Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vacation...All I Ever Wanted

Title sound familiar?  Let me take a moment to refresh.  Imagine the lovely Belinda Carlisle and the other Go Go's water skiing while crooning one of my favorite eighties guilty pleasures.  You got it, Vacation!!  That is what the West family took last week to sunny southern California.  Well, to be honest, Woody had a conference and Caroline and I tagged along and made the most of it.  The last sentence is not a typo, Cooper did not go.  Chalk it up to awful parenting, but we decided to leave the little man at home with both sets of grandparents splitting the time.  Before you judge me too harshly, Cooper turned two last month and if "typical two year old boy" was an entry in Webster's, his picture would be there loud and proud.  Just today he was standing on the security scanner in Gymboree trying to shake it loose from the confines of stubborn concrete....but that's another story for another day.

Back to vacation....making memories.  We flew across the country to San Diego, California where they have absolutely perfect weather...or lack of weather.  The high is around 70 degrees and the low is around 62 degrees and they have no rain...ever.  Pretty interesting considering all parties we knew were leaving the tropical climes of south Alabama.  So bye bye humidity, hello cool mornings in July.  This is Caroline and I at Seaport Village in the late morning.  Note all the clothes. Also, check out Woody's long sleeves, that is really the tell all, he is never cold!

First things first. We set out on the first day and walked around downtown and Seaport Village, took in the shops and the WWII walk.  Then, back to the hotel, because Caroline felt the need for a swim.  Did I mention the weather?  That is entirely too cold for any self respecting Southerner to be swimming, even at 2:00 in the afternoon.  But my daughter wanted to swim and since you want the trip to be fun for her too, I don my suit, take a deep breath, and brace myself for the wind blowing off the bay.  We head for the hot tub first.  (which unbeknownst to Caroline is the only water that I intended to submerge myself in)  She sits there for a few minutes, declares it boring, and wants to head to the regular pool.  About the time I am searching for an excuse not to be her swimming buddy, a cannonball contest is announced over the loudspeaker, open to all children. Nice!!  Caroline enters, makes a friend or two, and I am off the hook to watch from my lounge chair with my swim cover and a beach towel draped over my shivering frame.  (she doesn't win, unfortunately. She is rather small and didn't create much of a splash, but I gave her a 10 for form)
Caroline on 110 year old carousel in Seaport Village.

Next day: San Diego Zoo.  Or as Caroline calls it, the San Di-Lame-O Zoo.  (more Madagascar references, I really need to get out more)  Very large zoo.  Very large hills and hollows.  We took a double decker bus tour when we first walked into the gate.  It took 45 minutes and you got to survey the whole zoo and map out where you wanted to go and what you wanted to see while riding.  Highly recommend it. You get to see tons of animals and you can decide what animals you don't care to see up close. (crossed off the list, all the birds, simply not enough personality, apologies to all the Audubon Society members) We loved the hippos and elephants.  Pretty cool getting to see the hippos up close.  Also, as an added bonus,  reading the narrative on the side of their habitat describing the size of their "dung" and how it enters our food chain.  Thankfully,  I had eaten lunch prior to this section of the zoo!  We also rode the Sky-fari which is an ariel view of the zoo from a ferris wheel gondola that floats along like a ski lift.  Not as many animals to see, but cool to ride, especially after a long day of walking.  Fortunately for me, the West family are suckers for a souvenir glass.  We paid $11 for a massive plastic cup adorned with an equally massive elephant. (not quite sure what to do with it now that I'm home, but that is beside the point)  However, this beverage toting monstrosity entitles you to free refills at every soda pop stand in the park.  Highly intent on getting my money's worth, I am refilling it constantly, therefore chugging massive quantities of Diet Coke in my zoo trudge.  Fortunately, that coupled with all the walking up hills kept my sleep patterns normal.  I was much too tired after that trip to let a little (let's say a lot) caffeine affect my slumber!!!  Also, I discovered that kids are more entertained having their picture made with fake animals than the actual animals themselves. 

This is Caroline on a statue of an elephant.

This is Caroline with an actual elephant, not as enthused.

Just when you think that you have seen all the animals that God ever created, we head to Sea World the next day.  (oh, I forgot about the ocean, they have animals too!)  There lives the famous Shamu.  Or should I say Shamus because there are three of them.  The lady at the deli that morning told Caroline to try to sit on the 7th or 8th row in the middle to really get wet, so I made sure that we didn't get to the stadium soon enough for those "coveted" seats.  Do I have to mention the weather again?  Too cold to be walking around in wet clothes!  But the show was pretty amazing.  Caroline was enthralled, and I must say that I was, too.  Shamu times three are spectacular to see and when they leap into the air on command, well let's just say it is better than watching my black lab do tricks in the yard (and yet not so different).  Sea World also has cool exhibits for penguins, just like on Happy Feet.  Wasn't sure if any of them were trying to communicate with us, but it was neat to see.  Caroline loves animals, by the way, real and stuffed.  So we managed to pick up a stuffed animal commemorating every attraction.  Which she also insists on toting to every family event at Woody's conference.  But this is how you know it is Caroline: she makes sure that even though she is taking a stuffed animal to a formal dinner, it is poking it's cute little head of a matching evening bag that also carries her Bonne Belle lip smackers.  Shamu in a gold purse?  Don't think it can't happen.

Next stop: Disneyland!

And you thought we only went to San Diego......

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