Monday, August 3, 2009
For the past 12 months, we have been planning a week-long vacation around the celebration of my father-in-law's 90th Birthday party. First, it's not every day that one is invited to be a part of such an extraordinary milestone! Second, if one is going to travel 2,000 miles to attend a weekend function, one might as well hang out there for at least a week! It would cost us plenty, but we figured that our kids will be paying off the national debt for years to come, why not the Mastercard, too?
Both my husband and myself grew up in Southern California, and my cherubims were all born there, as well. We all have our favorite places, but we all agree that our most favorite place is the beach. There is something soothing about the crash of the waves, the warmth of the sun's rays and the distinct feel of wet sand in a bathing suit that conjures up memories of years past. We were fortunate enough to hit four beaches during our eight-day stay.
Our home base was San Diego, and we travelled as far north as Santa Monica, where we missed the turnoff for the beach and ended up driving dangerously close to Beverly Hills as we tried to find our way back to the water. There was a marked change in the four beaches we visited as far as the appearance, population, and (thanks to our friends Down under for the storm they sent us) the size of the waves. The "surf was up" all over, and with strong currents! There were many surfers in the water, all of whom dreamed of that "perfect wave." We settled for boogie boards and jumping the waves! I stayed clear of the shore so as not to be mistaken for a beached whale! But the smells and sounds took me back to a time when life was so plain and simple...what bathing suit to wear and which guy would I stalk next!
Of course, no visit to Southern Cali is complete without a day at Disneyland! We dropped off the kids at the park, and then went slumming at the beach, had lunch and then went to see "Ice Age" killing time until dinner.
The kids came over from the park and we all met for dinner with Ed's Godparents in Downtown Disney. We were still sitting around talking after two hours when the kids returned to the park so they could finish their list of rides.
We watched the fireworks from our table and then began the long walk to work off dinner.
Our last excursion before the big birthday party was the zoo! They had pandas! These animals look just like the stuffed animals in the stores...imagine that! We walked about a million miles (pre-dinner workout) and then rode the sky buckets back to the main entrance. Back to the hotel for naps, showers and primping!
Dinner was to-die-for! We had a private room with flowing champagne and really hot servers (not the warming plates, but the waiters)! Since moi no longer consumes alcohol, I watched as the family consumed buckets of these beverages. My normally reserved Hero and Rock (who are both over 21) came alive with conversation and giddiness. Ed, who is almost 18 asked for a taste, so I thought "what the heck; she's not driving." After she finished my glass of champagne and the wine I was given with dinner, she, too, became a very happy girl. Katya and I were the designated drivers for the evening!
Brunch the next morning was on yet, another beach (that makes five) at a restaurant right on the water. Again, champagne and mimosas were on the family menu! Katya and I had the thickest french toast we'd ever seen, topped with ice cream! We had a plane to catch for the last stop on our trip, so we ate and ran, thanking and hugging everyone on our way out. On to Vegas!
We spent only 18 hours in Vegas...just enough time to check out the lobbies of several hotels, get lost, and develop blisters from too much walking in bad shoes! The kids enjoyed "Beatles LOVE" at the Mirage, while Retro and I played the penny slots! He had a beer and I had a DIET COKE on the ROCKS! We dragged ourselves back to my aunt's condo and collapsed. Our flight home the next morning was at 9:40am, with a three hour layover in L.A., at which time we were told we would be boarding a different plane at a different gate, which wouldn't leave for another hour. Once on the plane, we plugged in our mp3earplugs and watched "17 Again." Then our descent to home began. Needless to say, we slept like a bunch of hibernating bears that night!
The first, last and most important place we visited was "In N Out Burger"! You know that euphoric look on a baby's face just as he/she finishes its mother's milk? Well, picture six people sitting in a booth with that same look on their faces as they devoured mass quantities of burgers, fries and shakes! We have yet to find anything that comes close in comparison. Too bad they won't come to the midwest!
We've been home a week, and the exhaustion still lingers. I have two weeks before school starts and I return to work. I can write my "To Do" list on an entire role of toilet paper, but I won't!
At least the kids will have sufficient material for their "What I did on My Summer Vacation" essays!
Hope you have some great vacation memories to share!