A couple weeks ago we decided last minute to go down to Monterey Bay. Temperatures in Redding were about 105-110, we just wanted to get OUT and have a change of scenery a little bit. I needed a distraction, and taking kids on a road trip certainly qualifies. We drove down Wednesday afternoon (it’s about six hours?) and the kids always do really well in the car, partly because we’ve been forcing them to do car trips since they were born. They are always happy when we get there. Actually the Chic-fil-a mid-drive was the highlight for me because, hashtag, polynesian sauce.

Thursday we were ready nice and early, thanks to the 3 and 5 year olds who think hotels are magical.

Cutest kids EVER. The aquarium is the white building behind them.

hey we are in sweatshirts. 

It wasn’t quite open yet so we watched the sea lions in the water and spotted starfish. It was so SO nice outside and the view of the bay is really incredible. Also, boats.

Izzie loves the jellyfish, I think we went though that section like three times. Lincoln’s attention span was so much better this year versus last year, what a difference a year can make. It was so weird not bringing a stroller! No big bag of stuff. Just some snacks in my purse and we can really be out for a long time. 

open sea tank. my favorite. 

this totally captures her personality. SPUNKY.

selfie! My arm isn’t long enough, but seriously would not be caught dead with a selfie stick.

Five years old is pretty great.

leave it to my mom to find dress ups at a museum.

We somehow missed this section last year- Actually I remember running though it because Linc was having a meltdown. Fun little water station with cute mini aprons. 

About half way through the day we took a break to walk down and eat our favorite fish and chips/ chowder lunch on the pier. The kids ate none of it, actually, and we rewarded them with ice cream. (They did eat a fresh fruit bowl and a bread roll so they didn’t starve. obviously.)

 Between Lincon’s stink eye and the girls’ pirate hooks I think they nailed it.

the inside of a wave.
She wore these same pants last year to the aquarium and I rolled them like six inches. Seriously. She grew.

He makes great faces.

Okay towards the end of the day, Izzie went in this little tunnel for kids- it had fish tanks inside and she came right out and asked to borrow my phone so she could take some pictures to show me what it was like in there. Most of them have her little thumb in the corner and I LOVE them. Stop growing, Isabelle, you are perfect.

We spent almost the entire day at the aquarium, and then headed back to our hotel literally five miles up the road. It took us OVER AN HOUR. There is like one tiny main road with about forty five traffic lights and it was just car after car locked up, not moving. Sometimes I envy larger, more diverse cities, but I certainly wouldn’t enjoy the traffic. It is frustrating.
The next morning our plan was beach, run back to the hotel to rinse the sand off, visit the dennis the menace park and head home. 

Isabelle picked out this hat last year on our trip and has been waiting all summer to wear it at the beach. 

While Izzie made a sand fortress, Linc walked back and forth all the way down the beach.

We started with shorts, changed to swim trunks, then just undies. The pants progression.

oh you WILL smile for this.
Leigh is always telling us to stop at this park and we finally did it- it was really fun! It’s old, like from the 50’s, but lots to do. We picked up happy meals for the kids and had a picnic there- let them run their wiggles out before the car ride.

Of course he goes down the slide like that.

Our six hour trip took more like 8. Traffic, traffic, traffic. The kids had a good nap though and that helped. We were talking about how the traffic has gotten so congested, maybe there will come a point where it’s just not feasible to visit certain places by car. Maybe in twenty years we will say, “Oh yeah I remember when we used to DRIVE to Monterey.” 

I hope we keep doing this, make this an end of summer tradition. My mom is a great travel companion, she is so helpful with the kids, she makes everything more fun. This was such a happy trip.

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