The first day was actually spent in LA. We were so desperate to get away we left a day early and got a hotel to explore LA Science center. It was amazing and FREE! Kent said the exhibits were much better than San Diego's Science Center in Balboa and there was so much hands on learning. The side lessons provided by workers on movable display carts were particularly interesting. Secretly I was laughing that even on our vacation the kids were still getting in some learning!
Learning about wings and lift. The oldest two could've spent hours playing with the Wright brother's airplane trying their hand and flying. It was nice for Bud, especially since he doesn't like heights!
Unfortunately Bubby was locked into the stroller since he would not have been gentle on exhibits or would have kept me running. They actually have wonderful learning centers in almost all the different areas that allowed me let him wander an enclosed area where everything was kid friendly. He particularly liked the 'tree house' with it's pillows and books and dim lighting.
The girls LOVED the marine life area and petting all the sea creatures. Pumppkin isn't all too gentle and peole had to reminder her to only use two fingers which she dutifully showed them when they reminded her.
We were all pretty tuckered out after the driving from the night before so afterwards we headed to our week stay in Carlsbad. The oldest two and pumpkin HAD to go to the beach right away, so they took off while I unpacked everything and Bubby and explored.
The little man LOVES his basketball and was thrilled to see people shooting hoops. Usually when he comes running up in all his excitement to join it people don't know how to respond. From years of experience I can tell those who 'feel bad' and hand him a ball and just step away, never really trying to engage him. But this group of people were totally different. As soon as Bubby came up jumping excitedly they crouched down, said hello and asked if he wanted the ball. My Bubby just kept pretending to shoot hoops and when they offered again, he shook his head. They asked if he wanted to watch and counted down to take the shot. He screamed his encouragement and clapped enthusiastically even when they missed. At some point they offered again and before I knew it he was passing and shooting with them. One of the wives on the side came up to me and asked his name. We got chatting and I learned that their first son was born with so many health difficulties that he has been wheelchair bound all his life. I chatted with 16 year old Chance, a bright young man, smaller physically than Eli but clearly a teenager in mind. His mom and I chatted about how hard it is to find family vacations to fit the whole family. We laughed about how our 'bonus' babies were what we needed, how Chance's sister, a full 10 year his junior was the one to get him talking and how Pumpkin is pushing Bubby to do more. It was wonderful to connect with someone who know just what it's like to be a special needs mom - all the worries, the social awkwardness, the laughs. It was such a short interaction but one where it filled my bucket beautifully and gave Bubby a chance to really play with others.
The following day was our first day at Legoland. We took the slowest rides to get Bubby into it.
Beaches on the following day, bright and early! Pumpkin hung onto Kent in awe of the huge waves that contrasted so sharply to the slow ones we usually see at Rocky Point. It was fun to watch the parasails and dig in the sand.
Back to Legoland for some more adventurous rides! We have since learned is that Pumpkin is a little sensitive to lots of motion and Bubby loves it but needs the security of me right by their side.
Pumpkin was too small to ride many things but this one was fun because we could push the button and soak her siblings!
After riding this airplane a few times with Bubby we decided to have him try it without me and suddenly it wasn't so fun anymore.
Bubby's first roller coaster
We tried his riding with others and so long as Bug could distract him with his favorite game it was good but once it got started the poor boy was so not happy. After this ride we stopped and while we took turns riding he had time to chill and sort to his heart's content.
Bud was more interested in building too. The sorting and stacking was a good way to calm down Bubby.
The following day we started it with Prager Bro's bread - stuff to die for! We got cheese and combined that with the strawberries we picked in the field right near our hotel we were a happy crew!
My kiddos LOVE fruit. It was like heaven for my kids, we had juices dripping everywhere. Bubby walked into the middle of it and just sat down to eat from all sides.
Our hotel has a small water park in addition to the pool and hot tubs. It was quiet so it was just perfect for my brood.
To make our trip cheaper I had double cooked our meals three weeks before and froze all of it. There was curry, palak paneer, lasagna, spaghetti , enchiladas, no shortage and all of it a simple easy heat up. We did splurge though to go out to meet up with some old college friends of mine out near Del Mar. There was a bird sanctuary on the way and of course the beach and farmer's market we had to stop at.
This was my favorite fellow! So beautiful.
There's something about meeting up with old friends from college days. It reminds you of your youth and enthusiasm, stupidity and fun. It had been 6 year since Kent and I had seen Jonathan and Lori. At that time their youngest was only a year old and we only had two kiddos. I had so much fun chatting that I forgot to take pictures (yet again!) until the night was over and thankfully they had a selfie stick so we could manage this one for comparision of the years that have passed.
Connecting with people, no matter how brief truly fills my soul! So glad for good friends, growing families and memories that make it so sweet!