After Christmas, Greg and I had the chance to go to Monterey, California to spend time with his dad's side for a family reunion. It was so much fun; we had a blast! Getting there, though, was quite an ordeal. You'd think that flying from Salt Lake City to Monterey would be a quick and easy flight, which should only take about 3 hours max, but it turned into a 12 hour day thanks to United Airlines. They got our flights all mixed up, and we would've missed a connecting flight, so we had to call them (and talk to an Indian lady who we couldn't understand) and fix it all. They were not easy to work with, let me just say. It's like they try their very hardest to make your life harder. Anyways, we got there and were so happy to finally be done travelling.
The place we stayed was called Asilomar State Beach or something like that. It was beautiful there; the beach was gorgeous and the place was pretty nice. When we got into our room, we checked out one of the pamphlets and this is something I thought was pretty funny:
I think it's funny because I always joke around with Greg that Northern and Southern California are two different states, or at least they should be. I guess I'm just a hardcore Southern California lover, I don't know. Once I saw this page, I started cracking up, and Greg said, "Sam, you're right!!"
The next day, we went to Carmel and participated in a picture scavenger hunt. We (the newly married team, including Heather, Daniel, Brooke, Devin, as well as Austin Child, Eliza Livingston, and Grandma and Grandpa) competed against the adults and also the teenagers. We ran around Carmel trying to figure out the clues. It was a ton of fun. Afterward, we went down to the beach. You could see Pebble Beach from where we were (for you golf fans, apparently Pebble Beach is extremely famous, and it's gorgeous too). Here are a few pictures of us down by the beach having fun!
Some of the kids started a long jump contest on the sand. They would run as fast as they could and jump at the line to see who could jump the farthest. Of course, they had an advantage going downhill...
Of course, Greg had to get in on the fun too.
Eventually a bunch of the girls ended up jumping and running around too. It was fun. Once we got bored of that, we went down toward the water and found a huge, long piece of kelp on the shore. It seriously looked like a tentacle. It was kind of nasty. But we got one person to spin it around in a circle on the ground, and the rest of us all got in a circle around the middle person and jumped over the kelp. I'm pretty sure a few people got it on video, but it was so much fun. Sometimes the person spinning it would spin it way to fast and it would smack us or take our feet out from under us. Once, Lauren got totally whipped by it and I'm pretty sure she had bruises or something. Even though it was kind of brutal if you got hit, it was still a ton of fun!
After Carmel, everyone decided to load up into the cars and take a drive on 17 Mile Drive. It's this scenic route along the beach. It was probably my favorite part of the entire trip. It was absolutely gorgeous! Here are a few pictures of our adventure:
Greg found a place where he could tight rope walk. He should be in a circus. He's so good at it.
The next day, we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I was texting my dad before we got there cracking up because we were quoting lines from A Series of Unfortunate Events. In the movie, Jim Carey mentions the Monterey Bay Aquarium, if you didn't know. We know that movie way too well. Anyways, it was really cool. We learned about Great White Sharks, jelly fish, seahorses, penguins, and random other fish and sharks and shellfish. Here are some cool pictures!
After the aquarium, we hopped into Lori's car with Brooke, Devin, Shaun, Laurel, Jonathan, and Lauren. We cruised down Main Street in Monterey, and went to the Ghirardeli store where we split a hot fudge sundae. It was delicious! Thanks Lori!
On this trip, we kind of got into this thing called Geocaching. There's an app you can get on your phone that shows you all these different locations where people go to and sign their names. The tricky part is that the container that the list is in is usually super tiny and you have to really search for it. We went and found one off of Main Street in Monterey by the Diver's Memorial. It was pretty cool!
Here's another geocache box we found at Asilomar one of the nights we were there. It was pretty hard to find, especially in the dark.
That night, we went around a firepit at Asilomar and had s'mores. Sam got super messy. Gross!
On Sunday, we went and took family pictures. Just imagine Uncle Dave trying to direct 50+ people (including a bunch of kids 8 years and under) to where they need to be in order to be seen in the picture. It was pretty crazy. But Dave is a pro when it comes to picture taking, so it all worked out. Here are a few pictures of the day:
On our last full day there, we married couples were in charge of games and activities for the day. We started out by having everyone fill out a sheet of paper for a time capsule. We'll open it up and read them at our next family reunion in a couple years (hopefully!). Some of the questions on the paper were "Do you think there will be any new additions to the family by next reunion?" or "What will your hair look like at the next reunion?" or "Where will the next reunion be?" We had a lot of fun with these questions. Greg kept making up weird names for who he thinks Shaun's wife and Lauren and Emily's husbands will be. It was funny.
We went to a butterfly grove as well, but there were no butterflies awake and flying! It was a letdown. But Greg did find one and picked it up. It was the one redeeming quality of the grove.
After the butterfly grove, we had "Family Olympics." Each of the young married couples had a couple games we were in charge of. Some of the games we played were: who can roll the tennis ball the farthest down the boardwalk, team wheelbarrows (Corey and Greg represented our team... it was pretty tough for them), sandcastle building, that same kelp spinning game, and who can walk further into the ocean (the water was FREEZING). Each team had representatives for each game. It was super fun! The water game was intense! Lane, Lee, Jacob, Blake, Jonathan, and Lauren all went in and pretty much dunked themselves completely. Props to them because I would never have done that. Here are some pictures of all the fun we had!
This is Greg after the wheelbarrow game. They went a long way, and his arms were killing him.
After the Olympics, we had free time. So, a few of us stayed by the beach and checked out some tide pools. It was really fun. Greg even found a starfish! It was really cool!
Also, on that last day, Greg and I went with Lance, Diane, Alisa, and Lauren to Carmel again. Diane's mom used to live in one of the houses next to the beach down there, so we were trying to find it. It's really cute- all of the houses down there are named. We found the house we were looking for after a little while. It was called "Periwinkle." You can see the name above the door on the left of this picture if you look closely.
New Year's Eve was a blast! Lee and Suzanna had a bunch of fun activities planned for us. We separated into two groups: 8 years and under for one group and the rest of us in the other. We played some memory games, a game where you had to guess who was lying out of three different people's stories, had snapdragons (a Livingston family tradition where you light raisins on fire using lemon or peppermint extract and then you try to pick them up and eat them. Not my favorite game...), and we also played the Newlywed Game with all of us newly married couples. It was so much fun! The rest of the night we pretty much just hung out and watched Soul Surfer and had a good time. I don't have very many pictures of the night, but it was a lot of fun.
Here's Maggie. She's so cute!
Greg and me on New Year's Eve!
The day we were to go back to Utah, we decided to go to one last beach before we went to the airport. We went to a place called Lover's Point. It was a very beautiful, clear, blue day, as you can see in the pictures.
We had such a fun time in Monterey with the family! We did and saw so many things and were able to be in a beautiful place. We are very grateful to Grandma and Grandpa Livingston for their generosity and love for us and the whole family so we could all get together. Also, we are very grateful for Greg's parents, Lance and Diane, for their generosity toward us this Christmas season. We had such a great time!!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!