Legoland and San Diego Zoo Safari Park with Lees

On Tuesday, March 29th, we met up with the Lees, who were staying in Carlsbad with Julie’s parents for Spring Break. I’m still loving Legoland and not ready to graduate to Disneyland (though the kids may be). Albert was working, so we were a perfect 8 and I had the pleasure of riding with Olivia, Ellie and Theo. These guys are such cute buddies (especially Ellie and Lucas, who continue to be BFFs at school).

Everything was going great until they demanded to ride the Teacups (why???) and I took one for the team. I wasn’t the same the rest of the day. We went to their hotel at Aviara and ordered out dinner.

We met up with them again on Thursday at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. We were originally going to go to the SD Zoo, but we’ve been there a couple times, so this was a welcome change. It was a little busy, but otherwise was super clean and nice. We spent just the right amount of time there. The weather was also perfect all week (cool and dry).

Not pictured: Albert (although he arrived, someone has to make the sausage). Great times with the Lee Family on Spring Break!

Legoland Never Gets Old

I’m successfully avoiding Disneyland. The kids haven’t yet outgrown Legoland, which still seems manageable to me. This trip, both kids rode all the rollercoasters.

We learned the fine line between “scary” and “thrilling.” I think they get it now. The only thing I coudn’t get out of was the spinny tea cup ride. It almost destroyed me.

The T’Kindts invited us over to their new home in Laguna Niguel for dinner. It was so nice to see them in their new neighborhood. Alex is growing up fast.

Spring Break: Part 1 – Manhattan Beach and LEGOLAND

Up until the Monday of Spring Break, we had planned to take the kids to Tahoe for one last ski trip. They had received some of the best snow of the season a couple weeks prior, so I was hopeful. I watched the conditions closely, as the base eroded by 3-5″ daily. I had a very frank conversation with the ski school, who told me it was “mashed potatoes” by 11am, and that if we wanted the kids to improve, to wait until next year. I appreciated their honesty.

There were options to fly somewhere, but we just wanted to go somewhere warm enough for the kids to swim and be outside. We’ve been meaning to stay in Manhattan Beach for a week (or a month) and see what it’s like to be there, so this was our opportunity. We looked into a house, but staying at Shade right downtown was just as good and allowed us to break up our trip.

On Wednesday morning, we packed and were on the road by about 9:30am. After a couple short stops, we were in Manhattan Beach by mid afternoon, with time to head to the beach before dinner at our usual spot, Rock’n Fish. We had dessert at Manahttan Beach Creamery, and got a call from Theresa and Matt that they were at Shade to meet us. It had been too long since we saw them, and they just happened to be on the way back from LAX so the timing was perfect. Bear was also along for the ride, so we sat outside where only about 10-15 people asked to pet him (Olivia and Lucas were not among them). That dog is a celebrity wherever he goes.

On Thursday, we lazily made our way down to LEGOLAND in Carlsbad. It was a efficient trip and now the kids are old enough to go on many rides by themselves. Olivia has ridden Coastersaurus a couple of times, but for some reason was freaked out by it this time. I somehow convinced her to give the Dragon coaster a try, but by the time we were creeping up the first hill, she was more scared than thrilled. The rest of the visit was less traumatic and we stayed almost until close. We ended up at a nice restaurant in Carlsbad, but Lucas fell asleep at the table before his food arrived. They were both wiped out from a fun day.

On Friday morning, they tried out the hot tub time machine in the room and we headed to the beach while Grace slept in. There’s a particular shot I’m trying to get of the kids, but our timing and the sun weren’t optimal during our times at the beach. We’ll have to wait until next time. We all met up before lunch at Pitfire Pizza. Afterwards, we loaded up the car for the next part of our mini spring break.

LEGOLAND with Feles Family

On Wednesday, July 14th, we started to head down south from LA. We left Grace’s parents’ house in the morning and stopped in Huntington Beach, where Grace had to meet a colleague. Her daughter, Sarah, helped entertain Lucas and Olivia at their neighborhood park while we waited. After lunch together at … wait for it … McDonald’s, we were off to LEGOLAND to meet Melanie, Nick, Sebastian and Eve, who had come to our reunion from Michigan.

We went a little “backwards” around the park (i.e., counter-clockwise). The last time Olivia was at the park in November, she barely passed the 34″ mark, which is generally the minimum height for many of the rides. For the medium rides, the minimum was 36″, which both she and Eve exceeded, thankfully. The first ride was a fairly subdued safari car adventure.

We popped out and the next ride was a roller-coaster and without hesitation, all of us were in line. It was a first for both Eve and Olivia and they both had a thrilling ride. My camera was confiscated before we departed, so I had to rely on the iPhone camera, which I almost lost on the first drop. There was some screaming. Eve and Olivia made some noise, too. I thought we may have peaked the second ride in, but the kids had fun all the way around the park.

The best part was that Eve and Olivia were able to go on some rides by themselves. Can’t wait to bring Sebastian and Lucas back when they can ride some stuff, too. Next year???

LegoLand with the Chais

Our first big adventure in the OC was a trip to LegoLand. It was our first time at a real theme park with the kids. Kate was with us and took Olivia around for a bit while we waited for Linda, Danny and the kids to show up. It was our first time meeting Phoebe Chai – such a cutie. The boys are way big now. When there was a minimum height, it was minimally 34″. Based on my independent measurement, she didn’t scare 34″. I was anxious in every line and sure enough they measured her. They feigned scrutiny and then let her go. She’s going with platform shoes next time. We got passes for the year, so we’ll try to make it down there again.