Sunday, July 10, 2011

First Official Family Vacation!

On Friday, July 2, we embarked on our first official family vacation. Friday night through Tuesday were spent with the extended Smith Family in Northern California, and then we split off on our own little family vacation down the California coast until returning home on Sunday, July 10. It was a great time!

We took approximately 247 pictures on this trip. We will spare you the burden of seeing every one but will include some of them here to offer a taste of the fun we had.

Smith Family Reunion in Woodland

We had Reed and Kristy's family in town from Missouri, which was great!

With Ryan's family at the 4th of July breakfast in Woodland.

 Hanging out at the pool at Grammy and Grandpa Smith's house.

 At Muir Woods, just north of San Francisco. We went with a lot of the Smith relatives for a day trip.

Still find it hard to believe how big Scott is now!
 Brad, Scott, and Josh. Joined at the hip at every family get-together since they were born, but it had been a while since Josh lives in Missouri now.

San Francisco:

After Muir Woods with a big group of Smith relatives, Ashley and Ryan went to the Giants game with Eva, Scott, Reed, Josh, and Brad. On Wednesday we officially split off for our family vacation and toured AT&T Park (the Giants' stadium) and enjoyed some ice cream at Ghirardelli Square. Uncle Bruce and Aunt Shauna were kind enough to let us stay at their house for a few nights.

We decided to splurge a little for the best seats Ryan has ever had, as we don't often get to see a Giants game in San Francisco (Ashley's first time ever to see the Giants play in San Francisco, in fact). Luckily we found a pretty good deal on StubHub by waiting until the day before the game.
 Ryan making the call to the bullpen. We were pretty excited that our tour included a visit to the field and visitor's dugout.

We're not sure Bennett fully appreciated the treat this was.
 The view from the top deck at AT&T Park.

The view of the Bay Bridge from the stadium.

 After the tour of the stadium we paid a visit to Ghirardelli Square for lunch and some delicious ice cream sundaes.

Santa Cruz

Bennett did a lot of hand-clapping on this trip. You can see his hands in motion thanks to Ryan's iPhone's slow shutter speed. This was taken just before our tour of the Mystery Spot near Santa Cruz.

Big redwood, little baby. This is at Henry Cowell State Park, which is just outside Santa Cruz. Lately Bennett has enjoyed looking at the tops of trees. Good luck with this one, buddy.

Bennett has also been learning to fold his arms.

Bennett didn't really seem to get the idea here.


Two other favorites for Bennett recently have been putting things on his head and exerting every effort to get his hands on a remote control. The kid is in heaven here! This was taken at our hotel in Marina, CA, on Thursday night.

At Monterey Bay Aquarium on Friday. Bennett enjoyed the touch-pool exhibits, not surprisingly.

We did the 17-Mile Drive in the Monterey / Pebble Beach area. Here we are with the famous "Lone Cypress."


Solvang is a little town that is known as the "Danish Capital of America." Much of the town has Danish-style architecture and there are a bunch of Danish restaurants, gift shops, museums, etc. We enjoyed eating Danish meatballs, pastries, chocolates, and aebleskivers. We had the privilege of being shown around town by two of the nicest people in the world, Dean and Jan Klitgaard. Dean has been a best friend of Ryan's Grandpa Smith since the two of them were teenagers in the Salt Lake City area. He had several good stories illustrating what a "stud" Granpda Smith was in high school. He was especially complimentary of Grandpa Smith's pink convertible, which was Grandpa's pride and joy and was purchased with his own money.

 A view of one of the streets in Solvang.

Bennett with Hans Christian Andersen, the famed Danish storyteller.

With the Klitgaards after attending Sacrament Meeting with them at the Solvang Ward.

Santa Barbara

On our way back home we stopped in Santa Barbara to see the old Spanish mission there.

 Making our way home along the coast on Highway 1.

Home at last!


  1. By the number of pictures of Giants Stadium, I'd say that Ryan enjoyed the game and the stadium tour the most. Of course, Bennett is the star of the show. (Though I'm glad to see a few of Ashley and Ryan too)!

  2. Sounds like such a fun trip! Chris has been wanting to visit the Monterey Aquarium for quite a while.
    Andrew also does everything in his power to get the TV remote. They should hang out!

  3. 1st thought, Ashley has a blog!
    2nd thought, I didn't know they just went on a vacation!
    3nd thought, Oh July 2011!
    4th thought, You have some updating to do! Get crackin!

  4. Hi I’m Heather! Please email me when you get a chance! I have a question about your blog. HeatherVonsj(at)gmail(dot)com