Tuesday, July 25, 2017

San Diego, Day 8

I feel very lucky as we were able to fly in super-early on Saturday and then fly out in the evening on the next Saturday - we got like 2 extra days in!  So we weren't flying out until 6pm on our last day and so that did leave us a lot of day to do something.

My sister and her crew flew out early that morning.  My parents and brother left the "mansion" at the same time as we did - my parents were driving home via a stop in St. George.  My brother was staying a few days with a friend in San Diego, then going north for a few days, and then flying back to Alaska.

I went for my last run in San Diego that morning.  My sister and had gone the past week together - but she had to leave early and didn't have time on this Saturday.  There was this gate to the "mansion" that we couldn't figure out how to open by walking/running on the road - it only opened for cars (or if you're trying to come in, there is a punch-key to enter the password).  We scaled the stony fence a couple of times, until we just drove our car down to the gate and drove past the gate - then started our run from there.  But that last run I didn't take my car.  I thought I'd just scale the stony fence again.  But I missed my footing or something and scraped my right arm like crazy as I went over and down!  Also, I scraped my left palm of my hand.  My hand killed me - I thought I was going to faint.  But I took a few breaths and went on my run.  My scrapes on my arm stung quite badly, too.  It was pretty gnarly.  I'm bummed that I didn't show my sister nor take a picture.  :)

After my run and breakfast, we let the kids take one last swim at the pool at the "mansion."  They just loved the pool so much!  It was an awesome pool - it was warm and salt-water.  And in our backyard.  All very cool things.

After we left the "mansion," we drove in to San Diego via the "coast highway."  We hadn't taken this road to get to San Diego before and it was super cool.  We got to drive through a lot of cool ocean towns.  Sure, it was a bit slower - but we didn't have traffic!  I really enjoyed the drive.  I wanted to check out this flea market I had read about.  But it turned out to not be that great - and it was super hot!  So we didn't spend too much time, or money, there.  I did buy a large box of strawberries for $1 - awesome!

Then we drove to Old Town of San Diego.  It's just this cool section of town with a Spanish-influence.  It had a farmer's market and was super cool with lots of super cool craft items and such.  We spent time there, went in some other cool shops in the area, bought things, etc.  We ate lunch at Fred's (which stood for Frederico).  It was fresh Mexican and was delicious!  All in all, it was another great day in San Diego!  :)

 The kids in the pool on our last day there.

In our hallway of the "mansion" there were these gigantic paintings - big as in 10' x 8'.  Ben LOVED the paintings and so apparently he took a picture of each of them:

It was marvelous to have the Galbraiths together and to spend the whole week together!  Lucky us!  Thanks mom and dad!

San Diego, Day 7

Friday was our last day all together in San Diego - sniff, sniff.  We decided to go to the beach, as that is something we can't do in Colorado and was a favorite thing to do for the kids!  We went to a beach that was a little closer to home - called San Elijo.  It was great!

 Surfer-dude Ben.  The "mansion" had a surf-board and so Ben was excited to do some more surfing!

 The kids all loved to boogie-board - even little Lucy got the hang of it (she did better than her mom!).

 Emmy wants to move to California when she's older . . . even the traffic didn't change her mind!

 Emmy the Mermaid.  Can you see it?!

 This beach was a little more difficult for Ben to surf.  But he did catch some waves!

 My sister, dad, and mom chilling at the beach.

 Lucy the Mermaid.

 Aunt-e bought some awesome tattoos . . . super fun.

 Emmy and her tattoos.

 The Maxwell crew at San Elijo beach - bye-bye for now!  Until next time . . .   :)

San Diego, Day 6

Thursday morning we got up and headed out to La Jolla shores to do some kayaking.  There were a few other people in our group.  After some instruction and life-jacket fitting, we were on our way!  We couldn't take our camera and so we didn't get any pictures on our adventure.  We had a fun time though.  We went in to a cave that was super cool and had some fun waves in there as well!  We saw fish, birds, and sea lions.  It was a good time!

After that we took our family back to the "mansion" and spent the afternoon in the pool - which was one of the kids' favorite activities!  We left at 3:30 to make our dinner reservation at 5pm at Coronado Island - which is usually about 50 minutes away.  But . . . with traffic we didn't make it until a little after 5:30.  Luckily my dad and mom and brother left about the same time and got there about the same time!  Erin and her family had stayed down in San Diego and made it on time.  :)  Once we all got there, we had a fantastic dinner!  It was a very neat atmosphere and a fun place to eat.  After dinner we walked along the shore for a bit and it was so beautiful.  I do love that place.  Another great day.  :)

Getting ready for our kayaking trip!

 This is not my picture, but from the internet.  But these are the caves we went to.

This is the cave we went in to - one kayak at a time.  (Again, the picture is from online.)  It was really exciting - especially for the kids.  :)

 The "mansion" had some old arcade games - pinball was a favorite.  Fun!

 Dinner at the restaurant at Coronado.

 Miles ordering off the adult menu . . . he sort of liked his swordfish.  :)  He did eat it all, though!

 Ben's dinner - his first time having lobster!

 My mom stayed with us and enjoyed our lovely evening stroll.


The restaurant we ate at - wow it looks cool at night!

San Diego, Day 5

So vacations can kind of be tricky - you want to find a good balance between 1.  doing lots of neat stuff that you hardly get to do at home and 2.  just relaxing and having some down-time.  I think our trips usually ere more on the first point:  doing lots of neat stuff!  But I don't think we over-did it.  People, kids especially, seem to do best and be happiest when involved in some type of activity.

Okay, so on to day 5!  The home ("mansion" as my kids liked to call it) we stayed at had a few acres and had some horses on its property.  We signed up to ride the horses on Wednesday morning.  We just had to walk down the long driveway to the stable and rode around in the corral.  Emmy came to me crying because she was scared about riding the horses - an energetic pony that came running about scared her, we think.  I told her she didn't have to ride, but to watch and see how the other kids do and then make her decision.  She finally rode - although she was still quite nervous about it for the first half of our ride.  She finally calmed down and seemed to enjoy it.  Both girls talk a lot about riding the horses (it was the first thing they mentioned to their cousins about their trip) and so I know it was really fun for them.  The boys really enjoyed it, too, and thought it was cool that they got to ride them alone - without someone taking the reigns.

After horses, we went to the USS Midway with my parents.  We toured around the gigantic ship.  It is definitely impressive!  It was very cool to have my dad there as he had landed on the USS Midway and had stayed on many, many similar vessels while in the Marine Corps.

After that we had planned on going to Belmont - a fun carnival place where there were rides to rides.  I thought it would be fun to take the kids on a roller-coaster ride since the boys had only gone once and Emmy had never done it.  After missing our exits (not lost, just confused) and such, we finally got there!

I took the three oldest kids on the roller coaster ride, while Ben took Lucy on some bumper car ride.  Jonas and Emmy were a little nervous; Miles, not so much.  Me, a little - it's been awhile!  While I don't love roller coasters, I absolutely loved watching Emmy!  She was so terrified - but it was just so hilarious and cute!  I just laughed and laughed.  It was quite an adventure!  Emmy was fine when it was all done - not mad or anything.  Now she can say she's ridden a big roller-coaster!  Lucy loved her bumper-cars.  Jonas and Miles had fun and wanted to go again.  But, nope, we were already running late!

My Aunt Karen, who lives in the L.A. area, came over for dinner that night.  She brought a friend that lives near where we were staying and so we had a fun evening with those two ladies.  It's always great to be around Aunt Karen - she's just so sweet, lovely, and delightful!  It was nice of her to travel in that California traffic.  :) I was sad I didn't get a picture of her with my family!

Another great day!

 Playing pool was always fun.

 Lucy on a horse!

 Lucy and Miles riding.

 A close-up.

 Jonas and a nervous Emmy.

 Whoa Jonas!  :)

 Ben took a turn, too - he loved it, but wanted to go fast!

 Emmy got back on with Lucy - but wouldn't let Lucy steer it on her own while she was on.  :)

 My family in front of the massive USS Midway.

 Lucy at the controls!

The kids in front of the helicopter my dad flew - well, he might not have flown this very one (it was a Navy one), but he did fly these C-47s.

 Miles and my dad checking out his old "office."  He could probably still fly one of those if he had, I'm sure!

 Lucy going crazy at the bumper-cars!

This is post roller-coaster ride - we all survived!

San Diego, Day 4

Milton Willis, their friend, and Michael Willis.

So Tuesday was a big day - surfing lessons for the adults.  Well all adults under 50 that is.  :)  Erin had found these surf instructors online and set-us all up.  The Willis brothers were about as legit as you can get for California surf-instructors.  These brothers - Michael and Milton - are the real deal. They came complete with dreads and ponytails and world-records for riding the world's biggest waves.  :)  They were awesome.  It made the surfing experience even better to have such iconic instructors!

We all got up on the boards and had a blast.  Ben made it look pretty darn easy!  Derek totally loved surfing - until the next day when he was super sore (we all were sore!).  :)  It was awesome.  The Willis brothers let us keep the boards for the whole day and so Erin, Chuck, and I went back after our lesson to get the kids and bring them to play at the beach - while whoever wanted to, could still try surfing.  Ben and Derek stayed and ate lunch and then surfed some more until we showed up with the gang.

The kids played, boogie-boarded, jumped waves, and even tried surfing themselves!  Jonas was a natural.  Most of the other kids even got some personal instruction from Michael, one of the Willis brothers.  It was super cool.  :)  What a fun, fun day!

 There we are at the Wills brothers' home - at least their summer home!

Erin and I listening to Michael give us some surfing tips.

 Ben and I all comfy (or not) in our wet-suits.

 The Galbraith kids all ready to surf!

 Go, Derek, go!

 Erin rocked the pose and all!

 There I go!

 Ben catching a good wave!

 The surfing couple.

 Our surfing group - we aren't sure why the Willis brother took it from the side?!

 Michael Willis!

 Jonas surfing - he totally loved it.  It was one of his highlights of the whole trip.

 Miles getting some help from a Willis Bro.

 My parents came and watched us and enjoyed seeing us surf and play on the beach.  My mom is pretty cute!

 Jonas surfing again . . .

 Emmy getting some help from Michael.

 Go, Emmy, go!

 Ben is in the background catching another good wave.  :)

Emmy did not want to try surfing and was a bit mad when I pushed her over to Michael . . . she practically had tears in her eyes . . . but I knew she'd be okay.  Michael was great, helped her up, and she had fun.  :)

Okay, here are some videos that I took of everyone surfing.  Oh, everyone but me that is!  I was bummed that my first ride didn't get caught on video because it was my best.  :)  These may not be everyone's best surf, but I only got one of each and so this is what you see!