Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Where to begin...

I'll be the first to admit that I am a terrible blogger. I will also be the first to admit that we have been keeping as busy as possible to enjoy the fabulous city, that is San Diego! I highly recommend everyone come visit, just not at one time please!

Where did I last leave you in the story of our day to day? I believe we had just gotten (mostly) settled here in SD, so I'll try to hit the high points. Actually, let me back up and share a few pre-move pics....

Gray and I on the NC Ferry to the Outer Banks in February. 
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Stunning, isn't it?

Mom came up to Jacksonville to help me pack up most of the house while Josh was gone to SERE school in California. She and I got tons of stuff packed while he was gone, but we also managed to do a little sight seeing too. We drove up to the Outer Banks to see the sights (we missed the wild horses which was sad) and up to Kitty Hawk to see the Wright Bros. Monument. It was a beautiful drive and we had a lot of fun seeing things we had never seen before. It would have been more fun with Josh in tow, but I know he would have rather been riding the NC highways/ferries with Mom, Gray, Fletch, Silas, and I than suffering through SERE school...

On to the move! We left North Carolina a day before tons of snow hit. It had been snowing at home for a day or two, so everyone was making snowmen and playing in the white stuff while we were packing the truck. I was hoping to get at least one or two pictures of Gray in the snow (his first snow experience) when we got home, but during Day Two of our move (as we were driving through the snow flurries) I was getting reports from home the snow was going, going, gone. We stopped to get gas and decided to take a few pictures, just in case there was no snow left at home. We didn't let Gray play in the snow, but at least he did get to touch a few snow-covered branches before we hit the road again. Needless to say, he was impressed. 

Somewhere in Alabama

Approximately 1,000 miles into the trip, we arrived in Bastrop the day before Gray's 1st Birthday party! We celebrated a month early, so family and friends could come celebrate with us! TONS of people came, mostly from over an hour away, with ice still sticking to the roads. Josh and I were so excited to see so many friends and family members and Gray had a blast. He loved opening his gifts (and eating the wrapping paper), actually helped blow out his candle, and was a little confused about Josh letting him dig into his own cake. Thanks to everyone who braved the weather to come! 

Josh and Gray opening gifts!

Gray digging into his own cake!

Blowing out his candle!

On to Texas! I developed a 102+ degree fever within an hour or two of Gray's birthday party. Which is excellent assuming we hadn't really started our journey cross-country, right? I had been feeling not so great since I woke up that morning, but Tylenol is a life saver! After the festivities, we crashed and decided to pack the cars back up the next morning. We didn't get out of Bastrop until around noon because Gray and I both felt awful. When we finally got moving, we decided to make it a short day and stop the other side of Dallas to get a good nights rest and get going again the next morning.  

Just over the Texas state line. It was FREEZING outside, but Gray had to take a picture with these guys... 

Texas is such a small state, it only took us another full day and small part of another to drive through it. It is a relatively boring state the further west you go, but I was on the lookout for George W. which helped pass the time. I didn't see him, but I made it through Texas. My fever was gone by the time we reached New Mexico, thank the Lord. I thought I had the flu I felt so bad and really didn't want to pass my illness on to Josh. Who wants to house hunt with fever? Not this chick. 

We made a slight detour to the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. (Don't talk to Josh about detours, he gets really bitter since he was driving that huge Penske plus pulling his 4Runner.) I thought it was pretty neat and I enjoyed the side trip. Gray had not ever been in the 'desert' before so he thought the sand was pretty cool. And yes. It is totally different from the sand in Pensacola Beach, FL and Topsail Beach, NC. OK, maybe it isn't but there is no water around so that makes it seem different. Right? Either way, Gray got to check out the desert and he was thrilled. 

Gray checking things out at White Sands. 

Silas, Fletch, Josh, and Gray at White Sands.

The rest of our drive through New Mexico was fairly uneventful, with the exception of the 5 million immigration checkpoints, where they never once asked me for my ID or checked the car for stow away illegals. Useless waste of tax dollars? That is a soap box I just won't get on...

Our next stop was Tombstone, AZ. Josh and his dad drove out for a visit as a college graduation gift a few years ago. I was pretty jealous (and not invited) at the time and jumped at the chance for a Josh-approved side trip! I loved to watch 'Gunfight at the OK Corral' with my dad when I was little and will sing the theme song if you really want me to. Josh is quick to point out all the historical inaccuracies, but I refuse to quit watching it. Either way, we drove down and spend two relaxing nights at a little B&B with lots of walking and window shopping thrown in. Obviously, you can't go to Tombstone without visiting Boothill. It was so interesting to read the literature and walk among the graves. It was a highlight of my trip to Tombstone. Well, Boothill and the stagecoach ride we went on. I think my Dad would have liked Tombstone...

Gray and Josh discussing Lester Moore's tombstone. 

After two fairly relaxing days in Arizona, we drove on to California! At this point we had been hauling all of the things we own in the back of a truck for about a week and a half, so we were ready to get to San Diego! We drove straight through (f you don't count another detour through the Saguaro National Park) that day and arrived in San Diego around 10pm local time. The house search began the next morning and within a week we were moving into our new pad! 

Gray's first haircut!

We found a place to live, but had to wait a few days until it was move-in ready. In the down time, we took Gray to get his first hair cut. He was surprisingly still while the lady cut his hair but we very interested by the clippers so that was a little more difficult. I wish the place wasn't an hour from home because I haven't found another place that kid friendly around here! 

Josh and the biting dolphin.

We decided to do some touristy things before Josh had to go to work, so we went to check out SeaWorld. I'm going to go ahead and let you in on an apparently well-kept secret.... SeaWorld isn't all that great. Josh and I both got to pet (Can you pet a dolphin?) this little guy but that was the highlight of the day for me. 

My favorite boys and I at the SD Zoo!

Then we went to the San Diego Zoo. It was pretty awesome. They have animals I haven't ever seen in person, and they also have some very nice exhibits. I highly recommend a trip to the zoo when you come visit us. I think you will like it, but wear some comfy shoes. 

Then we went to the Grand Canyon via Route 66. I had never been this far west before the move, so there is tons of stuff I want to see and do on this side of the country. We took Route 66 through most of Arizona. It was a nice drive, and the road was pretty good for the most part. We drove through some interesting towns and saw the sights of Route 66. We spent the night on Route 66 before heading to the GC. Before we got our luggage in the car, it started snowing. Snow is VERY exciting to me since I rarely see it, but this was the second time in two weeks that we were driving in hard snow flurries. Driving in snow is not even close to the same as playing in it.  The longer we were on the road, the more snow accumulated.  It got so bad a snow plow was required on Interstate. Yes, we actually had to wait on a snow plow. That's a first... Nevertheless, we continued at a slow pace toward the Grand Canyon. We finally made it and there was NO visibility. Literally none. All you could see was a big foggy expanse. Talk about a let down. Don't worry though, we went back the next morning and we could actually see. It was still foggy, but I got the general idea of the grandeur that is the Grand Canyon.

Awesome old car across from our hotel on Route 66.

The Gates' at the Grand Canyon!

Since there was snow (that was not on the weather forecast I checked just before leaving) everywhere, we had to cancel part of the things we had planned to see in the northern part of Arizona. We headed south to Montezuma Castle (cliff dwellings) and Vulture City (a ghost town from the 1800's). 

Fletch, Me, Gray, and Silas in Vulture City, AZ

Once we made it back to San Diego, we scheduled a whale watching trip. We booked a schooner because Josh thought it would be cool. He was so right! The boat was amazing and Josh even got to help them raise the sails. It was nice to spend the day out on the water, but we also saw tons of whales! We booked the tour right at the end of the season, so I'm glad we didn't wait! Definitely a super cool thing to do if you ever have the chance. 

Gray took a nap during the trip. 

Whale spotting!

Gray checking out the schooner. 

Josh has developed a full blown surfing obsession, so he bought a new board or two once we got here with the money we made from moving our own stuff cross country! Josh is going to be pumped when Gray can actually swim, so they can surf together. This is just after he got the board, before he put wax on it for the first time. 

Gray working on his nose riding technique.

Easter was an interesting day, because we experienced our first earthquake! It was a 7.2 magnitude! It was pretty cool in a very scary sort of way. We have since experienced another big-ish one (5.7) but I have felt several smaller ones too. It's amazing to think that God has the 'whole world in his hands' and the power of that earthquake is nothing compared to his power. It's awe inspiring, isn't it?

Gray's 1st visit with the Easter bunny. 

Gray loved his Easter book. I can't wait to tell him why we celebrate Easter once he gets a little older.

Gray examining an Easter egg.

Gray has made several trips to the beach since we moved out here. He loves the water and will run straight into the surf as soon as you put him down. This shots were taken in Cardiff by the Sea, one of my favorite beaches. 

Finding treasures in the sand. 

Gray and I went to the San Diego Wild Animal Park with a friend and her kiddos and had a fabulous time. The Wild Animal Park is part of the zoo, but it is about 30 miles north of the zoo. The park has big game animals that for the most part can't be seen at the zoo. We really like the park, it is smaller than the zoo, has less people walking around, and it's closer to the house. 

Gray and I at the SD Wild Animal Park

Another pilot in Josh's squadron invited us to a BBQ at his apartment. He has a pool/hot tub so he told everyone to bring their swimming suits. Gray loves water so we planned to put him! He would have LOVED it but the weather wasn't as warm as we expected so he got cold pretty quickly. Before getting him out, Josh had to throw in a little surfing lesson. Gray immediately wanted to stand up on the body board, so Josh was pumped!

Gray checking out the swimming pool. 

Born to surf. 

My family (Mom, Jennifer, Alexis, and Claire) came to visit so Gray and I took them to the zoo. Gray wasn't excited about this gorilla.

Gray and I with the scary gorilla at the SD Zoo.

We made a trip to Los Angles to do some sight-seeing while Josh was working hard in San Diego. Mom really wanted to see the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, so that was our first stop. We were able to tour the Air Force One Reagan (and several other presidents) used during his presidency and walk through a life-sized replica of the Oval Office using some of Reagan's actual things. Reagan was given a piece of the Berlin wall after it was torn down. It is displayed outside. Here are a few shots of us in front of the Western side of the wall.

Gray climbing on the wall.  

Gray sat still JUST long enough for this shot. 

Our next day in Los Angles included more sight-seeing, including a visit to the LaBrea Tar Pits. I'm really into that kind of thing, so the visit was mostly my idea. I think Mom, Jennifer, and Alexis enjoyed it too. Gray and Claire didn't cry so they must have had a fantastic time too.  

Gray and I in front of the largest pit at LaBrea. 

The tar pits were found when a parking garage was being built, so they are literally right in the middle of the city. We drove several blocks see the Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theater. 

Gray and I with Arnold's prints.

We went to the Getty Museum which was amazing. They had a Divinci exhibition with tons of his sketches and sculpture on exhibit.  The Getty has original paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, Cezzanne, and Renoir. I was impressed to say the least and could have spent hours looking over the paintings alone. The museum was so big you could literally spend all day in there and only view half of it! We also went to the Griffith Observatory.  The observatory has a great view of the Hollywood sign and is surrounded by a huge park. It is on a hill/mountain so the views are amazing, especially at night. The Griffith is free, but it is fabulous so tons of people are always there!

Back at home alone, Gray likes to watch Sesame Street. He will pretty much have this look with glassy eyes for a minimum of 15 minutes during every episode he watches. It's pretty funny how much he really loves the characters already!

How do you get to Sesame Street again? I'm planning a trip. 

Gray and I went back to the Wild Animal Park with another friend and her kids. Gray told me he wanted to ride the carousel for the first time. He changed his mind after a minute or two, but those first minutes were pretty impressive. He then decided the carousel was the scariest thing he has ever done (after meeting Santa) and he wanted off ASAP.  Luckily, I got this shot of him before he decided he was over the carousel.

Zebras are fun. Wait, never mind. They are scary. 

We have attended a few Padre's games since the season started. We really enjoy the games and plan to go back as often as possible. In this game we actually saw several home runs and a bat break! Very exciting!

Josh and Gray watching the Padre's win again!

Gray loves the water, so we bought him a pool. He totally loves it! It is big enough for several adults to sit in, so come over anytime!

Gray skinny dipping in his pool. 

Gray just out of the pool, snuggling with his Dada.

Again, Gray really loves water. He loves to splash around and play with his toys while taking a bath. I figured he might think a shampoo mohawk was funny. I was right. He cracked up. 

Shampoo hairstyles. 

Gray recently got sick. Really sick. His fever was really high for hours and hours, but naturally it was a weekend. I called my bro-in-law (who just so happens to be a pediatrician) many times to ask questions and we decided to medicate and wait it out (if we could). Monday morning we went to our doctor to figure out what was wrong with him. After a morning of torture (chest x-rays, blood draws, and a catheter) they told us it was a virus. Gray was less than thrilled with this news, but at least he didn't have to have any shots. A few hours after leaving the doctor's office, a rash developed. After all the drama, we found out he has roseola. Apparently it is super common, and it went away within the week.  

Gray got stuck twice for the blood. He looks a bit like Rambo. 

Gray got Josh a pretty rad #1 Dad t-shirt for Father's Day! If you are into Seinfeld, then you will recognize a shirt similar to this one from one of the episodes. Josh immediately recognized the shirt and LOVED it! Gray really loves his Dada, so he was glad. 

#1 Dad!

We took Gray to see Toy Story 3, because he loves the first two so much. We accidently went to a 3D showing, and Gray wasn't interested in wearing the glasses. However, we did get him to wear them long enough to get this shot of him! I only wish I could get the chocolate out of the collar of this shirt... I guess that's what happens when you give a kid chocolate in the dark. He was awesome during the WHOLE movie. He made about 2 sounds and laughed intermittently. It was priceless. 

Toy Story 3 was awesome!

Gray and I before church one morning. He loves the silly faces, but usually we aren't lucky enough to catch them on film. He really has us wrapped around his little finger! 

Mommy and Gray!

Gray loves to snuggle with Fletch. Fletch doesn't really love it when Gray snuggles with him. Fletch sometimes sits still (secretly hoping Gray will get bored and do something else) long enough for Gray to get a hug or two in. I think it's sweet, but Fletch doesn't. This day Fletch must have been extra kind or extra tired. Either way he let this go on long enough for me to get my camera out. It ended within 10 seconds of this picture, but at least I got one. I think Fletch will love Gray more when Gray stops poking him in the eyes. 

Brothers. 

Gray loves playtime with Dada. Josh was working late a lot for several weeks, so he would go to work before Gray would wake up and come home after Gray was alseep. Josh finally came home at a decent hour, so Gray got a little playtime. I couldn't stand how cute Gray was riding around on his rocking horse with Dada. I think Josh loves playtime as much as Gray. Aren't they cute together? I'm one lucky girl to have these two handsome men in my life. 

Playtime with Dada rocks!

We hit the beach again! Josh always wants us to go out with him, but it is actually pretty chilly here in the mornings (especially at the beach). I don't LOVE the beach anyway but if you add me being cold, I'm out. Sand and being cold? I'll have no part of that. I was convinced the beach would be sunny and warm this day but as you can tell from the shots below, it wasn't. It can be warm and sunny at home but if we drive 10 minutes to the beach it can be Alaska. Explain that. Needless to say, I stayed bundled up but Gray decided to get in the water with his Dad. He loved it even though it was cold, but once he started shivering we were done. I think July may be a better beach month. It could be nice to be a little more tan than a sheet of copy paper...


Gray and Dada at Cardiff. 

Gray waiting on another wave in his new wetsuit!

I passed some Mr. Bubble the other day in the grocery store. One whiff took me back to my childhood in my parent's tub with the beautiful 70's yellow tile. What a glorious smell! Naturally, I had to buy some for Gray! He loved it as much as I thought he would but his reaction to the bubbles was priceless. I shot a little video of him playing in it, but I think this picture captures some of what he was thinking! 

Gray's first bubble bath! 

I'm sorry this was the longest/most random post ever! At least I added some pictures to this one. Right? I hope to not be so long in updating next time. We are finally settled with almost everything put into it's place, so I don't have much of an excuse. As you can see, we have been keeping busy! Hope to see some visitors out here soon! 

And finally, Gray wanted to wrap up this blog post with a little Justin Bieber hair!