Thursday, July 29

Monterey Part 2

Tuesday, July 13: Tuesday was my favorite day! I woke up and went for a run down to the Fisherman's Wharf. I did not get a lot of running accomplished because of all the adorable sea lions sprawled on the shore. I could not stop watching them and it made me excited for our dinner reservation at the Wharf that night. We took our time getting ready and then walked to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We stopped along the way at Lillie Mae's Cinnamon Rolls. The smell coming from the door was to enticing not to go inside. Homemade and Delicious! We had already bought tickets at our hotel, so we walked right in. There was a penguin feeding about to start, so we went right there along with everybody else. John and I love penguins! I love watching them maneuver their clumsy bodies in and out of the water. The trainers fed them and answered all kinds of questions from the audience. It was fun. We went to the Sea Otters next and it was the highlight of my aquarium experience. The trainers had put out these clear tubes filled with frozen fish inside. The otters worked diligently at trying to get the fish unfrozen to eat. (think of a Kong for a dog) This one otter was working so hard and continued to bang his tube against the glass for us all to see. I got a great video of him and the girls and I have watched it over and over. The rest of the aquarium was really great. It was a super nice place and they had great exhibits. We thought about the girls a lot while we were there because they would have loved it. In honor of them, we bought their souvenirs there. A sea turtle stuffed animal for Emma and a seal for Brooklyn. They were big hits when we got home. We grabbed a quick bite of lunch at an outside cafe called Cannery Row Pizzeria and then headed back to our hotel to change clothes for our bike ride. We rented bikes for 24 hours. We had intentions of riding around the next day, but our booties were way to sore for that. We made good use of our time and rode the entire rest of the day from 2:30 in the afternoon until 11:00 that night. Monterey has an awesome recreation trail that runs parallel to Cannery Row and then up the coast. We rode about 4 miles up and 4 miles back, stopping at points along the way for pictures. It was incredible and the best part of the trip for me. It was sunny, 68 degrees and we were riding beside an ocean on one side and adorable California Bungalows on the other side of the street. Perfection. We rode back to change clothes for dinner and then rode our bikes down to Fisherman's Wharf. John had not seen the Sea Lions down there, so we got to dinner early to watch them and take some pictures. We ate at the Old Fisherman's Grotto that night. It is a local favorite and right on the water. From our seat, we spotted a sea otter enjoying a fresh crab for dinner. The food was pretty good, but nothing I would go back for another time. We decided that after a long day that a movie would be good. John convinced me to go see Avatar on IMAX and in 3D. He had already seen it 3 times and I had not seen it yet. I have to admit, it was really good. The worst part of the movie was coming out at 11:00 with an extremely sore bottom and having to ride back to the hotel!

Tuesday, July 27

10th Anniversary Trip to Monterey, CA- Part 1

We celebrated our 10th anniversary last month, but didn't travel until July. With kids, you travel when it is MOST convenient for the people willing to keep your little ones. July worked for my parents to have them in Little Rock for a few days, so that is when we went. It was also VBS at my parent's church and I was already going to bring the girls to LR for that, so we brought them and then left. :)
There is so much to write about and SO MANY pictures. Highway 1/Big Sur is gorgeous and John was in a photographers paradise. He posted on his Photoblog while we were there, so check those out for the week of July 11th and a little beyond.

Sunday, July 11: We flew out of Little Rock early Sunday morning and after a few delays made it to San Jose at 1:30. We rented our car, plugged in our trusty GPS and found the closest In and Out Burger. We were starving and love their burgers. It had been 7 years since the last time we ate there. Yum! We drove a little more than an hour to Monterey and found our hotel: Monterey Bay Inn. The hotel was in a great location and our room looked out over the bay/ocean. We decided to use our 1/2 day to drive Big Sur. It was gorgeous. It was a cloudy day and the fog was crazy, but it was just beautiful. We stopped at many points along the way to take pictures and just stare. We turned around at Pfiefer State Park where we got to see a few Redwood Trees. We took a picture of us kissing (ah....) to give some perspective of how big the trees are. John's parents recommended a restaurant to us along Highway 1 called Rocky Point Restaurant, so we ate there for dinner. It was literally on a cliff and had great scenery. Our food was not all that great, but the view made up for it. We were so tired, plus the 2 hour time change, so after dinner we headed to bed.

Monday, July 12: On Monday, we woke up on our own and I went for a walk/run down to Cannery Row in Monterey. Cannery Row is full of shops, restaurants, entertainment and the aquarium. It was fun to run through it when it was not as busy and scope out some places to go. We had reservations to eat lunch at The Stillwater Grill at Pebble Beach at 11;30, so we left our hotel in time to get to 17 Mile Drive and to the Clubhouse. We got there early, so we were able to walk through some of the shops there before lunch. The Stillwater Grill looks out onto the 18th green at Pebble. Its pretty cool to be there and think of all the history of the place, especially since John loves the game of golf. Our lunch was REALLY good. We had told them it was our anniversary when we made the reservation, but had forgotten. At the end, they brought us a super yummy chocolate cake. We were both so full, but we manage to make a large dent in the cake. From the Clubhouse, we got back on 17 Mile Drive and did the tourist loop. There are about 20 stops along the way, one being the Lone Cypress Tree where Pebble Beach gets their logo. One of our last stops was just overlooking the ocean, but it was so crowded. We realized that everyone was looking at this huge rock with a ton of sea lions just hanging out on it. They were so cute! Since we were close to Carmel, we drove into Carmel Valley for a tour of one of the local wineries. Neither of us had done a wine tour before and it was really interesting and fun. It was a free tour with free tastings and we had a great time. I can see where people really can have wine as a hobby and I don't even really like a lot of kinds of wine. From there, we went into Carmel by the Sea and walked around all the little shops for a few hours. It is the quaintest town with barely a single chain store. There were lots of art galleries and specialty stores. Every storefront had a Dutch door and every store had water bowls outside because everyone takes their dog around town. My kind of town. We ate dinner at an Italian Place that a local had recommended while we were shopping and it was called Little Napoli. It was my most favorite meal there. We had to wait a little bit, so they sent us next door to their Wine Bar. We had never been to a Wine Bar, so our super cool waitress introduced us to everything and we had a great time. Again, not because of the wine, but it was all so interesting. Weird, I know. Little Napoli was very small and we were practically sitting at the same table with those next to us, but it was great food with really fun atmosphere.

Thursday, July 8

Beauty and The Beast Drama Camp

The Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast is coming to Walton Art Center this month and we bought tickets to take the girls on July 31st. Then I saw that they were having a B and B Drama Camp for little ones 4-8 years old and I knew Emma would love it. I asked if they would let Brooklyn go since she is so close to being 4, but they couldn't bend the rules. Emma had three of her good friends there too which made it even better. Molly, Elle and Katherine joined her!

She went every day last week from 9-11:30 and had so much fun! On the last day, the parents got to come at 11:00 for a performance and to show everything they did during the week. I knew Emma was having a lot of fun, but really didn't know exactly what she was doing. I was super impressed. They had 3 stations each day: Drama, Dance and Art. Each station centered around Beauty and the Beast. In art, they made Beast masks, roses, mirrors, rings and a journal all out of different mediums. In drama, they played games acting out the different characters and scenes from the play. They showed us some of the games on Friday and it was so fun! In dance, they learned a dance to a hip hop version of Beauty and the Beast. They all did really great and looked like they were having a blast.

This camp is definitely one we will keep on the radar for next year. Brooklyn is more than excited that she will be old enough. We are making bets on what play the camp will be centered upon.

Tuesday, July 6

We Meet an Idol

Yes, that is John and I in a picture with Kris Allen, 2009 American Idol and fellow Arkansan! We found out he was going to be at Georges last night and we immediately bought tickets. We have a friend who's brother is in his band, so she hooked us up with a Meet and Greet with Kris before the show. To say that John and I were giddy is an understatement. I think we hid it well. :)

Georges is not a normal hang out for John and I, but we had a lot of fun. We thought we might be the oldest ones there, but we were wrong. We were actually some of the younger ones. He stood almost at the very front of a sold out crowd, sweated our brains out, but it was fun to see him close up. It was a great show and a fun and different date night for us!

Thursday, July 1

Fancy Nancy

We had planned to go to Braum's for ice cream, but before we left I took our dog for a short walk. When I returned Brooklyn was dressed up. (see picture) She told me I needed to get "fancy". I told her I would just wear what I have on. John came out of the closet with shorts and a tshirt on and she told him he needed to be "fancy". He replied, "No, I'm going to dress casual." In her best 3 year old voice she said, "Oh, casual!" When we got to Braums, she asked again what the word was that described how Daddy was dressed. She was impressed with this word. We were honored to have our own Fancy Nancy in our presence. :)

Swim Lessons

We went to Wilson Park Pool for swim lessons this year. I had heard good things about the lessons and the price was to good to pass up. We also had quite a few friends that were going to be taking there. The first few lessons, I thought I had made a bad decision, but by the end I really did like them. They were 4 days a week for 2 weeks and that was a lot. It might not have been as much had we not had other stuff going those weeks as well. The girls had fun and they really did learn stuff. Emma has been swimming since last summer, but she learned some strokes and did really well. She loved the time on the diving board and slide at the end of class. Her friend, Molly, was in class with her.

Brooklyn gained a lot of confidence over the 2 weeks in the pool. By the second or third class, she was going under water and loving it. She went off the diving board with someone catching her. She wanted to go down the slide SO bad, but it wasn't until the last day that she finally did it. She was so proud! Since swim lessons, B has been going under over and over again. On Tuesday, she decided she would go under and swim. I have a feeling we will have a little fish by the end of the summer! One of B's best friends, Whitlee, was in her swim class along with another friend Ruthie. They had a lot of fun!