Illuminating Stella

Archive of ‘Vacations’ category

Escondido Vacation

We spent the last week of January in Escondido at the Lawrence Welk Resort. Ultimately to celebrate John’s 40th Birthday and my Sister’s Birthday and spend some time with family and friends. We were delightfully surprised by how nice the resort was, lots of amenities and activities and one of the largest 2 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom Condo’s we’ve ever stayed in. We have overlooked staying here a number of times and I am sorry we did. Our condo had a pretty view of the hillside and surrounding golf course. We had a great pool and recreation/arts and crafts center a short walk away. Not to mention there is a huge pool with a waterslide, splash pad and playground and recreation center in the middle of the resort.

We were a little unpleasantly surprised with a high fever in Stella about 2 hours after arriving Sunday. We treated her with some Motrin and she would really bounce back, until it wore off. We still got to spend some time with our friends, Mike and Michelle and their kids who stayed the first night, the guys made dinner and they hit the pool and jacuzzi.  We all went “fishing” the next day. No fish were harmed, but possibly some ducks got way to much hot dog “bait”…Ha! That afternoon my parents came. We all walked down to a really nice Farmer’s Market, which was very fun. My Mom bought Stella a cute crocheted owl hat she fell in love with. Stella still had a fever on day three, but seemed to be better so we went to the San Diego Safari Park as planned. As the day went on she was pretty low-energy and a bit cranky,  so I was a tad worried all day. Still we had a really great time with my parents and loved showing them what a great place the Safari Park is. The tigers were exquisite, we had a great slow walk thru the whole park and enjoyed a pleasant lunch at a beautiful overlook while Stella napped. The highlight of the day was a Cheetah Meet and Greet, where we were literally feet from the sweetest Cheetah and her Labrador buddy. Very interesting how the Cheetahs are all paired with a dog roommate who is very calming for them. Cheetahs are high-anxiety. I can relate.

That evening my parents left and I thought Stella had turned a corner and the fever had passed, but by ten pm she was blazing hot and panting a bit with her breathing. I called the Nurse Hotline to find out if I should wake her up to give her medicine and they said we should bring her in to be evaluated. So began a huge, dramatic scramble trying to figure out the closest ER and get us all in the car. By the time we got there and saw an admitting nurse, her fever was 104.4. They seemed pretty concerned and got us in right away to a bed. There we tried to get Stella to take some Tylenol orally. At this point she was really anti-medicine and basically, quite dramatically refused over and over, bringing out the best in her parents I may add. Eventually, she got the Tylenol, via another avenue shall we say. So that was fun. They ran tests, x-rays to make sure she did not have pneumonia and basically in the end, decided it was just a very bad cold. Phew!

The next day, Wednesday she pretty much stopped being feverish and seemed pretty back to normal by Friday. Of course by then, we both felt like crud, with a cold. We laid pretty low those days watched lots of movies, I worked a little every day and we did a few short trips to the Carlsbad Outlets and a great little winery called Cordiano in the hills. This place serves pizza, salads and tiramisu with your wine tastings. We just chilled on the patio for awhile and enjoyed a pretty view. Late that night my Sister and family arrived. We celebrated birthdays the next day with a little party and cupcakes and then took the kids to the pool and waterslide. It was chilly and they guys earned a few stripes for bravery swimming in the cold, cold air with the girls. That night we got a sitter and all four of us went out to dinner in Carlsbad. We had a really nice time and the girls were very good for the sitter. It was all great until we were trying to relax and get in some more adult time after dinner and Stella woke up crying that her ear hurt really bad. We could not decide if it was an earache or possibly swimmers ear, but decided to give her some Motrin and assess in the morning. That turned into the most epic meltdown to date. It took about 45 minutes to get her to take the medicine and another hour to go to sleep. In the morning she woke up and never mentioned her ear again. We deliberated all morning, but in the end decided to take the risk and go to Legoland with all the kids. We had been planning this for months.

Legoland was a very impressive amusement park and I would love to take Stella back again. I can’t do it justice with the few pictures we took. Honestly, I just was so tired taking great pictures was the farthest thing from my mind all week. So what we have is sort of random of the trip. We made it till about 4:30pm at Legoland when Stella started to lose her grace (another huge meltdown) and we headed back home to Long Beach. It was kind of a fitting bookend to a roller coaster of a vacation. All in all, we still felt it was a great getaway and really enjoyed pockets of the trip. We would happily go back again, ideally in warm weather so we could enjoy the pools. Ok, here is the photographic evidence of this long-winded travel journal entry.

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Palm Desert Holiday

We recently enjoyed a very peaceful and pleasant week in Palm Desert. The weather was just perfect and each night we were treated to a gorgeous sunset over the golf course that just melted the stress away. I think I’ve decided that the desert mountains views are more relaxing for me than the ocean. Huge revelation. We stayed at Marriott Desert Villas and pretty much spent most of the week on premises. Our unit was a huge two-bedroom with a full-kitchen, living room and two patios. It worked out great as we rotated three sets of friends and family in over the course of the Memorial Day Holiday. We also got in some great visits with friends that live nearby in La Quinta. We made almost every meal, including lots of barbecuing and ate al fresco. After dinner we would walk the golf course and let the kids just play, which they loved. Days were spent mostly at the pool, though I managed to make it to three water exercise classes and once to the gym. Hooray! Stella absolutely loved playing in the pool with friends and cousins and is for sure still a total water baby. We also took the kids to the playground a few times and some activities at the recreation center including a Desert Animal Show they loved, finger painting, kite making and rock climbing. Gotta say this was just a great trip in every way. We told Stella when we hit the road that we were going on holiday and she really embraced the word, though I think she thought it meant our actual suite. But she kept saying how much she loved our holiday, that just made me break a big smile every time.

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Santa Barbara Getaway

We took a fun two day road trip to Santa Barbara this week. The weather was chilly, but absolutely gorgeous coupled with the views. We drove up Tuesday to the Santa Ynez Valley, stopping to get some yummy sandwiches in Santa Barbara at South Coast Deli so we could picnic at the first winery. It ended up being way too cold to eat outside, so we settled for a picnic in the car. This did not detract from Stella’s great enjoyment of her first Banana/Nutella/Peanut Butter Sandwich. If we ever need to bribe the kid in the future, this might do the trick. We stopped at Firestone, Zaca Mesa and Andrew Murray and then went into Los Olivos downtown for a bit. After checking into our hotel we had dinner at the Firestone Brewery. The next morning, New Year’s Eve, we waited for the ice to defrost off our windshield (Brrr!) and headed to the Santa Barbara Zoo.  We had such a nice time at the Zoo, it’s a really beautiful property with ocean, mountain and lagoon views throughout. We especially loved the Giraffes, enjoyed a Dinosaur Story Time and a fun Train Ride around the zoo. There is also a kids playground with a hill that the kids ride cardboard sleds down that was a big hit with Stella.  We look forward to visiting this zoo again. Happy New Year!!!!!!!!!

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