Sunday, August 25, 2013


So, we spent last week in our favorite vacation spot: San Diego! But this year, it had a little few twists.

  • My kids went on an airplane for the first time! We flew to LAX and flew home from San Diego. And since it had been since 1997 (March of 1997, to be exact. Shane and I weren't even dating, although our best friends were dating so we had a lot of opportunities for awkward meetings where we mostly avoided each other.) since I had been on a plane, it felt like the first time since I'd been on a plane, too. Shane, having flown in December, was our guide through airport security. Hooray for airplanes!
  • We went to Disneyland and California Adventure. It was my kids' first time there as well. We were pretty clueless as to how to make to most out of Disneyland, but we figured it out. I had emailed my book club friends the week before and they gave me all sorts of tips, and we downloaded a bunch of apps to help us navigate.
  • We rented two different rental cars: one to get from LAX to our hotel in Anaheim (with a little stop in Manhattan Beach to eat dinner with my bestie, Rebecca.), and then another to get from Anaheim to San Diego. Flying kind of makes getting places harder. And more expensive. But, we made it work.
  • We rode in a cab.
  • We still had two nights in our favorite San Diego hotel by Pacific Beach. After 5 years of doing the same vacation, we know where we want to go and what we like to do. Most of which is running on the boardwalk, walking to the beach, and playing in the pool. Ahh, Catamaran. We love you.

A few little details I don't want to forget:

  • Eating dinner with Rebecca. One of our favorite restaurants that we can only find in California is El Torito. Rebecca and her husband Steve met us at the airport rental car agency then led us to an El Torito near Manhattan Beach. They went totally out of their way so that we could see a glimpse of the ocean on our way. Dinner was wonderful - we ate fresh guacamole and talked and laughed the whole time. It wasn't enough time together, but it never is.

  • The morning at Disneyland. By 9:45 when it started to get busy, we had already been on Star Tours, Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones, and Haunted Mansion. We were positively giddy. Then we saw all of the lines for these rides the rest of the day and were glad we'd already been on them.
  • Splash Mountain broke down while we were inside. They turned on the lights and we walked out. It was pretty cool to see all of it with the lights on. Plus they gave us a fast pass to get back on it later when it was fixed.
  • Riding the roller coaster at California Adventure. It was the best roller coaster I've ever been on!
  • Deciding spur of the moment to have a Coke on the plane. I haven't had any soda in 2013 until that moment. I had a few more during the week. It made it feel more vacation-y. I don't know why though!
  • Watching the sun go down on the beach on Thursday night. It was Thomas's 12th birthday and we were all taking in as much of the ocean sights and sounds as we could. Thomas took a picture of the sun going down and then texted me with the message that said that it was his favorite moment of the vacation. I told him how much it meant to me and, in a totally 12-year-old way, tapped his heart and said "See, there really is something in here!" I laughed. It was awesome.

  • Dropping a big-daddy swear in front of my kids 2 seconds after I got on the I-5 to go to San Diego. A person in a green Honda Element went across 3 lanes of traffic to exit the freeway right in front of me. Out popped the swear. I couldn't take it back. My kids sort of laughed but Shane laughed his head off - he couldn't believe what had come out of my mouth. I'm so glad I can still entertain him.
  • I'm so glad we watched the fireworks at Disneyland. It was a magical way to finish the day. We stood right in the middle of Main Street between the soda shop and the photography studio. It was perfect. I've got to admit it: Disney has style.

  • The dinner we ate at Disneyland. I had a plate of red beans and rice that was divine. The cafe we were at was in the New Orleans section. I can't remember what it was called but it was perfect. It was dark and we sat on the patio outside and the only lights came from the Christmas lights hung from the awnings. It was lovely.
  • Waiting in line for a Dole float. When in Rome, right? 
  • Walking a billion times a day to our locker. Ben loved putting in the code and opening the door. He was always up for going to the locker just so he could open it up.
  • Getting my picture taken with the princess from The Princess and the Frog. You're never too old to have your picture with a Disney princess, right?

  • The 3-year-old boy who rode on the Grizzly River Run ride with it. The whole time he kept saying "Are we done now, Daddy? Are we done now?" He apparently had loved all the rides up until this point. He was so cute. His sister was dressed up as Sacajewea and was every bit as cute, but enjoyed the ride much more.
  • The disbelief I feel at how long the lines for all the rides were. We didn't wait in any lines. The mornings were spent in 5-10 minute lines and then after that, if we didn't have a fast pass, we didn't ride it. Well, except for the Monsters Inc ride. I don't know why or how we ended up waiting in a real line for that ride, but we did. Maybe it was for the air conditioning.
  • The people on the Toy Story float in the parade at California Adventure who were doing giants on a bar. They totally reminded me of my gymnastics days when we used to do bar tricks on the men's high bar, strapped to the bar so we wouldn't fly off. I wished I could do giants with them. We followed the float for a while (it was the last float in the parade) and I watched them the whole time.
  • The guy who led our canoeing adventure at Disneyland. He had really dreamy arms. I guess it's all the rowing. I'm not sure about the fake-buckskin uniforms, though.
  • My one run on the beach. I always do the same run: head out from the hotel, run to a cross street called San Rafael which I take to the boardwalk. I run the boardwalk down to Belmont Park, then turn around and head back.
  • Taking half of a yoga class on the bay on Thursday night. I thought the class started at 6 so I got there at 5:50 only to find out it started at 6:30. It was great people watching. I wished I could have done the whole class, but I was more worried about seeing the sunset than finishing the class.
  • Forcing my family out of bed at 6 am every morning. Having fun is hard work and you have to start early. Get up, family! We are going to have fun! Get up! 
  • Evaluating Shane's walk (a little past time that we've enjoyed for many years) as we walked from Downtown Disney to our hotel. Which I had to use Siri's directions to do, because we didn't have any idea where we were and thought it would be faster to walk from there than going back through DD, Disneyland security, and then out to Sea Harbor drive. Boy were we wrong. Add in the fact that Thomas was limping from his foot hurting. It was an adventure. 
  • Watching the Disneyland Parade as we waited for Small World. Walked right onto Small World and spent most of the time on the ride looking at our phones. It was a nice break. Ended the ride and the line was huge - timing is everything.
  • Thomas acting like Jack Sparrow. It wasn't funny, but I should try to remember it.
  • Me and Ben running through California Adventure to try and get one more set of Fast Passes to California Screaming. The passes were all gone, but it was fun watching him run ahead of me to a pre-determined spot and then turn back around and wait for me.
  • Drinking an entire 32 oz Coke on my walk from the hotel to the gas station. That was the best Coke ever.
  • Eating dinner at Rain Forest Cafe in Downtown Disney.
  •  Flying with both of my kids on their first airplane ride. I've currently never went on a plane with anyone in my family - when I flew as a kid, it was always with gymnastics or dance or to and from school in Virginia. I'm so glad that my kids have that memory of their parents taking them on a plane. It probably won't happen again soon but no matter what, the first time was with us. Love.
  • Going back to the beach one last time on the last day in San Diego. The kids were playing in the arcade/pool so Shane and I snuck away and walked to the beach. The tide was at its lowest point. Feeling the water suck at my feet hurt my back even as it soothed my soul. I can never get enough of looking at the ocean.
  • Taking a retake of this picture. I wish the people hadn't been behind us. Look at how much bigger my kids are!


Man, that was a lot. I could put a billion pictures out here, but I'll only put a few more. I know it's annoying to read about other people's vacations. But this one was too big to not blog about. I can't believe we were able to pull this trip off.


heidikins said...

This is so lovely, I'm THRILLED you had such a wonderful time!


Kasandra Mathieson said...

How fun....we loved Disneyland too! So many great memories, aren't you glad you wrote them all down!

Anonymous said...

The Cars roller coaster picture is priceless! I had an amazing time with you and your family. Love you!!!!!

Isabel said...

Oh man, SO GLAD you guys had a great time. Hooray for vacation. (I ALWAYS take a picture with a princess. I agree, you're never too old.)

We hung out at the boardwalk in San Diego too. It kills me to know we *just* missed being there at the same time.