Monterey 2016 with both children was a smashing success. Both children traveled well, ate quietly in restaurants without our undivided attention, and adapted to new placed with appropriate timidity and excitement.
Padaro Beach Grill outside Carpenteria: hamburgers, fish and chips, and some digging in the sand, chasing birds, and one unexpected train horn that brought a frightened Rose to tears.
Cambria Pines Lodge and Moonstone Beach: a small hut made of driftwood that Rose particularly liked. She gathered smooth weather-worn twigs to light her own cooking fire within and make soup for the family. I wish I could say the excitement put the children to bed early, but they were awake until Phil and I went to bed. I suppose their shared bed was too interesting for sleep. Plus, Rose slipped off our ice chest and hit her chin on the tile sink while brushing her teeth. She bit her tongue through on one side and merely punctured it on the other. We held her over the sink until the bleeding stopped and after some ice and Baby Einstein, she was her chipper self again. Phil and I were both surprised that the healing sores on her tongue didn't interfere with her regular eating habits at all.
Cambria Pines Lodge complimentary breakfast outside in the garden house. The children explored the gardens, wandering from one bubbling fountain to the next and exclaiming wildly at the numerous lantern path lights that lit the way at dusk. In these unfamiliar locations, Rose craved frequent cuddles.
Pacific Grove: Ed and Barb Dickenson made us feel right at home, especially as they'd just had their own grandkids over to stay a few weeks earlier. They had books, an inflatable mattress for Rose, stuffed animals, an antique buggy and cradle for dolls, Lincoln Logs and Tinkertoys, a backyard garden and playhouse, and a synthetic front lawn for somersaults. The children were never at a loss for what to do. Uncle Ed and Aunt Barb even watched the children one evening so Phil and I could dine at the Beach House at Lover's Point.
Beach along 17-Mile Drive: The waves go boom!
One tired Rose ready to be carried home in the toddler backpack. Again, we hoped the long day would make for a good night's rest, but the thrill of a new place trumped the sleepiness and after much giggles and scoldings and getting out of bed, the children finally went to sleep.
Point Lobos: a $10 entrance fee was worth the parking next to our trailhead. The children were thrilled to lead the way down the trail, through the cypress forest, along the craggy shoreline, and down the wooden steps along the pathway. Phil was quite pre-occupied with filming the ocean swells through binoculars that Ed and Barb lent us.
Denise the Menace Park, Monterey: Some unique slides, a rope bridge, cement tunnels, a real train, climbing wall, and lake with paddle boats. Rose was feeling unwell and asking to go home this morning so we got her some tylenol and she was ready for action by late morning.
Cypress Point Beach: We discovered this beach on the way back from Point Lobos yesterday and so we returned to it a few days later with Ed and Barb. Relatively uncrowded with a sandy slope for rolling and getting sand into every dark crevice of the body, tame waves, a delightful selection of shells, seaweed, and rocks.
Monterey Bay First Awakenings: Another easy dining experience with the children. I brought along some play dough-like putty that kept the children busy until our pancakes, eggs, and sausage came. The children relished their OJ and the front of their sweatshirts enjoyed it too.
Hanging on the poles to keep children back from the Sea Kelp display was more interesting than the fish here.
On the last night of the trip, Ed and Barb surprised Phil with an exceptionally delicious cake and presents for his birthday. We lit candles and the children helped me carry in the cake to a very unsuspecting-suspecting Phil. After cake, we packed the car and headed out, hoping the children would fall asleep within the hour for a long, peaceful, silent drive home. I guess we hadn't learned from our past experiences yet. The kids stayed awake for 2-3 hours requesting frequent potty breaks, snacks, entertainment, and wetting themselves in their car seats until it was very dark and very past their bedtime, and Mommy was very cranky. But after they went to sleep, Phil and I got our coffee and listened to Pride and Prejudice until an early morning hour when we pulled into our cozy little home ready to sleep in our cozy little beds.
This vacation was made possible by Ed and Barb Dickenson and Gretchen and Kirk Stevens, without whom everyone would've stayed home and twiddled their thumbs for five days.