San Diego Part 1: The Arrival

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Every year, we seem to eventually give in to the siren call of vacation. The last two years we were happily pulled away to entertaining family weddings that brought a lot of the family together. Apparently no one wanted to get married this year, so we had to take matters into our own hands.

On Thursday, we began our journey to California with surprisingly little fuss. We made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare, the kids enjoyed some McDonald’s (which they only get when we’re traveling by plane), and everyone was perfectly well behaved on the flight.

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Even during no electronics time.


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Owen was using the headphones as earplugs.


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We got held up in the back of the plane for a bit upon landing, but they were still pretty good.

We arrived in wonderful San Diego to a nice sunny sky and perfectly mild temperatures, and began to consider the price of real estate in the immediate vicinity. Shortly after arriving at the hotel and getting things settled into a room, we met up with some familiar faces.

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Yay cousins!

We chose a place to eat via Internet and wandered around lost for a little while before discovering that it was actually a small stand inside an outdoor food court. Luckily they had a nice table overlooking the water where we could enjoy our fish tacos.

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There’s a 95% chance this conversation is about Minecraft.


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Collyn was kind enough to sit next to me.


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Didn’t take them long to get used to my constant camera demands.

We finished our meal and went for a short walk down to the USS Midway, which was conveniently anchored (permanently) nearby.

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It was a bit late to go in, but they seemed impressed.

We all retired for some rest, which was probably a good idea considering the long weekend we had ahead of us. We reconvened in the morning and got right down to business.

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Serious, important business.

We had our choice between Sea World and the San Diego Zoo, and the weather dictated we choose the latter.

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Ta daaaaa. These things just happen sometimes.


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The kids checked out some flamingoes while we plotted our first move.


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To the bus line!


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The kids demanded we sit on the upper deck on the bus, which turned out well.

We somehow lucked out and wound up on what I believe was a comedy-oriented tour of the zoo. This involved a tour guide who called himself “Zooman” and spent 50 minutes making animal calls (and getting responses back) and generally being wacky. The kids loved it.

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So did we, since we got some nice views of the animals from up there.


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Some people, however, simply can’t be pleased.

We realized it was time for lunch just after disembarking, so we found someplace with burgers and sat down for a nice quiet meal.

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Close enough.


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Kyle did it first, but monkey see…


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I should probably mention that we spent lunch with these guys walking around under our tables.

After that it was lots of walking around, plenty of unfulfilled demands for face painting, and more walking.

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…and forced group photos!

Eventually we decided we’d done enough walking and gave Christy an opportunity to be utterly terrified. We could have just hopped on a bus to get back to the entrance but what fun would that be?

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To the sky!


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Max: Not afraid of heights.


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We sat down for a quick popcorn and cotton candy snack.


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Then off to the playground!


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Plus the petting zoo, of course.


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As we made our way to the exit, we found a mobile exhibit.

Then, because walking around the zoo all day wasn’t enough for us, we headed out to the beach.

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Yay more forced group photos!


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Props to Mike for getting this one for us.


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After all that silliness, we let them actually get in the water.


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Owen decided he would rather run away from the waves.


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Then he wanted to race everyone.


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Daddy doesn’t go as easy on him as Uncle Mike does.


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Mommy also takes it easy on him, which makes him throw his victory sign.


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Max, meanwhile, worked hard to get sand in every possible place he could.


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Mommy helped them write their names in the sand.


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I’m probably standing in the water to take these, since I had the zoom lens on.


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He did eventually warm up to the water a little, when he could jump and splash on the incoming waves.

The sun began to fade, so we had to try and get everyone cleaned up and off to dinner. We wound up at a pizza place that’s so good I’ll actually give them a (very rare for this blog) straight up name check: Alexander’s Pizza. Should you find yourself in the area, I highly recommend the peanut butter cup Scooby Snacks. Deadly to any diet, but worth it. The kids had no problem cleaning their plates and demanding some dessert pizza to finish it all up. Fine, I demanded it, and ate much of it.

Thus exhausted, we retreated to our hotel rooms in preparation for the next morning, when we’d be checking out of our hotels and heading north for even more fun (not to mention more cousins). But that’ll have to wait for next time.

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