I’m so excited to tell you about our beach trip to Carlsbad, California…mostly because it happened way back in April! That should be a testament to the roller coaster of life right there- time just keeps on rolling by. We really looked forward to the trip because it had been roughly a year since we’d done any kind of big vacation. A whole year! I was out of practice with what to pack for our little family and had some apprehension about how Oden would do on the flight. Being 2 years old, our big boy would have his own seat on the plane. In preparation, I got him his own set of luggage and a lightweight travel stroller, loaded up his rarely-used tablet with games and Sesame Street, and packed his little backpack with toys. Predictably, this Cali girl was looking forward to some sunshine and sand in my toes. What I didn’t expect was a killer ocean view, fields of glorious flowers, and time with rarely-seen family and dear friends. Read on!
Oden traveled quite a bit in his first year, but as any parent knows, there’s a big difference between an immobile baby and a rambunctious toddler. I never wish for Oden to be a TV/movie-watching child except when we travel. He’s a busy little guy who isn’t interested in settling in for a show. Other than a 20-minute scream-crying situation (probably due to his ears popping), he did pretty well on the flight. He loved carrying his own backpack and toting around his suitcase, too!
My folks were already hanging out at our condo when we arrived. Take-out food was on the way. We settled in, enjoyed some burgers, and hoped Oden would sleep well in his pack-n-play right next to our bed. Our ground-level room was pretty loud until close to 10pm with excited kids running back and forth to the nearby kid’s pool. In the morning, we all took a stroll around the property and checked out the unexpected views of the Carlsbad Flower Fields. Acres of colorful ranunculus flowers grow adjacent to the resort with the Pacific Ocean just beyond. We stopped to take a few selfies. In true fashion, my mom spotted a “room with a view” being cleaned and decided it couldn’t hurt to ask the front desk if it was available. Before we knew it, we were moving rooms- not to the condo she’d seen but to a third-level vaulted-ceiling gem! The space was an absolute upgrade and the views were fantastic! Mom does it again!
In our week of Cali time, we had a good balance of activities and just laying low together as a family. We made dinners, taking advantage of the grills right below our condo. We visited the pools, one just for kids and families and one for adults only. Oden couldn’t get enough of 1-2-JUMP! John, Oden and I visited the Museum of Making Music which was just up the street. We explored the pier, watching surfers and munching on burgers. We searched for the bunnies that came out every evening around sunset. We enjoyed the complimentary happy hours offered by the resort each evening, snacking on cookies or chips and salsa and sipping margaritas or sangria. We soaked in that flower-ocean view daily from our patio, waving at the people taking wagon tours through the fields. We napped in the afternoons and played cards after dinner. Sometimes, it’s the downtime that really counts on a trip.
We had a lot of visitors while we were in San Diego, which was wonderful! My mom’s dear friends, Sue and Janet, came for a day of laughter and possible debauchery. My sister-in-law and nephew came to swim and play. My aunt and uncle came by for appetizers and dinner out. And my best friend since the 4th grade drove from north of LA to get lots of Oden time!
In addition to laying by the pool with nachos and drinks and snuggling Oden, Amanda joined us on a visit to the flower fields. While the view of the flowers from our deck was simply stunning, it didn’t compare to being right down there IN them. Thousands of vibrant ranunculus! We took a tractor ride and shared ice cream cones and soaked in the Auntie time. Old friends are the best friends.
Probably my favorite times during the trip were our visits to the beach. I grew up with great memories of beach days. Amanda and I would leave school after our last class ended and drive to the beach. There’s nothing like the feeling of cool sand between my toes, the repetitive and soothing sound of the waves, or the salty smell of the ocean. I was in heaven being on the beach with my family, watching Oden and John building sand castles and watching surfers and combing the shoreline for seashells.
Making memories with Oden means everything to me. These are the moments about family trips that I never want to forget. But as with any extended trip with a little one, by the time it was over, we were ready for home and our familiar routine (not to mention a separate bedroom from the toddler!). The flight home was easier for Oden, which made saying goodbye to my folks and returning to chilly April Utah weather more bearable. On the flight, we recapped our favorite parts of the week. It was so refreshing to get away from reality for a week, and John asked, “What’s our next trip?”
Let the summer adventures continue!
Bit by the travel bug? See more of our escapes HERE!
One year ago: Summertime wildflowers in June.