california

CA

It seems a lifetime ago we packed up what felt like too much of our little family and caught an early flight to California. 

The girls are becoming old pros at this flight stuff and we breezed through Dallas and made it to Sacramento before 11am (PST).

After experiencing an extremely rainy summer thus far, we ran to the pool with open arms.  The dry CA heat and sunshine never felt better.

The next morning, N and I kissed our girls goodbye and left them in the very capable hands of Granny and then went to the airport BY OURSELVES.  We drank coffee and ate a snack without having to share it with anyone constantly monitoring our contents.  And we strolled leisurely around when our flight was delayed an hour because IT DID NOT MATTER.  

When we did board our flight, we sat in the exit row and I read a book from gate to gate while N  prepped some doctoral work to work ahead a bit.  It was glorious.  

Our flight took us to LAX and our final destination was Marina del Rey; only about a 15 minute drive if you don’t hit traffic (a rarity in LA). We had booked our place months ago through AirBnB and we were a little excited/nervous finally see it in person.

(I need to interrupt for a minute to give a shout-out to my sister/brother in law who found our place AND sent us a ton of restaurant and entertainment ideas that really panned out for us.  THANK YOU!!)

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We were so excited when we finally cracked the door open and took in our condo for the week.  It was a one bedroom, one bath with a kitchen, eating space, and a balcony (perfect for breakfast and lunches)

We had decided in advance that we weren’t going to rent a car because of our location and the prospect of beach cruisers that came with our rental.  Biking post-kids is a luxury and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing the city by bike. LA is a pretty bike friendly town and we explored all over Venice, took a bike path to Santa Monica, explored Abbott Kinney Blvd (my favorite!) and even ferried  groceries back home several times.  For the places we went to that were too far by bike, we bused (for when we had time, it rarely cost us both more than $3 for an hour+ride) and ubered (when time was important to us).  

Some of the sights outside of Marina del Rey/Santa Monica we saw were the Getty art museum and Hollywood.  

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We chose to do a bike tour of Beverly Hills (another suggestion by my personal travel agent :)) and it was my favorite thing we did.  We had our own personal tour guide who took us through celebrity neighborhoods (we saw some A-list celebrity homes, heard many celebrity stories, and saw some vintage celebrity homes as well.  No celebrity sitings, and most homes had such high privacy fences that you couldn’t see much of the home; but it was still fun to be casually riding our bikes through these mulit-million dollar streets!).  On this tour we also stopped and explored this old mansion (Greystone Manor)  that has been the site of many A-list movies.  It has beautiful grounds and a ghost story to boot.  Exploring that (and peeking in the windows) was probably my favorite part.

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(just casually riding our bikes down Rodeo Drive!)

The bike tour met in West Hollywood and afterward we made our way over to North hollywood for Graumin’s Theater and Madame Toussad’s wax museum. It was the closest we came to seeing any real celebrities.

We ate really well on this trip and got quite spoiled by all of the gluten free bakeries and ice cream shops nearby.  Our condo had a pool and we spent a few afternoons there reading and relaxing….by definition my favorite way to spend vacation.

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When our six days were up, we were ready to get back to our girls!  They hardly seemed to notice our absence; Grampy and Granny kept them entertained (swimming 2-3x a day, walks, movies, snacks, and all of the new-to-them toys {including my old barbie dolls]).  

We spent the remainder of our vacation soaking up the fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk CA rays and doing more of the same; walks, swimming, shopping, and movies.  

I don’t know yet when we will be back to good ol’ California but it certainly has been good to us

-smk

Woffrakeleys do Disney

(started this draft a few weeks ago, finished it today :))

Just returned from another dreamy spring break in sunny CA.

The girls and I left a few days early and looks like we narrowly escaped the return of winter back home.  Snow, wind, and below freezing temps always like to make one final appearance in March (sometimes even April :-o) and I’m hopeful that this is IT.

Meanwhile, the weather out there was 70’s and sunny every-single-day.  It lifted my spirits and gave me the energy that the first day of spring always brings.  Mmm…the smell of sunscreen alone is enough to give me a Spring contact high.

We spent our days (pre-Daddy) hanging out with Granny and Grampy.  Thanks to our extended stay last winter, we have a little routine worked out that we seem to ease right into.  We hit up some of our favorite spots and added some new ones with the girls in the morning.  The afternoons were for rest and decompression, the evenings spent chatting around the table and walking the dog.  Baths, reading, and bed to follow.

 

The girls made me so proud on the plane ride(s) out there.  Being by myself, I always feel a little vulnerable; but thankfully this wasn’t the first time doing it so I knew what to expect.  Last time we flew in the late afternoon and got in way past bedtime.  This time we flew early, early in the morning and landed at 10:30am, CA time.  The morning travels seemed to go a little more smoothly, in my opinion, and even though the girls didn’t nap (Bea started nodding off at the descent of each flight), they seemed to enjoy the trip as they knew what to expect.  (Jamba juice and silly putty being at the top of the list).  Also, I brought our cracked iPad on a whim and let Bea do her damage on it (the only app she will play is Peek-a-boo pets but she will spend about 20 minutes rearranging apps and pictures before becoming tired of it).  That seemed to help a bit too.

Daddy joined us on Saturday, as did Mary and Joel the day before.

 

We had four short days to cram in our favorite restaurants, games, and even a little pool time, before jetting off to Orange County.

 

We were up at 3:40am to fly (cheap flights & only an hour versus a 6+ hour drive) and we were in the park doing activities by 9:15am.

I was expecting a huge crowd with long waits due to spring break, but I couldn’t believe how much we were able to do and see in our 48 hours there.  MG wore her new Aurora gown both days and we saw nearly all the princesses and rode all of the kiddie rides.  Day two we did Toon Town (Mickey and Minnie’s houses were extra fun) and California Adventure (Frozen Fun,meeting Elsa & Anna).

We stayed out late each night and the lack of sleep/naps barely slowed us down.  We were running on adrenaline and Dole whips.  The girls really hung in there.  Both cat napped in the stroller and on Granny’s lap the first day.  We went back to the room to nap on the second day but it wasn’t enough time for MG to nap and she fell asleep on the 9:15 bus ride home, waking up only to change out of her dress-up and secure the well-being of her new Rapunzel doll.

Of course no memory making trip is complete without a video, courtesy of yours truly.  Enjoy