We left on a Saturday afternoon and Nora was in surprisingly good spirits. I like to be over prepared so we ended up at the airport much earlier than we needed to be. We sat her in her stroller with some snacks and a movie and waited for our plane to be ready.
This was our set up on the way there. We had a layover in Chicago so for the first leg of the trip we took turns with Nora on our lap while she watched movies on Madison's computer. Those Minnie Mouse headphones are probably the cutest thing ever, and she seemed to like them! Nora did really well on the first plane ride. She cried a little on take off and landing but other than that, she was really well behaved.
When we landed in Chicago we sprinted to our gate and ended up with enough time to grab some food. The second flight did not go as smoothly. We were all exhausted at this point, by the time we landed in California it was almost midnight our time. Nora was very squirmy. A few people sitting near us we nice enough to try and entertain her. The icing on the cake was when we opened our water bottle to give her a drink and the pressure made it explode all over her! Imagine: tired, cranky, soaking wet baby. She was not happy. I ended up taking my sweatshirt off and giving it to her so she wouldn't be sitting naked in a cold plane- because we obviously forgot to pack extra clothes in our carry on bag. On top of all of this, we didn't have WiFi on the plane so we had no idea what time it was. So basically it was a seemingly never ending nightmare. But it did end. And here I am (almost) laughing about it later.
Anyway, we get to California around 9pm and Nora's grandparents are waiting for us with hugs and love and toys for the babe. It was another 20 minute car ride to get to their house and Nora fell asleep immediately. She had a little trouble falling asleep at their house because it was so new, but she eventually quieted down and we all slept well.
California was so nice. This was my first time ever going and I really can't wait to go back. It was so sunny and warm and gorgeous. We went swimming- in October! Can't say I've ever done that before.
On our first full day there we met up with Madison's sister, Merrill, and went to the Sacramento zoo.
On our way into the zoo one of the first things we saw were these gorgeous bird of paradise flowers.
Madison and Nora looking in at the monkeys.
Everyone looking at the zebras and ostrich.
Nora getting up close with a giraffe.
I love tigers, they have always been my favorite animal, so this just made my heart explode. She was so pretty.
Miss Nora Mae, Zoologist, and her monkey sidekick.
Sassy mom life.
After the zoo we went back to my in-laws house for some burgers. It was glorious. Their house is so nice and inviting and their backyard is gorgeous.
Nora and her Auntie Merrill, or as she called her: Auntie Meow-Meow.
I made her sit on this ledge for a picture and after that she was obsessed with it and sat on it every time she came into the living room.
We ended up at a really great place the next day. Fall is my favorite season and we found a great little spot of fall magic at a lake in Sacramento. There were pumpkins for sale, local artisans selling their goods, a little country store with the best apple cider donuts I've ever had, a pony ride for the kids, and shop in the back that sold fudge. We missed out on doing a lot of my favorite fall activities back home so this one trip made up for all of that!
Very much regretting this outfit choice now but I'm leaving this up because we never have family photos. At least I have a cute husband and baby.
Seriously, they are so cute.
One of my favorite parts of this trip was the day we spent in San Francisco. This city was so wonderful. It was warm, but had the perfect ocean breeze. We went to the aquarium and Pier 39 to walk around the shops and have lunch. Before we left we also visited the Full House house and drove down the crookedest street in America.
This was such a gorgeous day. I loved it here.
The first stop was the aquarium. We entered through the gift shop and within 2 minutes of being there, Madison had already bought Nora a souvenir. She spotted a seal plush and he got it for her because he just can't resist. I don't blame him, really. Nora specifically wanted the white seal, not the brown one. Not even 2 and already very opinionated.
I tried so hard to get a picture of Nemo and Dori together, they were too fast! Super cute display right at the entrance.
How fancy, right? National Geographic should totally hire me to photograph jellyfish.
With my girl in the walk through fish tank.
Grandpa showing Nora some turtles.
Sea otters on the way out!
I love carousels. We didn't ride it because of the last time we traumatized Nora with that. Maybe next time.
Two family pictures in one trip?! It's a record.
Her face is too funny. She really liked the wind in her face.
She also gave me about 1000 kisses when we were in this one spot so I think she was happy.
Alcatraz... I definitely almost wrote Azkaban.
Nora loved the "doggies."
We got lunch at Fisherman's Wharf then headed home...
...But not before I got a picture with Johnny Depp. Why is he not excited to see me??
The day trips we took were all so fun, but we also loved just staying in and doing a little bit of swimming. Nora loved the pool.
TAKE ME BACK!
I hope you enjoyed this little vacation snapshot. There were a lot more moments that I didn't get photos of. We visited Merrill at her job at Sacramento State and got a tour of the biology department, had dinner in Davis with some of the extended family, and then we just enjoyed the family time. Since we live across the country from each other, these moments are rare and very special. We soaked up the memories and can't wait to go visit again.