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So our trip to San Diego was great fun – it was the first time we’ve ever gone on vacation to a place instead of to see people.  Even our trip to Michigan over the summer was a working vacation – but it was to see people. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but let’s face it:  touring flying in to Metro Airport is significantly less interesting than Sea World or the beach.  😉

'DSC_0095-36' photo (c) 2011, A Mother's Heart Photography - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/Brendan was in the dark until he saw the sign for the state line.  Beyond being in California, though, he didn’t know where we were headed or who we were meeting up with – so finding our friends The Webbers at the townhome was a delight.  :)  When we travel and see people, we invariably don’t have much to worry about in the way of accommodations.  We’re incredibly blessed to have friends offer to host us while we’re in town.  :)  But this visiting a place-thing made finding accommodations interesting.  The Webbers took care of procuring the townhome we stayed in, but prior to knowing how all of this would work out, I spent time scouring Orbitz, hotel sites, and trying to figure out the best bang for our buck.  It’s confusing, to say the least.

I saw one hotel and booked a reservation (that I cancelled later) – Orbitz listed it at about $65/night plus taxes.  When I called the hotel directly, I got the rack-rate of $54 per night – $60+change after taxes.  That’s a pretty interesting difference – and one I don’t take lightly, especially when considering a multi-night trip.  Moral of the story:  call hotels directly after you get the information from the online source.  You may save money by making a phone call.

Sea World was a blast – Brendan declared it “one of the best days of my life!” as we piled in to the van to drive home.  :)  He got soaking wet with the whales’ splashing, rode his first roller coaster, was mesmerized by the sea lions, and generally couldn’t find anything he didn’t enjoy immensely.  We didn’t have time for the Cirque de la Mer show, and we missed the dolphin-show, but being relatively close to the park means that we’ll likely go back in the future.

The day at Sea World was definitely for Brendan and the next day at the beach was definitely for us.  Although by my photos, you’d never know it – Brendan had more fun than all of us combined.  :)  It was his (and Mark’s) first time at the Pacific ocean and once he was brave enough to go in the surf, we had a hard time pulling him away.  :)

For us, it was a much-needed day just to chill and relax – and see our dear friends Paul & Sarah.  They drove down from Ontario, CA to spend the afternoon with us at the beach and we were so blessed by our time 'DSC_0426-53' photo (c) 2011, A Mother's Heart Photography - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/together.  We love them beyond words and it’s always so good just to hang with people who really get you and with whom you don’t have to pretend or hide parts of yourself.

The tidal pools were AMAZING – the sea life that was there absolutely blew my mind. Beautiful sea urchins, starfish, anemones, crabs… I just couldn’t get over the colours and varieties we saw.

We drove home mid-afternoon the following day – after meeting up with my cousin and her family who had just moved to San Diego.  We planned to catch up before we left, but didn’t have their address until the night before we saw them.  When we plugged it in to the GPS, we found that the townhome we stayed in was about .6 miles from their home!  What an amazing thing, to be in the enormous city of San Diego and end up being less than a mile from your only family there.  :)  It was a treat to meet her kids and husband and we look forward to more get-togethers, now that they are only a few hours away.

If I ever thought driving I-8 in the day was dull (and it is – except for the THREE border-patrol stops we had to make), driving the same patch of road at night is torturously boring.  So I think when we are there next, we’ll leave earlier in the day and avoid the desert at night.  I was petrified of hitting a coyote on the road, but thankfully, none came near us while we were travelling.

And now we’re back home – in the thick of stuff.  I’ve been working in the food storage & put up another 57 lbs of beans (peruano beans), I have canning to do next week (salsa and applesauce), and I’m in the process of reorganizing the pantry.  Such is my glamorous life.  :)  Look for more posts in upcoming days – because I’m back in the saddle of real life all over again.  :)

And oh, if you want to peruse the pictures I took, they’re on my Flickr account here.  :)

'At a San Diego Beach 02' photo (c) 2006, ZeHawk - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/So over the summer while in Michigan, we had lunch with dear friends.  And they mentioned that they would be in California for a family wedding in October.  Which got my little brain to thinking … we’re only 5.5 hours by car from San Diego…. and the plot for a potential double-family vacation was hatched.

Except life is what it is and I didn’t think much about it again until about 2 weeks ago.  I wasn’t completely sure it would happen and thought if it didn’t, we might be able to drive up to Flagstaff and Sedona and poke around, too – we’ve not ventured far from the East Valley area since we landed here a year ago.  Happily, it looked as though things were going to come together.

And we leave tomorrow morning.  :)  The dog is cared for in our absence; the car is gassed up and got a fresh oil change this past week.  I have to assemble some no-bake protein bars (because, as I discovered this morning, Honey Nut Cheerios are no longer my tummy’s friend. *sad*) and clean the bathroom and wash the sheets.  But after that, it’s dream-time and we are heading out by (hopefully) 830a.  I’ve got meals planned, tickets to Sea World purchased & printed out, and a quick call to the Marine Corps station will determine if we get to see a USMC graduation on Friday morning or not.  We’ll go tide-pooling, share a condo, and let our families just hang out and relax together.

I can hardly wait!

So what am I doing still writing here?!

BYE!  :)

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