As soon as we packed up our camping gear on Tuesday morning, we headed further south, to San Diego. It's become a yearly tradition that we visit my sister and her family there. And the kids' new discovery of Harry Potter audio books, and a Giants game on the radio, made our trip fairly painless. We arrived in the mid-afternoon.
Since we've got a big Disney-themed trip coming up next month, we decided to forgo another trip to one of San Diego's big amusement/animal parks this year and keep our visit mellow. We started out with a visit to the water park that Mam and SPENCER! went to last year.
This time, Smunch got to join us too. Obviously, it was right up his alley.As was the case with much of this particular visit, Mam and SPENCER! ran around like crazy people while Smunch found some older boys to play water war with. It's interesting to see how well the two younger ones get along and how awkward Smunch seems to feel about that. He's often the odd kid out in this group, it seems. No matter, really. It meant that he and Daddy got to take a repeat visit to the USS Midway earlier that day. Smunch loved it and apparently had a great time talking to the docents on board. It also meant he got another trip to Petco Park to see the Padres play. Only this time, they were playing the Oakland A's. It's hard to know who to root for when one of them is your hometown team and the other is the hometown team. Smunch opted to root for the Padres...a decision he may have regretted since the A's did something unusual and won. Daddy says Smunch barely sat down for the entire game. There was a lot of bouncing and some dancing involved, I hear. I'm sure it wasn't Daddy doing the dancing. Here's a photo Daddy got of Smunch after the Padres scored a home run early in the game.Notice how the guy in the upper right corner is actually standing still?
In between those two big events, we decided to use some coupons I'd gotten through the PTA at Smunch's school and went to the relatively new Sea Life Aquarium, which is part of Legoland. You can't miss that it's part of Legoland because although the aquarium is reasonably priced, you still have to pay $12 to park.Well, that and all the aquarium decor is made out of Legos. That might also be a clue.
On the whole, it's a pretty nice place. It has all the newest cool things that aquariums have. For instance, these viewing 'bubbles' make for really funny pictures of your kids.Although it's hard to tell, these bubbles pop you up right in the middle of the water in the aquarium. They're really pretty cool.
It also has a lot of sharks. Here's Mam, inspecting a "mermaid's purse", also known as a shark egg. In real life, you could see a tiny baby shark squirming around in there. And perhaps the centerpiece of the aquarium is an enormous tank full of sharks and rays, with a glass tunnel under it that you can walk through while the fish swim around next to you and over your head. Still, it was mostly just an aquarium. Lots of neat fish, the obligatory jellyfish, some sea horses and funny miniature horseshoe crabs. We were done in less than two hours.
On the way in, we'd noticed some strawberry fields where you can pick your own strawberries, so we picked some berries before leaving Carlsbad. We also picked up a couple of letterboxes on the way back...one of which turned into a fast-paced trek down a hot, dusty trail for Daddy and me while everyone else waited in the van. It was an even faster trek back up the same hot dusty trail when we got a distress call from the van saying that Smunch had announced a potty emergency. Yikes.
Back at home, Karen and I put together dinner for everyone, including a yummy and predictable dessert... and Daddy relaxed with some of the small crowd.Our final day in San Diego had Daddy and Uncle David putting SPENCER!'s new swing set together, making everyone very happy and giving Mam some extra special connection to the Matrix...or something.Seemed to give SPENCER! some unique flying abilities too.The late afternoon was spent at the local pool before Daddy and Smunch headed to the Padres game. They got back super late, but Smunch was still awake and still bouncing, really.
The next morning, we made our annual trek to The Original House of Pancakes for a farewell breakfast, returned to pack all our camping gear back in the van and said our tearful goodbyes.Sometimes it feels like we've really stayed a day too long. This time seemed like at least a day too short. Still, they'll be coming to visit us in mid-August. Feels like that might be right around the corner!