I’ll be completely honest: I get a little emotional every time I think or talk about this trip. I had been asking Zach if we could go on a family vacation for a few months prior and he planned this trip – without any help from me at all – and it couldn’t have gone better.
We flew from SLC > San Diego on Thursday afternoon and I would cringe each time I would think about the timing before we left. We had to leave for the airport right at the beginning of Sloan’s nap. So I let her skip it – hoping she would get some rest on the flight. She was so amped once it was our time to board she could have cared less who she got on the plane with [thank you kind businessman who humored her].
As if a gift from heaven – we got to ride on a brand new Delta aircraft that had TVs in the headrests complete with boat loads of free movies. Moana and Beauty and the Beast got us on our way. And after she got bored of watching her shows we messed around with Play Doh, which was honestly the hero of the whole flight. She played quietly for the remainder of the trip there.
When we arrived we grabbed our baggage and picked up our rental car. Sloan took a 30 minute nap in the car while we drove to La Jolla and got all checked in at our hotel.
I unpacked all our gear while Zach and Sloan ventured out to the beach. They didn’t waste any time at all.
Zach booked us a beach front room – so the sand was less than 10 feet away from our door! They both got soaking wet and sandy and I ordered food for dinner to our room from one of the hotel restaurants. We put Sloan down to bed, grabbed the baby monitor [I know I am super repetitive…but if you travel with kids you MUST pack your baby monitor] and went out to the beach for our bonfire date. Zach scheduled with the hotel in advance and they set up a beach bonfire for us complete with a s’mores kit! The best part was that they did everything. Hauled the fire pit out to the beach, set us up with chairs and towels, and left the s’mores get-up in our room. All we had to do is walk out a few steps and start up the fire!
The next morning Zach let me run off all my s’mores from the night before with a glorious 4 mile run. The weather was perfect. Meanwhile – Zach and Sloan checked out the park the hotel had in the sand.
Then we all walked over to the pool and swam until lunch time.
I’m not huge on “pool food”. It’s usually chicken strips, nachos, and the like – but they had the most amazing hummus wrap that I could have ordered every single day. Zach was elated to have hamburgers and chicken quesadillas along with Sloan. The food actually surprised us. You never know when you stay somewhere new how the service and food is going to be – and we were all pleased with everything. I was already telling Zach we needed to come back and we hadn’t even left the place yet!
I took Sloan back to the room to nap afterwards and then met Zach out on the sand in front of our door to lounge for a bit. When Sloan woke up we promised her we would build a sand castle – and we really went for it. We built and re-built tower upon tower for 3+ hours!
Afterwards we all showered up and went to dinner at the Shores nearby. All three of our meals were a home run. They had me sold from the second they handed us piping hot bread as we sat down.
After dinner I got Sloan ready for bed and Zach ran to a nearby grocery store for some supplies. Our room had a full kitchen and dining room so we decided to stock up on breakfast food and soda for the remainder of the trip. He also got more s’mores supplies. We had ourselves another bonfire and the weather was even better than the night before.
The next morning I explored the fitness center and had a run barefoot on the beach. It was crazy crowded for 8 in the morning. There were surfers, lots of other runners, a few yoga groups, and tons of families already out scoping their spots. Luckily our place had a private beach – so I zoned in on a spot of our own and had some of the staff set us up some chairs and umbrellas. We decided to go the same route as the day before – pool first, lunch, then beach. Two little girls even shared their pool toys with Sloan and she couldn’t have been more thrilled.
Sloan rarely sits still. At all. But she went so hard at the pool on Saturday that I got a lengthy towel-wrapped cuddle. I was afraid to breathe too deeply in fear she might wiggle away from me.
We had lunch and then took Sloan back to the room for a nap. While she rested Zach played a round of golf and I binge watched Anne with an E on Netflix. I know there are mixed reviews on it – but I LOVED IT [yes, I finished it already thanks to Zach’s late night hockey games] and would recommend it if you are an Anne of Green Gables fan!
When Sloan woke up we hit up the beach. Sloan made some friends – who shared their “hot tub” with her and even some slices of watermelon.
Afterwards we showered up and took a little drive to the San Diego Temple. Sloan kept calling it a “giant castle” and we happened to be walking around the grounds when a beautiful bride walked out of the doors. She kept calling her a princess and waving. It made me feel a little bit guilty about not taking her to Disneyland while we were there. But…we just can’t. Yet.
And because it was so convenient on our drive home – I made Zach stop at Sprinkles for a small box of cupcakes.
We fed Sloan dinner back at the hotel, had one more round of fun on the beach, and then got her tucked into bed. We had dinner plans with just the two of us – which Zach set up. He got us food sent out to the beach where a fancy table was waiting for us – literally 12′ from our room. Grilled chicken, mahi mahi, asparagus, and chips and salsa. Plus drinks and our cupcakes for dessert.
It was the perfect finale to our trip. All three of us were sullen when Sunday morning came. We spent the morning packing up and then grabbed lunch before heading to the airport. Sloan did incredible on the flight home.
She even fell asleep when we were taxing to our gate and stayed asleep until we got in the car to drive home.
When we got home and unpacked, Zach and I were sitting in our bedroom together and had a chance to talk about the weekend. We both agreed it was the best family trip we could have hoped for. I can’t thank him enough (and haven’t stopped since we got home) for all the time and thought he put into the prep for this vacation. Planning a long weekend away with a toddler is never simple – but it was honestly so relaxing and enjoyable. We are honestly going back – hopefully sooner rather than later.