Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Monterey, Anderson, and home

It had been a while since Joel and I had been to the Monterey Aquarium (the last time we were there, we were together), and they've updated things since then. Of course, I don't remember any of the kid areas being there...they probably were, but since we didn't have kids at the time, they must have been invisible then!

Most of our pictures of the fish didn't turn out, but I did get some great outdoor shots, as well as some cute ones of the girls playing in the kids area. We were all tired, especially Ava, so we had a short visit before heading on to Anderson, where we stayed at the most interesting hotel I've ever stayed in.

Ava and Emily touching the aminals in the touch pool:

Ava and a gigantic tuna:

The seals sunning themselves on the rocks:

Our little pearls:

Emily playing in the water:

The Gaia Anderson is an eco-friendly hotel in Anderson, which is just south of Redding. This was their opening weekend, and I'm pretty sure we were the first people to stay in our room (the best part - brand new mattress and sheets! Woohoo!). Everything was organic and green - right down to the shampoo and toilet (half flush or full flush to save water). Our room was lovely and comfortable, and the grounds were really pretty. They have a nice little pond with swans simming around (that I forgot to take a picture of), and of course, Ava was in love with the "ballet swans." The best part of our stay was the awesome complimentary continental breakfast the next morning - it was like going to Starbucks for free. Great coffee and tea, yummy pastries, full sized yogurts...YUM. While we were in Anderson, we went to Sonic Burger for dinner and now I'm addicted to their Cherry Limeaids. We don't have one close to us, but if you have one by you, you know what I am talking about - YUM. Their coney dogs aren't too shabby either! I loved that you could drive up and then they bring it out to you on a window tray.

After our breakfast, we packed everything up and headed home...the girls slept most of the way. I'm still putting away laundry, so technically the vacation isn't over...right?

Passed out on the ride home:

Overall, we had a great time. We packed just enough in, made sure to get the girls (and ourselves) some down time every day, didn't spend more than we budgeted, and just enjoyed the places we'd already been through new, young eyes. I can't wait to take the kids to Disney again (although next time, we are definitely flying - it only took one tank of gas at $5/gallon for me to do that!). We'll probably also spend the extra money to stay at one of the Disney resort hotels - you can't beat the location, and no matter how old you are, you just need some downtime every day (plus, their pools rock!).

On a final note, here's a get well soon wish for Cynde - her appendix is being removed as I type. At least she gets to enjoy the good drugs tomorrow!

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