The trip started with a travel day of driving our to California. Will had done a road trip or two that lasted a couple hours, but this would be a full 6 hours of travel not including stops. Will didn't do too bad actually. I had to sit in the back with him, but that was actually great because I was able to sleep and nap on the drive out too. Also using a boppy (or any nursing pillow) as a pillow to sleep on is AMAZING! Even if you don't have kids, but like to sleep on long road trips, this is the best. It wraps around your body and up over your shoulder and stays in place. I might bring this on our next international flight even if we don't have a baby with us.
Also on the subject of baby gear we had to bring along with us, we were still rocking the Honda Civic sedan and knew that this car was already getting too small for us. With Will's carseat in the back, the passenger seat had to be push WAY TO FAR forward for even me to sit comfortably while Aaron drove. But this road trip made it even MORE apparent that we were gonna need more room even with one kid. A beach tent, beach chairs, suit cases, a pack n play, stroller, and a ton of other random stuff was not able to all be crammed into the trunk, so we had to send stuff out with Pat and Laurie in their car too! This trip made it all the more apparent how much we were ready for a family vehicle (read: mini van!)
Will slept on the trip too, which was great and allowed the time to pass quickly.
We got to San Diego and to our beach house and settled in quite nicely. Aaron, Will and I had a big room in the back of the house that had a closet big enough to put Will's pack n play, so he was able to nap in there and it still be dark during the day. We had to buy a little space fan for the closet to make sure there was circulating air, but other than that, it was a perfect set up.
One of the great features of our beach rental was the roof top patio it had, which gave us a pretty great view of the ocean a couple blocks away.
Aaron had woke up early this first day and taken Will out for coffee and a little time at the beach before we all were awake and ready for the day.
When we were all awake for the day, we wasted no time in getting down to the beach! So many photo ops and wanting to freeze moments in time forever! Will LOVED THE BEACH! This is no surprise for our little water baby! He is gonna be so perfect as the years pass and he gets older. Lots of beach trips in our future!
We headed back to the house and relaxed and took a nap! And then Will got lots of snuggles from Grandma and Grandpa
We all went out to dinner that evening at a little restaurant that had live music. The music wasn't that great, but Will was way better entertainment anyways.
The next day started with breakfast and lounging on the front porch in the cool air. Pretty much every morning began this way. It was great having a few extra set of hands around for the week so I got to sleep in a bit while Aaron and his parents (early risers) got some Will time.
The second day we were lazy and went for walks and grocery shopping and hung around the rental house.
Then in the evening we walked around the Oceanside Pier!
So, one of Aaron and my favorite shows is Veronica Mars, which is filmed in and around San Diego. Many years ago because Aaron ever saw Veronica Mars, he actually stayed in the hotel that doubles as Veronica's apartment complex and in past San Diego trips we had spotted other filming sights. When we drove into Oceanside, we realized that the High School that doubled as Neptune High on the show was just a mile away from where we were staying! So Ashley, Aaron and I took a trip down check it out! We quickly realized that there had been significant renovations done on the campus since the show stopped airing years ago, so it was really hard to pick out where everything was or use to be, but we still got a few photo ops.
After our trip to Oceanside High, we headed down to the beach for more ocean time!
That evening we all headed down to Carlsbad for dinner at Pizza Port, which has great beers on tap that Aaron wanted to try. We then walked around Carlsbad for a bit! This is such a nice part of San Diego and some day I would love to stay down here!
One of the highlights of the evening was Will getting to experience sitting in grass for the first time. It is probably sad to think about that, but considering we have no grass at our house yet and it has been way too hot for the last couple of months to really go outside and play in the grass, this was Will's first chance! He loved it! He sat up in it for a little bit (a new trick he was learning) and then fell over and just enjoyed rolling around in it.
The next day was eventful, but it would seem not enough to take pictures. Our family headed down to the harbor village for lunch as our main outing of the day. We decided to walk because it didn't seem that far, but it turns out it was way farther than we anticipated and felt even longer since the walk wasn't very scenic through parts of it. When we got down to the harbor and started to look for places to eat, no one was able to agree or make a decision on where to eat at all. We wandered and wandered and someone would make a suggestion and then we would all debate, but no decision was ever arrived at. The tension started rising (I will say especially for me who had just nursed Will and so was starting to get hangry). Finally we landed in a little fish and chips type place where the food was ok, but after all the debacle of finally getting to lunch, made it not worth it. We then all walked back and had no pictures or even fond memories to show for it. As I look back it was kind of funny and even by that evening it was entertaining. There is always one point in the vacation where the wheels fall off for a bit and everyone kind of gets short with each other and that trip to the harbor village was ours. After all that, Will and I retreated to our room for a nap. While I love family vacations, I have come to realize about myself after a couple years of Mertz family vacations is that I get easily peopled out and need space. I was thankful for Will's nap time as a built in time for me to get a few hours of quiet too.
That evening Aaron and I got to escape after Will's bedtime for a date night! We walked down to Stone Brewery, which had a tap room just a half mile down the road on the Oceanside main street. It was nice to get away and regroup in the middle of the week at how the trip was going and how Will was doing and also just get alone time him and I.
The next morning Aaron and I took Will down to the beach in his PJs and we grabbed coffee at a coffee spot by the pier. I got a cold brew float, which was cold brew coffee and vanilla ice cream and sadly it was not as good as I wanted it to be, but it was a fun drink to try.
I think this all year round, but it becomes especially intense during the summer, that I want so badly to live in Southern California. The misty cool mornings and the warm days, but at temps that are still bearable for us to get out and about, or take in the beach where the cool breeze off the ocean makes everything better.
After our coffee run, we decided to get out on a bit of a historical field trip with Pat and Laurie to a nearby SoCal Mission! There are TONS of missions all up and down the coast of California and Aaron has a dream of being able to visit all of them before he dies. This particular Mission is called St Luis Rey.
We then of course headed back down to the beach for a later afternoon/evening beach sessions before dinner!
We grabbed some to go asian food from the place on the main street of Oceanside and ate at the house and called it a day.
Next morning we were back at the beach for our last full day in Oceanside, CA!
Back at the house, it was time for naps and relaxation for all!
Jess wasn't able to join us for the full week, since we couldn't get the time off work, but he surprised us and Ashley by driving our for the last night! We knew he was coming the whole day, but Ashley was surprised when he walked through the door! It was such a bummer he couldn't be with us for the entire time, but we were so excited to have him with us on the last night! We all went down to the beach to celebrate and take lots of family pictures of us all together.
We headed home the next day and I was not eager to leave. There were perks to the idea of being home, including not living out of a suit case and having my baby in his own room and not just in the closet of our room. However, those perks were far outweighed by the relaxing beach time, gorgeous weather, and so much less stress of vacation.
We all ate breakfast together before parting ways and so Ashley got some sweet Will snuggles.
Then we hit the road! Aaron and I and Will made a lunch stop at Alpine Beer Company for delicious food and hard to find beer selections!
What an incredibly sweet first week long vacation with our little beach bum! I am looking forward to traveling and adventuring more with him in the years to come! I hope any future babies we have are as chill and easy going as he is!