our big california vacation (part 3): SoCal and the wedding

Now presenting the third (and last) part of our vacation!

After we left Disney, we headed down the coast, spending time in Newport and Laguna Beaches (the settings of two of my favorite shows of course, The OC and Laguna Beach).

Thursday through Sunday were spent in Carlsbad, participating in wedding activities and relaxing at our resort. After brunch on Sunday, we headed to the San Diego zoo and spent the night in San Diego before flying out Monday.


  • Lunch at Bluewater Grill on the bay in Newport. I told Chris it was the inspiration for the restaurant where Ryan works in The OC but I totally made that up…it just sort of looked like that restaurant so I really wanted to eat there! Luckily it was delicious.
  • Going to “Top of the World” at Laguna Beach. Amazing views of the ocean and inland and a cool playground for AJ.
  • The rehearsal dinner was fun, delicious, momentous, etc. The bride and groom introduced the rest of the wedding party and it was fun to learn about the groomsmen (I already knew all the bridesmaids).
  • I went to the resort pool on Friday while AJ napped and Chris watched golf and got a couple hours of real relaxation! Spending time at a nice pool with my best college friends is something I haven’t done in who knows how long. Then Chris and AJ joined us and it was even more fun.
  • Getting ready for the wedding on Saturday morning was a ball of fun. When I said goodbye to AJ in the morning, she said, “Mommy go work today?” If getting dolled up with my best friends while drinking champagne and carb-loading is work, then sign me up!
  • And last but certainly not least, the wedding! It’s impossible to do it justice in a few sentences, but suffice it to say that everything was absolutely breathtaking, from the venue to the ceremony to the last song (Country Roads, of course). I loved the Australian traditions incorporated in the wedding and reception (like the signing of marriage license and the bride and groom giving speeches). I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking but we had a blast!


    • My anxiety attack as I was driving on Wednesday. Traffic and hunger may have sparked it, but in reality all of the stress and anxiety that had been plaguing me for months suddenly came crashing down. But Chris helped me through it, and I felt much better the rest of the trip.
    • Realizing on our way down to Carlsbad that we left our WEDDING STUFF in the closet of our last hotel. Wedding stuff as in my bridesmaid dress and Chris’s tux! So, we had to backtrack 30 minutes to the hotel to get it.
    • Thinking we were going for a happy early morning family outing at a donut shop when in reality we spent about five minutes inside before Chris ended up taking a screaming toddler back to the car while I packed up our treats to go. We never did finish those donuts.
    • Parking for dinner in San Diego. Chris drove around for a full half hour and then ended up doing valet because he still couldn’t find a spot! We thought early on a Sunday it might not be too crowded. But we thought wrong.

    The massive donuts we never quite got to enjoy

      All in all, we deemed the trip a success. We learned a lot about traveling with a toddler (potential blog post, perhaps?) and when we got home, we all got some much-needed rest. One thing is for sure, the word “vacation” takes on new meaning with kids.


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