I have been meaning to write this post since we got back from vacation, but all the craziness of starting back and work and getting into a new routine derailed it. Plus I had about a million photos to edit. You see, taking photos isn’t good enough for me anymore. I have to monkey around with them in Photoshop now, too. These are my precious memories of Isobel, and in 25 years I’m going to be able to look back and say “I’m so glad I adjusted that white balance.”
I had been looking forward to taking Isobel to the Monterey Bay Aquarium since she was born. Or really before that, to be honest. It was even on my Life List. I’m such an MBA fan girl. I would go there once a year if I could, but given that money is tight and the aquarium is far away, I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to take Isobel this year. Fortunately, we were near Monterey for my cousin’s wedding so we were able to stop by right before I had to return to work.
Anthony was convinced Isobel would not get a whole lot out of the trip but he’s a nice enough guy to indulge his crazy wife’s request. (Also, he’s not stupid.) She’s too young to enjoy it, he said. This experience is going to be more for us than it is for her.
The aquarium was an hour’s drive away from our hotel so first thing in the morning, we set off. The previous day we had just gotten hopelessly lost in the woods and my nerves were still a bit raw from the experience but fortunately we just had to say on Highway 1 so it was easy.
On our way to the aquarium I passed by some beautifully healthy succulents, and, er, helped myself to a couple of their babies.
I’m going to hell, aren’t I? Whatevs.
We were ready to eat by the time we got there and I don’t regret eating at their restaurant at all. It was BY FAR the best museum/day trip/food on the road I’ve had EVER. I bought a selection of cheeses! And fruit! And fresh clam chowder in a bread bowl! Oh my god, I’m having flashbacks just thinking about it. Anthony had a fantastic-looking slice of pizza and something else but I can’t remember. The verdict? Nom. Nom nom nom. Isobel had a bit of everything we ordered and loved everything, too.
To our delight, Isobel LOVED the aquarium. L-O-V-E-D it. She interacted with the exhibits, watched the otters play, ran around the kid area, and said, “HI FISHIE!” about every ten seconds. It was PURE JOY to see her loving every minute.
At one point we took her outside to see the ocean for the first time.
She was fascinated and could not stop staring at it.
We tried to get different family shots with the ocean in the background, but it was hard because she didn’t want her back to the ocean. She wanted to look at the majesty!
She also wanted to push her stroller around and around through crowds of people. Because we loaded her up in the car and drove four hours and paid several hundred dollars so she could push her stroller through a group of people in Monterey as opposed to at the park at home.
I can’t really complain. It was adorable.
I also tried getting some photos of her on my lap. Yeah, that didn’t work out well as she wanted to run around and play, Mom, not sit on your lap like a lump! You can see I’m totally miffed in this picture.
The part that was less than pure joy? The fact that she was just too stoked to sleep. We were there during her nap time and we brought the stroller for napping purposes. Usually, even if we are out, we can get her to nap in the stroller. She napped through the wedding reception like a champ. No amount of pachas or stroller time or mommy hugs could counteract the SUPER AQUARIUM FUNTIMES though, and she refused to sleep. She eventually slept in the car ride back to the motel, which was a blessing.
I wanted to get a photo of her and Anthony under the “Devoted Dads” seahorse exhibit sign, but she was in the midst of a no-nap fuss and not having it. Of course, that may prove just how devoted of a Dad Anthony is.
I normally try to avoid gift shops because we don’t need any more crap, thank you very much, but it was Isobel’s first time at the aquarium and they totally make money off of parents like me because I convinced Anthony to get her not one but TWO stuffed sea creatures:
We named the jelly “Bloop Bloop,” after the noise they make when the float around, the octopus “Cthulhu” for obvious reasons. Our favorite game to play with the octopus is to put it on her face and yell CTHULHU! over and over. Surprisingly, she adores this game.
The best, the very, very best part of this visit happened outside. After she had gawked at the ocean for a half hour we decided to take her to the outside tidal pool tank that was covered in a “waves” every thirty seconds or so. The waves terrified her at first, but soon she realized there were fishies in the tank, and the wave itself was a fun game, and best of all, there was a special little nook just for her. We were probably in that area with her for an hour and she just loved it. She played with other kids, she danced in the ocean spray from the wave, she talked to the fishies… it was just heaven to watch her enjoy herself.
I may have taken a couple (hundred) photos.
(Waving to fishies)
I tried to let Anthony know how much I appreciated this trip. It meant a lot to me.