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Dear Caroline,

We just got back from our very first family vacation, and it was a blast! Daddy has a yearly conference in February for work. This year we decided to tag along since it was in sunny San Diego!
I first have to say that I am, once again, so impressed with how you handled everything. You flew across the country and had such long plane rides that you handled like a pro. You adjusted to the 3 hour time difference without so much as a hiccup. You slept in a hotel crib for several days, and in a pack n’ play for a few days in Palm Springs. You went down for most of your naps flawlessly, and slept all night long. You were excited about your new surroundings and you were curious. You were hesitant with new people, but you watched us and followed our lead. You warmed right up to people once you saw it was ok. You interacted with everyone so well. You did all of your normal routines in new places with new faces around. You were flexible, strong, brave, sweet and simply fabulous.

We arrived in San Diego on Sunday evening. We got you all set up

and put you right to bed. We caught the second half of the Superbowl while you were sleeping.

Monday morning we explored and walked around by the bay. We met Uncle Christian and Uncle Brendan for lunch downtown. Daddy went to a class and you and I hung out with Uncle Christian for awhile longer. You chased birds and ran around in the beautiful, sunny weather. Later, we met up with everyone for dinner.

On Tuesday, after breakfast, Daddy and I took you out to Coronado Island to find the beach. As we walked towards the water we let you walk in the warm sand. You didn’t want to have anything to do with it at first and would climb up Daddy like a little monkey, but you kept putting your feet down towards the ground and we could see that you wanted to try it.  You finally got up the courage and just did it. You laughed. We got down to the ocean and you were again a little hesitant. Mama and Daddy got our feet wet and encouraged you. It took you awhile, but soon you were pulling us out into the ocean for more fun. It was so cold, but you didn’t seem to mind.

On Wednesday, Daddy had a full day of work. We had breakfast together and walked with him down to the convention center. You and I took our time walking back and enjoyed the weather. We met back up with Daddy for lunch and went to the Spaghetti Factory. Then we went back to the show with him and walked around. Dinner was at a small place on the bay. It was dark, but we stayed outside for awhile letting you run around. When we got back to the hotel we took you for a quick evening swim at the pool. You’ve grown so much since the last time I had you in a pool. You kicked your feet and splashed Daddy in the face. You had a great time!

Thursday morning we decided to take you back to the beach, since you’d had so much fun the first time. You were more hesitant this time. Just as I was thinking we should leave, you decided to get in the ocean with us! Once again, you loved it and we all had so much fun running in and out of the waves. Grandma and Papa V drove down to San Diego today! We went to lunch at a fabulous little sandwich place called T Deli. After lunch we went to the zoo! You pointed at the animals and seemed very interested this time. You always like the little monkeys the best since they move around a lot. For dinner we took your grandparents out to Coronado Island and had some really good Mexican food at Miguel’s Cocina. We all loved the food choices today!

Friday we were headed up to Palm Springs, but not before a final visit back to the beach! You were even more hesitant this time, but once you started getting in the water we couldn’t stop you! You held our hands and jumped and ran and splashed. We then said goodbye and drove up to Palm Springs to have more family time. We stayed with your Great Aunt Patty. Grandma and Papa met us up there, and Aunt Maria and Adolfo got in Saturday morning.

We spent the entire weekend just enjoying family and it was perfect. You loved walking around the pool in Auntie’s backyard. You like to find an edge (from the deck to the grass, or the tile to the cement) and walk over it several times for practice. You warmed right up to everyone and were giving kisses goodnight by the first evening. You liked to stare down Adolfo, and you loved to tease Papa. Grandma and Auntie Maria got some amazing hugs. You ate jalapeno cornbread from Aunt Patty, tried dungeness crab, and ate a good portion of Papa’s ice cream.

Monday morning it was time to head home. You woke up at 3 am, so we went with it and were on the road a little after 4 am. We had a two hour drive back to San Diego and had a flight at 10 am back to the east coast. Unfortunately, it was snowing in Maryland and our flight in to Baltimore was cancelled. I got us on another flight later that day, only to check and see that it too was cancelled. So, we decided to just grab a hotel for the night and stay one more day. You crashed and took an amazing nap when we finally got to the hotel. It had already been such a long day for you and you were exhausted. We spent more time outside by the bay, ate some good food, and spent way too much money on bathing suits for the family (since we had no luggage). We enjoyed the heated outdoor pool and made the best of our extra day.

Tuesday rolled around and we headed to the airport for our travels home. We had a nonstop (5 hour flight) back to Baltimore. We left at 1 pm and, because of the time change, didn’t get in until 9 pm EST. You slept for all of 20 min the entire day. I am still not sure how everything went so smoothly, but you did great. You yawned when I asked you to yawn, you drank when I asked you to drink. Your ears didn’t seem to bother you too much, and you were content to rest on the plane. You slept on the drive home, and were then so glad to be home in your crib.

When you woke up yesterday morning you were so excited to see all of your things. You pointed at all of your toys, books, and stuffed animals. You pointed at the trash can, the chairs, the toilet, the dogs, etc. Everything was still in its place and you were thrilled! We aren’t quite back on EST yet, but we are getting there.

We had an amazing trip and I am so proud of you. We made some great memories and I am so glad that we got to have some time with our west coast family! You are such a big girl and you did so great. Daddy and I loved watching you enjoy yourself so much. Such a great family trip!

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