Okay, none of us are rich (by any means), but the kid literally has most everything she wants or needs. She still has presents that haven’t been opened from her birthday four months ago. I don’t think she needs more presents, well not from us at least.
Having a blended family, means you get more than one of every occasion, for the most part – Christmas and Birthday to be exact. Well, that is, unless the parents can throw a joint party together, then you can combine the events. But in our case, we can’t, so we don’t!
There isn’t anything more than I’d love to do than spoil L with gifts and presents. As I saw her room brimming with ‘junk’ I realized she doesn’t need more material things. Yes, her Christmas list was long and detailed, but none of those will last more than a year if we’re lucky. So, I thought about how we could make this Christmas different than just presents under a tree?
Then it hit me, take her on an adventure as her gift. Since we didn’t get to take her on our trip this summer, which we had planned to do, but didn’t happen. So, I ran the idea by J (basically just told him what I wanted to do) and he was in for it.
We were going to adventure to SD, home of the SD Zoo and the SD Safari Park! I am not even a hundred percent sure I’ve ever been, but if I did go, I cannot remember anything about it. Mom, Dad…can you help out here?
The planning started a few months ago, as it has to when you have share your life with a child who has a blended family! I booked us a room at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel, which ended up being a great selection. The staff was awesome, from check in to check out! They have a heated pool, two hot tubs, and a fire pit to make s’mores (they sell kits). Along with plenty of other amenities that went unused by us. Lame part, which is at most hotels, is paying for parking. $32/day KILLS ME! But oh well, gotta remember we’re on vacation! I guess I’m Platinum for Hyatt, so we had a really nice view of the water and the naval ships (I am assuming here). It was really pretty in the morning and even at night, with all the extra Christmas lights and colors strung about the city and the boats!
In the end, we decided to fly out on Christmas evening instead of the day after. This was my first time ever flying on Christmas day. I remember as a kid we spent Christmas in Disneyland with my entire family, but we didn’t fly on Christmas. Our Christmas fun started on Christmas Eve, spent with J’s entire family. Then we woke up early on Christmas day to have breakfast and do presents with my family and J’s Mom. We then packed and got ready for Christmas day with my entire family, until we had to leave for our flight. The flight made it a really hectic and busy day, but thankfully everything went smoothly and our flight was late enough for us to enjoy the day with family and friends!
Comfies on, we made our way to the airport thanks to Poppa Bear and Mama! We patiently waited for our flight, giddy with excitement at our new adventure! Everything went smoothly and we landed, grabbed our bags, then proceeded to pick-up our rental car. However, the Grinch (and his crew) at Budget decided they’d rent all of their cars and not have enough for us and another 20+ customers milling about the rental center. It was either spend way too much at another company or take an Uber to the hotel and try again tomorrow. After a few heated conversations with Budget and scouring a few other businesses, we chose to grab an Uber and get some sleep. I was pissed, but there really wasn’t anything I could do at this point. I saw the faces of so many other helpless families too, it was really frustrating. But, like J’s Mom reminds me, I didn’t want to focus on negative energy. So, I said lets start fresh the next day and get some good sleep for our big adventures coming up.
Check-in went really smoothly, the Hyatt gal really made our night end nicely with her customer service and happy personality. We were a little hungry and since it was Christmas, nothing was really open. The hotel did have a little cafe open, so we ordered two personal pizzas to share for a late, late dinner! They weren’t the best, but they also weren’t the worst! Again, you gotta go with the flow and let it be…
Later than all of our bed times, we checked-in to our hotel and easily fell into a lovely Christmas slumber!
It should be noted, that we did preface Christmas to L that although J and I wouldn’t be giving her any actual presents to open under the tree, Santa would still be making an appearance and might leave presents if she was on the “Good/Nice list” this year. This made a difference in how she anticipated the trip! Santa didn’t go overboard with gifts, but he wanted too! Although the trip was way more than what we’d normally spend on presents, we made sure to scale back for each other as well. It wasn’t just a present to L, it was a family present to each of us. We all were going to experience the adventure…even though J did spoil me with some awesome gifts!
Adventuring and memory making are the perfect way to remember what is important!