Wednesday, May 8, 2013

CA Adventure

Months and months ago, actually near the beginning of this school year when we chose to study Apologia's Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day (which, by the way, has been an amazing curriculum which we all love!), I wanted to incorporate a Sea World field trip/vacation.  What better time to encourage the honey to take the family to Sea World?  The Finneys, the family we do science with, along with many other things, also agreed to make the trip.

Fast forward eight months or so and the trip had evolved into an extended family vacation that included going to Legoland as well as Sea World; along with a day before and between to hang out at the beach.  Now before you think that we must be rolling in the dough to take our family of six (though Jon really doesn't figure into the equation because he is only two and is given free admission) to two amusement parks let me tell you how well God worked everything out for us:

When originally planning this trip I checked out to see if Sea World offered homeschooler discounts.  They, along with many other parks, museums, etc. have Homeschooling Days with discounted admissions.  Instead of the normal $78 per adult and $70 per child admission, the first Wednesdays of every month homeschoolers are charged only $40 per person with a minimum of 10 people - which was easy: the Finney's five paying person plus our five paying persons made us the perfect size!

As time drew near, somebody mentioned Legoland and the possibility that they also had a homeschooling day.  I checked it out and lo and behold, Legoland has their Homeschooling Days every Monday during the school year for only $21 per person (10 person minimum) instead of the $78 adult and $68 adult fares!

The timing was perfect!!  We decided to arrive in CA on Sunday and hang out at the beach; Monday we would go to Legoland, Tuesday would see another beach day, Wednesday would go to Sea World, and Thursday we would drive home.  We would go to the two parks to have fun, solidify the science that we've been studying all year, for only $61 per person (which is still expensive, but cheaper than going to just one park on a non-homeschooling day)!!!  Super sweet if I do say so myself!

Sunday morning, led by my dad's Garmin GPS, we headed off from Phoenix to our rented cottage in downtown Carlsbad, CA. Although the Garmin led us off the beaten path, we made the best if it by enjoying a stop at Shield's Date Garden to consume a family favorite.

Late in the afternoon we arrived at our little 1950's, two bedroom, 600 - 800 sq ft cottage, 1-1/2 blocks from the beach that we'd seen advertised online at a discounted rate (which we felt blessed to get).  The place was perfect - newly remodeled, clean, etc. with one problem: the bunk beds shown in the online picture, which we thought was a must for putting four kids into one bedroom, were absent.

We called up Michael, the owner/property manager (not sure which) and very cordially explained to him our dilemma.  He said, "No problem", he'd bring over a pad for Livvy to sleep on the floor for the night, but the next day (our Legoland day) he would move all of our stuff for us into a place he thought "we'd be much more comfortable" - a 3,000 sq ft condo just two houses down!  Talk about blessing our socks off (though I'm not quite sure what that really means, aren't socks a good thing?)!!  Anyway, this was not just a 3,000 sq ft condo, this was a no-expenses-spared-upgraded-with-everything kinda condo.  I stood in front of the super nice LG front-loader washing machine (I know, lots of people have these now-a-days, but we don't) for 5 minutes trying to figure out how to do a load of laundry - I finally did figure it out which was a good thing because we ended up needing to do at least one load a day.

Anyway, we had a fantastic time hanging out with the Finneys seeing Legoland, La Jolla Cove and Sea World.  The places were fun in and of themselves, but being there with good friends just made it that much more of a sweeter time.

Here are some highlights:

Let's race!
Amanda and Hannah


Miss Natalie, all tuckered out.

Ben and Nathan
Sammy and Isaac searching for crabs, sea snails and lobsters.

Sitting in the Soak Zone.

And, yes, though the dads might have been a little reluctant, we were the homeschool families that dressed all in the same color - it made it so much nicer to find our kids and for them to find us.