We recently returned from a family trip to San Diego…the longest family vacation we’ve taken together ever- 10 days! I think I can say without reservation that it tops the list of vacations we’ve taken. Yes, San Diego is beautiful and full of great things to do…but that really isn’t what made it so memorable (for me, anyway!) We spent those days without a pressing schedule, without stress, without arguing. It was exactly what I was hoping for and exactly what we needed. We spent the first part of the trip at a fancy-schmancy hotel in the city. Ha- this was an experience! For the first few days we were the only people around with kids…and a crew at that. We didn’t get any funny looks, but people noticed! Thankfully the kiddos were well-behaved and we were able to (sort-of) blend in with the crowd mostly. It was fun (though slightly nerve-wracking) taking them to fancy restaurants a few times and working on proper manners. It’s something we’re frequently lacking at home -the fancy part and the good manners part…ahem. They got to see a side of life they really haven’t experienced before and it was fun. But then it was time to move on…to the beach and a much more relaxed environment.
We stayed on Mission Bay and had a cute little house with a pretty view. Although the days were a bit chilly, the kids played on the beach all day. Chris and I haven’t been able to relax that much since…well, I don’t know…since having kids?? Okay that can’t be right but I can’t remember a time they played on their own without any conflicts at all for so long. It was heavenly I tell ya! It did warm up after a couple of days and I actually squeezed into a bathing suit myself…me and my 5 month pregnant belly. The sun felt wonderful. We did a lot of things, but never felt rushed.
These first pictures above are of a whale-watching cruise we took. We saw a humpback whale (first two photos) and lots of dolphins. Those animals are crazy fast and I had a hard time getting any good shots. We loved this outing, and except for a couple kids with sea-sickness (thank goodness for Dramamine), it was a relaxing and really beautiful three hours on the sea.
We spent a full day at La Jolla Cove (pictures above). This was an unexpected highlight. I knew it would be pretty and that we’d see seals, but never knew that it would possibly take the cake for my favorite place of the whole trip. The seals were so close to us, and even swam up to the kids within a few feet several times (notice the seal swimming up to the kids in the last photo- only about 6 feet away). They were so much fun to watch and listen to- what a noisy bunch! There was a great little tide-pool area where the boys climbed through caves and looked for sea creatures among the rocks for hours without getting bored. What a beautiful place. If you ever make it out to San Diego, I’d put this on your list of day trips at least. But come early, the parking fills up quick and the Cove isn’t huge.
We went to Mass at Mission Basilica de Alcala- California’s first Mission founded by Father Juniperro Serra. This was really a treat, because we happened to have studied him a bit earlier this school year before even knowing we would be taking this trip. I loved this beautiful church and grounds and could have spent much longer here than we actually did. Mass was lovely, and we walked around for about an hour afterwards. By then, Chris and the kids were heading for the car and I stayed on taking photos for a few more minutes while they all buckled up and waited. I wish we could’ve visited more missions. We did get to celebrate Ash Wednesday Mass at another beautiful Church (can’t remember the name off the top of my head) but I forgot to throw my camera in the car before Mass.
The USS Midway was another fun day trip we made. The Midway is a retired aircraft carrier turned museum. I’ll admit, the boys got the biggest thrill here. I was impressed, though, by the sheer size and complexity of the whole thing. The kids climbed in airplanes and marveled at the size of the missiles they carried. If you’re in the area it’s definately worth a visit – especially if you have kids who are interested in the military and airplanes and stuff.