Summer Trip is announced!

Two or three times a year, my parents take me and the kids on a fantastic vacation, all expenses paid. I have a brother and sister-in-law and a niece who either get their own vacation with mom and dad or join us. This year it’ll be the whole family. Obviously we all get input into the destination, but m&d get the final say. And this year, we’ll all be going to…SAN FRANCISCO!

I am really excited. I have never been to San Fran and have always wanted to. Sometimes the trips are small, like 2-3 nights in the mountains nearby, but it seems like this is going to be a biggie. We’ll be going for 8 days and they already have quite an itinerary.

Here are the definites, and of course, if anyone has any MUST DO’S, please let me know so I can pass on the advice to my parents:

  1. Basic Brown Bear Factory – This will obviously be a winner with the kids, but I’ve always loved factory tours, so I’m looking forward to this as well. And my mother actually collects teddy bears, so that’s probably the real reason why we’re going.
  2. Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf – None of us (except my sister-in-law) have ever been to a wax museum. I, of course, am most looking forward to Elvis Presley. Alexandra says she can’t wait to see Leonardo DiCaprio – how does she even know who that is?
  3. Alcatraz Island – This one is really my dad’s top choice, so he says “it ain’t gettin’ moved off any list.” So here ya go, dad.

It’s a small list so far, but they only just decided on a location this morning and we don’t leave till mid-July. So we’ve got plenty of time. I only wanted to share because I was so excited about the announcement and I have friends who keep asking where we’re going this summer!

Anyways, as always, please feel free to offer advice! Like what are the best beaches? Is it worth it to go to the zoo up there (Oakland Zoo or the San Francisco Zoological Gardens) if we have such a good zoo (Zoo Atlanta) right near our new home?

Thanks for your help!

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A Family Trip to San Diego

We just got back from a fantastic trip to San Diego. I hadn’t been there since I was 8 years old (nearly 30 years ago!), and since our daughters are now 8, we thought it would be fun to give them the same memorable experience that I had had when I was their age. My husband, Rick, had business to do during the 5 days that we were in the area, so Katie, Alison, and I kept ourselves busy visiting zoos, parks, malls, and beaches. I am homeschooling the girls just for this year (to try it out), so we take every opportunity we can to tag along with Rick on his business trips—this way they get to see the country that they live in and get a much more hands-on learning experience.

The San Diego Zoo was Katie’s favorite day. Though I thought it was a bit pricey to get in, it was well worth the expression on her face when she came face to face with the giant pandas—her favorite animals. Both girls rode camels, laughing all the while knowing full well that I had fallen off one of those very camels the last time I was at the San Diego Zoo.

The highlight for Alison, and I think for me too, was Mission Beach. We’re all serious beach bums, but Alison carries after her mom in that severe desire to be sun-drenched all the time (always with sunscreen, of course!). The Strand, part of San Diego’s gorgeous coastline, provided hours and hours and hours of lounging in the sun, people watching at the Mission Beach’s busy boardwalk, and riding the Big Dipper Roller Coaster over and over again. We even joined a game of volleyball just opposite the sparkly Pacific Ocean, which was warm and refreshing in the hot July sun. We had dinner plans with Rick at 6, and when we saw that it was only 3 and we needed a break from the heat, we headed to the Fashion Valley Mall for some refuge from the sun. We headed straight to Wetzel’s Pretzels for a snack, and then did some “serious damage” (as the girls say) at some of their favorite stores, including Limited Too, Bath & Body Works, and Borders Express. We also went to the Build-A-Bear Workshop. We’re on vacation—we’re allowed to go overboard a bit with special treats!

The next day we did some more shopping at Westfield UTC —do you see a theme? There’s an ice-skating rink there, which is what really convinced us to hit two malls in a row. I’m not exactly the skating type, but the girls held my hands and took me around and around the rink until my two little girls had doubled into four. We needed a rest afterwards so took at break at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers before heading off to San Diego Sea World. Rick was meeting us there, and I’m glad he did because I was exhausted! I ended up sitting through a couple of Shamu shows while they hiked through the rest of the park. I think the girls said the liked the Shark Encounter best…or maybe it was the Manatee Rescue?

We did more—went to certain restaurants that I had gone to as a kid and just hung out in our hotel room and relaxed. Now we’re back to the grind of daily life, yet somehow, I feel a bit more relaxed. There’s just something about seeing the ocean….