Monday, April 08, 2013

San Diego and More, 2013 (Part One)

Well we are back and had a really great trip.  It's so fun to see and experience new things and just as fun (or perhaps even more fun) to see our kids experience and LOVE new things.  Our days were long - a typical dinner was eaten at 7pm or later.  Ben and I didn't have any evenings just to chill and relax together - but that's okay since this was a family vacation.  (But still I would have liked at least one early evening for the kids!)

So I'm going to go day-by-day - meaning a lot of stuff in this post.  (I've just done through Tuesday, and have decided to split it up.  I'll post it in 2 parts.  It's still a ton of stuff, though!)  We'll start with Friday:

We left in the morning and made it in good time to St. George.  We arrived at my parents' and Aunt and Uncle's "2nd home" (vacation home?) and pretty quickly got ready for a quick swim in the pool.  After that we headed over to a long-awaited dinner at Cafe Rio (our earliest dinner of the trip).  Yum.  Then we went to a super-cool park that just has the most different of play structures.  It was crazy cool and the kids really enjoyed it.  It was a really fun afternoon and evening.

We got off at a good time and headed to the L.A. area.  Surprise, surprise!  The Easter Bunny had come and delivered a bunch of goodies and such in the kids' car seats.  Awesome.  We drove by Las Vegas on the freeway and that was pretty impressive - even from far away.  We made it to my Aunt and Uncle's house and enjoyed visiting with them - Karen and George.  They have a lovely home and a lovely property and we even got to take home a bunch of avocados from their tree.  They also have a bird, Cobi (I'm not sure about the spelling?).  Cobi is the first, and probably only bird, that I really and truly like!  She's great!  Unfortunately, Emmy takes after me and was petrified of the bird!  She hardly would come out and join us on the patio.

We spent a couple of hours at their home and then went to George's son's (Raymond) home.  Boy was it nice, too!  It's backyard was not only beautiful, but exciting for the kids - a paved sidewalk around the yard for driving little motorized cars, a playhouse and swing set area, a trampoline, etc.  Amazing.  The kids played and played.  We ate a delicious ordered-out meal (I ate ribs - I think my first time!  Also, I ate some other slice of beef [tip-cut?] that was actually very, very good.  Surprisingly since I'm not a big steak fan.)  Then the kids played and played some more.  Everyone was so generous and so kind.  We even came home with a bunch of the juiciest oranges we've ever had!  Again, we just totally enjoyed it all.


 Jonas wasted no time in stuffing his face.

 Miles playing with a new little toy - fun.  The toy was a great distraction for all - until the windy roads came and made Jonas and Emmy extra car-sick from looking down and playing!

 Bad Easter Bunny for getting lip gloss for Lucy!  (Lucy just couldn't/didn't/wouldn't get enough of the lip gloss.)

 And here is Cobi - isn't she so cute!  Seriously, she's just a pretty, pretty bird.  And she can talk, "Hello Cobi!"  :)

 Cobi's perch and play-place.  She'll get on a branch and just swing around and around and around.  It's so cool.  Yes, Lucy is holding her ears.  Cobi is quite loud - maybe even louder than my kids!

 One of Cobi's talents:  give her an object and she'll throw it.  All of us - including Emmy - loved this.

I'm cheating as this picture was taken as we were heading out on Sunday.  I think it turned out to be such a great picture.  Karen and George are just wonderfully kind people and I was glad my kids had the chance to get to be with them for a bit.  Miles was especially fond of them.

We had a fun breakfast at Karen and George's home.  Cereal with fruit - including the yummiest grapefruit I've ever had (I thought the grapefruits had come from their trees, but it had come from Texas, I think!).  We also had some super delicious bananas that George's son, Joe, grows in his backyard.  They were obviously similar to normal bananas, yet different and just better!

After breakfast we headed over to another suburb of L.A. and met up with my friend Rebecca (a roommate from the great BYU days) and her family - including her husband David (who, ahem, was akin to a roommate since he was always with Rebecca . . . :) and their five great kiddos.  We met them at their church and that was fun.  I got to sit by Ben for all 3 hours!!!  Whoa.  Their ward is amazing - full of 30-something-year-olds and lots and lots of children.  Afterwards we went to their home and enjoyed a tasty lunch of crepes and just some good visiting.  We stayed for a couple of hours and then headed on our way to San Diego.

We got to San Diego around 5:30, checked in to our home, settled in (unpacked our stuff), had some dinner (grilled cheese and canned soups.  It was pretty gross, really.), then got the kids to bed, checked our emails, Ben made some church-related calls, I chatted with my folks, then went to bed!

We forgot to take any pictures of the home we stayed at, so here is the link:

 Here are Rebecca and me - we met about 15 years ago (seriously!  agh!).  Now we have 9 kids all together. Seriously crazy.  Kids, front row:  Miles, Larkin, Lucy, and Madeline.  Back row:  Matthew, Nathan, Emmy, Kylie, and Jonas.  Cuties, all of them.

Someone wanted a silly-faced picture - not too bad!  :)

We headed out that morning to something I found in a visitor's guide book, the Children's Pool.  It is this place that was supposed to be for kids to swim at (a wall was built to keep out the big waves), but the seals found out about it and kind of took it over.  It was awesome and a great first place to see the ocean.  We saw the seals and then played some at the water there.  The kids adored it.

 It's hard to tell - but there are bunches of seals behind us.


 Thumbs-up was the thing to do, I guess.  Kind of like the Japanese flashing the peace sign, my kids - Emmy mostly - were all about thumbs-up.

 Miles wasted no time in getting soaked.

 There were some cool rocks to adventure on, too.

 Unfortunately, tantrums still occur on vacations.  Thus do time-outs.

Breaking for snack.  We walked for a while along the beach and came to another beach that was frequented by sea lions.  We saw a bunch - including a dead one.  It was kind of gross.

By noon we met up with some of Ben's best friends from his home and growing-up years:  the Sabeys.  Benji lives in San Diego with his wive and their 4 children.  Benji's parents (Mel and Sandy) were there, as well as Benji's sister Maggie.  It was great being with friends again!  We had lunch there and hung out for a bit.  Then later in the afternoon Benji took us to Torrey Pines State Park.  We hiked up and then down to a really cool beach spot.  We stayed there for a bit and then hiked back to our car along the beach.  It was pretty dreamy.  We then hung out a little more with the Sabeys (just to make sure we wore our welcome out) and ate pizza with them that night.  Definitely great times.

 I didn't get any great pictures of Ben and Benji.  So here's this one of Benji.

 Lucy was a great little hiker and hiked most of it.  She especially loved the stairs and steps on the trails!

 When we got to the beach there was this rock to get out on and see some tide pools.  Yes, I was nervous with my kids out there because I couldn't really see what the other side was like (I stayed on the other side with Lucy).  Big waves would come over and splash them and I was afraid my kids would get knocked over and fall off.  Yes, I can be ridiculous like that.  But it was my first day at the ocean with my kids and, in case you don't know or don't remember, one of my 2 great fears with kids is drowning (the other is choking).  I'm happy to report that nobody drowned.

 Walking back along the shore.

 The boys loved picking up sea-weed stuff.

 Here is some of the gang:  Emmy, Ben, Lucy, Miles, Benji, and Chloe.

I put this here for Miles's sake.  He is doing something - I'm just not sure what.  But he knows.

Oh, right before we had reached the cars, Jonas realized he had left his shoes at one point.  He wanted to go back and get them.  There was no way - it was already 5:30 and I was pretty sure they were left at a point way far away.  So we told him no.  He cried and whined and cried and whined.  Yes, about shoes.  Yes, about the very shoes that he has whined to me about these last couple months, exclaiming, "I want new shoes!  I don't like these shoes!"  All of a sudden, he did like those shoes.  Sorry buddy.  I had brought some other shoes and so I wasn't too worried about it.  More of this story will come up later . . .

Tuesday was Legoland day!  And it was a full day.  I think we stayed right up to closing - which was 7pm.  It was a lot of fun and the kids did really, really like it.  But there were things I didn't totally love:  long lines for very short rides; that Emmy and Jonas had to be accompanied by an adult on the rides and since either Ben or myself had to stay back with Lucy, it just didn't work out too well in 1 adult being able to take the 3 bigger kids; lots of people; that Lucy couldn't even do some very simple and basic of rides (dang, if she was only 2 inches taller!); long lines (yes I mention it again) that were long enough to make us not go on the rides at all.  I think the whole state of Utah had Spring Break that week as well.  We saw quite a few families from Utah - many sporting "BYU" hats, shirts, etc.  But the kids didn't complain too much - and they were the ones that decided not to wait in the super-long lines.

The second ride that Ben took the boys on was this big-time roller-coaster.  Ben even was a little scared on it!  But Miles just loved it.  Jonas?  Not so much.  In fact, he hated it!  Poor kid!  Ben felt so bad for taking him on it.  Jonas even said to Ben, "I made a mistake.  I should not have come on this ride!"  He was pretty petrified of it all.  The rides tamed-down after that.  :)

 Why take this picture?  Well when we got out of our car at the Legoland parking lot, Emmy steps out with no shoes on.  Seriously!?  I don't know what she was thinking.  Ben had told her to get her shoes on back at the house and I think she told him once, "I can't find them."  (More on that later . . .)  Ben of course told her to look some more and then that was that.  Until the parking lot.  Sheesh.  So I said we'll find some shoes in the stores in the park and she had to use her money from her grandparents (that they had sent to buy something on our vacation), plus she'll have to do some extra Saturday-chores (those crocs weren't cheap!).  But, they are super cute!

 The first ride!

 While the boys were going on the big roller-coaster, I took the girls over to "Duplo land" and the girls got to ride this train.

 Sir Jonas.

 Miles, me, and Emmy are under the big splash.  This was not like a typical log-ride in which you get wet.  This ride you get soaked.  Drenched, even.  Crazy stuff.

 Jonas hijacked Lucy's stroller and spent some time studying the map.  Awesome.

 This area was called, "Adventure Club."  You walked inside these caves and such and had to find 7 hidden keys, or something like that.  The girls, especially Emmy, were SO SCARED in this.  It was pretty funny.  So Ben took the boys in to do it again, sans girls.  :)

 Miles the Mummy.

 This car ride was one the boys had really wanted to do.  It is super cute.  But the 30-minute wait for a 1-minute (okay, maybe, just maybe 2 minutes) ride was quite silly.  But at least I was more bummed about it than they were!  They didn't even say anything.

 We watched some show at the park- Lucy and Ben got to watch it twice.  It was actually pretty fantastic.  That fireman girl was quite the gymnast!  Wow, the performers were totally impressive.  We all loved the show.

 These three kids were excited to do a "ride" all on their own.

 And this sweet one kid was excited to just be able to do a "ride"!  It was a lovely, pleasant float.

 The final ride of the day - some Dino-coaster, or something like that.  Again, Jonas wasn't a big fan.  Emmy wasn't either.  (Ben lucked out this time and was able to accompany both kids.  Miles sat by himself behind them.)  I just don't think Jonas likes roller-coasters!  But he still "kind of" has fun.  :)

Good bye Legoland!  Oh, Jonas wasn't in this picture because he was throwing a fit (Lucy isn't the only child who still throws tantrums on vacations . . .).  I think it was about not being able to buy something at the Legoland store.  I let them look since they had money, but all they were looking at were Lego Star Wars stuff.  As in, something one can buy at Target.  I told them to wait and see what Sea World has and if there isn't anything there, then I'd take them to Target once we got home.  Jonas just wanted to waste spend his money and was thus quite upset when it was time to go.  He refused to be in the picture.  Later, he wanted to go back there and get in a picture with everyone.  Kids.


Angie Hawkes said...

Wow, how incredible! Just thinking about going on a trip sans grandparents' help gives me anxiety. I love that your kids keep it real with fits though I certainly don't wish them upon anyone. I kind of laughed at Miles loosing his shoes, perhaps he learned about how tides work? Great vacation post.

erinmalia said...

everything looks so awesome! i love the pic with karen and george. and the one with you and rebecca +9....um your feet look enormous! hahaha. i mean that in the kindest, most-sisterly way of course. but it must be the angle. i want to go to the beach!

Emily said...

Looks like a blast- you were able to do so many fun things :) Can't wait to hear what the rest of your trip was like! Sounds fun like you all had fun and now need a week-long nap after all of that!

rebecca said...

Emily!!! I am so happy you made Moorpark part of your vacation! It was really fun to see you again, and to reunite our kids for just a minute. I love the picture of us with all our kids - we have alot!!! I cannot wait to find out more about the shoes. How many times have we arrived somewhere and someone is barefoot?

Nicole said...

So so fun! I love Emmy in her crocs! Too funny. Sounds like it it was a hit for everyone involved! Yay.