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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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. :)