Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A very busy spring break . . .

After driving for 11 hours with only two stops, one for lunch and another for potty breaks and snack shopping, we were excited when we finally made it to sunny San Diego, just in time to see the beach at sunset.   Picture perfect!

We hit the road for spring break and spent 10 days away from home.  And stayed busy going from place to place.  We’ve been home for a week and I am finally getting around to the blog.  It always takes awhile to adjust to reality and get back into the swing of things.  I feel a little overwhelmed with this post.  Thoughts of not blogging anymore keep coming into my head.   Probably because I’m not sure how to sum up 10 days and 1200+ pictures in one post.  (Warning: Picture overload.  Not 1200 but pretty close!)  Here are some of the fun highlights from our spring break road trip.

Our condo was right on Pacific Beach and was the perfect location for kids and lots of beach playing.  The first few days in San Diego were really warm and sunny. The kids were excited to go and play in the sand but it took them awhile to get excited about going into the cold ocean water.  And I can’t blame them.  I waded in the water and couldn’t believe how cold it was on my feet!

The Beach

Old Town San Diego
We did some exploring while we were there and finally made it to Old Town and The Mormon Battalion Historic Site that is in Old Town.  The kids loved this tour!  In fact they went two days in a row when they found out their friends were going to be there the next day.

Panning for gold.  They each got to take home two pieces of “fool’s gold”.  

Mia’s two pieces of gold that she lost moments after this picture.

This was Morgan’s favorite part of the tour.  She could’ve pumped that water all day long.

Jack and Ryan with their friend Matt on the second day of the tour, trying to overflow the bucket.

Cabrillo National Monument
We went to Point Loma to take a little hike to Old Point Loma Lighthouse.  The views were incredible and it was the perfect day for a little walking and sightseeing.

Old Point Loma Lighthouse

We drove down to the Cabrillo tide pools and walked around in the freezing water hoping to get a glimpse of some sea life.  

Some of us were excited to walk around in the water and look at all of the crabs.  Others, not so excited!  Hadley ran as fast as she could to get out of the water before a crab could pinch her foot.

One of the many crabs crawling around in the water

My handsome boys . . . Jack and Ryan.

La Jolla
Wanting to see more than crabs, we drove to the Children’s Pool in La Jolla and walked down the seawall to watch all of the seals in the water and on the beach.

Then ended up at La Jolla Shores for more beach fun with our friends, Kaelberers, who were staying in La Jolla for spring break.

Mia loves playing in the sand and water.  This picture still makes me laugh.  No idea how she got this dirty.  Morgan’s sandy swimsuit bum in the background may be a good hint.  My guess is they decided it would be fun to roll around in the sand.

Torrey Pines State Reserve
We enjoyed a hike around Torrey Pines State Reserve.  Morgan’s favorite part of the hike?  Checking out her footprints in the sand.  She spent the first half of the hike looking backwards and down at the ground as she walked.  “Look Mom!  Footprints!”  

Lizzie and Hadley at the outlook

Morgan and Mia took time to stop and smell the flowers.

         He loves me.  He loves me not.

We found out that what seems like a simple one mile walk ends up being a very slow, long walk with Morgan.  She spent the first half of the walk looking backwards at her footprints and the second half of the walk, walking while looking through binoculars and shoe-less.

Lucy and Mia got a great view and nice rest on their brothers’ shoulders.

Hike completed!

California Adventure
The next few days were spent at California Adventure and Disneyland.  We met up with Gavin’s brother’s (Jeff) family and his parents, Nan and Papa (and everybody else who thought going to Disneyland for Spring Break was a good idea) at Disneyland.

Mandatory map reading.  Every Disney adventure starts the same . . . get the map from the lady at the gate and spend the next few minutes checking out their maps and then expect mom to hold the maps and guard them for the remaining part of the day and remember whose map belongs to who.

Nan came prepared with ponchos to help keep the kids and Papa dry on the Grizzly rapids ride but had to improvise with a garbage sack for Papa when all of the ponchos ran out.

Mia loved the bear in front of the Grizzly River Run ride.  She’s at the age where she doesn’t think I am listening unless I repeat back to her everything that she has said.

Mama, see the bear?

Yes.  Look at the bear!

Mama.  See the hat on the bear?

Yes.  I see his silly hat.

Mama.  See the lantern?

Yes.  I see it!

No!  Mama, see the lantern?

Yes.  I see it!

(Screaming!)  But Mama,  see the bear with the lantern?

Yes.  I. see. the. bear. with. the. lantern., Mia!

(smiling girl)

It’s a good thing she’s so darn cute!

Morgan enjoyed the outdoor rides a lot more than the indoor rides.  Still not sure why Disney has to make all of their rides so scary.  They’re all the same thing in Fantasy Land.  Start happy and bright.  Turn the corner to dark and scary.  Then the last half second of the ride returns to happy and bright again.  Should have put a pull up on the girl.  Learned the hard way that Morgan forgets all about being potty trained when she’s scared.

Loved having Nan and Papa join us for this part of our spring break adventure.  Not sure that Nan went on any rides but stayed busy helping keep an eye on the little ones and supplying all of the kids with churros, cotton candy and any other treat they  spotted along the way.  Papa went on all of the big rides but mysteriously disappeared after our afternoon viewing of Aladdin put him to sleep.

This is the only picture with all of us from the trip, except it’s not.  We stopped and took this while Ryan was ahead of us running around with some cousins.  So it’s almost a family picture and Mickey.

Griffin and his cousin, Nixon, got all caught up with Woody and the green army men from Toy Story.

My favorite ride. . . Hollywood Tower of Terror.


We spent the next day at the happiest place on the earth.  And I bet it is the happiest place on earth for some people.  It was a little too crowded to feel extreme happiness.  Just look at the expressions on Mia’s and Griffin’s faces.  Don’t they look happy?  (P.S.  Yes I did choose this picture from several options and this was the best one.  Just imagine the others.)

It just took a few steps on Main Street before Mia and Griffin realized that today was gonna be a great day!  Mia was so excited to see Sleeping Beauty’s castle.  Luckily the kids had their maps so they could let me know I was wrong when I pointed out “Cinderella’s castle” to them.

My girls and their cute Minnie shirts got all kinds of attention as we walked around Disneyland. Thanks Jenni for taking the time to make them for my girls!  Cutest shirts ever!

Morgan shared a ride on Mr. Toad’s car with her friend, Jackson, from home.  These two have been friends since they were just babies.  We met through early intervention classes and I’ve been friends with his mom ever since.  They hadn’t seen each other for more than a year but that didn’t mean Jackson had forgotten about Morgan’s previous bullying behaviors.  He quickly moved as far away from her as he could but quickly forgave her and moved in for the hug and picture.

Nixon and Griffin had an “incident” while jumping up and down and Nixon ended up with a bloody nose.  He looked super cool with the tissue stuffed up his nose for several rides.

This ride makes me throw up.  At least I think it does.  I’m not sure I’ve ever even been in a Teacup but I’m not willing to take any chances.  Gavin and Uncle Jeff were the lucky ones to go in the teacups with the kids.  And there was lots of fun to be had!


We waited in line for over an hour to see the princesses.  Mia and Morgan got to meet Mulan (they had no idea who she was and thought they were meeting TigerLily), Sleeping Beauty and Ariel.  Ariel was the cutest one with the girls.  She spent extra time talking with them.  Morgan and Mia watch Disney movies every day and were loving it!   Definitely worth the wait for these two girls!

Morgan was so happy to meet Ariel that she surprised Ariel with a “watch out” and king tut dance!

Papa and Nan with eleven of their eighteen grandchildren.

Griffin got lost a few minutes after this picture.  We left this area and didn’t realize Griffin made a mad dash for the store behind.  A store full of Pirate paraphernalia.  After a crazy search at dusk with crowds piling in to watch Fantasmic, we (meaning Gavin) found him inside the store wondering if he could buy a sword.

Ending our Disneyland adventures with an amazing and loud firework show.  A little too loud for Morgan.

The Beach
We spent our last day in California back at the beach only this time it was a really cold day.  Didn’t matter that it was cold, windy and raining.  We didn’t know when we would be back and wanted to enjoy that last day in the sand and cold water.

We finally made it to the Sketcher’s store right across the street from our condo.  It was the one thing Griffin asked to do everyday and every night as we walked to our condo, looking out the walkway at the Sketcher’s store across the street, he would let us know of his disappointment that we didn’t get to the Sketcher’s store today.  We finally made it there on our last night in San Diego.  He walked into the store and let everyone know that it was “the best day ever!”  He began searching for his next pair of shoes by picking up the display shoe and throwing it on the floor.  If it didn’t light up, he moved on to the next display shoe, repeating the same thing.  Funniest thing ever!  

St. George
We drove to St. George and spent Easter weekend with the Seal family.  Almost the entire family was in town.  Gavin’s 5 brothers were all there and the only who couldn’t make it was his sister, Laurie and her 3 year old daughter Lily.  It was fun to all be together.  We spent the first day at the Art’s Festival and water area in downtown St. George.

The kids loved playing in this walking river water area.

My youngest has no fear.  Everyone else remained on the outskirts and watched, while Mia walked right into the spraying water and had the time of her life!

Griffin and his cousin, Kamen, mastered the art of sharing a huge snowcone.

It was such a fun getaway, a nice break from reality and everything that seems to consume our time at home.  We got to be together and enjoy each other’s company.  I also realized a few things on this trip.  I packed way too much for so many location changes.  It’s not easy being away from home with 6 kids for 10 days.  Everyone having their own bed is a must necessity.  Expect multiple breakdowns and temper tantrums a day with limited sleep and no naps (the kids had a few too).  It only takes us a matter of seconds to make a condo look like we’ve been living there for years and years.  And that it’s always so nice to come home!

Coming Up:  Easter weekend in St. George


Catherine Just said...

WOW! That trip was incredible. And all of the photos were WONDERFUL. I grew up in San Diego and it made me MISS IT! Thank you for taking the time ( and I know this blog post took a lot of time! ) to put this together and share it. I know the feeling of being overwhelmed by blogging! I can't imagine coming back with 1200+ photos and trying to blog about all of this. You did a great job sorting through and sharing GREAT times and photos. xo

Kristin said...

Love the picture overload!

Jeff said...

What a great trip! I love reading and seeing your family's adventures so don't stop blogging, lol. (I am so far behind I wonder if I'll ever get the motivation to catch up or even start over!) You are brave to go to Disney during spring break! My kids have year round school so we were there end of September. We are headed to San Diego this Friday!

Emily said...

Woops, that last comment by Jeff was actually by me (husbands account was signed in).

Andrea said...

As a Mom to be, I really love reading your blog. This trip looked amazing. I love getting perspecitve on what its like traveling with kids. My parents did road trips and I want to too- its nice to know they're possible even if there are a few bumps and hiccups. I honestly think- how does Heather do it?? You'll probably be getting a call from me in 10 years asking for your expert advice. I also loved seeing the Kaelberer's. I can't believe how big Sam and Lucy are. When I read your blog it helps me to remember that life is meant to be enjoyed in every stage.

Cheri said...

WOW! what a trip. I love all the photos. I don't know how you do it with your bunch.. truly an inspiration. I know i couldn't do it with my 3 kiddos.

Alex and Kristi said...

What a wonderful trip! San Diego is fantastic and the pictures were awesome!!! Glad you had a fun time!!!

kecia said...

wow! what a fun trip! you are always off on some fun adventure! I LOVED the video of Morgan with Ariel! So hilarious!

nic said...

what a beautiful experience--i am certain this time together will stay with your children for the whole of their lives. you guys are awesome.

Lisa said...

Wait a second. You were right here in my neck of the woods??? And I didn't get to meet you???? Whaaaaaaa!!!!!

Patti said...

hey Heather, I hope you get this in time...can you email me? I'm putting together a Mother's Day post and would love to include you and Morgan. I can't find your email address! :)