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getting to Malibu

On a last minute whim we decided to take the entire family on a dual business/vacation to Santa Monica. We arrived after one very late evening of packing, one very early morning and 4 1/2 hours on a small airplane.

Our stuff: one stroller for two kids, three suitcases, two car seats, a briefcase, purse, diaper bag, child-size backpack, a DVD player, lots, lots, lots of snacks, two kids and two mules, er, I mean parents.

Our ride: an ultra-sleek, stylish, yet plenty large enough to fit our stuff, luxury according to Hertz, Mercury Town Car. A timeless car suitable for all grandparents and, well, young parents. Into the car we stuffed ourselves and our stuff and off we went.

Knowing we would arrive before check-in at the hotel and in need of nap time, we had planned to stop for a quick lunch and then head to Malibu. However, our plane was delayed 2 1/2 hours (hence the long couped up morning) and we opted to skip lunch and head straight to Malibu. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea considering they had just been freed of airplane containment only to be transferred to car containment. But, luckily after a few bounces in the boat, I mean car, they were off into a sleepy slumber and Kris and I were off into a parking lot of traffic.

Malibu is an interesting 'hood. We were beginning to doubt that Malibu had a retail/city center until, after driving by car after car after expensive car, parked next to beautiful beach-front row houses, we happened upon the little "town" square. By this time, the kids were awake and ready to move. We hopped out of the car (as much as you can when you must unbuckle and carry two kids) and went to explore.

To our happy surprise, the center of this square had a lovely playground, trees for shade, eating areas and a variety of shops and cafes. We grabbed some healthy snacks and scouted out a plot in the grass next to the playground. The kids opted for people-watching rather than sliding or swinging. Kris noticed that the vast majority of kid-supervising adults were male. Kenedy pointed out one swooping movie star, following two young kids. Tucker made a b-line for the friendly pigeons.

Too much sun, a few freaked out pigeons and two tired parents later we corralled the kids back into our high performance driving machine and wondered what Santa Monica had in store for us.