Friday, July 26, 2013

California Adventures

Dear Lord, where do I begin? I guess I should start by saying that I shed an enormous amount of tears the entire time I wrote and edited this post.

It was the best trip ever for so many reasons. One being that my girls have never flown before, another is that Ross hasn't ever visited Cali and last but not least, two of my very BEST friends and sorority sisters (my BIG & LITTLE) live there. We got to share every minute of our trip with them. Yes, I want to share our adventures with you, but at the end of the day, this post is for my kids, one day they will see what I captured during our stay and will hopefully remember these moments not only through the photos but in their heads. I hope your enjoy.

We landed in Long Beach and felt the cooler weather as soon as we stepped off the plane. I highly recommend this airport and flying Jet Blue. It was a CHEAP, non-stop flight from Austin, the staff was amazing (we got to tour the cockpit), the leg room was phenomenal, FREE DirectTV the whole way and actually got off the plane not having to walk down a tunnel. The girls were beside themselves and so was I! Ahhhhh, we love you already, California! 

We spent our first evening at our friends' beach side casa in Dana Point; poolside, wine, homemade spaghetti (thanks, Sharon) and more hugs than I have given in years. There was a major power surge (apocalypse) that night, so we hung out in the dark with candles and the moonlight glow...right up my alley. A moment to remember for sure!

Friday morning we headed to the Santa Monica Pier. Cliche, I know, but if you are a tourist, you have to go there. The views, amusements, food, scenery, beach, rides, dolphin watching and temps will definitely draw you in. We stayed the night in L.A. and visited The Grove. I had ONE celebrity experience, Rebecca Gayhart (you know McSteamy's Wife & Noxzema Girl). We dined at the Farmer's Market, so fun, Austin needs one of these. We did a little shopping, cruised with the top down along Hollywood Blvd and snapped pics of the Hollywood sign. Thanks, Erica for letting us crash. Diablo wasn't all that bad. (Insert inside joke)

Saturday we made the traffic hell ride back to Dana Point from L.A. and plopped on the beach for the rest of the day and the next! I swear we turned into total surf bums. I couldn't get over the weather, waves and gorg views. If we didn't LOVE our fam in Texas, we would move to SoCal in a New York minute. I mean, I think my kids fit right in....look at those poses!

Saturday night, my local buddy, Sharon, knew the ropes/tricks and reserved us a private fire pit on the beach. Holy heaven!! Smoked dogs, burgers, Pandora tunes, smores, college buds, kids giggling, salt water, chilly beach air and lots of inside jokes...is this really happening? Can this be life 24 hours a day? Oh, how I wish! We may or may not have hit the hot tub afterwards once the kids were passed out cold...only the ones present will know for sure. No pictures. No proof.

FYI, Sunday was another beach day & grown up dinner. See Wednesday's post for that.


Monday we got to Disneyland at 10:00 AM and didn't walk out of the park until midnight. Yes, we spent 14 hours there, thank the Lord for BOB strollers!! I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. The kids were troopers and didn't want to leave. We rode every "good" ride, thanks to Sharon's expertise and "fast pass" knowledge, we rocked that park like a Guns & Roses concert. Our faves; Star Tours, Space Mountain, Tower of Terror and California Screamin'. For the record, I cried yet again during the Main Street parade....to see my girls' eyes when those "princesses" blew them kisses and waved directly at them, that moment is one I will cherish for the rest of my days. They were in their own wonderland...we all were.


And then it happened, Tuesday rolled around faster than we expected and it was time to head back to Texas. Do not think we didn't go out in style. One last trip to the sea to indulge in food, more waves, sunshine, palm trees, beach poses and sand. Tears streaming the whole way to the airport and during our 2 hour flight delay. The Lord was trying to tell us something...maybe it was to stay another day, week, month, year or for the rest of our lives.

I will say, we will be back, hopefully next year and to make this California adventure an annual tradition.

This pic below is why I am crying as I type. This sunset was taken right in front of my friend's house. Can you imagine looking at this almost every single evening? Yeah, me too. At least I can savor it on my iPhone...every single day.

I will leave you with this :12 second photo video. I hope the time lapse pictures turn out. It was my first time playing with this "editing" function. It kinda sums up the whole weekend...JUMPING FOR JOY!

video

*******************************************************

I have a few amazing bloggers for you today. Get excited to make some new friends....ones I actually call my own!

Nicole with A Dash of Gold....oh my word....can you say PRECIOUS? Yes, you can! She is such a fun blogger and actually has a pretty Bad-A giveaway going on right now. Go enter. Besides free stuff this girl can rock a single bag like you have never seen and has NO worries that she is shouting it from the rooftops! And she is proud about stepping out of her comfort zone and will make you laugh the whole way through. Make sure to read this denim jacket story....I swear you will giggle out loud. That's what I heart about this girl....she has some serious fashion sense, but is so dang adorable with her commentary! Make sure to stop by her blog for a dash of gold.

Oh, Fran...Fran...Fran...Fran!! Her and I go waaaaaaay back. I love her. Absolutely adore her. She is a girl on a budget and is as real as they come. Her style is simple, real and for the everyday. I promise that when you visit her blog that you will relate. Plus, she inspired me to clean out my mess of a closet with this post. She is on her way to new and exciting things...and I could not be more happy for her! Go get 'em!! She has been traveling the world for at least 5 months! Okay, kidding, just the past few weeks before she starts med school. I have been so jealous! And in case you are looking for a 30 Before 30 Challenge, Fran has a fab list going. Check it out.

Allison with a Nestful of Love is another lady near and dear to my heart. we have been blog buds for quite some time. I have adored following her travel adventures. And believe me, the post I just linked to isn't even the beginning. And she also has some serious style and knows her stuff. In fact, she has an amazing jewelry giveaway going on now. Be sure to enter this one too! She has such a genuine heart and you will see that with every post she writes. She has only been married for fours years and has given us all some SERIOUS martial advice. You go, girl! And thank you! Go and explore all of her posts...I swear Allison will draw you in with her real life experiences & even a dash of fashion.

Happy weekend, friends. I actually have ZERO plans for once. I am LOVING it. Time to catch up on sleep, laundry and serious couch time. See you bright and early on Monday! Peace!
Shanna

49 comments:

Kat@shop.school.sleep. said...

you did everything!! holy cow!! I agree those sunset and beaches are worth the traffic!! Your girls do fit in witht he so-cal surfer lifestyle!! love how your mini me tried surfing!! i have never, but that's to be blamed on my irrational fear of sharks hahahah and yes if you make it an annual tradition be sure to include a day to hang with me (and Leeann and Tiff!!!)

Alice Warren said...

You were one busy women! I can't believe you did both parks in 1 day - that's exhausting!!! I am such wimp - I thought it was so cold & damp last weekend and would never have braved the beach in that weather!

So glad that you & your family enjoyed SoCal, I agree it's paradise here :)

Alice
www.happinessatmidlife.com

prettyanddelectable.com said...

Wow, you guys did so much! What a wonderful vacation with so many memories to cherish. Nothing beats So Cal weather!

Mimi said...

i'm so happy to hear that you had a fantastic trip! i'm glad you had a great time here in california! :)

p.s. the santa monica pier and disneyland are both super awesome! ;)

<3, Mimi
http://whatmimiwrites.blogspot.com/

Brooke said...

I love S. California, in fact I am going next month! We are going to Paradise Point, you should Google it! It's a tropical vacation close to home! Looks great for kids too!

Did you do the Flying California Adventure ride? That is one of my favorites!

Looks like a great time! Congrats!


=) Brooke

Selma @ Crazy Little World Of Mine said...

You did so much, almost everything. Haha! Glad you had a blast, and yes, your girls do fit in. Hardly recognized them. And yes, making this trip an annual thing will be definitely worth it. California awaits you at any time. ;)

Chelsea Oliver said...

This is a PACKED vacation! What fun you all look like you had. And you are an amazing mom. You captured some awesome shots and I'm sure your little will love this post someday down the line when they come across it. My favorite is the picture of you daughter just staring down those hug waves, what an AWESOME photo, and what an amazing girl she must be. Have a great weekend!

-Chelsea
chelsandthecity.blogspot.com

Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} said...

What a special trip!!!!! Thanks for sharing it with us!

The Pink Growl said...

I love all these pictures! Such a fun family trip and you guys look so happy!

Always Maylee said...

Wow what a vacation! It looks and sounds like you guys had the most amazing time. The girls look like they LOVED every minute too. YAY for a successful family trip!

xo, Yi-chia
Always Maylee

Sybil@PeaceitallTogether said...

Looks like an amazing trip! Can't believe you did Disney in one day...wow! And, what a blessing to have all that time on the beach and with such good friends.

Heidi said...

You packed so much fun into just a few short days! Well done you!

http://jax-and-jewels.blogspot.com

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

Ok, I got tears in *my* eyes during the Disney parade part.

What an awesome trip for your family. I love all the photos, and it looks like you all had a wonderful time. I'm glad you are showing your girls the importance of true lasting friendships. They are priceless!

TaraMixandMatch said...

Shanna, your family is gorgeous...I love reading all about your adventures :)

Gabriella said...

It looks like you all had a perfect trip! Loved checking out your photos. I still haven't been to Cali either, so I'm currently just living vicariously through you!

RebekahRose said...

Wow! What a vacation! Your family is absolutely gorgeous! I totally agree with you on flying jetBlue. They really are Ana Amzing airline. I just recently flee them and was completely shocked. Thank you for sharing!

Xo,
Rebekah

Rebekahrgilmore.blogspot.com

Allison said...

This sounds like the PERFECT vacation. What a great mix of fun and relaxation, friends and family. I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time Shanna and thanks for your sweet words about me and my blog. xoxoxo

Rachel said...

Oh wow what a fun-filled trip! I've never been to California yet, but it's on my bucket list someday. :) maybe one day when I have a family I'll go!

Sarah said...

Awww I love it! Looks like it was an absolute blast!! I cam imagine how fun it was seeing the girls see the Princesses!! Love that!

TheTinyHeart said...

What a fun vacation! I've never been to Cali but I would love to see the Pacific!

-Sharon
The Tiny Heart
Forever 21 Giveaway!

Ashley said...

Great pictures, it really looks like you all had a great time. I haven't been to California yet but it is definitely on my list of travels! :)

xo,
Sincerely Miss Ash

Amy Shaughnessy said...

Wow, your trip looks like it was a trip of a lifetime! It makes me want to move there!

Amy


Fashion and Beauty Finds

Sarah said...

yay for Southern Cali! We were in the same power surge on Thursday night. I thought it was just our neighborhood! Good to know it just wasn't us! my poor nephew (age 6) was using the restroom when the lights went out, he was traumatized the rest of the night, poor thing. Glad that you had so much fun, you really did hit up all the great stuff while here! I agree the Bob at D-land is the way to go! :) Hope you come back soon, there's so much more to see!

Kayla Gilbert said...

Your family is just the cutest! I'm so glad yall had a good time! : )

Kayla
www.lovelucygirl.com

Tiffany @ Polka Dotted Cats said...

I am so glad that you got to experience SoCal at its finest! Including a blackout because that is pretty much how we roll. Next year get your ass to San Diego, yea?

Hallie Oceanside said...

How fun, and such a great trip!

I love your adorable little family, and all the great stories and pictures you always share!
so glad you guys had the time of your lives!

Southern Cafe Blog said...

Awesome! We definitely had to squeeze in a lot during our trip to Cali. It was hectic but worth the running around. I miss the cool weather already. I want to go back. And I'm not going to like, I'm a 24 year old who got teary eyed during the Main Street Parade. I felt like a kid again. I loved it!

Back to Texas. Bummer. :(

Carly said...

It looks like y'all had a blast!!!

Carly
www.lipglossandcrayons.com

still being [molly] said...

oh my gosh this looks like such a fun and much deserved trip! those little ones of yours are going to be talking about it for YEARS to come!!

i have never been to any of the disney parks... i've always wanted to go!! and i have always wanted to see the santa monica pier... who cares if it's cliche??

LOVE your recap, girl!! happy friday!

Laura B @ Walking in Memphis in High Heels said...

Cali is my favorite place ever! I can't wait to go back. It's my future home. Don't tell my husband that. ; ) Glad y'all had an amazing time!!

LRB said...

Great photos!

http://www.littleredbook-thatshaute.blogspot.com

Danavee said...

What a perfect family vacation! I loved keeping up on Instagram!

Cece said...

So glad So Cal was good to you! Having great friends here and a yearly visit is the next best thing to living here. Looks like such a fun family trip. I live in So Cal and incidentally, I feel like if I HAD to move anywhere else (not that I want to) but I'd pick TX. #2 after that would probably be AZ.

Brianne Bracco said...

Sooo awesome! Glad you guys had the best California experience! And that you even saw a celeb! haha... I love Southern Cali..next time... you fly into the San Francisco area..and I'll meet you there ;)

Jeans and a Teacup said...

Aww...looks like you got the full California experience! You are making me want to go to the beach right now! But trust me, you don't want to live here...the traffic will literally suck the soul out of you. I've only been here 3 years and I don't know if I can take much more!!
~Jessica

Franziska said...

I love how excited you get about spending time with your family - i hope you guys get to go on a similar vacation real soon!

thank you so much for having me girl :)

Kate at Green Fashionista said...

LOVE that you flew Jet Blue! :)

I've been to CA, but never to really explore like that and your trip looks amazing! Beautiful family :)

Jenn Thomas said...

So many things to say :)

JetBlue is my FAV. I hate that they don't fly out of Atlanta.

I've never been to Cali, but, it's on the list. After this post...it just got bumped up a whole lot higher.

You're such a gorgeous, fun and cool momma! It's so neat that you've documented the trip in this way for your girls to have when they are older- that's something that they are so going to appreciate!

I'm glad that you and your sweetheart family had a great trip! You deserve it SO much and I'm glad you got to get away!

Real College Student of Atlanta said...

such fun photos!!! isn't cali awesome!

Susan Jeffries said...

Oh Shanna this post made me cry! As a mom who grew up in a divorced household, our family vacations are the most precious gifts we have. You make me want to go to Cali - we have never been there either. Your kiddos are precious too! We are Disney Freaks and the magic never fades there - my girl is almost a teen and we love it still! I love your style, your fun blog, and your sweet heart. Cherish this memory!! Susan

Jen Vroi said...

What a fantastic trip! Love California. You have the cutest family :)

Ashleigh said...

It sounds like you had an amazing time! So glad that you shared.
-Ash
www.thestylizedwannabe.com

Just Another Shopaholic said...

Looks and sounds like you had a wonderful time! I'm sure California is gorgeous, I hope to go one day.

MACA Clothe said...

You are too cute! Great post, looks like so much fun.

http://www.macaclothenwa.blogspot.com

xoxo MACA

Rachel Lynne said...

So amazing! Love all of your photos!

Niki Caron said...

It looks like you had an amazing vacation! The girls look SO happy! I love Jet Blue - they never let me down! And Disney! Ahhhh! Love that sunset too!

tara said...

love me some cali! if it wasn't so darn expensive, i'd move to san diego for sure!

jenn~the stylish housewife said...

Looks like you had an AMAZING time. SUCH great pics. I love that you share parts of your personal life on the blog. =)

XOXO, Jenn
The Stylish Housewife

Rachel said...

I've been to California ONCE before and we left on a cruise from San Francisco. I was able to visit San Diego and some other areas as well, but NOT Disneyland OR L.A. To say this post made me want to go there like preferably tomorrow is an understatement! Looks like you all had a blast!

DESIGN + DEVELOPMENT BY LET IT BE BEAUTIFUL