Ponds go to Cali.

TJ and I loooove Southern California, especially San Diego. After going for our anniversary last year, we decided we should try to go every year. We also decided it would be fun to invite my family to go with us. Well, we started planning a few months ago. We chose Memorial Day weekend, because I would only have to use vacation time for one day, and it was right after Kyndra's high school graduation.

I don't mean to sound dramatic, but it was doomed from the start.

First, I had something come up last minute at work. It was partially my fault and might have been avoided, but partially not. Basically, I felt like I was in a dream trying to get it done and not being able to. Things kept going wrong, and we ended up leaving two hours later than planned. Kyndra's graduation was at 7, so we would still be able to make it, but we'd miss dinner at Red Robin.

Strike 1: We love Red Robin and we don't have one in town. TJ was very bummed about missing out.

So we're on our merry, already stressed-out way, and we realize something after driving for about 45 minutes. We forgot the backpack that included my nice camera, TJ's brand-new video camera that I got him for his birthday and he'd been looking forward to using on the trip, and TJ's laptop which we were going to use to watch Netflix in the hotel room since hotels don't have DVD players.

Strike 2: TJ loves watching movies and was really looking forward to relaxing together, plus Kyndra wanted my nice camera to be used at her graduation.

We debated (and I'll be honest, argued) about whether or not it was worth it to go back. We ended up starting back, and then realizing we'd completely miss the graduation if we did. 

Strike 3: As it turns out, we were about 45 minutes late to the graduation. But we did see her walk! Also, whyyyyy  does a high school graduation need to be two hours long? 

Add to all of this that Jake hates long drives in the car so he screamed for a good portion of the drive, we were stressed to the max, and partly just wanted to go home and call it quits. But, it was important for us to be there, so we went on. We finally made it there and were glad we did. 

I was bummed we didn't get to visit more, but we were glad we got to see Grandpa Hassell for a bit. He is so good with babies, and even took Jake for a walk in the morning so we could get ready to head to California.

We were finally on our way and things were going as well as could be expected. We'd driven about 4 hours, I think, with only one stop, when our GPS decided to take us through a small city called Palm Desert. It seemed to be a nice area, and we were "enjoying" the drive when we came upon some traffic. We were coming up to a stoplight, going maybe 5 miles an hour, when TJ looked down to pick something that had dropped on his shirt. The truck in front of us suddenly came to a full stop....and we did not. Our stomachs sank and we pulled off the road into a parking lot. They guy's truck thankfully had no damage, since we had hit his hitch. Our car on the other hand....see the picture toward the bottom of this post. Well, Dad and TJ pulled out the metal piece that bent, and then wired the bumper back on. The metal piece put a hole in what we thought was the radiator, so they ran a sealant through the system and we headed to a gas station to fill up. After that short drive, we realized it wasn't the radiator, but part of the A/C system and the Freon had all leaked out. So, we put Jake in my parents' car, and I went with him while my sister and TJ drove the rest of the 2 hours to Oceanside with the windows down. Needless to say, we were at our wits' end, so we decided to cool off...physically and metaphorically...in the hotel pool ASAP. It also happened to be Jake's first swim, and he didn't hate it.

On Friday evening, we went and found a Hawaiian grill (which was semi-disappointing and nowhere near as good as our local one) and then went to Target to get a few forgotten items. I don't know what I'll do when we go on vacation somewhere without a Target. Perhaps by the time that happens, I will be a master-packer who never forgets anything.

Saturday morning began with a light breakfast at our hotel, and then a stop at the beach on our way down the coast to Encinitas.  

My parents took their own little walk, and my dad wrote a message to my mom in the sand. Ah, young love. ;)

Encinitas is the coolest little surf town. I've spoken of my undying love for Swami's before. We have vowed never to visit SoCal without also visiting Swami's. This visit, we kept with the traditional acai bowl and a plate of multigrain banana walnut pancakes. Also, they put their syrup in a squeeze bottle which is pretty ingenious if you ask me. Also, please do not partake of the acai bowl if you are allergic to bee pollen.... my recommendation totally put a fellow blogger in urgent care.

Later on Saturday afternoon, we went back to the beach to actually get wet and play. Jake loved  it. He's definitely a water baby, even though it was freezing. He's also in love with his dad, not sure if I've mentioned that before. On Saturday night, we took recommendations to try out Hodad's down in Pacific Beach and we were not disappointed. Pictured toward the end of the post is my "mini" bacon hamburger with fries. We also found a cute little ice cream shop that served ice cream sandwiches in waffles. Yum.

On Sunday, after finding a random ward to attend for Sacrament Meeting, we took a drive down to La Jolla to see the temple. It is gorgeous as ever, in case you were wondering. I only wish we had had time to go inside and do some temple work. When we had taken as many pictures of the temple as we could, we drove the rest of the way to Old Town San Diego. We went to the Mormon Batallion Museum, but only my sister and parents did the tour because Jake fell asleep in his stroller. We also found this little Sheriff's Museum, which I thought was interesting enough, but TJ was absolutely fascinated. If he could be anything in the world, he would want to be a cop, and so the museum was a gold mine to him. I love going to new places with TJ because he is like a little kid with how excited he gets and how he wants to just explore everything.

Pictures can be deceptive, no? If I had simply posted all of these pictures, you might never know what went wrong (aside from the picture of our car). Looking at our smiling faces and sweet moments, you might be deceived into thinking we had the time of our lives. However, when I look at these, I can see those little moments of happiness, but I remember the knots of anxiety in my stomach that were there for most of the trip. I remember Jake screaming during almost every trip in the car. I remember TJ's frustration at bad situation after bad situation. I remember changing Jake's poopy diaper in a moving vehicle (please, hold your judgement). I remember feelings of acute disappointment and total frustration. I do remember the fun memories made, and I'm sure with time the less favorable facets of it will fade. I did learn a few life lessons:
1. A vacation with a baby is not a vacation, but rather, a trip.
2. If the GPS tries to take you through a city and off the interstate, ignore it.
3. Taking pictures is, at the heart, about the people and the memories, not the type of camera.


  1. I love your honesty, Kylie. I don't have a child so who am I to say it will get better (easier?), but that's what 'they' say right? It will get better ... ;)

  2. Haha I agree with all three of your points--learned the 1st 2 on this trip to Florida, and the 3rd on our honeymoon, where we only had my phone and a disposable camera haha :)
    And sorry we kept contacting you about work all wknd...felt so bad about it haha...
    But even though it was hard, I'm sure someday you'll be able to look back on the trip and the fun times will out way the misfortunes :)


Thanks for reading! I love reading your thoughts, too :)