We took a family vacation to Southern California, by way of Las Vegas…
It was a much needed, much enjoyed break from our crazy busy lives. We packed ourselves, plus Kevin’s mom, brother and sister (that’s nine people) in our Suburban and drove. And for your information, I was the one who sat in the front middle seat. 😉 Fortunately, that was only for the Las Vegas to California leg of the trip, because my BIL, Philip flew into Vegas and we picked him up and dropped him off there.
We had a great time! You would think that would go without saying, but when you have four children, and you’re driving, vacations aren’t necessarily…fun. But this time, with the help of three other capable adults, we were all sufficiently entertained, fed, potty-ed, and payed attention to. (Or at least Kevin and I felt that way, I can’t really speak for the other 3, but I’m fairly certain they had fun too. *wink*)
So we found a couple of great websites, Vacation Rentals by Owner and Vacation Rentals.com.. And we began looking for a suitable house for all of us to stay in. In the past, we’ve ended up in hotel rooms. Many of them the size of postage stamps, none of them a great place to just “chill.” We discovered that for us, an essential ingredient to a successful vacation is “chill” time. Well, you can’t chill in tiny little (often dirty) hotel room where your kids are literally bouncing off the walls. So this time, we decided that we’d rent a home (which is kind of a scary process, I’m not going to lie) for a week. It cost us about the same amount as two dinky hotel rooms per night, plus had the added bonus of a kitchen, living space, 2 bathrooms, 8 beds, and a waterfront view. We’ll never go back to a hotel again. (Ok, well, maybe that’s not totally true…but I think I’ve made my point…)
The house we rented was in Dana Point, right on the beach, and it was pretty much perfect. My one and only complaint was… you know, I don’t have a complaint. It was perfect. 😉 The weather turned out to be glorious while we were there. It was over 90 degrees for three of the 5 days we were there, clear and sunny. We were actually warm enough to feel like getting in the water. So I quickly overcame my fear of underwater sea-life (recent viewing of Soul Surfer notwithstanding) and grabbed a boogie board and jumped in. I haven’t had that much fun since I was 17!
The other thing I really enjoyed was shopping at Trader Joe’s. I’ve been hearing all my “Enlightened” buddies raving about it for ages, and it did not disappoint. Great food, (meaning no fake crap in it) and great prices. Kevin and I are still lamenting the fact that there are no Trader Joe’s in Colorado. (I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the fact that our grocery stores do not sell more that 3.2 liquor in them.) He is missing their Bran Flakes, and I miss… well, my list is too long to share.
And since we had Kevin’s family with us, Kevin and I were also able to escape and go on 2 dates during our whole trip! (A major first for us! And thank you so much, Cherry, Andrea and Philip!) One was in Vegas, where we were treated to an excellent dinner and fabulous live music at BB King’s, and then the Legends show, with Kev’s dad and his lovely girlfriend, Sylvia. (I can’t tell you the last time we were on a double date either.) The second was in Dana Point where we ate at a great restaurant called Thai This, and then went for a scenic drive looking at the city lights. It was gorgeous!
Two of the days of our California trip, we headed down to San Clemente, mostly because we like to explore, and partly because we wanted to find a beach with less river rock on it. San Clemente had a great beach and great waves. We were not disappointed.
Las Vegas was also a great time as well. We were treated to some great rooms there, courtesy of Kevin’s dad. We took the kids to Circus Circus, and they had a blast. But I have to say, they were more impressed by the buffet at South Point on the way back… Beau insists that this was his favorite part of the trip! (He had no less than 4 plates stacked up by his place the night we ate there, haha!)
So even though our pocketbooks are quite a bit lighter, it was a fantastic trip and well worth it. We were rejuvenated, fulfilled and happy.