A Birthday Trip to San Diego
Jan 27, 2016
Without question, January is my least favorite month of the year. It is cold. It is dreary. It is dark. (Oh, how I hate the dark!)
The fact that my birthday falls in January has always seemed like some cruel sort of joke, especially since the thought of growing older depresses me anyway without the gloom to go along with it.
But a few months ago, I had a rather brilliant idea (stolen from an acquaintance), and I broached it with Mike: "You know, I think I might actually look forward to my birthday if I got to celebrate it somewhere warm and sunny." Call it a not-so-subtle hint, but Mike almost immediately started planning.
His first idea was for the two of us to go to San Diego for the weekend. But San Diego is actually a place we've wanted to take our kids for a long time. So we tacked a couple more days on the beginning and end, and it morphed into a family vacation. Because of that, we could give it as a Christmas AND a birthday present. (And although I usually hate it when I have to share my birthday with Christmas, this time I didn't mind in the slightest. The planning included things for me and things for the boys, so it made sense to share.)
The boys opened up the plane tickets on Christmas Day, and they were so excited. Bradley has been dying to fly for so long (he's actually the only one our kids that hadn't flown before, and he took it rather personally).
For the next three weeks, we talked and planned and anticipated. The Christmas decorations came down. The inversion settled over the city. The streets became a slushy mess. But we didn't care. We had a bright spot of sun in our future, and it made everything seem so much easier to endure (which was exactly the point . . . ).
I was anxious on two points the week before we left: that it would be raining the entire time we were in San Diego (the week before was a week of storms) and that we would be throwing up the entire time (it seemed like everyone we knew contracted the stomach flu a few days before our scheduled departure).
But we escaped on both accounts. And we had a truly fabulous time.
The flight . . . Even though Aaron, Maxwell, and Clark had all flown before, none of them remembered it, and Bradley had never been on a plane at all, and so it was pretty magical. But don't worry--Clark insured that we didn't enjoy ourselves too much.
Legoland . . . Mike and I expected to endure this for the sake of our Lego-obsessed children, but we loved it, too. It wasn't crowded, our kids were all at the perfect ages to enjoy everything, and the apple fries were delicious!
Sea World . . . We spent part of two days there. Bradley and Aaron sat in the soak zone for the killer whale show, and when the first wave came crashing over, Bradley didn't handle it well.
The beach . . . The water was too cold for my liking, but the warm sun on my back was not. I could have sat there listening to the waves crashing on the beach forever. (And actually, my kids didn't seem to mind the cold water one bit.)
San Diego temple . . . I have loved this temple through pictures since I was a little girl. Seeing it in person was breathtaking. (Our kids complained of being too hot while we were there, but it felt perfect to me.)
Mormon Battalion Historic Site . . . We were looking for something appropriate to do on Sunday, but this would have been delightful any day of the week. The tour was fantastic, and the boys loved panning for gold at the end of it.
Meeting the Gardners for dinner . . . No, these friends do not live in San Diego. They live a mere twenty minutes away from us in Utah, but they happened to be visiting at the same time, so why not?
Listening to The BFG . . . At one point, Mike was trying to point something out to the kids, so I turned it off, and Maxwell said, "Please turn it back on!! It is one of my most prized possessions!"
The seals at La Jolla . . . We went early one morning to see them, and it was practically just us and the seals on the beach. Our kids could have gone right up to the seals if we'd let them (we did not).
Giant lollipops . . . We were going to take the boys on the Old Town Trolley, not realizing that it wasn't some 15-minute trip through Old Town, but an extensive two-hour ride through parts of the city . . . and it was going to cost us $130. So we opted for $6.50 lollipops instead.
Of course, we had some rough moments where the kids were all screaming and crying, and Mike and I were threatening to never bring them on another vacation, but when it was all said and done, we agreed that it was 85% good, and that seems like a high enough percentage to do it again.
The ups and downs of traveling with children aside, this trip did exactly what it was supposed to: it gave us a six-day break from winter, the three weeks leading up to it were a little brighter because we knew what was coming, and the week since we got home hasn't been as bad either because we have the memories to lift our spirits (although the icy rain/snow was not a very nice welcome home the morning after we got back!).
And you know what? There are some things I appreciate far more since we went away: our water (it's so crystal cold here!), my hair (it couldn't handle the humidity), our house (staying in a one bedroom condo was the cause of most of our meltdowns).
So I'm glad we went. I'm glad we came back. And I can survive winter. (And I'm already planning my next birthday getaway!)