Here we go again but this time with last week's photos like it should be. It was a great week. We have been on vacation and have enjoyed a lot of family fun together which we all needed. It's not exactly my favorite type of vacation--long lines in crowded amusement parks. I'd rather be on a tropical island or exploring a new country but the kids sure loved it with all the wild thrill rides and excitement. We were also able to bond and connect while stuck together in those long lines so all-in-all I'd say it was a successful vacation and one the kids will never forget.
Here's a look at how we spent our days last week:
Universal Studios was at the top of Brandon's list. He really wanted to see the new Harry Potter world and I'm glad we didn't have to go to Florida to make that happen. The village with all the shops were so detailed and looked like fun to go through but it was extremely crowded so we didn't really get to see much. Brandon did get his wand though and was quite skilled at casting spells through the village to make magical things happen. He made those lights behind him light up in the window and was so proud. He shares his birthday with Harry Potter so he's quite fond of all thing related. Thankfully some of the other areas in the park weren't as crowded so we also enjoyed a lot of other fun rides and the studio tour of course.
First thing this morning was dropping Tyler of at UCLA for his 3-day orientation. We'll join him on Thursday for the family portion so in the meantime the rest of us continued to have fun. We took a Warner Bros. Studio Tour that was by appointment so not crowded at all which was a great treat after 3 days of fighting the masses. Then we headed to the coast and checked in at Santa Monica Pier. Time to slow things down a bit and relax more.
We spent most the day at the beach and enjoyed the ocean waves and sea breeze before heading inland to Westwood which is UCLA's college town. We had time to kill before checking into our hotel so we hit up Diddy Riese--the go-to ice-cream and cookie sandwich shop. They are to die for and really reasonably priced which the student's love. Later John met up with an ex co-worker for dinner so the younger boys and I took in a movie at one of Westwood's legendary theaters. They often have movie premiers with the stars and red carpet here since Hollywood is so close. Pretty cool.
Everyone spent the day on the UCLA campus for family orientation. It really is a beautiful campus with amazing architecture and so many fun traditions. We learned a lot, saw a lot, and even got our oldest back. Tyler was "Bruintized" at the inverted fountain, has his class list for fall quarter, bought a new hat, and even got his official Bruin Card and UCLA email address. How is this happening so fast? At least with the quarter system they have a later start date so we still have a couple months before moving him in.
One last day of fun since we're all back together again. This time it's at Knott's Berry Farm for some serious fast and huge coasters. Justin was in heaven. It was also another crowded and hot day but we still had a good time. For dinner there was a cool tribute to rock restaurant across the street from our hotel that was fun to eat at. It was a good way to end our trip. Tomorrow we head home.
Our plan was to get an early start to avoid LA traffic getting out of town, and we did that but then we hit something in the road that blew our tire so we lost all our progress. At least we broke down close to Bakersfield where there was quick AAA service close by. They had us back on the road in less than an hour. We still made it home around midday which was great because I got a jump start on the dreaded vacation laundry.
Today it's back to normal routines which the pets are really happy about. I missed my pup and was happy to volunteer to be the one to walk her this evening.
Wait! One more:
July's Family Photo
One of the better family shots on our trip where someone took our picture instead of us trying to get a decent selfie ;0) It's been 8 years since we were last at Disney and I gotta say it was a lot more fun with the kids being older.
Ok- all done. We really did have a good time but are also happy to be home. Only 4 weeks until the younger 2 head back to school and we plan to continue to make the most of those weeks.