Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Wild Wild West- Part 1

Did you know that I flew with the boys to California this summer?  Yep, WAAAAaaaay back in June, the boys and I flew to LA.  It was  a trip YEARS in the making.  Apparently the blog is becoming years in the making too.  Or maybe it's that I have just recently  recovered from the wrath of flying across the US with 2 children under 6.  It was a fantastic fun filled trip that is going to span over the course of more than a couple of blogs and quite possibly more than a few months but hey...you gotta start somewhere.  
I begin with our airport excitement.  I was fortunate o have my mom on the first few days of the trip and I was just glad to have her along to spread out some of the chaos.  As we sat at our gate, there were whispers as boarding was nearing that Jackson was seated next to someone we should know.  Mom is texting me across the isle as he begins to pack up that it is Al Gore.  As he stands in the "premium boarding line, we walk over to him and Jackson walks right up and says "Are you the vice-president?" To which he answers, "I used to be." and Jackson goes on to ask permission to have his photo made with him and my little history buff stands tall beside former Vice President Al Gore as he waits to board a Southwest flight to LA. It was our first actual celebrity sighting in Nashville.

We arrived to an entourage and our name plastered on a sign.  WE felt like the celebrities then!  With a fully loaded mini-van and one of the best girlfriends I have waiting on us, we were in LA now baby!  That van was packed out with more snacks than we could shake a stick at.  (did I just say that?)  Yeah and we ain't in Tennessee anymore either. Nope, this was Beverly Hills.  Swimming Pools and Movie Stars.  My only LA request was to see the Hollywood sign.  I didn't quite know what I was asking or what we were in for.  I was completely unaware of LA traffic.  So, we took a leisurely ride through Hollywood, saw Rodeo Dr but didn't unload the clown wagon.  We passed through the movie star houses of Beverly Hills and even caught a glimpse of what appeared to be Jesus Christ.  A man fully dressed in a white cloak tied at the waist with long hair was wandering the streets there.  I'm not judging.  No.  It was just unexpected to see such a sight.  You just never know folks.  It's California.   Right before we got on the freeway Mari yelled "Look quick, Jamie! There's your sign."  Sure enough Waaaaay off in the distance, I saw my first and only glimpse of the Hollywood sign.  In her defense,  LA was MUCH larger than I had anticipated and getting there would have been a feat the children wouldn't have handled.

That night we learned what a process feeding and watering 5 children 3 meals and 50 snacks a day was going to entail.  It was going to require wine so naturally, we indulged.
The kids were thrilled to see each other.  It was non stop chatter, well, non-stop.  We stayed near the Capo house at Dana Point.  I learned so much about California geography while I was there.  We stayed just down the street from Doheney State Park which the Beach boys sang about.

This little spot may have been my kids most favorite memory of the entire week in CA.  Better than any Zoo or Theme Park.  These are the "Shallow tadpoles" or formerly known as the "shallow tide pools".  Sunday morning was low tide and it made great exploring weather.  It was a bit on the chilly side and June gloom was in full effect on the coastal front.  I will never forget how much the weather could change from morning to midday to evening.  I will never forget how COLD it is in June while it tops 100 in TN.

The tide pools were beautiful and fantastically crawling with creatures of all kinds.  There was no stopping these kids in their quest for crabs, anemone and sea urchins.

Gabe and Jackson were convinced they could make it our to this giant rock but as the tide started coming back in, they had to turn around and they were so close!

We were so glad Nana could be there for the first few days of the trip.  The science teacher in her just loved all the learning involved in the tide pool exploration.  It wouldn't be our last trip to the tide pools this week.

We walked around this "haunted ship" to Baby Beach in the harbor.  The kids loved the pier and beach with no waves.  I reveled in watching the body boarders skim across the slick water.
We spent the afternoon at the Capistrano Mission.  It is beautiful.  Breathtaking, really.  I am certain that the kids enjoyed it for different reasons than I did but we all did and that's what matters.  My favorite part of the mission was the history of the return of the swallows where for centuries  flocks of swallows have returned to the mission to build nests.  It was fascinating to say the least.

Getting everyone to smile for a photo.  Well, that'd be downright Miraculous.  We try, oh do we try.

The kids figure out that these koi would eat anything.  They were fed, pieces of apple and cheese-its that we found in our bags.
The grande finale for the kids was this giant slop bucket.  You could pay $3 and get to stick your hands into this giant vat of muddy lukewarm water and come out with salt grains of... wait for it...fools gold.  I swore I wouldn't stick my hands in that mess but I ate my words and did it to make the boy happy.  They should at least give you the hope of finding real gold if you're going to stick your hands into THAT!

There you have it folks.  Finally.  3 months, ok, 4 months later.  Those are merely the first 2 glorious days we spent in (not so) sunny southern California!

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