Tuesday, January 4, 2011

California Christmas (part 5)

This is our final wrap-up of the California family vacation (finally, right?)  We went a few times to the Ventura Harbor (a boardwalk kind of area) because they had this fun carousel for the girls, and lots of fun things for the rest of us, too.
Elena and Clara loved that there were so many coin-operated rides that were just their size!
Several of us goofed off in the tourist signs:
And after Auntie Cyndie and Uncle Russell did the photo booth, we decided Elena and Clara should, too!

Grammie Ellen showed us this really cool park that was right on the beach in Ventura, too.  It had this slide that didn't have the edges on the side we're used to.  The look on Grammie's face here says what we were all feeling - Yikes!
Turns out, there is some kind of crazy smart design to this - even though you'd think the kids would fall right off the side, somehow they don't.  After this very hands-on attempt, we let the girls slide on their own and they were just fine.  we were glad it wasn't just a bit closer to the ocean, though - we wouldn't want them sliding right in!

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Back at our beach house, we made several excursions down the street to our beach, and while Elena enjoyed it each time, she enjoyed it for a much shorter time than Clara.  She'd announce:  "I'm all done!" and one of us would take her home.  This time Auntie Cyndie took her, and we got some alone time with Clara that was very sweet.

One other day, Elena was feeling a little under the weather, and so she and Christina stayed at the beach house while the others went in to LA.  There are no pictures of this, but they took long and cozy naps, they went to a bead store and Elena picked out and threaded her own beads, and they bought cool new sunglasses. 

Meanwhile, everyone else visited the Getty Museum.
Clara (who was an infrequent napper on this trip) got lots of cultural experience out of playing in the museum and seeing the exhibits, but she also put her head down for a good 45 minutes on Steve, who carried her for a walking nap around the museum.  At 30 pounds now that was no small feat!

Wrapping up, we leave you with cozy pajama pictures - first, Christina and her Mom, who had coordinating PJs.
And then, most of our crew (minus Uncle Russell, who was sleeping still, and G-Daddy and Nana who had left for home already) in their pajama splendor.
On the way in and the way out, the girls were sleeping as we went by the wind farms near Palm Springs.  It was too bad - these are heady to drive through - there are just hundreds of these all along the highway, and are hard to really capture here!

We wish we could say we had an easy and uneventful trip back.  Unfortunately, Elena was on the tail end of a stomach bug, and mid-journey Clara launched right into her first experience with a bad stomach bug.  We stopped momentarily at a casino (pretty much the only place to stop at that part of the desert!) when things got really bad to try to regroup, but we decided there was no way for us but to just push through (boy, though, staying at the casino was tempting!!  If there was a doctor anywhere nearby we would certainly have sprung for that).

We couldn't have asked the girls to be any better - they really rallied as much as they could given their poor state.  Without going into the gory details, we will just say that it is always worth bringing a large receptacle in your car for emergencies, and that we are very sorry once again to the employees at the Blythe rest stop.  Oh, and we were SO RELIEVED to pull back into Nana and G-Daddy's driveway at the end of that trip!

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