Strap In: Vacation Pics and a Little Bit More…

I realized I never got around to posting about our vacation to California. We had a whirlwind of a trip that included three different theme parks: Sea World, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Castle Park (which is a small theme park in my hometown) and a trip to the beach. We went because Joseph had a friend who was celebrating his birthday with a trip to Universal Studios and he invited Joseph to go along. The rest of us tagged along so that we wouldn’t be so far from him should any emergencies arise. Joseph hung out mostly with his friend and his friend’s mom (who is one of my good friends) while Abigail got some one-on-one time with me and Paul. Consequently, there aren’t many pictures of Joseph in this post, but when I get the pictures from Universal Studios, and anything else (he also mostly hung out with his friend when we went to Sea World and Knott’s Berry Farm together), I’ll make another post. We were even able to squeeze in some time with Jason, Saira, and Luna. It was a pretty fun trip! I’m also including the pictures I took during the last couple of weeks because…I’m too lazy to do a second post, haha.

At a rest stop in…New Mexico, I think. This was the silly picture.
This was the nice picture. 🙂
Eating at the In-N-Out in Phoenix. 🙂
Ugh…the gas prices!! This was cheaper than some places, too.
This seemed like an absurd amount to have to pay for gas…
Before Sea World, we stopped to take a picture at the San Diego temple. Paul and I were married here 21 years ago. Where does the time go?! The weather was perfect while we were out in Southern California. It was in the 70s in the mornings, 80s in the afternoons…50s and 60s at night…I think there’s only two things I miss about living there: my family and the weather.
On the Sesame Street bench at Sea World.
Letting the little cleaner fish nibble her hands. It didn’t hurt at all…just tickled.
We picked the perfect day to go to Sea World. Abigail didn’t have to wait in any lines for the rides.
She loved these swings!
This was a fun little pop up in one of the aquariums. She liked crawling under there and getting to be “under water”.
Checking out the sharks.
She liked that we could see them but that they couldn’t get us.
It isn’t often you get to see the bottom of a stingray, but Abigail got to!
Checking out the sea turtles.
Hanging out with the baby penguins. 😉
The walrus startled her. It is pretty big…
Beluga whales!
Joseph hanging out with his friend, Alex. That sleeping bag they’re sitting on is older than me. 😀
We also picked a good day for Camp Snoopy at Knott’s Berry Farm. I think we did all of Camp Snoopy in less than two hours. Abigail loved getting to pretend to be the Red Baron.
Getting ready for the hot air balloon ride.
It was her first year doing this one…she liked it a lot!
In the school bus ride…
On the swings…
Getting ready for her first official roller coaster ride.
She loved it!
On the boat ride.
She liked that it spun around. I was glad she could go on her own…those rides make me sick, haha.
On the bumpy dune buggy ride.
Getting ready for the Ferris Wheel.
“Hi, Daddy!”
There were a couple of these big chairs. Whenever we saw one, she needed to take a picture.
Cotton candy bigger than her face. 🙂
She was willing to share with me and Paul.
Another big chair.
Chatting it up with a prospector…
Pretending to be dead (her idea, of course), haha. That horse was one we got to check out and she got to ride around the western section of Knott’s. She had a ton of fun doing that.
Trunk lunch!
A cup with her name and a huge lollipop…great souvenirs for a 6YO!
Walking through a tunnel to get to the beach (the tunnel went under the highway; the parking was on one side of the highway and the beach was on the other).
Abigail’s first time seeing the ocean…
She loved it!
The water was cold!!! Pacific beaches are waaaay different than Gulf beaches.
Seaweed and sand castles.
Playing with sand toys.
At the tide pools.
An ice cream treat afterwards…
We ate at Old Spaghetti Factory one night. It’s where Paul and I had dinner for one of our senior proms.
One of my amazing friends, Tara, made this beautiful sign for me. I can hardly wait to display it in my classroom!
A rare sighting of the brother! She was playing Switch games with him.
Ralph finally made an appearance a couple days before we were due to leave.
It had been too cold for him to come out earlier.
We got Ralph when I was younger than Abigail is now…it’s crazy that he’s still around!
The boat swings at Castle Park.
This is, by far, her favorite Castle Park ride.
Joseph finally got to go on Fire Ball. It was closed the last time we visited. It’s insane that it goes upside down!
He had a blast! This one wasn’t around when Paul and I were kids…
Abigail went on the boat ride twice. We also lucked out with Castle Park and a lack of lines.
Getting ready to ride the airplane ride.
Hooray for kids being old enough to go on roller coasters…by themselves…because Paul and I are too old, haha.
Getting ready to ride Dragon’s Tower (another one that wasn’t around when we were younger).
It’s one of those free-fall rides.
We stopped by to see Kris (Paul lived with her family between getting home from his mission and us getting married). She’s got chickens that Abigail got to feed.
Kris gave Abigail a ton of dress-up clothes that were too small for her granddaughter…so of course Abigail had to do a fashion show when we got back to my mom’s. Belle’s (from Beauty and the Beast) winter dress…
…a Minnie Mouse outfit…
…Little Mermaid…
…spooky witch…
…a cute jeans vest (not dress-up)…
…and Belle’s village dress (Abigail chose the bow placement, haha).
The main reason of the trip was for Joseph’s friend to be able to go to Universal Studios (with Joseph as his theme park buddy). His friend’s mom (my friend, Katie) picked me up a chocolate frog when they went to the Harry Potter part of the theme park.
It came with a solid chocolate frog and some Harry Potter trading cards.
The frog was huuuuuge!
I ended up sharing it with Abigail. 🙂
California sunset from my mom’s backyard.
Giving Grandma hugs…
…neither kid wanted to leave. I love visiting my mom. I can feel my daddy everywhere in the house (which is one of the reasons Mom says she won’t ever be able to leave to downsize)…it’s nice being able to have these memories for my kiddos!
The first day driving back we stopped in Tuscon. Check out this giant cactus outside the restaurant where we went for dinner! For reference, Abigail is about four feet tall.
She also wanted a picture with this one that was as tall as her…
Joseph with the giant Saguaro cactus.
At one of our hotels, they had a machine that made pancakes. Abigail was mesmerized by the process.
The day we got home, I decided to still go to the Relief Society activity. This sunset greeted me as I left the activity. Texas sunsets are pretty, too!
Abigail built this awesome little building with her blocks.
I’m still not sure how it managed to stay standing!
When looking for a summer quote (I’ve given up on changing my sign every month, ha), these lyrics kept floating through my mind. I love John Denver!
While we were on vacation, I found out that I passed my final certification exam! As soon as we got home, I applied for my standard certification (which has been granted) and I splurged and got myself this fun Loungefly Coco bag. I told myself if I passed all three tests (I HATE taking exams), I would get it. It was worth the wait!
One of my favorite parts of summer. 🙂
Right before the end of this last school year, one of my students gave me a Target gift card. I’ve been holding onto it, but finally decided what I would use it on: games for my classroom! This way, my students will have something to do on rainy (or too hot, or too cold) days!
Our cherry tomato plants have been cranking out a ton of tomatoes. They don’t last long with this kid in the house, though.
And so begins the collection of classroom stuff. It will be good to get this into my classroom and out of my bedroom, ha.
This is the rug for my reading corner…it will also be good to get this guy out of here!
We went to IKEA this past Saturday. We got a set of shelves for my classroom, a new desk and dresser for Joseph, and this chair for my classroom (to go in the reading corner). I love it!
When I had to trade out my old Chromebook (which had reached a point where it was no longer getting updates) for this one (Paul’s old one, which is still newer than mine…he got himself a new laptop), I was sad to say goodbye to some of my favorite stickers. Well, I inadvertently ordered the same package of stickers (to use as incentives for my students) that I did before, so I was able to find my favorites again…and add them to this Chromebook (along with others that other people had given me). Now it will always be easy to find my Chromebook in the classroom. 😉
No, this is not a picture of the 91 degrees (though, that is nice for July). This is the picture of my car hitting 12,345 miles. I was sitting in the drive thru and noticed it, so I had to dig out my phone and take a picture. 😉
Joseph with his new desk set-up. Why does he look so…grown?!

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