Grandma took the boys to Build-a-Bear and each of them now have new best buddies:
|Laszlo and his Sea Monkey named Georgie|
|Paul and his sparkly Elsa bear, dressed as Spider-man, named "Jackson Storm"|
|Just the cutest fox in the forest.|
Paul was so looking forward to taking Grandma Jamie to Knott's Berry Farm (AKA his favorite place). I was really looking forward to it as well because I spent that morning at the DMV waiting in line for the most depressing ride: the Carousel of Human Misery.
As if that weren't enough fun for one week, we also went to the Aquarium of the Pacific. If you ever find yourself near Long Beach in need of something to do, you ought to check it out--but always with a coupon because full price is a bit much--especially if you have hands on kids. We got to touch Moon Jellyfish, Zebra Sharks, Sting Rays, Horseshoe Crabs, and Lorikeets. There was a very fun play area, Seal Lion training demonstrations, and interactive dive presentations.
Don't worry, these are not real penguins..
|Paul wanted to hold his breath for the picture because he|
|All either kid really wanted to do here was play on this boat.|
Paul desperately wanted a Lorikeet to land on his arm, but those birds are smart enough to stay away from kids. We did get some nectar to feed them. For your enjoyment here is a video of my mother walking into the Lorikeet habitat with a little cup of nectar in her hands:
We were able to transfer some birds to me, but you'll notice again that none of them would land on Paul.
|He was so patient and sweet, trying to coax the birds into landing on him.|
We try to plan fun anniversary dates, but it doesn't always work out well. Last year was, "Happy Anniversary, honey" at Firestone while we got a mini van fitted with new tires. Imagine the romance of A) Owning a mini-van, B) Having to have spend money on said mini-van, and C) The horrible burned rubber smell of every Firestone ever.
This year we did a bit better, we planned a family camping trip up to Sequoia National Park. This is my new favorite place. It is difficult to describe without using tired old cliches, but I will try.
It is challenging, capturing the overwhelming size of these trees in a photo. However big you think they look, double it. A Sequoia is so massive, it has such a presence, almost like it is a person instead of a plant.
Sequoias are so monumentally huge. Over 300 feet tall, 2,000 years old, 8 ft or more in diameter. They are fire proof, bug proof, and fungus proof. They don't die until they are good and ready and their roots give out and then they just fall over.
|Here we are inside a fallen Sequoia, one of the small ones.|
|There's the fog line, right there.|
|275 ft tall, 36 ft diameter, normal trees and kid for scale.|
We climbed Moro Rock, a slab of granite about 6,700 ft above sea level. The reward of the 300 ft vertical climb of 350 steps is supposed to be a stunning vista. The fact that Paul wanted to do it and didn't complain about it was our reward, because we were literally hiking in a cloud. Here is the awesome view we got:
|It's the stairway to heaven. Get it?|
It was extremely eerie to see the path below us disappearing, and not really knowing how high up we were.
The famous Tunnel Log! We saw a car drive under it, so that is a thing. You can also climb on top of it.
This is what the roots look like once the tree has fallen, I thought the shape and texture of them was just mesmerizing.
The bark is even beautiful close up, everything about these trees is amazing!
|We found wildlife. It's Woody Woodpecker!|
And with that we packed up our tent and headed home, Paul begging us to never take him to a National Park again. Well, the joke is on him because we have a National Parks pass and already have a few more trips planned for this year. We'll turn him into a hiker yet!