I just came back from a week-long trip to Florida. Intended to be a business trip, my boss gave me the blessing to make it a personal one as well. I have over a dozen first cousins (my Dad being the oldest of 10 children) in Jacksonville, Florida; I haven’t seen most of them in over 10 years! They were kids when I last saw them and now many of them are college grads, in their career, homeowners, parents, etc. Even though I only had a few days with my cousins, we were able to build amazing memories together that make me smile or giggle when I think about them. Truly, truly grateful for these amazing people I call my cousins and my family. I miss them so much. :(
Last month, the Hubby and I took our little Ella on her first trip to Hawaii. It was the first time she had ever been on a plane (and she did a great job). It was the perfect opportunity to give Ella our undivided attention before her baby sister arrives. I look back at that vacation and smile every time knowing that we were able to share something special with her that she can have all to her own. Here are some pictures from our trip.
Ella, I hope you enjoyed your first trip to Hawaii. You were a very good traveler and I’m very proud of you, Big Girl! I smile thinking about the excitement on your face during every part of the trip – from riding on the plane, to playing in the water, to trying Bubbies ice cream. You didn’t complain about all the walking and even when it rained, you told me “It’s ok if it rains, Mommy. It just means there’s more water in the pool.” : )You even showed your appreciation as soon as we landed by holding mine and Daddy’s hands and telling us “Thank you Mommy and Daddy for taking me to Hawaii.” I love you and I am so glad we have this special vacation to call our own forever…
I failed to record that this one is checked off the list. Last December, while in San Francisco, we visited Cigar Bar & Grill, where they played live jazz. Wish they had one of those spots in San Diego – we’d be there all the time! ; )
This past weekend, our family went to Big Bear, CA to enjoy a few fun and chilly days in the snow. Everyone who knows me knows I’m not a “camping” kind of girl. I do love those little luxuries like a toilet, running water, heat, and a roof (one that is not made of fabric) over my head. Thankfully, my SIL arranged for us to stay in this lovely cabin that had all those little luxuries, plus had a camping-like ambiance. I absolutely loved it! There were so many “firsts” like Ella and her sister seeing snow for the first time and playing board games as a family for the first time. I was impressed to see how fearless Ella was in the snow – she braved the high hills with her big brother and sister beside her and even went tubing! It was pretty amazing to watch. So many wonderful memories made – it looks like this could be a new family tradition. : )
Last Friday night, the Hubby and I went on a date and instead of visiting one of our favorite places, we decided to try something new – Eritrean food! What an experience – no utensils, unfamiliar flavors and a new cuisine for both of us to try. I loved it and would definitely go back to Asmara Restaurant for some delicious Eritrean food.
1. The Motherland: I’d definitely love to visit the Philippines and meet all of my extended family out there. I visited when I was 13 years old, but I definitely didn’t have the appreciation for it back then. I am certain that I’d look at the whole experience a lot differently and with more of an open mind…as a 13 year old, I was just homesick. :(
2. Jacksonville, Florida: My Dad is the eldest of 10 children, in which all 9 are on the other side of the country, primarily in Jacksonville, FL. Although, I cannot stand heat and humidity, I am willing to endure all of that to spend time with my cousins. Many of them are parents too and I’d love for our kids to meet.
3. Hawaii: The Hubby and I dream of taking our kids with us to Hawaii one of these days. I would love to rent a house on the country side to enjoy the private beaches and then drive over to the city side to enjoy the action of the island. One day…
4. Canada (NorthWest): I have only heard wonderful things about Canada – I would love to visit with my Hubby one of these days.
5. Spain: I would love to visit Spain with my Hubby, who has never been to Europe. I’ve visited 6 countries in Europe, but Spain was not one of them. I think it would be a romantic adventure for both of us. :)
Our 2011 summer family trip was a success! In fact, I think this is the best vacation yet for our family. I realized two things during this trip: 1) How important it was to be ‘in the moment’ with my family and 2) How fast our kids are growing up. Bittersweet, but that’s why these vacations mean so much. Every minute of this vacation was nothing short of blissful, relaxing, memorable and full of joy for me. The kids made me laugh all throughout the trip, and for that, I’m thankful.
We took them to some places that we knew they’d enjoy including an All You Can Eat sushi restaurant (oh yes, they were in heaven), M&Ms World, Serendipity 3, and the Coca-Cola store where we were able to sample 16 Coca-Cola drinks from around the globe. Our plans including something for everyone (we have four kids ranging from 3 to 18, remember???) So thankful to our good friends P&T for lending us their timeshare for the weekend. We had the best time!
- One of the longest weeks EVER!
- So bummed that my sickness is keeping me away from this beautiful weather.
- Proud of son for receiving his first college acceptance call to Northern Arizona University. Hope this is the first of many.
- I’m down another 2 – gotta keep up with this pace to reach my April goal :)
- What is this sudden craving for pork rinds all about? Who knows!
- I’m feeling like “dim sum” this weekend — something exciting about trying a bunch of different bites. I’ve reached out to my FB foodies for recs on where to go and am narrowing down their suggestions.
- I feel like me and son’s BM get along quite well — and I’m thankful for that. :)
- Slightly irritated about not knowing the softball schedule during our soon-to-be 10 year old’s birthday weekend — how can a Mom make plans?
- A restaurant I recently Yelped about is in the process of trying to redeem itself — to accept or not accept the gift card offer. Hmm.
- Finally found a pair of brown boots that I REALLY like for under $50 (the under $50 is actually a nice bonus)!
- Kind of loving the lemon cilantro hummus from Fresh & Easy — love that place and all the cool food finds.
- Can’t wait for a pre-Vday group date with my Besties and their Hubbies.
- Shame on me for using the word “fricken” — guess who’s said it a couple of times and had to be told no.
- Looking for some normalcy. Being sick or having someone in the family sick turns your world upside down.
- Vegas bound to celebrate our 4th anniversary next month — thanks to one of my dearest friends for hooking up the resort accommodations.
- I’m feeling incredibly relieved and blessed that my Dad is home after 5 days in the hospital.
- Hours away from Friday and Payday…always a good pair.
We had a fabulous time with our Yo Gabba Gabba friends when they visited San Diego as part of their North American tour. It was a great way to end our long Thanksgiving weekend – we all had a blast!
Friday, August 20
Our adventure began. We filled our bellies with a huge breakfast hashbrown burrito from El Patron – none of us was really able to finish the burritos, they were THAT huge – but oh so good. Then we took our time on the road, expecting the LA traffic, but surprisingly made it to our first destination without any delay. We took our kids to the Grammy Museum – a place Hubby and I enjoyed a couple months ago. And as we anticipated, the kids loved it. The Grammy Museum ranks up there on our list of things to do in LA – it’s affordable, not crowded and there is so much to do, see and listen to. Our kids are like us – music-lovers – so it made sense to share this experience with them. My favorite part was singing together in a recording booth – ALL of us. It was both hilarious and memorable. :)
After the Grammy Museum, we decided to take the kids to a late lunch at the place where I first tried Pad Seeyew (and fell in love) – Noodle Planet in Westwood. Then we enjoyed a little afternoon dessert at Diddy Riese, another one of our favorite places!
We checked into our hotel, the Anaheim Hilton. We scored a great deal of $85/night. The hotel was very modern and the room we stayed in was comfortable, although there was no view outside our window or balcony. But it served the purpose so we can’t complain. The kids took a dip in the pool at dusk on Friday, Ella included!
Saturday, August 21
The big part of our day started early in the morning – Breakfast with Minnie and Friends. If you have little ones in the family, and even if you don’t, this breakfast was well-worth your dollars. The food was delicious, characters frolic throughout the restaurant so right away, you get to meet them, and it’s all you can eat! We made reservations weeks in advance and enjoyed a nice, hearty breakfast “Minnie Mouse” style.
Here’s a clip of Ella dancing in the parade – this was absolutely my best memory at Disneyland. I was so happy for her!
We didn’t stay for the fireworks – it was already a very long day but wanted to make sure the kids did some school shopping with their allowance and money they earned from their report cards. Thankfully, the Block at Orange was open until 11pm. They had a blast shopping all night long.
Sunday, August 22
We checked out of the hotel and decided to take the kids to the LA Fashion District to do more school shopping. By Sunday, I was spent! Sadly, it was hot and crowded and I had a grumpy toddler in tow. But the kids found awesome deals and honestly, I’ve never seen them enjoy shopping so much until that weekend. I’m so happy they had a wonderful time and I look forward to our next family vacation together!