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Off to San Diego

April 25, 2010

My sister and her family went home on Easter Monday.  My kids were sad to see their cousin go, but there were tons of kids at the pool every day.  And that is where we were all week:  at the pool.  My parent’s condo is right next to the pool, which makes it so easy to stay there all day.  There is a bathroom close as well as food and drinks.  Every afternoon we would serve popsicles to all the kids at the pool and most of the time chocolate chip cookies too.  They all had a blast.  I read three books in the shade.  I am not a sun bather.  I never have been.  I got a bit of a tan, but not so much to keep it once I got back home.  Just a healthy glow.

The three books I read were:  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford and The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.  My favorite by far was The Book Thief.  It was such a wonderful book.  The language and the metaphors were exquisite.  I wanted to mark every page with beautiful language, but then I would have had a post-it on every page of the book.  The story is set in Germany during WWII.  It is a tough time when sad things happen, however the way this book is written it is not overwhelmingly depressing like some books with the same setting.  I loved this book. If you haven’t read it , read it!  It is a slow start, but once you get over the hump you won’t want to put it down.  The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was an easy read.  A really good story, but I read it right after The Book Thief so it didn’t compare.  I think I would have liked it a lot better if I would have read it first.  It is also set during WWII, but here in the USA.  It is about the Japanese internment camps.  It is set both during the war and in the 1980’s.  I loved how Jamie Ford showed such perspective on many different levels in this book.  I would recommend this book as well, but don’t read it right after The Book Thief.  I really enjoyed The Lightning Thief.  It is clearly a children’s book, but I love children’s literature.  It is about present-day half-bloods of the Greek Gods.  It was entertaining  and I got to brush up on my Greek Mythology.  I liked it enough to buy the next book in the series, but I haven’t started it yet.

On the Saturday after Easter, and after a week spent with my parents, we took off from Palm Desert and headed to San Diego.  Jeff and I have made it a tradition for years to travel away from my parent’s place for a couple of days during our stay with them.  This year, we flew into Palm Springs, rented a car, and made arrangements to return the car in San Diego and fly home from there.  We drove through the mountains, white knuckling it all the way.  It is a beautiful drive, but it is treacherous.  There are few fences that would prevent you from plummeting to your death if you went off the road, and the lanes are very narrow.  We arrived at our hotel in time to go to dinner, and then go to bed.  We ate in the hotel restaurant and had an excellent meal.  The hotel bed was leaps and bounds better then the bed at my parent’s house so I got a good night’s sleep.

On Sunday, we began our tour.  We started off driving to Carlsbad to see the Flower Fields.  Ranunculus as far as the eye could see, all in full bloom.  They are so beautiful.  We hung out there and took a tractor ride, the kids got to pan for gem stones, just like people used to pan for gold.  It was such a fun place!

From there we went to The Wild Animal Park.  It was so great to see such beautiful animals. My favorite part?  Feeding the Lorikeets.  I love that they land right on your hand and drink the nectar from little cups.  We hiked the whole park and saw so many amazing animals.  The kids got to ride on the carousel and dress up like butterflies to go on a butterfly parade.  We all had a blast.

Driving back from the Wild Animal Park, on a whim, we stopped into a vineyard that Jeff and I had visited before we had kids.  We did a wine tasting (very quickly!) while the kids waited for us.  We bought a bottle of wine to bring home with us.  The kids were (sort of) patient with us.

From the vineyard directly to the ocean.  You can’t be on the coast and not visit the ocean.  Especially when you live nowhere near an ocean.  The kids had a blast chasing the waves.  They got soaked, and were freezing, but who cares?  We also drove into Torrie Pines park.  It was beautiful.  When our little ones were absolutely blue, we went back to the hotel for a bath (sand:  everywhere) and to get dressed for dinner.  We went to a little Italian restaurant by the coast and ate outside.  We nearly froze to death because of the very chilly wind, but we had a heater so we lived.  The food was fantastic.  And so was the company.  We had such a fun-filled day!

On Monday, we had time to go to an aquarium with a tide pool in the morning.  It was great.  You started out looking in tanks of cold water creatures and every tank went down the Pacific coast from Alaska to Mexico and around and ended up in the Caribbean.  The tide pool had creatures that the kids could touch and they had a fantastic sea horse exhibit.  There was also a place where you could play in the water.  It was a hit.  We went back to the hotel for a lunch of left overs and to pack.  The kids changed into their swimsuits and I put a change of clothes in a grocery bag.  We headed back to the beach.  We hung out there until it was time to go to the airport and head back up north.  We got home in the middle of the night.  It was a great trip, but I was so happy to be home.

  1. April 25, 2010 6:59 pm

    Oh, I love that we finally get to see a picture of your honey! But I’m nosey like that.

    What a fabulous idea, to have a little family vacation inside of your family vacation! Looks like you found plenty of good places to enjoy together. Lucky kiddos! That animal park looks amazing. I can’t wait to take Thomas somewhere like that!

    Also, thanks for the book reviews. I definitely want to pick up “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.” And would you believe…I still haven’t finished the last few pages of “The Book Thief”? It’s shameful. I did like it, but I think I’m just avoiding the ending.

    • May 2, 2010 8:15 pm

      The Wild Animal Park is really cool, lots of weird looking birds, and lots of animals. The kids loved it, but I may have loved it more!

      The Book Thief’s ending wasn’t too terrible, well, it was, but it gets to a good place. Have you finished yet?

  2. April 25, 2010 11:56 pm

    I want to go to San Diego now! (And bring the girls of course; the aquarium sounds ridiculously perfect for curious kiddos.) I’ve only been to the West Coast once as a Texas-trapped thirteen-year-old, but I was utterly enchanted, and now I’m extra motivated to go back.
    (P.S. – You are only the 8,514,918,213,018,116th person to recommend The Book Thief. :) In your opinion, is it worth my one-book-every-few-months-and-no-libraries-sniff-sniff budget allocation?)

    • May 2, 2010 8:22 pm

      Here is the link for the Birch Aquarium:

      We went to the Exhibits. It was a fun place, but I was sick of taking pictures, so I didn’t get very many. I think you should go to San Diego! It is one of our favorite places. We also like the little towns in the mountains. You should go when we are there too, then maybe we can escape the families for a bit! Or, if nothing else, my kids love to meet new friends!

      Email me with your address and I will send you a present! It is totally worth it!

  3. April 26, 2010 2:27 pm

    I’ve liked everything Zusak has written so far. All good and all so very different :) Martin LOVED the Lightning Thief books. I liked the first one but thought the rest were so-so. Haven’t read the other, will have to check it out!! :)

    Ranunculas!! YUM!

    Also, you guys are all so darn CUTE!

    • May 2, 2010 8:26 pm

      I handed Jeff The Book Thief when I was done with it, and he read it in ONE DAY. He loved it, so he got another one by Zusak on his Kindle. He liked the Book Thief better, so I haven’t read whatever the book is yet. I will, but not enough time has passed yet.

      I love Ranunculas. I just discovered them a few years ago, and since then BP wrote something about them too, didn’t she talk about the Flower Fields? I had no idea that is where Jeff was taking us, until we got there. Heaven!

  4. May 6, 2010 5:58 am

    Just found you — looking forward to following your journey :-)

    • May 9, 2010 2:24 pm

      Welcome to the party Jamie! So glad you are here!

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