Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sunny (and Rainy) San Diego

This spring I was so frustrated with all the fighting my kids were doing.  I kept praying for a solution.  Early one morning I got my answer; we all needed to be reading our scriptures each day on our own.  I challenged our three oldest kids to read the whole Book of Mormon by the end of August.  We started the first weekend in April- so that meant reading around three pages a day.  The motivation…a trip to San Diego for all who finished.  It was amazing what happened.  Mack read 50 pages one Sunday and finished the whole book more than a month early.  His attitude and temper totally changed.  He was calm when provoked and he and Andrew's fighting nearly disappeared.  It was so wonderful.  He even recognized the difference on his own.  As a parent, the experience was so rewarding.  Natali, Greg, and I pushed along slow but steady.  Andrew fell further and further behind, till he was needing to read six pages a day to finish.  He preferred reading with someone which was rather difficult facilitate everyday.  Luckily, he has some wonderful grandparents who sat through hours of Face Time calls to read with him, and he made it!

They had to wait till the end of November but the day finally arrived and we headed out on the kids first airplane trip since leaving New Hampshire 7 years ago.  Their first airport experience was a 3 hour delay in Boise, but we finally made it to California.  Kate and Emily got to stay with Grandma and thought they were the lucky ones.

We did lots of fun stuff on the trip but we forgot the real camera, so these are all phone pics.  They got to see their California cousins and loved hanging out, running a 5K, making smores cookies, playing in the black tunnel, tether ball, and four wheeling.


The highlight of the trip was probably the Zoo.  It was amazing!  We were there in the rain, which kept the crowds down.  We loved every minute of it - I especially loved the aviaries.  Andrew had his fill of pleasures and took dozens of pictures of this cougar.
We had to send this Flamingo picture to the little girls back home.
We got the added fun of meeting a little cousin at the zoo and hanging out with her while her mom visited the doctor .

The panda mom and baby were so incredible.  The baby was way up in the tree.  I wished I could stay and watch how she would get down.
The best part of the zoo was when Andrew got to help with the Sea Lion show.  He got to pet the Sea Lion, have it whisper in his ear and give him a high five.  We have it all on video - but no pictures.  It was probably one of his favorite parts of the trip.
We also went aboard the USS Midway, an air craft carrier turned into a museum.  Our audio tour walked us around the ship and taught us amazing things about life at sea.  Greg decided he was far to tall to be a sailor, and I am far too clumsy.  I would have had black and blue shins from forgetting to step over the door ways.  It wasn't first on the kids list of places to go but almost everyone loved it.
The Brig
Natali operating the engine room

The Medical Facilities
This plaque says "If you have not brushed and flossed your teeth do so now."  We wanted one for our boys bathroom. 

Andrew didn't love the Midway because of its lack of wildlife and the pressure to complete a work sheet intended for kids to fill out and get a prize.  That unfortunately lead to a little drama but the rest of us managed to enjoy the tour in spite of his tantrum.  I really loved it and loved the view and sunshine from the deck.
We had to stop at the beach.  When you only see the ocean once a year or so it is hard to resist the call of the waves.  The kids rolled their pants higher and higher till they were so soaked it didn't matter.  Andrew fell over a few times and was wet head to toe.  They loved it, but sadly when it is 62 degrees outside and you are drenched in freezing sea water, the fun can't last too long before you are chilly.

It was a cold wet ride back to the hotel.

We also visited: 
The Safari Park with two of Greg's sisters and their families.  The kids loved being with cousins and seeing the elephant show.  The tram ride was amazing and we got to see matting rhinos in action ( that was a funny conversation).  
The Mormon Battalion Museum was really well done.  The video presentation was creative and the kids loved panning for gold in the rain.
The Gas Lamp District was pretty lame since we are not into shopping, but a little Ghirardelli ice cream made it totally worth it.

The kids loved being with cousins and seeing the amazing sites a city has to offer.  I don't know what their favorite part was - it might have been as simple as having soda on the airplane (at least for Mack that was a highlight of the trip).  I loved getting to spend time with just my big kids.  People made tons of comments about how many kids we had - we didn't bother telling them we left two at home.  We all had a blast and now the kids are dreaming of next time.

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