Thursday, October 24, 2013

San Diego

I'm dusting off the blog for something other than a birthday letter. A family trip. I'm going to go with journal style. Here goes: (Lots of writing at first, you can skip down to the pictures)

February: I decide that it would be fun to go somewhere for my 40th birthday. We think San Diego would be fun because the boys would love to go to Legoland, but it is almost too young for them. So we need to go now. We look into going for my birthday, but Ainsley has a Battle of the Books competition and and she doesn't want to miss it (I KNOW!) so we bag it for now.

June: We still want to go to San Diego, so we make plans to go on the long weekend with the teacher inservice in October.

September: Plans all done and set. Turns out there is a test date for Andrew's tennis certification at a club in San Diego on Monday so we extend our trip one day. We will be gone Friday October 11th through Monday the 14th. Quick, fun trip.

Later September: I go to the airport to buy our tickets- we are flying on Spirit Air, cheep and the only direct flight from PDX and it is less expensive to buy the tickets there at the airport. Agent helps me, and we buy the tickets. (does this raise a red flag? If so, that is called foreshadowing)

October 9th, 7:30 pm: I go online to purchase the checked bag ticket (another Spirit Air quirk) and strangely it lets me print the boarding passes. This surprises me because you aren't supposed to be able to check-in and print boarding passes until 24 hours or less from your flight. (more foreshadowing here)

October 9th, 7:40pm: Staring at the boarding passes, I slowly realize that the date of our departure is October 10th- the next morning. One day early. I continue to look and begin to panic.

October 9th, 8:00pm: After frantic calls to the customer service number we find that our best option is to show up to the airport the next morning, ready to fly. But trying to change the tickets there. Andrew can't go because he has to work. Begin frantic packing.

October 10th, 3:30am: Andrew drives kids and I to airport. We find out there that Fridays have been booked for a long time, so what happened was the computer automatically bumps to the day before. The agent SHOULD have noticed that and told me and we could have dealt with it. Instead, she didn't notice and just booked the tickets. Friday was oversold. My choice was take the kids alone on Thursday and Andrew could fly standby on Friday or we could wait and all go on Saturday. I sucked it up and said we would go. So off the kids and I went.

6:15am: Our plane takes off. While in the airport I have been able to book a rental car for the day. I still don't have a hotel though. I'm a nervous wreck, but the kids are excited.

8:15am: Arrive in San Diego. Alone with 4 kids. In a city I don't know. More nerves. We make our way to the shuttle to get the rental car. Off we go. We head to Balboa Park. I knew it was close to the airport and thought that it would be easiest to spend the day there and go to museums. We start off by finding a play ground so the kids can play for a little bit while I get my wits about me. We then follow the signs to the heart of the park, which is amazing. We park and hike around, through a palm forest and through the beautiful streets and gardens there.

 We then go to the Natural History museum. We have lunch there and the kids have a great time.

 Andrew was able to extend our hotel stay so we had a hotel room at the same place we were booked for the rest of the time. We could check in at 2:00, and the kids wanted to swim so at about 2 we left the museum and went to the hotel. Thanks to my phone and Ainsley trying to help me navigate, we made our way to the hotel.  Andrew was running meetings at school all day, but my parents and sister offered helpful and encouraging texts and phone calls during the day to help me along. It really went very smoothly, the kids had a great time. But I spent the day pretty worried about how to do it and manage everyone alone, and most of all worrying about if Andrew would make the flight in the morning. I didn't want to do Legoland alone the next day.

We went to the hotel and swam, then went to dinner then down to the park by the hotel that was on Mission Bay. It was beautiful.
Despite having been up at 3:30, Reagan and Camden didn't fall asleep well and that was an adventure. I didn't sleep well and was up at 3:30 am texting Andrew to find out about the flight. It turns out it was oversold by 4- so if 5 people didn't show he would get a seat. Not great odds I didn't think. I spent the next hour plus texting with him and praying. The plane was supposed to leave at 6:15. At 6:03 they told him he could have the last seat that they had been holding for someone who was check in but hadn't shown up yet. At 6:06 he texted me he was on the plane. I was SO HAPPY!

So now onto the scheduled trip! 

I took the kids and we headed to the airport at about 7:15. We returned the car we had, walked down two blocks to pick up the van we had reserved, and at 8:15 Andrew landed and got on the shuttle and met us at the car rental place. It was great. We then took off to Legoland. 

At the legoland village- we took our picture in front of the square in San Francisco where we got engaged. 

Kids in front of the lego Capital building

We loved Legoland. We knew it was going to be a bit young for our kids, but Ainsley and Hudson were prepared for that and had a great time. It was fun because Reagan could do everything, including the big roller coaster which she loved and did over and over. 

On Saturday we headed to the beach. It was wonderful. 

We went to Mission Beach, which is a busy fun beach. It has a board walk and an amusement park. It was a fun, traditional California beach experience. We had so much fun. 

After the beach we went to In and Out Burger for dinner. Then we went back to Mission Bay to watch the sunset. It was beautiful. 

 We went back to the hotel and went in the hot tub. The crazy kids would jump back and forth between the pool and hot tub. It was fun.

Sunday morning it was off to Sea World!

 We had a great day. By the end we were exhausted. Dragging everyone except Camden who as we were leaving was still dancing down the street and jumping off anything he could climb on. That kid has non-stop energy.

On the advice of Andrew's friend Glen from college we went to Roberto's Tacos for dinner and even picky Ainsley said, "I didn't know Mexican food could taste this good!"

The next day was our last. Andrew had his test in the morning. The kids and I drove him to the club, which was in Balboa Park. The first thing he noticed is they had tons of courts, and they were all outside. He had to do a private lesson for a group of people he had never met. It was a great ice breaker to talk to them about how surprised he was that they only had outdoor courts. But with only 6 inches of rain a year, what we can get in a bad weekend, it isn't surprising. While he did the test the kids and I went back to the pool to swim. We were happy to come get him and hear that he had done great. He passed and certified up to the highest level of being a USPTA Pro. An Elite P-1.

The club was in Balboa Park. So we headed over to spend an hour at the Fleet Science Center. Since the kids were missing school this day we thought it was a good idea. It was a great museum.

After that we headed to the beach to spend our last day soaking up the sun. For a different beach experience we headed over the Coronado bridge and went to the Coronado Island. It was quieter than Mission beach. The sand sparkles with gold flecks that totally enchanted the kids. It was so fun.

It was amazing how small the ocean waves were on this beach. It is hard to believe this is the same Pacific ocean that we normally go to. The sand is so different. Softer and so much more pleasant. Not to mention so much warmer! 
On the way back from the beach to the airport we stopped by the shipyards and got out to look at the aircraft carrier the USS Midway. Evidently it has a great museum on board, but we decided our two youngest wouldn't be much fun on that excursion. So another time. The kids loved seeing how big it was. 

 Our plane was already a late flight, then it was delayed another 45 minutes. The kids slept the whole way home. We got home and got them in bed at around 1:30 am. It was a little rough to get up for school the next morning, but everyone made it.

We had a fabulous trip. God helped me through the first day and blessed us with a great family time! We all want to go back soon!