golden Gate bread and they were very concerned and said we couldn't eat pizza while we were there because they didn't want broccoli on it, "San Francisco you ruined pizza. First the Hawaiians, now you!" The girls didn't want clam chowder Friday night and were pleasantly surprised their pizza did not have any broccoli on it. Funny though because they love broccoli...just not on pizza I guess.

Saturday morning we drove down Lombard Street per Kate's request, we stopped by the Painted Ladies and then headed to the Golden Gate Bridge.

The girls loved the hills of San Fran. They thought it was like a big roller coaster. I loved how they put their arms up in the air whenever we went down a big hill.

After stopping at the view point we also drove along the coast to Point Bonita. The views from over there were breathtaking.  We then headed over to Pier 39 to check out the sea lions before heading over to Sunnyvale, a San Fran suburb, to go see our dear friends the Cutlers.

One of the Hearts of San know "I Left My Heart in San Francisco!"

We were so excited to reconnect with Mark and Kristen. Tim and Mark were roommates at BYU. Kristen was also in their freshman ward (and believe it or not I was just across the parking lot from them in Heritage Halls). Mark and Kristen are amazing friends. And they just so happen to have 3 kids, 2 girls and 1 boy. There kids are just about 1 year older than each of ours so needless to say the girls had so so much fun. It was nice to have some down time and space to just play and for Henry to crawl around. We took it easy and just enjoyed visiting and playing at the park. It was such a fun way to end our trip and we were so glad we were able to see them. It had been far too long...we figured over 4 years since we had last seen them.

We drove back from Sunnyvale to Phoenix Sunday all in one day (12 hour drive) and all I can say is my kids are amazing! Our drive home was so smooth. The only trouble we ran into was the last hour when Henry had been sleeping and woke after a little coughing spell and had just had enough. He cried the last 40 minutes of drive but other than that it was smooth sailing.

Traveling and sharing a hotel room 3 kids and being on the go go go isn't always easy. But it's so worth it. My fondest memories are from family vacations we took as a kid. I love creating these memories with my beautiful little family and am forever thankful for the opportunity to do so!


  1. That pic of Millie twirling her dress with the bridge in the background is my favorite!! Who took the one of you and Tim? Kate? This looks like such a fun adventure. You make traveling with three little kids look easy even though I know it isn't! But you are right, some of the best memories I have are from family vacations and I'm really grateful my parents put forth the effort. I understand now that it is A LOT of effort!!

  2. What an amazing trip! I'm so glad you got to all go and have so much fun together. Family trips with little ones are challenging but so worth it. Those are smiles of pure joy on your faces! I feel happy just looking at your photos.