Not gonna lie, getting hit with a major snowstorm when we arrived in South Dakota was not something I had planned for. I could have sworn I had checked various forecasts and they were all good. Whoops. Go figure that it was during my turn to drive that the roads got nasty. On the plus side, I did see a coyote when it calmed down a bit and a few other critters. The weather did mean that we would need to find some indoor activities, though, because we didn’t bring any cold weather gear with us.
Thankfully, not too far from us was The Reptile Garden. You really can’t go wrong with reptiles, right? Plus it’s guaranteed that you won’t need a jacket inside and that always wins for me. I admit I was a little put off by the initial cost, but it ended up being worth it. They had an enormous collection of critters, some of which I have never seen in person before. There was also a really neat greenhouse that had some birds, snakes and lizards completely out of cages, which was unique from what we’ve been to before.
There were a few “shows” throughout the day, so we decided to check out the snake show. The kids got a little bored until the trainer (are they called trainers??) started pulling out actual snakes – many of which were venomous and therefore extra cool. Enzo even got to ask a question after raising his hand (which was possibly even more exciting) and he asked what Rattlesnakes eat. We got up close and personal with one too when the gal put the rattler on the ground with this 2-3 foot high clear barrier surrounding it. The kids, especially Enzo, were stoked.
The trip from California to Durango, Colorado was done overnight, so we didn’t make many stops along the way, however count on small children to need to use the restroom at the worst time possible when there are no bathrooms around. Haha. We also started to run into cooler drizzly weather which made exiting the car even more enjoyable.
I really failed at taking pictures during this portion of our trip and I don’t know why! Maybe because it felt so much like just being at home? I know at home I have to make more of an effort to pick up my camera at times. Plus, a lot of our time was just spent hanging out and chatting and unfortunately we were only there a few days, so that has a lot to do with it as well. Lots of good food and just nice to be home where really not much has changed, and as always a part of me thinks of moving back one day. Just maybe.
My dad has several of these large creepy crawlies around the yard and on his Jeep that he has made.
Enzo disovered Sprite on this trip, and now we’ve had to come to an agreement that he only gets it occasionally as a special treat. 😉 Also… while I try to avoid the kindles at restaurants, at this point in our trip the kids got cranky pretty fast and this battle is one I chose not to fight.
Our time in California was winding down, and Enzo happened to be turning 5 in a week, so my mom had asked if there was a special cake that he would like so she could make him one. As it so happens, he wanted a butterfly cake in an array of colors. I’m not sure where the butterfly idea came from… maybe because we’ve talked a bit about plants and hoping that the monarchs will make a return to our yard. Either way, my mom truly delivered.
For his 5th birthday, Enzo had really only one request. He wanted his own Alexa for his bedroom. Done. The excitement on his face was priceless, as was the moment when he turned to his sister and whispered to her, “Phoebe, we have our very own Alexa for our bedroom!”
My mom and step-dad had the excellent idea of buying him his own first camera too, which he was very excited about and has been using on a regular basis. The hardest part has been convincing him not to delete all of his pictures!! I need to sneak his camera and download the ones he has saved to my computer.
On our final day, we went to Birch Aquarium and it didn’t disappoint! Not too big, not too small and it had a really good variety as well!
The jellies never disappoint, and they had so many here. They really are so fascinating to watch and it was fun to watch Enzo take pictures of everything with his camera as well.
See what I did there? Yeah, yeah, not original in the slightest, but it’s been a long week and it’s cold and rainy, so it’s the perfect day to relive some fun at the beach!
First, though, we spent Friday after our Disney fun just relaxing. The kids played and then we took them to the swimming pool to really wear them out. Phoebe was very excited to don her fancy gloves and play with her new tea set.
We went to Coronado Beach on a Saturday and surprisingly enough it wasn’t even that busy and the weather was gorgeous! The water was a tad chilly, but we were so excited to dip our feet in and soak up the warm rays from the sun.
They’re not even a little excited. Ha!
I love how he just carried that shovel around. You never know when you might need to dig a hole, right? Enzo didn’t necessarily enjoy how cold the water was, but Phoebe couldn’t care less.
Yeah, we all enjoyed the nice weather and change of scenery just a bit. There were also a ton of tiny clams everywhere! It was really kind of bizarre, but neat. I’ve never seen so many and it was a little odd to watch their very squishy, gelatinous… selves try and hold on to the sand as the waves came and do whatever it is they were trying to do. Clearly I know nothing about clams.
We’ve been listening to ocean waves as bedtime background noise and it really is so relaxing. I can see why people would choose to live close to it. I have a feeling the kids would say the same. Alas, back to reality and time to pull out my sweatshirt for the high of 48 degrees and even more rain tomorrow. 😉
Not surprisingly, one thing we were all looking forward to on our trip was Disneyland. It’s the happiest place on earth, right? It’s been years since I’ve been there, Josh had never been and we figured both kids were old enough to enjoy it, so the 4 of us and my mom headed off to Disneyland bright and early on a Thursday morning. One thing we knew we wanted to do was spend a full day there, but we didn’t necessarily want to drive back to my mom’s the same day, so we got a room at a hotel a couple blocks away. Best idea ever. We were even able to check in that morning, drop our stuff off and walk over to Disneyland.
Enzo wasn’t keen on getting his photo taken so early in the morning, but I can’t really blame him. Even during an on “off-season” day there were still lots of people and lots of things to see. We kind of just picked a direction and went for it.
Josh and I started the day off going on Big Thunder Mountain. Phoebe was too short and Enzo decided it was too scary, so my Mom stood by with them while we got one ride out of our system and then focused on a little sight-seeing and heading toward Toon Town.
We were briefly distracted by the short line to Small World, so we figured it would be a really nice and easy first ride for the kiddos. So… Phoebe loved it. It wasn’t too fast and she loved looking at everything. Enzo thought it was boring. The rest of us feel like we lost 5 years of our lives in the ride that never freaking ends. Just when you think you can’t take it anymore and are willing to throw yourself from the boat… it keeps going. My only consolation is that it made Phoebe very happy.