Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back to Santa Barbara!

It's family vacation time! We were so excited to head back to our old stompin' grounds for our time away this year. We stayed down in Carpinteria, a small blink-and-you-miss-it town just below Santa Barbara. Somehow, in the 3 years we lived there, we never took the time to spend any time in Carp at all, so it was cool to be able to actually see it! We left early Saturday morning for our long road trip, and the kids did AMAZING! It was a 9 hour trip, and the kids did awesome entertaining themselves.

We rolled into Carp at about 3:00 and after getting settled into our hotel went out to check out Carp. We hit the Bluffs first. At the far end of the bluffs there is a seal sanctuary. This is the seal's beach. If you look closely, you can see a little seal head in the upper right corner of the photo.

After the bluffs we headed down to get some beach time before dinner. Ben was still a little scared of the waves and spent much of the time at the beach like this:

But he did muster up enough courage to let the ocean get his feet with Daddy and Joshua at least once.

After the beach we got together for dinner with my friend, Lori, who I used to work with. Although we've kept in touch through email, I hadn't seen her in 8 years, so it was great to be able to get together.

The next morning we got up early to head about an hour north to Lompoc to visit our friends the Stults.

Andrew worked with John back when we lived in Santa Barbara. John's wife, Alisha and I have become friends through our blogs and social networking, but had never had the chance to actually meet face to face. They have 2 boys exactly our boys' ages, so we were really looking forward to our time with them. As we suspected, after some initial shyness, the boys became fast friends. We all went to church together, and afterward had a super fun afternoon at the park for a BBQ along with John and Carrie Ruckman. It was an amazingly beautiful day and the boys all had such a blast.

Alisha and I wanted so badly to get a good picture of all 4 boys. They were all playing up in the jungle gym, so we grabbed our cameras and tried to get them all together. Unfortunately, Joshua scooted a bit too far back on the stairs, and ended up falling about 5 feet from the top of the jungle gym! Thankfully, he was just fine and after some cuddles was good as new. After he'd calmed down, we got our pictures safely on the ground.

After leaving Lompoc that afternoon, we stopped at one of our favorite spots in Santa Barbara. Lake Los Carneros. It's such a pretty lake with wildlife and beautiful views. We couldn't visit Santa Barbara without stopping there.

One of our favorite hamburger spots was The Habit in downtown Goleta. Best hamburgers and onion rings around. We got our food and headed over to Goleta Beach for a little picnic in the back of the van and more beach time.

Monday was our Santa Barbara day. We were so excited to wake up and see the sun, which hasn't happened much this summer. It was the perfect day to spend outside. We had breakfast in Santa Barbara at Farmer Boy. The boys kept themselves occupied while waiting for our food.

After our tummies were full we headed downtown for more beach time and to see Stearns Wharf.

After some lunch at a little shop at Paseo Nuevo on State Street, I had the chance to go visit my old office.

There aren't a whole lot of people from when I worked there, but I was able to catch up with the few that remain. It's hard to believe it's been 8 years since I walked through those doors!

The courthouse in Santa Barbara is definitely a site to be seen. It has a tall clock tower that you can go up into to take in some beautiful views.

For dinner we met up with our friend Roxanne who we haven't seen in forever. It was so great to see her! After we left we realized we didn't take any pictures with her. :(

Tuesday was another big day. Of course it was Benny's birthday, so we had to start the day with a happy birthday song and present!

We spent our morning at the beach in Carp making sand castles and putting our feet in the ocean (Josh's favorite beach activity).

We made a stop at the Santa Barbara Mission and botanical garden...

and then stopped for lunch at our favorite sandwich shop, South Coast Deli. If you're ever in the Santa Barbara area, do yourself a favor and get yourself a South Coast Turkey sandwich. Trust me! They had added a great touch to their dining room... a chalkboard wall! It was perfect to keep the kids entertained while we waited for our food.

Sufficiently filled up with yummy sandwiches, it was time to head up the San Marcos Pass to the town of Solvang, the Danish capital of the United States. It's such a cute little town. We had planned to ride the Solvang Trolley (a horse drawn trolley car), but came to find the trolley driver had called in sick, so we settled for a ride in the Solvang Shoe!

Just outside of Solvang is Ostrich Land, so we stopped there to see the ostriches and emus and even got to feed them. I firmly believe that Ostriches are proof that God has a sense of humor!

It was just about dinner time, and so we decided to head up the road to Buelton and have dinner at the world famous Pea Soup Andersen's.

I can't say that I've ever craved a bowl of split pea soup, to say the least, but being at PSA, I had to give it a try. I'm so glad I did. Holy cow, was that some tasty good soup!

Even Benny liked it!

Wednesday we headed home, making one tourist stop along the way, the Cabazon Dinosaurs.

We were surprised to see that the gift shop was full of books and t-shirts talking about how the dinosaurs were created by God, that they are mentioned in the bible, and discrediting the theory of evolution. It was so cool!

We had another great ride in the car on the way home, without a tear shed and even no whining. Just an enjoyable day. We couldn't have asked for a better vacation. We definitely plan on making Santa Barbara a regular vacation spot. If you haven't been there, I highly suggest putting it on your list of "must visit" places. You won't be disappointed!

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