We (our family, Grandpa, Lollie, and Jensen) left on the Monday morning following the wedding. Really the only low light to the trip were the drives to and from. Having flown to AZ, I was not that stoked to spend that much time in the car and the drive that should have taken us 6-7 hours tops took 8 each time. Let's just say we took much more frequent stops along the way than I am used to. Once we did arrive though, we discovered the adorable Costa Mesa condo we would spend the week at. Airbnb definitely has its benefits when you are traveling with a large family.
Our first full day in California was spent at Disneyland. The last time we went to Disney was just before Merrick turned three and C.C. was about the size of a lima bean in my stomach so we were all really excited. Jensen has a friend who is in the Disneyland band so she was able to get C.C. and three adults in for free. It was seriously amazing of her.
Once inside we of course had a magical day. Honestly lots of the rides were a bit scary for Carrigan, but she loved the Ariel ride, the Winnie the Pooh ride, It's a Small World, and the parades. She was really excited to see Minnie Mouse and so we waited a long time in the hot sun for that pleasure. The real treat of the day for her though was getting to meet Ariel. Their interaction was beyond adorable as Ariel asked her about her human feet and if she had a flipper, she asked her if she had a "binglehopper", and told her about Flounder who is "such a guppy". There were lots of smiles, excited jumping and lots and lots of hugs. It truly made Carrigan's day.
Merrick on the other had was SUPER brave and wanted to go on all the scariest rides with the grown ups while someone stayed off with C.C. He went on the Matterhorn, Indiana Jones, The Haunted Mansion, and more. He was all set to go on the big roller coaster in California Adventure with mom, dad, and Uncle Jensen, but when we walked all the way there (in the far side of California Adventure) from the far side of Disneyland, we discovered it was closed for the night. It was the only disappointment for the day. Instead we went back to Disneyland and did Splash Mountain. That, for Merrick, was the highlight of the day. In that final drop he had a look of the most pure joy on this face (just like C.C. looked with Arial). It was magical.
The rest of the week was much slower paced. We slept in, spent time at the pool and hot tub, did a little shopping and spent a day at the beach. Our beach day was one of my favorite days. The weather was perfect and the water was warm. Carrigan loved playing in the sand and running back and forth away from the waves. Merrick loved jumping the waves and body surfing. We have the beach not too far from us here, but it is not warm enough to swim in the way we were able to in California. Merrick was definitely a big fan.
All too quickly the week was up. We drove back to Arizona, had one day there and it was time to catch our flight home. Because I am a bit of a stick in the mud I am glad to be home in our beds and back into our normal routine, but we could not have asked for a better vacation. We are so thankful to have had the time to spend with family and make some truly wonderful memories. It was all almost dream like...