You people clearly need a break from all these stodgy old book reviews. Believe it or not I’m not always reading. Sometimes I homeschool my kids, too. This past year, we decided to end the semester with a bunch of field trips and call it a family vacation. Here are the highlights.
We left our cabin in the woods under a blanket of snow on Thanksgiving and made our way down the unplowed mountain road to Opa’s house where Titus and Joel served up a Thanksgiving feast of all the quail they had harvested that season, complete with Joel’s famous sweet potatoes and Ty’s scratch biscuits with homemade jam from hand foraged wild mountain berries, which he also turned into some amazing pies. Opa loved feasting on the fruits of their labors and Oma would have been awfully proud of her grandsons’ culinary skills.
Early Saturday morning we continued south down the coast to the San Diego area where we met up with some friends for an overnight camp out and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. This is an experience of a lifetime and I would recommend this splurge over something like Disneyland any day. Not only does the zoo feed you and house you in canvas tents overlooking the range of roaming animals, they give you a behind the scenes night tour and morning tour as well.
We went to sleep with the rhinos right below our tent, listened to the lions roaring all night and then woke up to a herd of giraffes that had moved in. The new tiger exhibit and the duck-billed platypus were highlights of the morning tour but the best part was spending time with Tom’s old room mate Dan, his sweet wife Angela and their 3 kids.
The next day Tom took the four older boys and the other Sam out deep sea fishing on the boat another friend of ours works on. Josh Merrill’s tips proved trusty and the boys brought in about 100 fish of various sizes, shapes and scents.
Next up was Sea World, which is the closest our family will ever get to a theme park. If you have to get free tickets to an amusement park, get them to a Sea World. The one in San Diego was exceptionally clean, patriotic, focused on nature, not just rides, and seemed to be frequented by normal, upstanding citizens such as we aspire to be.
And of course we had to squeeze in a little time just hanging out on the beach.
We took a detour on the way home to visit some friends that we had made through Hartland’s Homeschool Family Camp. The DeCoste family is as hospitable as they come (homemade tamales? are you kidding me?) and our boys were in heaven riding horses and golf carts all around their little plot of high desert paradise.
Our final stop was the dinner show, Medieval Times. That was just a riotous good time. Can’t go wrong taking a bunch of boys to a place where they can eat “baby dragon” with their hands while yelling for blood at the jousters.
And yes, I just realized I wasn’t in any of those pictures since I’m always behind the camera so here’s one of me and my “sweets” at Portos Cuban Bakery which was across the street. We picked up a cake for Titus’s 16th birthday while we were there and brought it home to share with the other Opa. Grandpas are definitely the best way to begin and end a trip.