Monday, September 5, 2011

Camp Pendleton! And finally, almost, San Degeigo!

This is the sign that you see as you drive into the gates of Camp Pendleton.I had decided that it was important to go there as soon as we chose to make San Diego our vacation destination this year. Two years ago, my Dad and I were talking about taking a trip to San Diego. He was itching to go back. He was stationed at Camp Pendleton while he served in the Marines. He fell in love with it there. He moved back to Arkansas when he was finished with the Marines, but San Diego and Camp Pendleton always held a special place in his heart. He would tell me stories of being in boot camp, the clean ones, and going to the beach, going to the crab shacks, just everything. I loved watching his face and his eyes when he talked about it. He was transported back to that happy time, albeit one of the most physically demanding and brutal times, in his life. We made plans to go. We talked about going to so many places that he remembered, taking the harbor cruise, deep sea fishing.
We had Plans.
But, Heavenly Father had different plans. Still really need some clarity on the "why's" of that.
It was important for me to go.
I had to go.
I was going.
As you pull up to the base, it funnels you into the different groups.
We were in the visitor group and stopped to speak with the on-duty Marine that was in charge of our lane. That pretty much did it.
I was starting on my emotional roller coaster.
Seeing this man in his fatigues, with his buzz cut, and his proper manners, sent my mind's eye to the photo I have of my dad while he was in the Marines.
He was thin, best shape of his life, and sporting his High and Tight. Handsome. I see my eyes when I see that photo. He always said it was like looking in a mirror when he looked at me. Hopefully he wasn't hinting that I, too, had a 5 o'clock shadow. 
 We drove through the gates and started driving through their little Camp Pendleton town. It was amazing. I was seeing things that my dad saw. I could almost feel him with us as we drove. The kids were stone silent. They were watching the Marines, their families, and everything else all around them, but they never asked a question and they never said a word. For whatever reason, the veil felt very thin to me there in the van as we drove. I spoke to my dad in my mind and it helped.
We drove around a bit more and then popped out at Oceanside. My dad hung out there on the beach a lot. We drove down and that was the first time the kids saw the ocean. It was almost magical. They were elated. The long drive had finally paid off!
We. Were. Here!
There weren't very many people on the beach that day, despite the perfect day. The kids ran into the ocean, dove into the sand, and chased the seagulls.
This was my time to sit, watch the ocean, reflect, remember, and speak to my Dad, and my Father in Heaven. What a blessing I had been given! We stayed in Oceanside for the rest of that day exploring, playing, and watching.
I was in awe.
This is the sign you see as you leave. I totally missed the beautiful sign that they had at the entrance because

of my fixation on the Marine.

Not much Laboring on Labor Day

What a day we've had today!  I absolutely love it when Cary is off work and can spend the day with us. It's my favorite thing. I woke up this morning too early for sane people and could not go back to sleep. I was terribly bummed because it was the one day that I could actually sleep in. And, what happens? Ridiculousness, that's what. I was stuffy and achy and knew that I  had the beginnings of what should be classified as class 4 pneumonia, if there were such a thing. I sucked it up and decided that I was not going to let it ruin our fun family day. I know, I know, a selfless trooper, right? Pffft. I just didn't want to be couped up in the bedroom while everyone else was out having fun. :)

We decided to have a family vote as to where we would go. Pretty much everyone wanted to go to a different place, and it was slow pickins at first. Cary and I really wanted to go to 7peaks, alas none of the kidlets really wanted to go. We  decided to go to Lehi Trafalga first. I had some super good deals that I scored a while back and decided to use them today. Free Food! Sweet!
   I completely spaced the camera, so no photos. Boo! We ate, laser tagged, carouseled, airplaned, video-gamed, and rode our hearts silly.
 Then we decided to hit the outdoor pool here in Lehi. It was cloudy, windy, and about 78 degrees, but it was perfect. There were about 3 families there (including ours), so we had the run of the place.
We closed the place down and I was honestly sad to leave. We have had a lot of fun there this summer and I'm always sad when things change. I am not a lover of change. at all.
 We came home and got all showered and changed, but my darling of darlings decided to make us a little canyon cook-out in our back yard. (I was itching to go to the canyon today, but no one else really wanted to go)
He put out the grill,. got out our cooking sticks (really, what are those things called?) and got everything ready. We all went out and cooked our hot dogs and roasted our marshmallows.
It. Was. Perfect.
I love that man.
The kids had a blast and we had a lovely family home evening under the stars, surrounded by giggles, sticky faces, and cuddles.
Best Labor Day Ever.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

San Degeigo, Part Deux

So we stayed in Primm for two nights. Seriously, what was I thinking? Oh, that's right! I was thinking a $29 room with a $20 food credit on each room, each night!  It ended up that we paid $40 for both rooms for two nights and received $80 in food credits. *insert raise the roof dance here*
   I should state for the record that I am incredibly frugal. That's what allows this family of 7 to be able to go to San Diego for a week with minimal worries. I think the boys are finally getting it. Budgets are good, people! Before the trip I made each of us a "goody bag" filled with a myriad of treats. There were no rules about how or when you could eat what your bag contained, but once it was gone---it was gone. I was pretty proud of the kids, not one of them snarfed it all down before we hit Orem! Progress! All the rubbish went inside said paper bag, so when we stopped and their bag was empty they simply chucked it in the rubbish bin! I had also filled the coolers with capri suns, waters, drinks for Cary, and milk. I bought cereal when it was super cheap at Smith's, and that is what the kids had for breakfast! Cary and I aren't so much the breakfast eaters. The kids thought it was fabulous because I had the super sugary, chocolate-y, unhealthy cereal that they don't usually get at home. Again, Success!
While in Vegas/Primm we were able to visit with Sarah and do a little sight-seeing. The strip is not a place I wanted to take my kids (day or night), so we stayed away for the most part. Our hotel had roller coasters, games for kids, and other small rides. The next day we were there it was all FREE! An added bonus that I hadn't anticipated! Cary rode with all the big kids, while Bugga and I sat and watched them. I'm not so much a heights person and was perfectly content to watch the others scream like girls as the roller coaster did the loop de' loops. The kids loved it, so they said, after the fact. :)

We left Primm and headed out on the short, comparably, trip to San Diego. We stopped in Baker, California because they have this Alien store, complete with a space shuttle AND Alien Jerky. Yep, we bought some. They have quite the selection of jerky. We bought garlic rosemary and something else. So Yum. We also bought Habanero Pistachios. So flipping hot, but yum!  This is where all of these photos come from.....

This is a thermometer. The largest in the world, so the sign says. It was like 114 that day. Yuck!

I know, I know...What about the San Diego part of the trip?! It's coming up! Promise! :)