Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sandy Eggo....

Well, there weren't any Eggos, but we had generic Kroger brand waffles this year on vacation.  In sunny San Diego.  (Don't you love my play on words?  I also like to call Harrison Ford's character in Star Wars Hans Olo.  I'm fun like that.)

We had such a good time!  We didn't get the same room of the past 2 years with the view of Mission Bay (sad face), but they did give us a studio that had a kitchen (happy face!)  This meant we had a toaster and real plates and silverware and a microwave.  Oh, and a tea kettle so Shane and I didn't have to fight over the coffee maker so that he could have his morning joe and I could have hot chocolate.

This year was so relaxing. As in: I read an entire book while on vacation. That never ever happens to me.  I read in the car, I read on the beach, I read at night after dinner while laying in bed, I read by the pool while the kids swam to their hearts content.  I loved it.  I had my exchange book, and I loved reading it on vacation.  I wrote little notes of what was happening IRL along with my thoughts and expletives aimed at the characters.  Since I never managed to get out the journal I brought along on the trip and write anything, I guess it's as good a travelogue as anything else.

Ok, so what else did we do?

We went to the Wild Animal Park (Now called the Safari Park.)  You all know I despise the zoo, but this was way more than the zoo.  We sat in a clearing with a real live baby cheetah (who was pacing around the clearing on a leash with his trainers and his doggy pal.)  We watched a grown up cheetah run the 100 meter dash in less than 6 seconds.  We took the tram around the African highlands and looked at the giraffes and deer and one of two norther white rhinos left in the world.  We ate giant pretzels.  We saw the gorilla family (but sadly not the baby gorilla - more sad face.)  The kids loved it and walked around without complaint.  It was an awesome day.  I  was almost as impressed with the drive to the park - the route we took had us go past some beautiful vineyards in the dry hills above Escondido.  Awesome.

 Shane's hand has got nothing on a gorilla...

 An Okapi.  It reminded me of The Poisonwood Bible, so I took a picture of him.

 My cute boys...

 A lion hanging out on a Landrover.

The next two days we just hung out on the beach.  It seemed kind of boring at the time, but I'm so glad we kept things low key.  Both days we walked to our favorite spot on the beach and played to our heart's content.  We had hoped to do some snorkeling at the La Jolla Coves, but when we went to rent snorkeling gear, they told us it was a red tide so we wouldn't be able to see anything.  It at least explained how dirty the water was; I'd wondered why it seemed so brown!  The seaweed was totally out of control as well, so we didn't spend a ton of time in the water, but the boys spent hours digging for sand crabs and chasing seagulls.  Our timing always put us on the beach during low tide, and it was amazing to watch how far out the water would recede over the afternoon.  When the kids got sick of the beach we would walk back to the hotel and let them splash and swim in the pool.  They spent more time in their swimming suits and pajamas during the vacation than any other article of clothing.  That sounds like a successful vacation to me. :)

Looking down at the beach between Mission Bay and La Jolla.  The beach is pebbles right here, so when the surf would go out, all the pebbles would shift - it was a beautiful sound.

 The great sea wall and the sacred pool...full of sand crabs.

 I never get tired of seeing this...

 Handstands on the beach.

My kids could live in this pool.  They looked a little buggy in their goggles, but they had a blast.

 Shane took this from the freeway.

Ben can always be trusted to fall asleep before anyone else.

Things we did that we'd never done before:

  • Walked down to Belmont Park.  We watched the giant wave machine and the kids all trying to be badass surfers on it.  It was fun.
  • Drove into La Jolla.  Holy cow, we didn't see any cars that weren't BMWs, Mercedes, or VWs (our Mazda didn't get too intimidated though.)  And the houses on the hill?  Wow. There was a kind of outdoor mall that we drove past on our way to the coves that looked like so much fun (I was with 3 boys - there was absolutely no way they were going to window shop with me. Sad face.  Maybe next year I'll go on my own for a few hours...)
  • Drove down the 5 from Irvine.  I had a wild hair on our way to SD to take the 91 when I saw a sign that said "Beach Cities."  I knew what I-15 had to offer, and I was dying to see the ocean.  So we took it.  It might have added a little bit of time to the drive, but it was so worth it.  Seeing the ocean for 90 extra miles was awesome. Plus we got to drive by the San Diego Temple on the first day.  I love seeing it!  I'll never forget our first sighting of it on our way out of town 2 years ago. It was such a shock to all of a sudden see a temple on the side of the California freeway.  I never get tired of seeing it.
  • Felt like I knew where I was going.  I can navigate pretty well after 3 years.  I don't know if I could do LA, but I can hold my own in SD traffic.  Not bad for a Utah girl.
  • Ate at a little bar on Mission Bay for lunch one day.  They had giant garage doors that they opened to the street so even though you were sitting inside, you felt like you were outside.  We haven't been too adventurous in our eating arrangements, so it was fun to find a local hot spot to enjoy.
  • I went to H & M in Caesar's Palace.  I found a sweater that I LOVE.  My true motivation for going there was so I could say I'd been to one before they opened in Salt Lake.  Whatever.  I am now very very excited for them to be here!  Although they can never recreate the feel of being in Caesar's Palace, matter how cool SLC is.
  • Thomas got sick in Las Vegas. He spent the night on the bathroom floor throwing up. I felt bad for him laying on the floor of a LV hotel bathroom - who knows what has gone on in that room! But I also wasn't about to clean up throw up on vacation.
  • The red tide wasn't very cool in the day, but at night it made the breaking waves glow aqua. We watched it one night for a long time.  It was an amazing sight, and probably nothing we'll ever get to witness again.

Stuff we do that we do every year:

  • Ran on the beach.  I never get tired of that!  Although I'm never going to be able to re-create the excitement I felt the first year - there is only one first run on the beach in your life, right? It's still pretty dang awesome to be running with a giant ocean to the side of you, though.
  • Stayed at the Catamaran.  Love that hotel.
  • Ate at Joe's Crab Shack.
  • Watched the sun set over the ocean.
  • Ate at El Torito. Pretty sad I have to drive 700 miles to get really good Mexican food.  Our side of town just doesn't deliver the goods.
  • Stayed a night in Vegas on the way down.  Circus Circus - you really dissappointed.  Our room was in the old section. Yuck.  
  • Visited Shane's grandpa in St. George.  We ate lunch with him on the way down and the way home.  It's so nice to spend time with him.
  • Blah Blah Blah.  You know.  There's only so much you can say or read about a vacation before you kind of want to vomit.  Sorry.

It was awesome.  We might be ready one day to branch out an do a different vacation. But we were happy to return to our current favorite for another year. 


Ginger said...

How fun! What book did you read?

Melanie said...

It sounds awesome - especially the wild animal part! I love the pics on the beach. Makes me long for a tropical vacation, but not soon! I need to spend some time at home first!

Amy Sorensen said...

I'm so glad you got away, and had fun, and went to the WAP (or whatever it is called now!). (My favorite thing there is the cheetah habitat too.) AND went running on the beach. Also, I love the handstand pic!

Jeff and Kayci said...

jealous. Wish we could have been with you again...

Apryl said...

I love that you stayed at the Catamaran! I love that hotel too!! Do they still have all the koi ponds?