We just home from San Diego last night, and had a great vacation away. Geoff, Matt and I flew down a little earlier than the rest of my family, but over the course of a few days, most of the rest of my family flew down: my parents; my sister and her family; and my brother and two of his three boys (the third is south of Australia at the moment - we missed you, P!).
Here are a few highlights:
On our first full day there, we spent a day at Sea World with one of my old girl friends (correction: Sandie and I are not old! Really. We've just known each other for a long time) and her family. Before they moved to California, her two youngest boys and my Matthew became friends and it seems like every time they see each other they just hit it off really well.
Sandie is in green, with her husband and (six) kids surrounding her:
Matthew in the middle of his two buddies:
We spent Christmas Day in Disney Land, with my parents and my sister, brother-in-law and their two kids. We'd heard that Christmas morning was usually fairly slow at Disney, and sure enough, we got a lot done before 10:00 am; while other people were likely sitting around a Christmas tree opening gifts, we were experiencing the gift of Disney magic!! Matthew refused to go on Indiana Jones (so he and I went - twice, at his request! - on the somewhat lame Jungle Cruise instead), but we did go on a lot of other fun rides...including Pirates of the Caribbean and my old favourite, It's A Small World (and yes, I still loved it, despite being 'old' now). Late in the day, we also went next door to California Adventure Park and saw the show Aladdin, which was sensational...well worth the 75 minutes we waited in line!!
Main Street at Disney:
It's A Small World (even now, the song is running through my head - love it!):
A Funny Exhibition of Star Wars, where kids were allowed to battle Darth Vader one-on-one:
My brother-in-law, niece and nephew:
My sister with my nephew at the Buzz Lightyear ride:
Waiting for the Alladin theatre to open...we got there early and were almost first in line. Geoff's on the right, wearing the hat; my brother-in-law and niece are to the left; Matthew is hunched over, folding paper airplanes on the sidewalk between them (in the striped shirt). The guy waving just behind them is a complete stranger, but he was great at making airplanes with Matthew!
In the week after Christmas, we did a fair bit of shopping and, truly, the prices and the selection were quite amazing! We bought a few much-needed suits for Geoff (at 80-85% off the regular price b/c of the holiday sales!!), shoes for both of us, and a few other things. My most exciting purchase, though, was to buy a duvet cover and sheets/pillow cases for a girl's bedroom!! And a few adorable throw pillows for the top of the bed! I know, I know, it's risky because we haven't passed court, and I did manage to resist the pull of the girls' clothing that I ooohed and aaahed over in other stores, but I had decided before we left home that being so close to a Pottery Barn Kids was simply too good an opportunity to pass up. So we took the risk and outfitted our hopefully-soon-to-be daughter's room...a friend said to me by email after my purchase that she believes in buying in faith, so I'm choosing to think this way about our girly purchase of bedding. (Oh, I hope.) I didn't fully trust myself in making this important purchase, so my sister (who's great at this kind of stuff) went along with me and helped me put things together - I was most grateful. Oh, and I took one more little risk by buying a little girl's white bunny rabbit teddy - it was sooo soft and cuddly. I won't show you pictures of any of these things, though, because I'd rather wait until after we pass court and have a chance to paint and 'do' her room. I was/am very excited about it, though.
In addition to shopping, we did some of the usual touristy stuff, went to some beaches, and did a lot of hanging-around-the-pool stuff, which was undoubtedly the highlight for the kids. The day after Christmas, we all moved into the house my parents had rented and we were there for a week, until we left yesterday. We did the same thing last year and it's a really nice way to spend time together as a family.
Here's my family, with the exception of my oldest nephew (my brother is in the middle back, in the greenish-blue sweater; and my sister is beside him, with the short hair):
My parents with most of their grandchildren:
Geoff, Matthew and me:
The house we stayed in:
La Jolla Beach/Park:
And this is where a lot of time was spent...in the backyard!
One of my nephews, deciding whether the basketball game was enough of a lure to get out of the hot tub:
My sister and Mom:
My brother, holding them all off:
My sister and Dad:
The guys, showing off some muscle...or not:
My Dad, and one of my nephews, holding court of their own:
Matthew and his beloved, like-aged cousin, looking down from the hot tub into the pool (don't worry - they were allowed to spend only a couple of minutes at a time in the hot tub!):
One of my nephews. I don't think the ball went in this time, but he certainly dunked many over the course of the week!
The three youngest kids there: Matthew (6), and his cousins (6 and 10):
All in all, it was a great vacation and a very, very generous initiative on the part of my parents (who paid for our accommodation, flights, and pretty much every meal that we ate when we were together!!!). I can't imagine how much this trip cost them, but from my perspective it was worth more even than money, to spend the time together. Time is so precious. Thanks, Mom and Dad, if you're reading this!! It was a terrific way to usher out the old year and bring in the new.
Happy New Year to all, and may 2011 bring you all peace, joy, and the fulfillment of dreams. Blessings!!