California Dreamin’

How can it be December already? It’s true what they say, that time only goes faster as you get older. I remember as kids when we would make our Christmas lists and then wait forever for Christmas to come. Now it speeds by so quickly one could miss it completely if not paying close attention!

So even though this vacation was months ago… it feels like it just happened. After my sister’s wedding this past June, we had a few days to enjoy California before having to return home. I was super excited for the chance for A to get to experience some of the places and things I enjoyed as a kid.

Day 1: We headed out to the neighborhood where I grew up. A wasn’t overly impressed with knowing where I lived as a kid. But he sure did enjoy time playing around the lake. We must have rode our bike to and around that lake hundreds of times over the years.

When we were kids mom was constantly telling us to “appreciate the mountains.” She had been known to pull off to the side of the road on multiple occasions to make us stare at them. She would tell us some day we wouldn’t live where there were mountains and we would miss them. We thought she was nuts! She was right.


We also got to take A to Ruby’s. He thought it was crazy awesome that we ate on the roof of the restaurant. And he was a huge fan of the idea of ordering a milkshake with lunch!


Day 2: We headed off to San Diego and made our first stop at Seal Beach, which is always a fun stop.


We spent day on Coronado Island. It’s funny that when I asked A his favorite part of the day, his answer was playing at this park! So funny, since we could go to a park any day… but glad he was able to enjoy himself.


We ended the day taking in the sunset off the coast. A was crazy for the sand and water. We had just changed him into warmer clothes as the evening was getting chilly. He was so soaked and dirty just a few minutes later. He sure loves the beach!


Day 3: We spent the day doing touristy things just the three of us. We took A to see the Hollywood sign in the hills. He has taken note of it in movies since then and remembers being there, so that makes it worth drive!


We also got Jesse his Pink’s hot dog he had been waiting for since the last time we visited California. A enjoyed his hot dog, but was way more impressed with the firefighters who sat down at the table right next to us to eat their lunch. He stared at them and asked us questions about them the whole time. They were nice enough to say hi to him and ask his name. And when we left lunch… the fire truck was parked out front. This was definitely A’s favorite part of Hollywood. Again, so funny what makes a special memory in his mind.


And we still had time to take in some perfect California sunshine before we had to leave the next morning.

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And one last huge hotel breakfast too. A was a big fan of having all these breakfast choices, but then… who isn’t?

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After being quite nervous about the airplane ride on the way out there, A had it all figured out for the way home. This being our first time flying with him, I was so relieved that he did so well traveling. He made sure to take full advantage on the airline drinks and snacks… he just soaked in the entire experience. It’s so fun to watch him enjoy new things when he has no expectation of how it should go.

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Well, that’s our summer vacation. A has already been asking quite frequently when we can plan our next vacation. I’m ready too!

Ohio Vacation

In the fall we had the opportunity to take a road trip to Grandma’s farm in Ohio. We have always loved visiting there, but it’s even so much more fun when we can bring A along. Actually, this trip was his idea! He remembered when we took him the year before and asked if we could go back again soon. How could we resist that request? We always love a reason to go see Grandma again!


A did great on the long driving days, so much better than I expected. He was such a trooper! He had himself situated in the back seat with his pillow, stuffed animals, and his toys piled all around him. I would have felt claustrophobic, but he wanted everything within his reach.

When I was little my mom used to wrap up little entertainment items to surprise us with throughout the trip. I decided to give it a try… and it was a huge hit! He was beyond excited to unwrap his dollar store items each day. And they provided at least a few moments of quiet time.


A loved the freedom he felt at the farm. He was able to run far enough to tire himself out over and over without us needing to be right near him like we do on our busy streets at home. It was the best!


Another of A’s favorite activities was picking and eating apples. I lost count of how many he ate while we were there. The first one he picked I don’t think he really believed that I was going to let him eat food that he found… outside… on the ground. Once he realized it was okay there was no stopping him after that. Even on the night we made s’mores over the fire I had to get him to stop eating apples and come to eat marshmallows. He ate his “required” marshmallows and then asked to return to the apples. Crazy kid!


Another highlight of our trip was going to the zoo with Jesse’s cousin and her girls. The Halloween – Boo at the Zoo event was extra fun when we got to pick candy at each exhibit. A loved that day! The girls were so sweet helping A to find the animals to look at every time we stepped up to a new window.


But for A probably the very best part of the trip was the combine ride. We were just driving home one afternoon and came across two combines clearing a field and we stopped to watch for a few minutes. Then the owner of the farm saw us, and came over and offered to give A a ride! He thought it was the coolest thing ever!


We also really enjoyed our hotel nights on our way driving up and back home. It was fun to have that special time with nothing to do except for hanging out with A. He thought the hotel’s free breakfast with so many choices was the best thing ever… he ate so much on those mornings!


I can’t wait for our next vacation!

Girl Time in California

This came in the mail the other day:


Reminds me of the fun times we had getting some of the wedding planning done. I left my boys at home to join my mom at my sister’s home in California. It was so fun to finally get to see her place and it was great to hang out and have a week-long sleepover.


The main purpose of trip was to be able to attend Ashley’s bridal shower. Mom and I had quite the challenge planning her shower from the other side of the country. It turned out great and we had so much fun!


My bride-to-be sister, excited that I get to be her matron of honor!


My bride-to-be sister with her other bridesmaids, both life-long friends!


We squeezed a whole lot of appointments in those few days! We confirmed the bridesmaid dress choice, met with a DJ, chose an excellent photographer, and had an adventure checking out a creepy second choice photographer… who was not hired. I think one of the most favorite appointments was the cake tasting, of course.

cake testing

We also enjoyed meeting the crazy but fabulous and talented flower lady. She put together a sample of what table centerpieces will look like.


Mom and Ash pretended to be normal after they realized I was taking pictures.


Ashley’s friends gifted to her an engagement photo shoot. They did an fantastic job, the pictures turned out amazing! Mom and I enjoyed watching them work. Especially since we previously tried to do our own engagement photos which were… a little less amazing.


Finally, the trip ended with a surprise visit with my cousins, Thomas and Ben. I hadn’t seem them in almost fifteen years! They arrived in the area just hours before I had to leave to go back home. Dad and Andrew flew in to surprise mom so we could all see them. They rest of them enjoyed a baseball game and more time together, but I still got to fit in a quick lunch and visit before catching my flight back home.