Thursday, May 23, 2013

Some Like it Hot...Palm Springs

For vacation this year, we decided to keep it "local." In other words, we were not interested in dropping  over a thousand dollars to spend hours on end in a small space contained with Gemma. After our three hour drive with a contained Gemma we all agreed it was the right decision. Alex had a last minute business trip to Seattle the days before we left. He made it home after 36 hours of straight work to help pack up the car and after preschool we hit the road. A little hillbilly style.
We made it to Palm Springs in really good time. Ready to hit the pool right away. Someone in the back looks less than enthusiastic. Maybe it was the two hours of sleep he got on his business trip? Also, I guess the dollar store float toys were a big hit. 
We didn't make them wait long. We stayed at the same time share from last time, Vista Mirage. It is in a great location and has everything we need. It is not exactly fancy, but we liked it. It seems to be popular with the older crowd. I am sure they appreciate the kiddies screaming and splashing while they all lay pool side reading and dozing! 
Pool time is not at all relaxing for us. We have two fish kids and they are totally fearless in the water. Translation: wild and dangerous. Lily is actually doing really well in swimming and pretty independent now. You just have to be close by just in case. Gemma is truly impressive with how she can jump, hold her breath under water and actually swim on her own a bit. She is just fearless and thinks she can swim so she takes off on her own. It really takes both of us in the pool at all times to manage it.
I wonder where Gemma gets all her ideas that she can swim? Never wants to let her sister do something she can't do.
We all really enjoyed our down time. During Gemma's afternoon nap we would sit out on the patio and read. Lily is devouring chapter books and we are working through the Roald Dahl series. She has loved Charlie and the chocolate factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and during vacation we finished James and the giant peach. She never wants you to stop.
The other huge hit was ice cream cones. We bought some sugar cones and haagen daz at the store and made cones every afternoon. Gemma started waking up from nap chanting "ice cream cone." You gotta love vacation that includes daily ice cream!

Sunday we decided to venture past the pool grounds and see some sites. The idea was to visit the "World's biggest dinosaurs" near cabazon. Of course we had hopes to hit the stores at cabazon but that was not meant to be. It was packed and kids and shopping don't really go together.
The dinosaurs were hilarious though. The girls were very impressed and kept asking to go back. See, they really are big, people!
Just a little perspective. You can take photos with the big ones outside. If you want to explore all the museum (and I use that term loosely, I think novelty is more like it) has to offer you can pay and go inside. You may remember these beauty's from their Hollywood fame. They were featured in Pee Wee's big adventure, and the Wizard.
We figured, why not? Your only on vacation once. Or hopefully more than once but anyway....
I hatched these two cute little beasts.
They had nearly every kind of dinosaur model. We had a good time trying to scare our children into thinking they were going to be eaten.
I think this guy means business Alex. Many of them move and make noise. Disney has nothing on this theme park I tell you.
The big main attraction is that you can climb inside the big concrete T-rex (the huge one from the first pictures). Lily was a bit nervous. It was super super windy out that day and so we were nearly blown away.
Gemma does a mean dinosaur impression. The highlight for them was digging for a "dinosaur egg" and trading it in for a prize in the gift shop.
After much difficulty they finally both decided on dinosaur gliders. They came in handy to entertain as we waited for lunch. It was cinco de Mayo so we had to head back to Palm Springs downtown for some Mexican food. It was really nice out and not windy back in town, thank goodness.
Alex celebrated with a corona and some fish tacos.
The girls were more interested in running around the main street and getting frozen yogurt samples.
On Monday we woke up to another glorious day. I have to say we lucked out with the weather!!! It was over 100 (some days 106) the weeks before and after our visit. Somehow we lucked out and it was between 78-98 the whole time we were there. We planned our outdoor activities for the cooler days. Not a bad way to spend a Monday morning.
It doesn't take much to entertain our crowd. A local playground and some local coffee.
Lily could have stayed all day and quickly made friends. 
A little static anyone? Gemma doesn't need any extra help to win the goofy hair award.
It started to sprinkle so we headed home for lunch and nap. Lily did some art work during Gemma's nap to remember her friend Oliver from the park.  She and daddy made a whole book of drawings about all the activities we did on vacation. When we got home, she took it in to school to share during circle time.
On Tuesday we woke up (VERY early thanks to Gemma, she is not a vacation sleep in type.) We planned to go to the restaurant Norma's and the Parker Meridian hotel for breakfast. It was beautiful. I think I might pay just to spend a day on the hotel grounds. They serve strawberry banana smoothie shots when you are seated. Not bad.
We all went for pancakes or waffles. With a side of bacon of course, which our girls polished off quickly. It was so good, I think Alex and I maybe shared one piece.
Look at those banana macadamia nut pancakes! I can still taste them. Bacon girl in the background.
The girls called it the jungle restaurant because the grounds were so lush. We kept telling them to look out for monkeys.
While daddy paid the bill we walked around the grounds. This is definitely how the "other half" live. It was so beautiful.
I really think we would not have left the hotel at all if we stayed here.
But alas, we were not staying. We had big plans to spend the day at the Living Desert Zoo. We went with Grampa Lee and Goppy last time we were here and loved it. You start with the animal show.
Porcupines and Servil.
Then we were free to wander. They have a pretty great kids play area and of course that was our first stop. The siguaro slide.
No fear of snakes, well giant concrete ones anyway.
They also have a desert animal carousel.
Lily the cheetah tamer.
I think the wasps nest is a little more like it. Even though it was in the low 80's we were still getting hot.
You would never know you were in Palm springs! Pet giraffe anyone?
Some sister love at the zoo.
We did not manage to make it out without a stop in the gift shop for a vacation souvenir. Lily chose a pink camo wolf and Gemma a pink unicorn. You know, sticking with reality and all.
On Wednesday we knew the temps were rising so we started off with breakfast at Cheeky's. We went here last year and it was great! I think pancakes two mornings in a row was a big hit. Notice our new little pet friends had to come too. Good thing the restaurant was pet friendly.
We spent the rest of the day at the children's museum. It was really good and looked brand new. They have an old VW beetle that the kids can paint. You certainly don't get this at home.
Sister's load up the car and go for a drive.
Playing vet clinic is a big hit at our house too.
Gemma's favorite was playing grocery store. She could have stayed all day and asked to go back every day. We do have a shopping cart and tons of play food at home, but it is not the same I guess.
Alex did stop by on his work bike to say hi the the kids. I think he could get used to this.
Our last day of vacation was spent in the pool and then in the afternoon we rallied to make it downtown. They have a street fair on Thursday nights and close off the road to cars. The art museum is right there as well and is free on Thursdays. Perfect timing! We made a quick round the museum and the girls seemed to like it. They did steer us clear of the nude section though. Pinky the wolf made a friend.
Lily's favorite exhibit was the chair of stuffed animals. I am pretty sure she is convinced she wants to be an artist now. I am pretty convinced I have this piece at home.
After our dose of culture we went outside to get dinner and visit Marilyn. The girls were intrigued. We could see her undies.
It was a great vacation. Just the right combo of fun and sun and R&R. Next time we would like a little more R&R but I think we are still a few years off of that.

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