Mixing Business with Family in Southern California #seizingfamilytime #blogher

With a Kid, a Preteen-now-Teen, and a Teen, finding something fun for all of us to do is a challenge. You wouldn’t think so, but it is. Years ago, we could pop in a DVD. Go to a museum. Go out for ice cream. But, then school intervened. And homework. And weekends packed with birthday parties, sports, and play dates.

I struggle and stress and fret about the amount of time I have left before my oldest heads to college. She is one of those kids who never gave me a backward glance when stepping on the elementary school bus. Who was already planning what AP classes to take in high school when she was in 6th grade. Who now as a 10th grader is loving the envelopes that have started to arrive post-PSAT. She’s ready for college. I’m not ready to let go of her.

So, I have made it my goal to find fun things to do both at home, in our neighboring towns and cities, and in the places we visit for vacation. We’re not a family that travels to far away places every year. We have had years where we grabbed a quick week at the beach with the grandparents. Other years we have visited Niagara Falls–the Canadian side; Colonial Williamsburg, VA; Pennsylvania Dutch Country; and of course, the beach. Two summers ago we took a long-awaited, yet hastily planned trip to my home country…England. We had a fabulous time. I wish we could do a big trip each year, but we can’t.

Last summer, the chips fell in to place. I purchased a BlogHer ticket at the early bird rate. I planned to find a roommate and fly to San Diego by myself. The more I thought about going to SD and BlogHer, the more I wanted to involve my family.  How could I think of visiting California without them? But, how would I bring them?

A quick check of Southwest.com showed that we could get reasonably priced flights for all 5 of us. Not bargains, but not out-of-sight prices. I had a room at the Marriott Marquis and Marina, which would do. It was a relief not to look for a roommate. Although going to a conference with a roommate in tow is super fun, especially if it is your first blogging conference. With a hotel and flights, all I needed was an itinerary.

Within days of booking flights we had our itinerary planned. While I gallivanted about at BlogHer meeting people, making connections with brands, and of course, having fun, my husband and the kids toured San Diego. Post-BlogHer, the plan was for me to join the family and tour L.A. and Anaheim. Obviously our family works well under stress and tight deadlines…in fact we thrive on it.

Our itinerary went something like this:

  • Wednesday — Travel Day. Arrived in San Diego. Kids and husband relaxed in the room, while I met up with some bloggers at a wine party hosted by @guavalicious. What can I say…BlogHer is part work and part play!
  • Thursday — Day One — Sea World. While I attended one of the pre-conference sessions hosted by Procter & Gamble, my husband took the kids to Sea World. While I was very sad to miss out on the amazing-ness of the San Diego Sea World, my son and I got to experience the Orlando Sea World.
  • Friday — Day Two — San Diego Zoo. I was very sad to miss out on a zoo I have heard so much about, but obviously I had obligations at BlogHer. Don’t worry, I had my husband text photos and tweet while he was there with the kids.
  • Saturday — Day Three — Hotel pool. Bus to the airport. Pick up of rental car. Drive to beach. Husband and kids accomplished all this while I was hauling myself and sundry swag bags from the San Diego Convention Center Expo Hall¬† to my hotel room to meetings to sessions back to the Convention Center Expo Hall back to the hotel room, with a quick pitstop before the evening events and parties began. I was exhausted. I’m not a beach or pool lover, so I wasn’t upset about missing the beach and pool day. Highlight for my kids and their dad was catching a beach volleyball game. We’re East Coast volleyball players. They weren’t able to play, but loved experiencing a bit of Southern California.
  • Sunday — Day 4 — Legoland. With BlogHer over and bags packed and swag exchanged at the Swag Room, we hit the road to drive to LegoLand.
  • Monday — Day 5 — Starline Tour of L.A. and Hollywood. I was so glad to experience Southern California with my family!
  • Tuesday — Day 6 — Disneyland. Our first experience of Disneyland was a success. Yes, it was crowded, packed, and we missed out on a couple of rides towards the end of the day when Fast Passes ran out, but we had an awesome day. Probably our best day as a family on our trip..
  • Wednesday — Day 7 — California Adventure. Second day of Disney…we hit our stride. Figured out how to maximize the Fast Pass. Got prime “seats” at the World of Color. And, I may have been persuaded by a certain Kid to ride California Screamin’. Whoa that was an experience!
  • Thursday — Travel Day. Sadly, we had to say farewell to Anaheim and Southern California. And say hello to our lives back home.

I was given passes to the attractions in this post. We paid for our own flights, car rental, and hotel accommodations while in Southern California. The views expressed in this post are my own. I follow the tenets of Blog With Integrity.

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