Friday, May 30, 2008

Going Back to Cali: Day One

When Dave and I moved across the country, we decided that our budget would only allow for us to go home every other year. Four years later, we have been home at least once a year. Nice. This most recent trip was for my brother's wedding, and I was super excited about it! Dave had been out of town, so he wasn't able to come with me (not so super exciting), but since he was out of town, I got a last minute hotel and planned a little mini vacation for a couple of days before my brother's wedding! Isn't that exciting! Our trips are never just for vacation. It's always work or family or something. Like, for example, Dave will meet me later in the month at his parents' home for a family reunion, but until then...
Day One:
I jumped up out of bed at 5am wide eyed and bushy tailed.... okay, so I dragged myself out of bed after staying up until after midnight packing and waking up with the kids all night, got the car all loaded up with luggage and children, and drove off to the airport. We made it through security with plenty of time to spare, so I took a breath of relief and started moseying over towards our gate to check our stroller. Then, this is the best part, have you ever heard those " boarding call for blah blah blah... please proceed to gate blah blah blah"? Well I was walking through the airport as they began another 'final boarding call', and I was thinking about how that would never happen to me. And... then I realized they were calling my name! I looked up and made eye contact with guy working at my gate as I was having this realization, and I can't imagine what I must have looked like, but apparently he knew it was me, because he turned around and booked it to the bridge. I did make the flight (and there were three available seats together in the back row, which doesn't recline, but I wasn't complaining - I was on the plane! well, I wasn't complaining at first anyway), and my advice to you is to always double check your flight departure time and make sure that you aren't mixing it up with the flight that leaves thirty minutes later. Just a good idea, you know. So, after about six hours of flying and a moment or two in Nashville, TN, our bumpy ride ended at Los Angeles International Airport. Ahhh, home sweet home. Two hours, $11, and a whole new adventure later, two kids, two car seats, two suitcases, three carry-ons, one umbrella stroller, and one crazy mom were in our rental car and on our way to...
Sunny Santa Monica! This isn't my home, but this was what I was so excited about! I wasn't going home! I spent most of my formative years in a medium-sized town about an hour to two hours from... anything. Just over an hour from the beach, just over an hour from LA, just over an hour from Orange County, just over an hour from Disneyland... you get the idea. Well, this time, I was going to stay just over an hour from home! Genius, right?
So, first stop? Vanilla Bake Shop in Santa Monica (which I will be blogging about soon!), where I met Heather. She had an adventure of her own taking public transportation from Orange County to Santa Monica. You can read about it here on her blog.

We grabbed some cupcakes to go, went down a few streets and around a few corners for some sandwiches and took it all to the Los Angeles temple for a picnic.

Dave and I got married there, so I always like to stop by when I am in the area. I also have some good memories wandering around the grounds as a kid, so I wanted to take my kids there.

Here's Heather. She's getting married in January, so I thought I would have her practice posing in case she gets married here.

The landscaping was gorgeous! They are always changing it, but this is the best I've ever seen it, with these flowering bush/tree things, and tons of rose bushes. It looked great with the bright clothes I dressed the kids in for the flight (so they wouldn't get lost :)

This is where it all started. Six years ago next month. I was 45 minutes late.

After lunch, we sat in a couple of hours of traffic, because what would a trip to Los Angeles be without traffic, honestly? We made our way to Target for some incidentals, and on to my hotel in Orange County. I stayed at the Wyndham Orange County courtesy of (well, we did have to pay, but it was an amazing deal). It was a great hotel. Quiet, clean, attentive, but it was three stars. I wanted a three star hotel, because I knew it would be clean and quiet. Unfortunately in the hotel business, more stars means more things they can charge you for. Like parking, phone calls, Internet, etc. But... it was clean and quiet. Did I mention that already? And it was also across the street from the South Coast Plaza. I love the South Coast Plaza. I didn't plan time for shopping into my two day mini vacation, but we did eventually make our way over there to wander around and eat dinner.

The kids had fun on the escalators and running across the big bridge that connects the two parts of the mall. We had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and then...

...rode on the carousel, of course! It was almost midnight Eastern time, and we had been up for about 18 hours, but hey, it was a mini vacation! The kids actually did so great (they held up better than my hair. just pay no attention to that), and we had a lot of fun! It was a fantastic first day of vacation!


Heather said...

Yeah! I've been waiting forever to read your version of the day's events! Thanks for the "plugs." Your people are going to read my entries and think I'm a drama queen...oh wait, that's right, I am! :) ha ha

I miss you already! Come back! :D

The Bradley's said...

YAY! I've been wondering how your trip is going. I'm glad you're having fun. Alayna keeps asking where Owen is. She misses you guys. We all do. Oh, and your place is fine. :) Keep having fun! See you later. (Much later I guess.) :)