Wednesday, August 19, 2015

California Family Vacation 2015

So our little family hasn't taken a family vacation since before Chris started PT school.  That vacation was about 5 days up in SLC, staying with Chris' sister and my Grandparents.  We went to the Zoo the aquarium and did some other fun things.  Some would argue that isn't a "real" vacation because we stayed with family, but we had fun, so we count it as one. 

Well Last October I had a compliance conference in Carlsbad, Ca.  For these Compliance Conferences I always get to stay in a real nice hotel, paid for by my Employer.  Chris is always jealous because the rooms are always so nice, and if we do stay in a hotel room, it's a $39.99 a night dive.  Well when I checked out of the Sheraton in Carlsbad they were offering a 4 day 3 night stay for $250 and 2 free Legoland tickets.  (Did I mention that this hotel was within walking distance of Legoland and even had it's own entrance???)  I was so excited to hear this that I immediately called Chris and asked if I could purchase it.  We had a year to schedule the stay so there was no need to schedule the time right then.  Chris said we could do it, so I went to sign up.  Well toward the end of gathering all my info, the lady mentioned that it was a timeshare offer and we would have to sit through a presentation for 2 hours.  I gave the lady the look of, "oh heck, I didn't realize," and she quickly said that they were not pushy and that the kids would get to go to a kids camp and enjoy themselves while we were there.  I hesitated, but decided I was pretty good at saying no, so I went through with it anyways.  

After checking quite a few dates we finally settled on going Wednesday through Saturday.  We left our house Wednesday Morning and we got to the hotel at 3pm.  Check in time was 4pm, but I went in to try checking in early.  It was actually great because they had our room ready and we were able to unpack and get right to our vacation fun!!!

The first thing we did was get in our suits and head out to the great pools.  The kids were ready to swim and I have to be honest so was I.    
The pool was great.  The deepest it got was 4ft so that made it fun for the kids and pretty fun for the adults too.  We swam for quite a while and then got in the spa for a bit and then back to the room.  We all rinsed off and headed out for some dinner.  When I was in Carlsbad for my Compliance Conference I went to a really good Mexican restaurant, so we found that and went there for everyone else to try it out.  Everyone loved it and ate all the chips and queso did we could.  We headed over to Target after dinner to get some milk for Brynlee, ice cream for us and some other items for the hotel room.  When we got home we got in our pjs and ate our dessert and watched some TV for a while.     

 We snuggled for a bit, but then we headed to bed, because the next day was a full day of Legoland!!  We got up and ready for our adventure and were down to the private entry of Legoland right at 9am.  Only to find out that this gate didn't open until 10am.  So we trekked all the way around to the front gates, so we could get in a little earlier and maybe do more.

This was a guy we ran into on our trek around to the front.  There were more lego things on our way, but I didn't want to take a picture next to every single one.  We got into the park after getting our "First Time" badges and started the fun.  We rode lots of rides and had a blast!!!

Here is Katelee driving her very own car.  Ethan and Katelee loved this ride so much.  There was never really a line for it, so they did this like 7 times. 
I'm pretty sure this was Ethan's favorite ride.  When we asked what they wanted to do again, Ethan always said drive the cars!

Ethan and Katelee on another ride.  Ashlee was sitting next to me in this one. 

The only problem with Legoland was that Brynlee couldn't ride very many rides.  So she got to hang out in her very own "stroller" ride.  This is her smiling for me! 

When I did put her down, she would try to escape.  It was the cutest thing watching her try to walk as fast as she could.  And if she heard you coming she would try harder.  She loved this shark and tried to be in everyone else's photos too!

Ashlee got to pick a ride and she wanted to ride the horses.  It's a ride for littler kids, but all of the kids did it.  I think this picture of Ethan is so funny.  Here he is an 8 year old boy trying to act like he is too cool for this ride, but trust me my friends, he was enjoying it!!!

For lunch we went back to the hotel room and Chris went to Subway while the rest of us napped.  The older kids didn't want to, but I made them.  They all fell asleep so fast, it was almost comical.  When Chris got back I woke them up.  We ate and then I headed back with the 3 oldest, while Chris stayed with Brynlee so she could nap longer.

We found some good rides when we came back.  We found a roller coaster that was WAY fun.  It wasn't too crazy, but still tons of fun.  We also found the buildings/cities made out of legos on our way to ride the cars again.  Of course Mom made them take pictures in front of some of the buildings. 

Washington DC

The kids were so excited to see their home city.  The Stratosphere even had the big shot that moved and people screaming. 

Ashlee was just not old enough to ride the big kid cars, so we waited in line for her cars.  While we waited for her car, the older two went on their car ride like 4 times in a row.  Ashlee was the best driver out there, which, if you know Ashlee, is crazy!

We also found this guy sleeping on a bench.  He reminded me of my Grandpa.  Sitting on a bench waiting for my grandma was what he did best.  He had a belly and black socks on.  The kids loved him, Ashlee even gave him a hug!

This ride soon became the kids' favorite ride.  They rode it so many times I can't count.  It is kind of like the Big Shot, but much much milder.  There was also no line for this ride, so they went over and over and over again.  There was shade close by, so I didn't mind it so much! 

We ate dinner and went on a few more rides before we finally headed back to the room 15 minutes after park closing.  When we got back, Brynlee went to bed and me and the older three headed out to the pool for a little while.  

The next day we did our Time Share presentation while the kids hung out with other kids and played.  We are not owners of a Timeshare, so I guess we did pretty good at saying no.  They did not "get" us....  After that we ate lunch took naps and then headed to the beach!

This was the first time at the beach for all of our kids and it made it so much fun!  We just went down the road to Carlsbad State beach and laid our stuff down and headed into the water.  It was cold, but not nearly as cold as I was expecting.

Brynlee was very unsure of the waves and the beach in general.  She loved playing in the sand but if the water reached her she didn't know what to do.  I think she wanted to like it, but just couldn't.  There were a few waves that got her pretty good, but I think overall she did like it.  If Chris held her she LOVED the waves as long as she was high enough not to get them.  She loved watching her siblings in them, just not her in them.  Chris Hates the beach, he hates the sand everywhere, but even he had a good time.

This is where Ethan hung out the whole time.  He was in the water the entire time.  He didn't really play in the sand he just jumped in the waves and rode them.  He loved when I would stand there with him and get in the waves and I must admit I enjoyed it too!  On the way back Ethan said, "I found a new friend while we were there."  Chris and I were both surprised because he didn't really talk to anyone else, so we asked him who and he replied, "The ocean!!"  

Katelee liked the beach as well.  She wasn't a fan at all of the salt water, no bodies was.  But she really didn't like it.  She was also not feeling all that well, but she still had a blast.  She liked playing in the sand and being in the water, as long as the waves didn't go above her ankles. 


Ashlee liked the beach also, but she would rather play in the sand or have Mommy hold her hand in the waves.  At one point I looked back and she was eating a sand ice cream cone.  She has quite the imagination so playing in the sand was way fun for her.  We also dug a little hole for her that filled up with water with the waves came up.  She loved that!

Another picture of Brynlee playing in the sand. 

The next day we checked out of the hotel and headed home after we did some shopping.  It was so much fun to get away with just our little family to a new place we haven't ever been together.  Things are just so much better on vacation, we can be so relaxed and have tons of fun!!!  Hopefully with Chris working and out of school now we can do more vacations now instead of just trips!  

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