Thursday, August 12, 2010

La Jolla Vacation - Day 14 and 15 - You Made It!

Remember when Caroline and I painted Lainey's nails for the first time this summer? Well, the little monster can't live without them. She climbed up onto the counter like this nearly every day we were on vacation demanding for someone to paint them. I don't know where she came from! (sick me of saying that yet?)

Pa left the morning after Disney, and we had one day left on the beach. I arrived and helped everyone set up. Lovely, isn't it?

Blake arrived back from an errand and I traded spots with him. I hit the wall at some point and needed a nap. He stayed with the kiddos at the beach.

And, took some great shots.

Shake that booty, Laine.

Lainey + Meow Meow = LOVE.

Headed out that evening for our last dinner in San Diego.

Kansas City BBQ......represent, Midwest! I love it.

By the water, admiring the mega-ships and aircraft carriers.

I know. It's rare you see me in a shot. There I am!

After a few prior failed attempts (no cash, ATM broken, etc), we finally made it on the carousel.

And later, found this unusual book store while searching for penny press machines. I could have looked for hours.

Headed home for last minute laundry, cleaning the house and packing.

Our drive out on day 15........just like we drove out to go anywhere from the beach house......sadly, we were en route to the airport.

Kids did as well as they could. Our flight from San Diego to Denver left late, so we were hysterically running through DIA to get to our connecting one home to Kansas City. Frustrating doesn't quite cover the feeling.

Ring Around the Rosy helps, though.

Trip Recap:

***15 days is a long time for young children. By the time Pa arrived, the little ones were in melt down mode. As fun as vacation is, it's still stressful at times - kids out of routine, getting accustomed to a new place and naps are often missed. Not sure if we'll stay so long again next time we travel.

***Connecting flights are tough with 2 car seats and 3 kids. We bought 1/2 our flights with miles Blake accumulated while working in Denver, so it made sense financially, but we were regretting the double flights per travel day once we were in the middle of them.

***While flying, taking car seats is a must. Despite the difficulty of lugging them from one gate to another (we used an Eddie Bauer travel bag to help), the seats on the plane absolutely helped to keep the children in their "norm" and feeling safe. Which helped them nap often. Which makes everyone on the plane happy. :)

***Get a routine down and you'll be happy you did. I basically had the kids running laps through the airport while Blake boarded with car seats during that pre-boarding (families/medical/elderly) window. He hooked them in, arranged bags and toys as needed and so we were all set to go walking on. Flight attendants even remarked, more than once, on how organized we were. (If they only knew!)

***If you choose to fly, make sure your seats are FAA Approved. Click here for a link with info. Most people know that Britax seats are flight-friendly and that is why we purchased them. We also have an Evenflo Titan, which is designed ergonomically like the Britax. It, too, is approved for air travel. We boarded 4 planes and each time, the attendants checked for the sticker stating approval.

***Depending on which airline you use, there are options for upgraded seating, which include "free" bags. We bought 2 Classic seats on Frontier because 2 checked bags were included per ticket. These tickets also included free drinks and free TV. We limited our packing to 4 bags due to these tickets and it worked out fine. Research your options with each airline. After considering all of our options, we chose the best combination that worked for us.

***We've traveled with 1 child and attended 5 theme parks in 10 days (2003). We've traveled with 2 and went to 3 parks in 7 days (2006). We've traveled with 3 and went to 3 in 18 days (2009). This time, we went to 2 in 15. Theme park days are big ones. But, they're magical ones - especially Disney parks. Don't wait until your kids are "old enough to remember". They're fun at all ages and if you wait until they're older, you'll miss the magic. Trust me on this one.

***We love California. Have I covered that yet?


Kim said...

Love the new look! Enjoyed your vacation recaps and will look forward to reading more, so cool you are moving there!

Pam Bowers said...

It was fun reading your vacation recaps. The pics were fun too. Thanks for sharing your vacation with us. I'm sure all the moms reading will appreciate all your travel tips too.

The Soladay Family said...

Great tips. I did so much research for our family vacation this summer, and it was absolutely worth it. It pays to plan ahead and be organized as you can be with a slew of kids!

Loved all the recaps! Memories to last a lifetime. Just this past week, the boys and I were going through all the posts from our trip talking about our adventure with smiles on their faces. Love it!

donatelli98 said...

Great final post Casey! I couldn't agree with you more about the carseats on the plane. We have been flying since Chatty was 2 months old and in all but hers and Bia's first flight and one other they were in carseats (Chatty is too big now) and I wouldn't do it any other way. We have a Britax too and I LOVE it - can not say enough good things about it. Did you see the NTSB is trying is encouraging the FAA to make all kids (even under two) get seats and recommend having them in car seats? Will be interesting to see what happens.

We took Chatty to Disneyworld when she was 3 and she had a blast. We are trying to book a trip back for Spring Break next March - Bia will be turning 4. I can't wait.

FROGGITY! said...

yay! what a great trip. and i agree, great tips.

i am nervous about some of the flying we are supposed to do this year. not so much that they won't like it but that LL might get OVER excited and talk a LOT to strangers who don't want to be bothered!! i will take a cue (sp?) from you and do the back pack o' stuff.

your kids just keep getting cuter. and meow meow too!!

Nate, Abbey, Noah, Blaire and Tatum said...

Love, love, love the new design!! I'm glad you had such a great trip! Can't wait for Disney in our future.

Dee Stephens said...

never knew all that about the car seats. I just sent this to my expecting mommy friends :-)

Allyson and Dave said...

I love the fact that it was cool enough to wear sweatshirts and scarves in July there. You might die if you did that here. I think I need to move to California.

Sara said...

Wonderful trip!
I can't wait to take Hudson to Disneyland. We'll wait til y'all are all settled in Cali and then the Starnes kiddos can go with us too :)

The Lenzers said...

i love your vacations....i'm paying you to plan ours! i have traveled with carseats before, and never had them never know i guess.

Shannon said...

"They're fun at all ages and if you wait until they're older, you'll miss the magic."


So much fun. We've never done that long of a trip. 10 days is the max we've done and that was just Andy and me. It does get exhausting after a while. I assume it gets easier for you every year. Traveling in 2 or 3 years will be a breeze compared to what you all have done the last couple of years.

Merry Mack said...

Boy, I am glad this trip is over, but I do think you did every bit of it right. I swear the place you stay looks just like the place we stayed when we went to San Diego. Wouldn't that be crazy? Lainey shaking her stuff is too cute. Traveling is hard with kids. Great travel tips! You are an expert. I admire you, the family and I am jealous of your vacation that I keep complaining about.