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Saturday, September 6, 2014

A little vacation

So, I could start off with yet another apology for going missing.  But in the interest of unpredictability, I won't.  Even though this update should have happened in MAY.

I'll tell you though, that planning a 4-day getaway for 5 people that doesn't involve planes or trains, and sticks to a reasonable budget, is not easy!

Waay back in February, when we filed those pesky tax thingies, I mentioned to Grumpasaur that I'd like to plan a family vacation.  Something we haven't done since Piggy was born, and that we are majory overdue for (he's almost 5)!

Right about the same time, the Lego movie was out, and McDonald's had all things Lego in the Happy Meal.  Including (drum roll please) kids get in free to LegoLand tickets.  It seems my decision was made for me. 

I spent some time researching things, looking at hotels, and other things to do that far down south.  I've been to San Diego for work before, but never had any time to do fun stuff.  Here is the itinerary I came up with:

Friday - pick up boys from school and head out of town.  Overnight in Bakersfield, just to mess with them.

Saturday - drive another 3+ hours down to San Diego.  Tour the USS Midway, then head up to Solana Beach and our hotel.  Which, incidentally, was located almost exactly midway between LegoLand and the USS Midway.

Sunday - LEGOLAND! 

Monday - Beach and the 6+ hour drive home.

Now, that looks pretty darn tidy, don't you think?  I'd agree.  But of course, nothing goes according to plan. 

The first hitch was Grumps coming at me with the idea of a rental car.  Which I diligently looked into, and summarily dismissed.  No way was I going to spend that much cash for the privilege of driving a bigger car than my own mid-sized SUV.  We talked, he was on board, idea tabled.  No biggie.

Second hitch was the first hotel.  The first couple of times I checked it out, we were cool to be in one room, all 5 of us, with a rollaway and no extra charges.  By the time I went to book?  They wanted me to book two rooms, and started referring to my almost 5-year-old Piggy as an infant.  Um.  NO.  Hello there!  I booked online, and happened to omit the third, oldest, child we'd be traveling with.  I knew that Piggy and Stanky would be fighting over sharing a bed with me anyway, so who cares?  I booked the room.  By the time we were checking in, there was another family checking in with 6 (yes, 6) children, all wanting to stay in the same room with mom, dad, granny and auntie.  The desk clerk didn't bat an eye at my "extra" child.

There wasn't really a third hitch, though there could have been.  Thankfully, I had already spoken with my parents and arranged to borrow my mom's SUV with the third row seat, thinking a little separation would be good for the ankle-biters.  I am so blessed to have such amazing parents! (no, they don't read this blog, it's just how I feel).  They were happy to let us borrow the car.  Even after my car was hit in the parking lot of the boys' school the Monday before we left town.  Yeah.  Totally could have been a major hitch.  It's still driveable, but still.

We drove and drove and drove.  For all you East coasters, that's about 6 states worth of driving.  California is BIG! 

Then, the ocean appeared to our right.  And then, there was this..
See it there, in the center of the horizon?  Yep, that's an aircraft carrier.  And the crowd went wild.

They are so handsome, even when scowling!  Photobombed by random kid...

Obligatory family photo - the first one we've had since Piggy was an infant!

Day One ended at a cute little seafood restaurant a few blocks from our hotel.  Did I mention that Holiday Inn Express & Suites is amazeballs?  The room was cheap AND nice, AND we got breakfast every day!  Finding a room for 5 people is not easy, but HI was awesome.  And we were only two blocks from the beach.

Yes, he's posing with a beer-themed life preserver.  His idea, crazy Piggy.

Day two was Legoland!  We didn't tell the boys we were going, and it took them 97% of the way to the park to figure out where we were.  We actually passed half a dozen life-sized Lego figures on the way into parking, and they STILL didn't figure it out!

We had dinner at a drive-in dive that was surprisingly good.  Seriously, who does the fine-dining thing while on vacation with 3 kids?  Not I, said the fly!

Day three was beach and homeward bound.  Of course, the kids refused to wear their suits in the car, and ended up having to change into them for the ride home.  

Grumpy's version of duck-lips...

I really love this one.  Action for all.

It may have been a whirlwind, but it sure was fun!  

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