Jeff came to me about three weeks ago, and told me he wanted to do a project that would start in a few days and monopolize his time for about a week.
Since A) I had been wanting to visit my family in Glendale, and B) I desperately needed some sunshine in my life, this seemed like a great opportunity for Ellie and I to get away. About a week later, Ellie and I were on a plane.
We had an amazing time and the weather cooperated some of the time. It was a little disappointing to wear a jacket at the beach, but we still got some much-needed vitamin D.
My mom and brother made sure there was never a lack of something to do. My parents have a great park near their home, and they made a small sand box in the backyard. We didn’t have to go far to have a great time, but we did do some adventuring. Some highlights:
We checked out a small water park in Glendale. When we tried something similar with Ellie last summer, she was very skittish and uncomfortable getting splashed. You can see it wasn’t a problem this time around.
About 40 minutes from Glendale, there is a beautiful aquarium in Long Beach, the Aquarium of the Pacific. It has a life-size model of a whale hanging from the ceiling in the entrance (which Ellie is looking at in the picture below). She wanted to see Nemo, Marlin (clown fish) and Dorey (blue tang) and also jellyfish. We gladly acomodated her.
I was surprised when she asked if they had sharks. Robert smiled and led the way. Not only did they have sharks, but you could pet them!!! They had a large outdoor tank of Brown Banded Bamboo Sharks and Leopard Sharks (both about 2 feet long) that you could reach over and stroke with two fingers. When Ellie touched her first one, she giggled. It was pretty awesome. They also had some small rays in another tank, but they so aggressively wanted to be petted, that they scared Ellie a bit. Literally, they came up the wall of the tank—halfway out of the water—to be petted.
On our last day, we went to Redondo Beach. Family friends Gayle and Syl live close by and joined us at the beach. It was rather gray and cold at the beach, but we still had a great time. Syl even showed Ellie how to feed the seagulls. I’m constantly amazed at how fearless Ellie can be at times.
After the day at the beach, we headed over to Syl’s and Gayle’s for dinner. While it was cooking, we decided to take advantage of their hot tub. It actually wasn’t very hot at all, which was perfect for Ellie. She has only been in a swimming pool once before, so I wasn’t sure how she’d do. But, she LOVED the “sidewalk” (bench seating) around the tub and enjoyed walking in circles and telling Uncle Robert to go under water.
The next morning we were at the airport at 6:00 a.m. for a 7:00 flight. I have never seen Burbank airport busy, so we didn’t leave the standard two hours usually needed. Big mistake. The place was packed, and after a delay at security while they checked Ellie’s water and yogurt, I tucked Ellie under my arm like a football and sprinted to our gate, managing to be the last ones to board the plane. Whew!
We had a wonderful trip, but we are very happy to be home. (Please check out more photos on my Flickr photostream.)