Saturday, July 13, 2013

Heading West

For this year's vacation we decided to take the boys out west to visit my brother and his family. They make their annual trip to the beach at the same time, so we tried to plan other activities around that in an attempt to give them some space on their vacation while still enjoying their company. It worked out pretty well. We stayed in Anaheim for the first half of the week and visited Disney Land, which for anyone who has taken several trips to Disney World is a little disappointing. Or so the hubby says. I enjoyed our day at the park, with plenty to do but not too much that it became overwhelming, and just enough of a crowd to keep the lines short and the street strolling comfortable. It was a good day, even when the children started punching each other in line. Ah, brotherhood. For the Fourth we headed down to Laguna Beach and had a fun day playing in the sand and surf. Paul learned how to boogie board and John spent the day digging holes. 
The boys both lasted to the firework show (an impressive feat on day 2 of jet lag) but then crashed hard. John fell asleep during the show and Paul on the way home. Carrying their limp, sleep-filled bodies back to the hotel room was no easy feat. During the week we were also able to visit one of my friends from college and her family, and the boys bonded with her husband over Star Wars toys and video games. On our way to my brother's house we stopped at the La Brea tar pits, something I had wanted to see every since my first trip to California back in 1985. We had gone with my grandmother, also a teacher, who wanted to see the tar pits for their educational value. However dad got lost trying to find them and when we finally arrived it was dark and the area was closed. We pulled up to a black fence while he tried to explain how the animals had sunk to their death. The black fence is still there, in addition to a cool museum with an impressive row of dire wolf skulls. I was happy to finally see the big tar lake and other bubbly pits throughout the grounds where, as CJ put it, the Earth is farting.  
The boys had a ton of fun playing with their cousins and swimming in the pool. Both of them improved their swimming skills exponentially, proving that peer pressure can be a wonderful motivator. We also had some fun adventures, like a visit to a tree-climbing park, a day at a kid-centered museum and an adult's night out in Hollywood. The boys' final thoughts: John - "I goed underwater and swimmed like a fish." Paul - "I learned how to swim in the middle of a pool. What?" (Paul's current catch phrase.)