Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Oh my stars. Our summer is almost over! July has been fraught with busy-ness, and now August preparations are in full swing. I did, however, promise to share with you some tidbits about our trip out West. It seems like a long time ago, but in reality, it was just a little over a month ago. Strange how many memories can be jam-packed into a little over a month.

 view from our hotel: Hot Wheels loop

The summer started with a trip to California to see family. We don't tend to do much touristy stuff when we travel, as our trips are more focused on the people we're going to see. My kids were happy enough to see the Hollywood sign (as seen in 'Alvin and the Chipmunks -- the Squeakquel').

Starting in LA, we visited with my husband's cousin downtown. It was quite a sight to behold as they set up for the XGames right outside our hotel. We also drove a bit further north to visit with a dear, old elementary school friend that I see once in a blue moon. I think my most favorite thing about seeing her and her family is how it never feels like much time has passed since I saw her last. Our friendship, to me, is just effortless.

fun at the aquarium
When we made our way back to the OC, we were able to spend some time with my mom's family. My aunt braved the Aquarium of the Pacific with our family, and we enjoyed seeing the amazing creatures great and small. I think the favorite part of the day was when the kids had the opportunity to touch the stingrays...or run through the dolphin sprinklers. It's a toss up.

 touching stingrays

For the remaining time in California, we made ourselves comfortable at my cousin's house in Laguna Niguel. We tried to keep things simple, so that we could spend time with my other cousins on my dad's side of the family, whenever it was convenient for them. And there was the added bonus of keeping a 3 year old's nap schedule in tact....priceless.

 framed succulents....my favorite!

My kids adored their free time. Most of it was spent outside swimming (my son learned how to dive to the bottom of a 10 ft. pool), snuggling with and keeping in line 2 adorable Puggles (Frank and Stella), playing at the park or on the tennis courts. There was also some down time spent playing indoors, but no one could stay indoors too long with the beautifully mild weather....one of California's draws, to be certain.

how I wish I could grow these fruit trees where we live!!
I just love to catch up with family and friends I don't have the luxury of seeing very often. It's a special time to reconnect, relax, share stories, and just have fun. One night we had an amazing Mexican fiesta, another night my husband and I created an Indian extravaganza (ok, in fairness to the hubby, he did most of the cooking, but I did make the naan). But the real joy came in the laughter and love that we shared.

Definitely a trip that will have to be made again sooner rather than later.

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