Sunday, April 15, 2012

Getting away

The kids were on spring break this past week. It's been cold and rainy. Awesome weather for being cooped up in the house...

Thankfully, we had planned a mini vacation to San Diego! The kids were so excited and had been looking forward to our trip for weeks.

Early in the week, Steve told the kids a big surprise was coming on Friday, and would arrive before we got to the airport. Guesses started flying...Olivia guessed a laptop (as if 3 computers and an ipad in the house weren't enough!). They all three guessed a dog (because getting a dog right as we are leaving town makes perfect sense...). Olivia then guessed "swimming with dolphins" (she obviously wasn't paying attention to the time frame of the arrival of the surprise, unless she was anticipating swimming with dolphins in our pool...brrr!).

The "surprise" arrived just before noon...and when the kids looked out the window and saw a stretch limo waiting to take us to the airport, they completely freaked out!

We toasted the start of our vacation with sparkling cider in the limo...and Steve and I came to the realization that after this, the kids will never want to ride a plain old airport shuttle again!

We arrived in San Diego, picked up our rental car, and got checked into our hotel right on the San Diego Harbor. The kids went swimming, then we headed out for dinner at The Fish House. Little did we know that everyone else had the same idea for dinner, and it was a Friday took an hour and a half to get a table. We wandered around along the waterfront at sunset.

There was a huge Naval airship carrier permanently docked at the harbor. (One night of American Idol auditions were held on this ship!)

Ever the romantic, I loved the larger than life monument to sailors.

By the time we got to our table, it was after 8, and after a few bites of bread, Grant passed out on Steve's lap. He slept all the way through dinner (we boxed up his cheese pizza and took it with us). We had walked to the restaurant, about 1/2 mile from our hotel. There was no way Grant could walk back, and he's way too heavy to carry. So Steve did the noble thing and summoned a bike taxi to take us back to our hotel. With three tired kids, it was the best $40 bucks we spent on the trip!

We woke up early Saturday morning and headed to Sea World for the day. Neither Steve or I had been there since we were kids, so it was fun for all of us.

We watched the dolphin show.

We saw some cool animal exhibits.

We saw Shamu!

We got to pet dolphins up close.

We rode some rides.

We went on a river rapid ride that literally soaked us head to toe. It took hours to dry off.

We did a lot of walking! Within five minutes of getting in the car, Grant was passed out.

Saturday night, we headed up to Orange County to spend Easter with Steve's family.

(A funny side story . . . Grant protested wearing this shirt. He pulled it out of his suitcase and said "I don't want to wear this, it's an African shirt. The Easter Bunny comes on Easter, it's not the AFRICAN BUNNY!" I nearly died laughing!) 

 Early Monday morning, we loaded back in our rental minivan and headed south to LegoLand. The boys were in heaven!

Who knew you could build so many things out of Legos?

Entire cities were made out of Legos. Impressive!

Nearly every ride or attraction ended up in a gift shop. 

There was no escaping without some Lego loot.

Olivia was a trooper. It wasn't her idea of paradise, but she kept a smile on her face and had fun watching her brothers. She's the greatest!

The rides were all pretty much perfect for the boys. Slow and steady, no darkness or loud noises.

We stayed in the Carlsbad Homewood Suites Monday night. Best hotel deal ever. They had a Manager's Reception that evening with a full (FREE!) dinner buffet. We loaded up our plates and brought them back to our room to watch a movie on HBO. The kids thought it was da bomb. A full breakfast was included the next morning, so we ended up with two free meals AND a one bedroom suite for under $200!

 We spent Tuesday back at LegoLand, touring the SeaLife Aquarium and hitting the Lego-themed water park.

Steve and I kicked back on lounge chairs and occasionally got up to check on the kids. Having all three kids be completely water safe and self-sufficient was amazing!

 We loaded back on the plane Tuesday evening, trading the warm San Diego sun for rain and wind back home. The limo ride home was too short and quickly the realization that the vacation was indeed over sank in. It was good while it lasted!