Kenner Family Vaycay 2012: The Early Days

So, basically since our last family vacation, we'd been planning our NEXT family vacation. We were so excited about it because it would be the first one with everyone there--the brothers would be back from missions and it was planned far enough in advance that no one would have to miss out because of work. Plus, we chose to go to Disneyland, and we're all big Disney lovers so it was a total win all around. My parents booked their timeshare, so our lodging was free; they bought our Disney tickets in lieu of Christmas gifts (in fact, all of us decided to mostly forgo Christmas gifts for this trip); so we were responsible for the cost of getting ourselves to CA and any money we spent on food or souvenirs for ourselves. 

Since the parentals abandoned us for greener surroundings in OR (I jest!) we chitlins had to figure out how to get ourselves and our gear to sunny south CA. We wanted to minimize costs, so we jammed ourselves into our van and Stephanie's car. Good thing Cole is an expert packer and car-arranger, because 8 adults and 4 children have a lot of crap stuff! We managed to get it all in and even had a little room to spare! 

We also decided we wanted to leave late in the evening on Friday, Dec. 14. I think the hope was for the little ones to spend most of the car ride sleeping. So, Friday night, we ate a fast dinner together, filled the cars with gas, said a prayer, and hit the road. Since we were driving overnight, we planned on stopping every 3 hours or so to switch drivers, stretch our legs, gas up, and use the facilities. It was also in part to pace ourselves, because we found out (after we made our travel plans, natch) we couldn't check into our rooms until after 3 pm, so there was really no need to rush. The first three hours were fairly uneventful. South of Nephi, though, we drove into a pretty crazy snowstorm. Visibility was pretty bad and I was really glad I wasn't driving. :) We stopped quickly in Scipio (which is named after some distant ancestor of ours, BTW), where it was still precipitating pretty heavily. After stocking up on "stay awake" snacks we headed south once more. Our next stop was in St. George, which is quite a ghost town after 1 AM. We hit Las Vegas sometime after 3 (and after changing time zones) and took a little detour up the strip. Las Vegas at 3 AM could not have been more different than St. George! Apparently it really is a city that never sleeps. Cole geeked out at all of the hotels, we stopped for a quick potty break, then I took a turn driving.


Cole rarely lets me drive on road trips. I don't think it's that he doesn't trust me; he just really likes driving for long periods of time. Usually I'm happy to let him do it because I'm absolutely NOT a fan of driving long distances, but I took my turn so Cole could try and get a little rest. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Matthew woke up and was NOT THRILLED at still being in his car seat, so Cole...*ahem*...(avert your eyes if you are a member of law enforcement) took him out of the car seat and snuggled him back to sleep. This worked for a little while, but unfortunately, Matthew needed me. We switched back so I could nurse Matthew, who promptly fell back asleep and went back into his car seat with no trouble. I got to drive over the pass just before the NV-CA state line, though, and it was snowing a bit. It was almost comical how serious everyone was about a tiny bit of snow--it wasn't even sticking to the road! They had snowplows out and everyone was going about 30 MPH...

Our next stop was in Barstow. I remembered from our last trip to Disneyland (six years before!) there was a McDonald's that looks like a train, and I figured our boys would go crazy over it. We got there around 6 AM, and it was COLD outside. We headed inside the "train" for some breakfast, and our choice paid off: the boys went crazy! For some reason, though, the workers told us they didn't turn the heat on in the section where we were sitting until later, and they told us we could go sit in another area where there was heat. Unfortunately, that area didn't have any lights on. So, we could sit in the cold, or in the dark. Their explanantion didn't make any sense whatsoever.
Kyle, Lucas, and their cousin, Jack--breakfast buddies
After a quick breakfast we got back in the car for our LAST stretch. We were on schedule to get to our destination around 10 AM, which would give us around 5 hours to kill before we could check into the resort. Mom and Dad were a few hours behind us, so we decided to head to the beach to kill a few hours. We chose Huntington Beach, and it was beautiful! It was still on the chilly side, but that didn't stop the boys from playing in the sand and wading into the ocean.

Cole was a pretty good sport about being buried in the sand.
The boys thought it was awesome.

Even Matthew got some time in the sand. He didn't even try to eat
very much! :)

After hanging out on the beach for a while, we took a stroll up the pier.

The fam at the end of the pier
This crazy pelican was just sitting on that little perch. We actually
got pretty close to him...he must be used to spectators

Then, we walked over to Jamba Juice for some refreshment.

So, funny story about this dog. We were sitting outside Jamba Juice and this guy parks his bike and goes inside. A few minutes later, a different guy came up and tied his dog to the first guy's bike! We thought this was absolutely hilarious--who ties their dog to someone else's bike?!? Turns out the guys knew each other, but we were already too far gone. That's what sleep deprivation and 12 hours in a car does to you, folks.

After we had our fill of the beach, we decided to head towards the resort, just in case there was a small chance we could check in early (PS: my sister-in-law is incredibly persuasive...and I mean that in the nicest way possible. She is not mean by any stretch of the imagination--she's just assertive and convincing, and I'm pretty sure the whole world would do what she wanted if she asked it to). The nice front desk people gave us a key to the clubhouse and pool area so we could at least have somewhere to hang out until check-in. Shortly after that, my parents arrived, we checked into our rooms, and got comfortable. Most people took naps; I went to the grocery store with my parents to stock up on food for the week. After a late dinner, we hit the sack.

The next day was Sunday. My dad found a ward that started at 11 and we attended Sacrament Meeting. My parents and a couple of my siblings stayed for the entire block, but our kids were in serious need of a nap (and, come to think of it, so were we) so we headed back to our rooms to rest. We borrowed a movie from the resort front desk, so we had popcorn movie night (a Kenner family tradition) and took it easy that evening...because on the morrow...


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