August 3, 2011

(mis)adventures in san diego.

John had a teaching workshop in San Diego, so we thought it would be great fun to tag along and go to Sea World. (To my fb friends, I will post my pics soon and you can have the cliffnote version).

Mom said she could join us. We were thrilled. I got the boys all amped up showing them photos online before we went.

The night before, we drove to La Quinta hotel in San Diego.

At the hotel that night, I feverishly packed enough food and snacks to feed an army of boys.

I smiled as I drifted off to sleep.

At around 1 or 2 in the morning, I was startled to hear my cell ringing. It was mom, from a few doors down. This did not sound good.

"What's wrong?" I answered the phone urgently.

"I'm really sick", mom answered. "I think I am allergic to the cough medicine I took". She sounded terrible.

"Should I call 911?" I asked.

"No", she replied.

"Ok, I'm coming over. I'm taking you to the ER." I frantically threw on some clothes and rushed to meet my mom, who looked really, really sick. I had never seen her condition this bad. I was nervous. John stayed with the boys while we rushed downstairs to get directions to the nearest ER.

As I backed my van out of the ridiculously narrow parking lot, I heard a 'thud'. I backed into a truck. No time to worry about that now.

I pulled out of the parking lot and we tried to figure out the directions. One thing you must know--Mom and I are completely direction deficit. Like utterly hopeless. It was dark, we were in a new place and we were in somewhat of an emergency. Not a good combination.

We passed a policeman and asked for his assistance with our directions. After looking at mom, he suggested calling an ambulance for us. Since it was dark and we had no idea where we was going...and the fact that mom was so very sick...we decided it would be wise to take his advice. We waited a while before the ambulance arrived.

I followed the ambulance in my van. I could not believe the turn of events for this night. I felt a nervous knot form in the pit of my stomach, as I saw mom's head through the back window of the ambulance. At the same time, I felt the Lord's peace come over me. If mom's condition took a drastic turn for the worse, I knew she would be flying with Jesus. And this, my friends, is the most comforting thought in the entire world.

I waited for mom in the waiting room for a bit. Had some crazy thoughts and "what ifs", and then I was allowed back to see her. "The worst is over!", mom declared. She talked a mile a minute and I knew she was gonna be ok. Just an allergic reaction to the cough syrup. SO relieved. And so very, very thankful to get out of there.

Back in the van, we tried to 'backtrack' to the hotel. Our hotel was only 11 minutes away from the ER.

As we were trying to turn onto the right freeway, a peculiar scene unfolded in front of my eyes. A car kind of "bumped" some crazy pedestrian, who was riding his skateboard in the middle of the freeway on-ramp, in the middle of the night. The car sped off and the crazy skater started screaming obscenities and waving his fists wildly in the air. He then started charging at us, ready to fight. Shaken, I drove away from him, onto the wrong freeway and we called 911 to report the incident.

We tried to get off this "wrong" freeway, but this led us to another wrong freeway. Every turn made things worse. Every time we thought we were making progress ...we were actually driving further away. By now I was deliriously tired. We were LOST LOST LOST. I don't even think the most advanced GPS system in the world could have helped us. We needed a personal escort, waving us through with flags. Yes, we are that hopeless.

I started to despair. We were never going to get back to our hotel. After driving for over an hour and a half, we finally happened upon a different La Quinta in Chula Vista. An old lady let us in and gave us new directions back to our La Quinta. We finally were back on track.

The sun started to rise and we hit early rush hour traffic, for crying out loud in a bucket. We finally made it back to our hotel. I tried to park in the narrow parking lot, and almost hit another car. This was getting kind of ridiculous. Mom tried to guide me in, passed poles and huge vehicles, but to no avail. After 30 minutes of this complete nonsense we parked on the side of the street.

Our little "11 minute" trip home took over 2 hours, wow.

We slept for a little bit and then the boys were up, bouncing off the walls. Have mercy.

I was beat. No way in the world we were going to Sea World in this condition. We'd just have to go tomorrow. Mom was doing much better and we brought the boys to the complimentary breakfast downstairs. It was jam packed. Lots of grumpy people all competing over some waffle makers. And there were no eggs at this joint. We need our christian eggs! Well, after dodging people right and left, we were finally done with breakfast and we headed back to our room.

The boys were restless and kept getting into trouble. This was gonna be a loooong day. John called and suggested we go to Sea World anyway. At first I protested, but as I saw the boys flopping all over the floor, I quickly changed my mind and declared, "We are going to Sea World after all!!!!"

YAY! Back to excitement! By some miracle, we drove to Sea World without getting lost. The parking lot was crowded and we were herded like cattle to the entrance. Once inside, the park, I felt my heart sink a bit.

It was mobbed. It appeared that the rest of the world decided to join us at Sea World that day. Who could blame them? San Diego has beautiful weather and so much to do.

We tried to make our way to the Dolphin show. We kept bumping into people. As we made our way up to the line, it felt like we were in a stampede. I inadvertently felt myself getting 'caught up' in the rat race of the mob mentality. Hurry, hurry. Angry stressed out people were starting to trample around us. As we reached the front of the line, the worker pulled out a rope, blocking us from entering. "Sorry, but this show is filled to maximum capacity!" People started shouting ..."But our kids are up there, we must go!"

We high-tailed it out of there. Yikes!

We decided to try the Shamu show instead. We had time. It was not going to start for over an hour.

We weaved our way through traffic to the other end of the park. Along the way, we passed many obnoxious day campers chanting "Everywhere we go-o. People want to know-o...who we we tell them..."


"I said a Boom Chicka Boom... I said a Boom Chick Boom. I said a Boom Chicka Rocka Chicka Rocka Chicka Boom..."

Kill me. Now.

We finally reached the Shamu stadium. We still had an hour before the show would start. As we made our way to the front, the loud speaker came on. "The Shamu show is filled to maximum capacity!"

By now, I am a puddle on the floor. This was just brutal. We had been in the park for over an hour and had seen absolutely...nothing. All that hype to the boys over nothing.

Mom and I both consoled ourselves by the fact that were were not missing much in this crazy world. We were simple people that enjoyed hanging out on our porch swings visiting with our loved ones. This was just not going to be 'our day'. Once I came to terms with this, I had a much calmer outlook.

We leisurely made our way to the Sea Otter show, and sat in the nose-bleed section. It was really cute and we ate our lunch while watching.

I have no photos of the first part of the day. We were too busy just trying to keep the boys alive. Turns out 4 little boys at Sea World was a lot of work. Especially with one newly potty-trained boy. We needed John, but he was at the workshop til 5 o'clock.

It was approaching 3 o'clock in the afternoon. The final Shamu show started at 5 o'clock. Hmm...We were NOT going to miss this show if I could help it! We did not drive all the way down to San Diego to miss Shamu.

We decided to get to the Shamu show TWO HOURS EARLY. Oh my. A little embarassed to admit, we were the only ones in line at this point.

While waiting, we got some ice cream...did our potty business...people starting trickling in...

Waiting...waiting..It was almost time for them to let us into the stadium.

Then Ollie had to go potty again. Sigh. My mom scurried him off to do his business, bless her heart. As we waited for them to get back, the line started getting slightly mob-ish again. Mom and Ollie got back, just in the nick of time, so we could all be seated together.

And here we are, waiting {half an hour} for our big show to begin!



More waiting. At least I finally got my camera out!

Someone came on the load speaker and asked all members of the military to stand, so we could honor their service. I felt a bit teary-eyed. My brother-in-law Steve is in the Air Force and I am so very proud of him.

And...{{{drumroll}}}...making a grand entrance...

Here she is folks!!!! Oh, she was spectacular!

Giddy with joy upon meeting our new friend.

Sea World really knows how to put on a highly dramatic and captivating show.

The boys were spell bound. Finn did not move an inch. He sat glued to his camera.

We were completely enamored.

I don't think I've ever seen Finn so dreamy-eyed.

The breath-taking dramatic finale.

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Huge splash and the crowd goes wild!

Shamu, you knocked our socks off. You were worth every single minute of waiting and aggravation throughout the day. This was what we came here for, and you delivered beyond our expectations!

After that spectacular performance, we did not want to leave Shamu, so we followed her to the underground viewing tank.

We stayed here, mesmerized, for quite a while.

After an hour or so, it was time to eat dinner. We had our own version of "dining with Shamu" that involved pb&j. We be fancy.

The park emptied out quite a bit, which was really nice. Unfortunately, we forgot about the last Dolphin show of the night. We caught part of it from the back entrance.

I really regret that we did not get there a bit sooner, because it too, looked spectacular. The music was JUST beautiful. It was kind of circus-like, with trainers diving into the water and coming up on dolphins. They even had doves flying overhead.

We visited as many animals as possible.

While in the dark cavernous Shark Encounter exhibit, the strangest thing happened. This little clownfish came right up to Ollie, poked its head out of the water and did some fishy-mouth action right at him. They locked eyes and bonded. Seriously it was so bizarre. And precious.
Ollie was on Cloud 9. After all, this was why he came to Sea World. To find Nemo. Nevermind Shamu.

By 7 o'clock, John tried to join us. They wanted to charge him $70 to get in. He declined, but graciously took the 2 younger boys off our hands so we could run wild with Finn and Calvin.

Mom and I ate the most delicious(and affordable!) dinner at the Calypso and the boys and I went on all sorts of little rides. We stayed til the closing fireworks at 10pm, which were also spectacular. Seriously, these people really know how to put on a show! The day ended very well indeed!

The next day we went to Coronado Island. While driving, the boys were fighting so viciously, that I had to get out and sit between them while mom drove. (We are currently dealing with some ongoing fighting that has been making life miserable, and so John and I agreed to get very tough on the boys til we get the upper hand on their disobedience). Anyhow, Coronado was swamped yet beautiful and we did not last long due to an aggressive seagull that terrified Ollie:{

Back at the hotel, Ollie jumped off the bed and busted his lip open and there was blood everywhere, including the walls. I just kind of looked at him like "Ollie, why'd ya do that? You are getting blood everywhere!" No teeth were bashed in and he did not look like he needed stitches. I was relieved not to visit the ER again.

The last morning we were there, the breakfast room was jam-packed as usual. We were getting used to our routine of competing for the waffle makers. A man and his little daughter were waiting in line. He let my mom go ahead of him, because he was making 2 waffles and mom was just making one. This simple action pretty much blew me away and struck me to the core. This dad could have pushed his way around the busy room, but he didn't. Instead he chose to think of someone else besides himself. I had been so bent on getting my boys fed, I hardly even thought of anyone else. And that is a miserable place to be. Anytime you are so focused on yourself and your own needs, things are bound to be disappointing. At church this Sunday our pastor preached on 1 Peter 3. In verse 9, we learned that we are called to be a blessing to others, so that we could inherit a blessing. I sure could have used this reminder before our San Diego trip. But it's never too late to turn things around. Each day is new with a fresh chance to get it right. Praise God!

In sum, our trip was as rough as it was amazing. Through all our hardships, mom and I laughed a lot. Because if you don't laugh, you will cry. In fact, we laughed so hard my side hurt. It certainly was one of our more memorable trips!