Sunday, July 20, 2014

San Diego 2014

Ian was granted permission to go to the ESRI conference this year (he last went in 2011), so we planned a sweet little 12 day family trip. We decided to drive this year, since it would be way cheaper than flying. It turned out to be way more expensive than flying once we had to get a clutch rebuild, a CV axle repair, and pay for a rental car for a couple days- oh well, those repairs were probably inevitable anyway.

We drove to Las Vegas the first day. Aven and Etta marveled at the flashing lights and all the button pushing that came along with elevator rides. Ian and I realized quickly that Vegas is a horrible place to bring kids because it's crazy and busy and full of traffic and cigarette smoke and takes forever to even get across the street. We were happy head to San Diego the next day.

Once in San Diego we checked into a cute little hotel in the Hillcrest neighborhood. It was a great part of town because there were tons of great restaurants and stores within walking distance and the zoo and the beach were close by. The down side is that our hotel was literally sandwiched between two hospitals, so we heard a lot of ambulance sirens.

We went to the San Diego Zoo, La Jolla beach, Lego Land, Coronado beach, Safari Park, and the Midway aircraft carrier museum before Ian's conference started. My mom came in halfway through our trip to hang out with the girls and me while Ian was conferencing. With my mom we went to the Midway aircraft carrier museum, the San Diego Zoo (twice), Coronado beach, and Build-a-Bear (for Etta's birthday).

The trip was jam-packed, but we all had a great time. By the end, we were so ready to be home that we drove straight through from San Diego to Salt Lake, only stopping for dinner and to fill up the car with gas. We got home about 3:30 in the morning, but it was worth it to be in our own beds.

Enjoy an extensive photo tour of our trip:

We stayed at the Luxor in Vegas. This is Aven and Etta looking down into the casino from the 25th floor.

The insanity of Vegas in the background.

These girls were a couple of awesome road-warriors.

La Jolla beach.

San Diego Zoo.

Our little monkey.

Etta was in heaven in the Duplo area of Lego Land. We went on her actual birthday, so it was a pretty awesome day.

Aven also enjoyed Lego Land immensely.

The miniature Lego cities were my favorite part.

 While on a boat ride at Lego Land, everyone on the boat sang Happy Birthday to Etta- it was pretty awesome. The video is vertical because I was holding my phone upside down. I don't know how to fix it- sorry.

Like I said, she was one happy kid.
Safari Park. Ian took a couple hundred great animal pictures and since I don't want to upload all of them, enjoy this one of lion cubs.
While at Safari Park we had the chance to see a troupe of Chinese acrobats. They were pretty great and the girls loved them.

Coronado Beach- truly my favorite beach in the San Diego area. We spent my birthday on Coronado- I couldn't have asked for a better day.

The sand at Coronado Beach is full of little flecks of gold sand. Aven was convinced it was fairy dust.

After my mom flew in we all went to the Midway aircraft carrier museum. It's pretty incredible to see how people lived and worked in such tight spaces.

Etta heading off to pilot a jet.

This kid loved the airplanes.

We went out to dinner with our best San Diego friend, Mike. Etta flirted with him all night.

As Ian headed off to his conference, we headed to the zoo again. That zoo is so huge and so incredible that I probably could have gone everyday and not been bored.

Aven got her first tattoo at the zoo (of the henna variety). I hope she doesn't think real tattoos are that painless.

The next day we went to Build-a-Bear and my mom let the girls go nuts and choose whatever they wanted in celebration of Etta's birthday.

Etta wasn't interested in dressing her kitty- just herself. She was quite upset that the shoes didn't fit her.

A nice older lady who had just taken the i-phone class at the Apple store took our picture because she was eager to show off her newly acquired picture-taking skills.

After Build-a-Bear we spent the afternoon on Coronado shopping and having dinner.

We went back to Coronado the next day for another absolutely perfect beach day.

It was lovely.

Oh, Coronado, how I love you. Can anyone, by chance, spare a million dollars so that I can buy a house there?

The next day we spent a couple hours at the zoo before we took my mom to the airport. Etta finally got brave enough to pet one of the goats in the petting zoo.

That night we went to the big ESRI event at Balboa Park. The event allowed us free access to all the museums, which was pretty cool. There was a new pirate exhibit the the natural history museum. Etta did not care for the pirates.

Aven wore her Elsa dress to the event and got a lot of attention for it, which she shied away from. She got even more attention once she got this awesome face painting.

On our last day in San Diego we finally managed to get a family photo.

Overall it was a fabulous trip, minus the $1400.00 car repair. I won't miss the hordes of people, but strangely I will miss the drivers, who seemed to be far safer and more courteous than what I am used to in Utah.

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