The Word “Vacation” Does Not Necessarily Mean “Relaxation”

So we went on vacation. I did not, for one moment, let myself believe it was going to be a relaxing vacation. I was right. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun though.

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Shuttle ride to the airport. Zoey’s first “bus ride” thrilled her.

We left on Wednesday afternoon, only to hit our first speed bump before we ever even left the state. “Flight Delayed.” Awesome. We finally landed in Los Angeles around 9:15pm. The rental car agency was supposed to close at 9pm but, after some desperate and frequent frantic phone calls from me, they stayed open until 10:30pm to get us our van. That is some seriously stellar customer service, people. If you ever need a rental van in LA, let me know. I can send you to an awesome company.

So we got to our (lame, somewhat dirty, won’t be staying there again) hotel and basically passed out. Well, Zach, Zoey and Eleanor passed out. I was awake a good part of the night because Eleanor would only stay asleep while nursing from me or cuddled up against me. Since we were all in one big bed together, I was somewhat nervous that Zoey might roll over on Eleanor in the night, so I had to keep myself in a rather uncomfortable position to protect the baby. Not conducive to great sleep.

The next morning we headed to downtown LA, hit up a Target for babyfood and snacks, and then made our way to the University of Southern California to meet up with the rest of Zach’s family. The whole purpose of the trip was that Zach’s youngest sister was graduating from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts with a major in animation.

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Cousins, playing together in Auntie’s animation workspace.

We spent the next two nights at the beautiful, historic Biltmore Hotel with the entire Clegg family.

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Checking out the swanky digs at the Biltmore. Zoey approved.

Besides us there is Zach’s older sister and her husband and four kids (aged 7, 5, 2 and 6 months), Zach’s next younger sister with her husband and baby (6 months, born the same day as his cousin!), the next younger sister and her boyfriend (she just graduated with her master’s from VCU!), Zach’s youngest sister who was graduating and Zach’s parents. That is a lot of people, ya’ll. A lot of people and a lot of kids to try to get organized, agree on restaurants, activites, etc and then transport to those places in a timely manner.

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Waiting for her crepe for breakfast.

So, we spent two days in LA, saw the graduation ceremony (which featured lots of well known directors and producers as speakers), toured the school, ate at some good restaurants, saw a bit of Hollywood, the Walk of Fame and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and swam in the hotel pool. Needless to say, we were keeping up a fast pace. Unfortunately, not having her “sensory deprivation chamber” (i.e. bedroom), Zoey did not nap the entire time. Which made coping really hard for her. There were some definite meltdowns, although I managed to keep them mostly maintained. Eleanor was also missing out on a lot of sleep, but would at least take brief naps on our backs in the Ergo baby carrier.

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A nice mural, near Hollywood Boulevard.

On Saturday we spent the day at the beautiful Santa Monica Pier. Zoey loved getting to build sandcastles and play with her cousins, especially after days of being confined in airports, on planes, in vans, in strollers, in auditoriums…you get the idea. She was very happy to be able to run about a bit. Eleanor was also delighted with the sand and really enjoyed demolishing the sandcastles her sister and cousins had built.

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Building – and demolishing – sandcastles.

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Saturday night we stayed at a hotel in Torrance so that we could have breakfast the next morning with my Grandma and Uncle and Aunt. It was the first time my Grandma got to meet Eleanor (who looks a lot like my mom, her daughter) so that was pretty special for me.

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Eleanor meeting Great-Grandma Dorothy

We took a walk by a little man-made stream near her assisted living center and saw two mommy ducks with their ducklings, which was really fun for all of us, especially Zoey. Then it was back to LAX for a flight home (which, again, was somewhat delayed, but by less than half an hour this time).

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We did a lot in only four days. We’re now trying to recover from some serious lack of sleep and a bit too much sunshine (I’m forbidden from sharing the pictures of Zach’s sunburn but, let me tell you, it’s quite funny). It’s always nice to see Zach’s family – his sisters are especially fun and great to spend time with – but I do also enjoy coming back to my calm, quiet(er), rainy, gray Seattle home.

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Having a blast playing in the back of the rental van. We gotta get one of these.

7 thoughts on “The Word “Vacation” Does Not Necessarily Mean “Relaxation”

  1. Aw! Your eyes light up your whole face when you smile. Probably old news to you, but I didn’t know that until just now. Glad you had a great time. I often tell my hubby the thing I appreciate the most about vacations (aside from seeing new and amazing things) is it reminds how special “our mundane” is. ;oD Happy return home! Congrats to the recent grad!

  2. That looks like an amazing time! And you know what they say…

    You know you’re a mom when a trip to the grocery alone sounds like a vacation and a vacation sounds like work!

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