Tuesday, January 29, 2013

More Southern California sun

The rest of our trip was spent visiting family and friends in the South Bay area. We enjoyed church with Tom and Britt followed by dinner and watching the kids play at my Grandma's house. It was so special for me to see my kids enjoying the same fun that my cousins and I did as kids at my Grandparents' house. With an air hockey and pool table and literally hundreds (maybe thousands!) of family photos lining the walls, you could stay and Grandma's forever and never be bored. And of course she had the cookie jar stocked just for us :) We took a walk the next morning up the hill near her house and saw amazing views of L.A. to our right and San Pedro/Long Beach behind us.

You can kind of spot downtown L.A. between the tree and the bushes - lots of tall buildings clustered together.
Great Grandma and Lucy being silly!
I also got some special time looking through old photos with my Grandma and hearing stories of her many adventures over her nearly 80 years of life (don't worry, Grandma, no one looking at these photos would guess your age!). After breakfast we embarked on a little drive around Palos Verdes with stops at the Wayfarer's Chapel and Point Vicente. It was such a gorgeous, clear day and though we didn't see any dolphins or whales, the Catalina coast was enough for us.

Outside the Wayfarer's chapel. My cousin Cindy had a beautiful wedding here!
Lighthouse where Solange and Nik tied the knot. So many happy memories!

Catalina in the background

Looking for whale tails.

Next was a visit with my brother to fill our bellies at the most amazing hole in the wall Mexican restaurant followed by a trip to the beach. The beaches here in Oregon are beautiful with their rocky coastlines and many trees, but nothing beats the windless sunny expanse of Redondo or Hermosa's shores. I was pretty much in heaven as I watched the kids play in the water and soaked up the sun while catching up with Tom.


The last stop of the day was my sweet high school friend Sara's house. It was the perfect evening of relaxing with good conversation and a home cooked meal. We slept like logs after our day in the sun and woke up to a visit with the sweetest and softest pet chinchilla ever. I just adore Sara and her husband and am so fortunate that they have family in Portland so we get to see them at least twice a year :)

Winston the chinchilla
Lucy is so excited!

The kids with Sara in Portland last summer
We couldn't pass up one last California lunch at In-N-Out and a quick drive by my old childhood house. I have turned into that nostalgic parent who will take every opportunity to share "I remember when..." stories with my kids. The house still has the white roses my mom planted in the front yard and a basketball hoop over the garage. They've since replaced the cracked front window, though I will always remember how that crack happened :) It was a perfect vacation, but coming home was pretty perfect, too. I am so thankful for the memories we made on this trip and also for the memories we're making everyday at home. I wonder what Maryn and Lucy's "I remember when..." stories will be.

Monday, January 28, 2013


I'm skipping the second week of January and the first half of week three to get right to the good stuff - Disneyland! Chris's parents very generously gave our family a trip to Southern California for Christmas, complete with a two day trip to Disneyland and California Adventure. The kids were beyond thrilled to wake up before the sun on Thursday morning and board a plane headed for the happiest place on Earth.

sunrise from the plane
mountain + low clouds
 When we left, Portland was a chilly 30-is degrees, and when we landed we walked out into the - gasp! - SUN and it was probably in the 70's by 10:00am. Sorry to gloat, but it was absolutely marvelous. After a stop at my Grandma's for lunch, we drove down to Anaheim to check out the cute rental condo where we'd all be staying. The next day we woke up early and got to Disneyland before it opened. I opted to leave my big camera behind, so no photos from day 1. But we had a blast riding the submarine, Autopia, the Matterhorn and Small World all before the place got busy. Lucy's favorite Disneyland ride was the Matterhorn - she loved all the roller coasters! Neither kiddo liked Pirates of the Caribbean (too dark!) and both had fun exploring on Tom Sawyer's island (I think they've renamed it the "Pirate Lair" but it will always be tom Sawyer's island to me!). After a quick stop at the condo for dinner and rest time, we went back for the fireworks and a few last rides. What a fun day!

Next was a trip to California Adventure. We didn't wake up quite as early, and there were already lines for many rides when we got there. Carol went right away and got fast passes for the new Cars land ride - good thing because I think they ran out soon after! Chris and I went on California Screamin' and took turns taking the kids on rides of their choice. Both liked the carousel (we did that at least 4 times) and the Ferris wheel. Lucy was a big fan of the Goofy roller coaster after she recovered from disappointment about being too small for the big one. We went on Soarin' Over California twice (Maryn's favorite), did the Ariel ride a few times as it was air conditioned with a short line, and finally used our fast pass on the Cars ride which was really fun, but I don't know if it would have been worth the 2 1/2 hr wait time without the pass.

It was really windy! Maryn is hunched down in the driver's seat, under Grandpa's arm :)
The next day Grandma and Grandpa drove home and we went to Chris's cousin Kevin and Katie's house for brunch. It was wonderful to see all of our Southern California family. The kids all played for hours while we chatted and ate delicious food, and I didn't think to take out my camera because we were just having so much fun. I really miss our dear family there, but am so grateful for every chance we have to spend together!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Photo a day, Week 1

January 1
January 2 - Original painting by Rency Punnoose

January 3
January 4 - The kid takes his trains seriously
January 5 - Introducing his daughters to the Parent Trap (original version of course). I think he has it memorized.
January 6 - natural beauty
January 6 - squirrels in a nest. A cold walk at Cooper Mountain.