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Archive for June, 2007

Mini Family Vacation

On the first weekend of June we drove down to central coast for a family weekend getaway. The timing was right: Alexander just finished his preschool; no parties/gatherings that weekend; the place we’re staying was running a 50% off promotion; plus Richard and I really need a break from our daily routine to relax.

We started the trip on Friday after breakfast. We decided to have a picnic lunch on one of the beach half way so I made some ribs and savory cakes along with fruits and snack foods and drinks. The beach that we chose was one of the state beach that provides picnic table and easy access from the parking lot (I don’t know the name but it’s before Pigeon Point Lighthouse). We ate then took a walk on the beach. Alexander didn’t like walking close to the water after his slippers got wet. He preferred playing with the sand though. The weather was a little chilly at first but the sun came out and warmed up the sand. Snuggling together with our toes buried in the warm sand; listening to the ocean waves and watching Alexander and Ethan playing sand– very peaceful and relaxing. Richard and I enjoyed it quite a bit. We then headed to Pigeon Point Lighthouse, hoping to watch any whales. Well we didn’t spot any whales but found several groups of seals swimming/playing in a distance. After that we headed to our final destination: Lighthouse Lodge & Suites in Pacific Grove. I was glad that we stayed in a suite so there was space for the kids to run around plus mini fridge and microwave for the picnic food leftovers. Also we had hot breakfast, plus afternoon pool side barbeque and hors d’oeuvres served everyday– no bad at all for $160/day (after 50% off promotion). After barbeque dinner Richard and Alexander got into the pool. Ethan and I just soaked our feet in the jacuzzi. When we returned to our room, washed up and set up the sofa bed for the boys, we found the boys just won’t sleep– they kept playing and bugging each other. So we had to keep them separately until they fell asleep then putting them together. But the boys got up middle of the night and all four of us ended up sleeping on our bed.

The next morning I got up early and went for a morning swim by myself. After breakfast we drove to downtown Monterey where we spent the day. We first went to Dennis the Menace Playground. It’s a kid’s heaven next to a lake– there is a train engine for the kids to climb aboard, a suspension bridge, a rock climbing area, a maze, slides and several other types of playground structures. It was Saturday so there were lots of kids with their parents at the park; seems like a favorite place for the locals and even the tourists like us! We easily spent 2 hours there and our boys wouldn’t want to leave when it was time to go. After a big hearty seafood feast for lunch on cannery row we visited Monterey Bay Aquarium. As always it was nice and educating as Alexander started his “Why?…” stage. The kids had fun playing in the kids’ zone and the Ocean Sunfish did catch my attention this time. It was cold today so Richard and I decided to have some Tom Yum Goong  (Thai hot & sour soup) before the long walk back to parking garage. We returned to the Lighthouse L & S early evening, snacking on foods and then all headed to the swimming pool for some splashing fun. After wash up we then all snuggling on the sofa bed watching live TV (wow… when’s the last time we watched LIVE TV?…). We found a show on Discovery that we both like: Man v. Wild. If you haven’t seen it check it out. Since the boys did a lot of walking today they both fell asleep quickly and throughout the night.

Since Alexander likes playing water so much, we decided to splash in the pool one last time on Sunday before the trip ended. Today was more of a scenic drive. We gave up on butterfly sanctuary after two attempts and went for 17-mile drive. Can you believe you have to pay $9 to enter the 17-mile scenic route? Well parts of the road sure gives you beautiful ocean views but most of it is just rich people’s mansions along both sides of the road… well, it was our first time driving on 17-mile but for sure not again in the future. We exited the drive through Carmel Gate and when we started exploring Carmel on Ocean Blvd (or Ocean Drive?), we saw a parking lot with lots of people. At first I thought it was Farmer’s Market but it turned out that there is a beach right next to the parking lot in the residential neighborhood. It was a very nice (and big) beach with clean white sand, and of course lots of people too. It was sunny but still quite chilly. We were sitting on the beach for 2 hours simply watching people, dogs, birds and our boys playing sand. For lunch we went for McDonald’s and finished up the leftover we brought from home. On the way home we passed by Castroville and bought some strawberries from a farmer’s stand– you would think it’ll be cheaper than our regular farmer’s market since it’s just next to the farm but it’s just the opposite. When we got home it was only 5ish in the afternoon so it gave us plenty of time to rest to start the next day fresh.

Overall this was a great vacation– no rush just relax and easy. The kids had fun and Richard and I enjoyed it. The more children you have the more tiring when having vacation because you’ll have lot of things to pack/unpack (and not to mention the traveling cost!). But this trip wasn’t bad at all. Sure we’ll enjoy the Hawaiian sun and warm beach more but these places in our backyard is just as good– as long as you bring your jacket! 🙂

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