Back in Seattle after our 4 night trip to San Diego and I already want another vacation. We all thoroughly enjoyed our quality time spent just the three of us, without attention to what day of the week it was or what schedule we needed to follow. We had fun in the sun and did some sight seeing and overall it was both relaxing and whirl of activity. Reese was thrilled with the red car that we had and excited about our hotel while we were there and didn’t seem to have any problem with letting her hair down…
We picked Reese up from school just after noon on Wednesday to head to the airport. We made it to our gate without a problem but then had to wait some time to be able to board the plane which was the most difficult part of the entire travel since Reese was mightily due for a nap by the time we got on the plane. She promptly fell asleep as soon as she was in her seat, before the plane even took off, but it was a short nap. We arrived in San Diego a little after 6 pm, took the bus to get our red rental car, and made the short drive for dinner #1 of the trip; a return trip to the very nearby Lucha Libre for their amazing California style burritos (i.e. no rice or beans but fries and avocado instead). We shared two burritos and their chips and sat outside the little restaurant where music was playing and Reese spent the entire duration shaking her booty (quite literally she did this). We walked across the street to get gelato and shared some chocolatey goodness before heading to the hotel to check in. We were upgraded to a suite room which was an excellent upgrade for us with Reese. This also put us in the separate Suites building instead of the high-rise at the Hyatt Regency in Mission Bay. Our room was great with a room with two plush double beds and a separate living room. We had a small balcony that overlooked the marina which was also amazing and lent itself to quiet at night but some lively boat and sea lion activity during the day.
Thursday morning began our first full day in San Diego. Also thanks to Bryan’s Globalist status with the Hyatt, we were able to get free breakfast every morning at the sit down Red Marlin restaurant at the hotel. We dined here all four mornings; sitting outside twice and inside twice, all chosen by Reese. Reese had the kids pancakes every single morning and ate them all on two occasions. Bryan and I tried a few of their omelets, avocado toast with poached eggs, crab cake benedicts, breakfast salad, yogurt parfait, and steak burrito. The food was good and filling and a really great savings for both time and money.
Thursday was our beach day so after breakfast we set out on foot with the stroller to walk the 1 mile to Mission Beach. We set up our spots with our new beach blanket and had fun in the water and sand for some time. After we got our fill of the beach we walked to the neighboring Belmont Park to ride all the kids rides. We rode the carousel, the spinning ice cream cones and the submarine ride to our hearts content without ever having to wait in line. Reese was all about the rides and had an absolute great time on them. After 1 pm we knew we would need to break to get Reese some lunch and head back for a nap so we walked to the neighboring Zozo’s Pizza for a few slices of pizza before walking back to the hotel where Reese took a long nap. After nap we decided to head back out to the beach area, getting in a few more rides at Belmont Park, including the car race ride that Bryan happily rode (!!) then walked across the street to an expansive playground for a while before driving to Pacific Beach to dine at another return destination: Oscar’s Mexican Tacos for their amazing breaded fish tacos. We got our fill of tacos before heading to the store for some snack/lunch essentials to have on hand and beer and then returned to the hotel for the night.
Friday was SeaWorld day so after our breakfast we loaded up the stroller again and set out to SeaWorld which was a little more than a mile from our hotel. This ended up being a pretty warm day and although it was a weekday, SeaWorld was packed. We headed straight to the dolphin show first and although we found it entertaining I don’t think Reese was as amused and was just plain hot. After the show we went and saw the sealions and a few other sea life before trying our hand this time at the orca show. We got closer this time and I think that helped and we also got a slushy drink for Reese that she was all about. This show was great, in my opinion, but again I think Reese was more into her “juice” and “going to the park” than anything. We left and set out for the Sesame Street fun zone. This is where the rides for kids are and we did get a chance to ride three of them although the lines where much longer and less thrilling than Belmont Park the day before. Reese did thoroughly enjoy seeing Cookie Monster dance on a ship and seeing Elmo take pictures with other kids. Reese also could have spent hours (and probably spent nearly one) in this toddler bounce zone with foam blocks. We were okay with this as we got a chance to sit in the shade.
We left SeaWorld at about 2 pm and Reese surprised us both by staying awake until we got back to the hotel. We had PB&J sandwiches and then finally got Reese to take her nap. Bryan ended up having to wake her up just before 5 pm because he was wanting her to be able to enjoy the pool slides that close at 6 pm but Reese was none too happy about being woken up from her nap. We managed to get her to the pool where she was able to go down the slide a few times before it closed and then we hopped from pool to hot tub to keep warm. Around 7 pm we headed back to the room where we had Middleeastern food delivered to us as we settled into the hotel’s showing of Frozen and enjoyed a nice night in.
Saturday was primarily the zoo in the afternoon so the morning we had free to our leisure. After breakfast we set back out for the playground we enjoyed briefly a few nights prior and here Reese spent about two hours checking everything out. She made a few friends and really enjoyed her time her, surprising no one. We finally convinced her to head back to the hotel for more sandwiches around 1 pm and once Reese was down for a nap Bryan and I took turns using our free one-hour paddleboard rental to spend some solo time on the water. We each explored the marina and the nearby bays, finding the wind and current to be a challenge at times, and each enjoyed this time on our own. After we were both done and Reese was up from her nap we set out in the car to the San Diego Zoo. This zoo is phenomenal! I’ve always heard this but seeing it for myself definitely confirmed that. We were there for a little over two hours and really tried to hit all of the major exhibits. It was so peaceful just walking around the zoo setting and we definitely got our steps in. Going when we did we found the crowds a little quieter and the temperature just perfect. We took the skyway train out and back just for fun and that was enjoyable and again got Reese a slushie.
Once we had our fill of the zoo we headed to the nearby Balboa Park. Our plans were to meet up with our local FareStart friend at a place in the Park called Panama that had live jazz in an outdoor setting but upon arrival they were fresh out of tables and reservations. Totally a bummer as the place looked amazing and I’d love to go back. She recommended a trendy Italian place just over a half mile walk away from Balboa Park so we walked the distance to meet up with her (Reese literally ran most of that distance). I was worried that Reese was in quite an energetic state for this dinner, which she was, but once she got her kids pasta (a gigantic bowl of rigatoni with red sauce) she sat quietly and demolished the whole bowl, of course then resuming her climbing and other late night agility acts. Meanwhile we got caught up with our friend who moved back to her hometown of San Diego just under three years ago. We split a great arugula and wild mushroom salad, a spicy calamari and octopus dish and the short rib ravioli that was excellent. We also enjoyed their fresh complimentary focaccia with an herb oil. It wasn’t a lengthy dinner, thanks to Reese mostly, but it was a nice fancy dinner out with some company. We walked back to our car and headed back to the hotel for our last night.
Sunday was our last day in San Diego but we had most of the day to enjoy it with a flight at night. We wanted to spend more time at the pool and did so right after breakfast and as soon as the slides opened. From 11 am until about 1:30 pm Reese was pretty consistently going down the one kiddie slide over and over again. We suspect she surely went down at least 100 times. We would go warm up in the hot tub about every thirty minutes and towards the end one of us got to lay in the sun for some time. It was a nice time at the pool and Reese was having a blast at the slide with the other kids. Some of the other parents there nicknamed her “Champ” and “Starfish” due to her untimid nature going down the slide and the star on her Puddle Jumper floatie. We finally managed to convince her to head back to the room and we had one more day of sandwiches and a nap while we packed to get ready to leave.
Reese woke just before 4 pm and we were able to extend our checkout until 4 pm. We packed the car and set out for one last round of fish tacos from the other Oscar’s Tacos location before returning the car and heading to the airport. We got Reese food in the airport and had no problem on our flight; Reese was extremely well behaved for this late flight and watched both Frozen movies throughout the length of the flight. We landed a bit early but then had complications being able to pull into our gate so we didn’t do so until over 45 minutes after landing, at this point it was past 10:30 pm. We ended up pulling into our driveway after getting our bags and the car at 11:30 pm and Reese had literally only fallen asleep ten minutes prior but was so easy moving from car to bed (a rarity).
Back to work today after getting home so late and neither of us are thrilled about it but I also feel refreshed and have so many good memories from the trip. Plus we have a lot of exciting things on the calendar in the next month: a wedding to attend, our 5-year anniversary, Lon and Trish visit, Reese and Lottie’s joint birthday party (still planning), Seahawks Training Camp, my company’s picnic, and then heading out to Michigan at the end of it all.