TJ and I bravely set out on our first trip as a family of four a few weeks ago. It was surprisingly fun! I didn't think I'd have as much fun as I did. Granted, it was challenging to manage both kids in different places who were totally thrown off their schedules, but they did a lot better than I thought they would. The worst part was the actual traveling. Since we flew into LAX (to maximize points), we had to exit the main terminal and take a shuttle to a smaller terminal that services smaller airplanes. SO annoying, especially with a double stroller, two carseats, five bags, and two children. We kept having to collapse the stroller and unload everything to get onto the shuttles. LAX has a shuttle that takes you to the rental car places, and our shuttle took 45 minutes to show up. Then, it took us an additional 3 or 4 hours of waiting to get our car. To give you an idea of the travel time, we left our home in Salt Lake City at about 7:00 am and didn't have our rental car in California until almost 4:00 pm - so, with the time difference, about 10 hours of just traveling!!! Boo! It was awful. But I give three cheers to these little boys because they did great, all things considered.
I was on Calvin duty the first leg, and TJ held Calvin on the way back. He did really well! I was surprised. I think all that Sacrament meeting training may have helped. Also - he got to have his paci which is a real treat for him. We used his paci all through the trip; awful, I know. But desperate times call for desperate measures! He doesn't ever use it now at home, except when I go for my run with the stroller. I am planning on weaning him on his second birthday. I'm dreading it because the paci really has been handy sometimes. Oh, well!
The wrap-around line at the car rental place. Nightmare.
Once we got to San Diego and checked into our hotel, we binged on Rubio's fish tacos. Seriously, nothing has tasted so good! We were starving. Calvin even ate some! He usually doesn't like new things, but I think he was hungry enough to try it. :)
This is where these kids spent a lot of their time. :) We really liked this double stroller because it collapses really easily and gets through any doorway. The kid didn't mind it, either. I felt really bad keeping Calvin in there so long because there's nothing he loves more than running around and exploring. He's the kind of kid, though, that will run off without a backward glance. He will purposefully try to weave in and out of crowds to lose us so he can keep running and discovering his surroundings. It's scary! So we kept him close to us anywhere we went. Graham was fine in the stroller. He didn't sleep, poor thing, but he didn't cry or fuss too much.
We hit up the San Diego Zoo the first full day of our trip. It was so fun! I love animals and I enjoyed every aspect of the 100 acre zoo. TJ did, too. Calvin liked to see some of the animals but didn't recognize most of them. I tried to teach him about animals a few weeks before we left, but he never picked up on it. :) He did end up recognizing the monkeys ("unkees!") and bears.
TJ and I peeked through this fence to see the giant pandas because we didn't want to wait an hour in line to see them. Haha! We did see the pandas in full view from our little hole in the fence. I tried to get a picture but a guy moved right in my way.
Can you imagine encountering this guy in the woods? Scary.
Calvin had to see a real-life version of his favorite buddy, Hobbes. :)
We finally let Calvin loose in the petting zoo. He LOVED it. Loved, loved, loved it. He just ran around gathering little pieces of hay for the baby goats and fed them. So cute.
He got to pet the bunnies in their cages, too. Calvin is very sweet and gentle with animals. It's adorable.
This little door doesn't lead to anything, but he had fun pretending anyway. :)
He crashed the second we took off in the car. He didn't get more than a 20 minute nap all 5 days we were gone! Poor guy. It made him much grouchier than usual, but he still did okay. He made up for his lack of sleep by sleeping tons at night.
Our first hotel, the Sheraton Carlsbad. It was pretty nice! Nothing fancy, but it suited us just fine.
Meltdown! Mom, why can't I destroy the phone cords??
This is the only way we can get our kids to go to sleep when we're sharing a room! TJ set it all up. Graham was in one corner and Calvin in the other. We brought our white noise machines and just played them near each kid and they slept fantastically. We could just sit back and watch HGTV. :)
The kids also went swimming at the pool, but I forgot to get pictures of that. I was bad about pictures during the trip. :( I always forget!
This kid loves the sand, but not the ocean. It's way too scary for him!
Our next hotel was the St. Regis Monarch Beach. It was really nice and fancy, but kind of hard to enjoy with two little kids. Still, they were sweet and brought stuffed animals for the kids along with their cribs. They had robes, slippers, turndown service with chocolates, a fancy bathroom, and nice amenities. I wish we had gotten a room upgrade, though. :( They claimed they were packed and booked full. Oh, well.
Tired of the stroller yet, kids? Haha.
One nice thing about the hotel was how it had a shuttle to their private beach where they set up your chairs and umbrellas for you. They also have sand toys for the kids. Definitely a highlight.
Calvin decided to eat a lot of sand. Poor kid. He would put a handful in his mouth and say, "Uck!" and then go back for more. Haha! Little sweetheart.
It was fun to hang out as a family and create great memories together. I'm glad we did it! It definitely wasn't as relaxing as some of our previous vacations, but I loved seeing my kids experience new things. Plus, we got to spend a lot of time with TJ, which is a luxury considering how much he works. Calvin loves his daddy and had a lot of fun with him. I think the next time we take a family trip, we'll try to make sure we book it somewhere really family-friendly. LA traffic is horrible and their beaches are only okay. Maybe we'll venture to Hawaii together next time... who knows? :)