Monday, November 28, 2011

Balboa bonanza!

I can't believe it's been over two weeks since we've been back from our trip. I thought about skipping a trip report post because 300+ pictures is daunting. But once I started looking at some of them and thinking about all of the fun we had I knew it must be documented. Enjoy...somehow I managed the patience to upload almost all 300 pictures in this post.

We found a darling house on Balboa Island (near Newport Beach) to rent for the week. We picked this house from the few pictures on vrbo which looked great but you never know what you really end up getting until you're there. Lucky for us it was even better and roomier than we thought. Each family had our own large room so we could retreat at the end of the night if we wanted to. But most of us stayed around the main living space.

My dreams came true when I saw our house had a Dutch door. I've loved these doors so much and almost every house on Balboa has one. It was one of my favorite parts of the house until the very last hour we were there and I hit my head on it and came thisclose to having Blake take me to the hospital...seriously. But it's still darling and I still want one for Christmas!

Balboa is the cutest, most quaint little village. Our house was right around the corner from Marine Avenue which is the main drag through the village. So we'd walk around the corner and pick up coffee, the best sweet rolls ever or a frozen treat at night. If you walked the opposite way from our front porch we were about 5 houses down from a little beach and marina area with a walkway that circles the entire island.

I love looking at houses and when you walk around the island every single house is different. From the tiniest bright yellow cottages to huge palatial villas - every walk we took I saw something else to fall in love with.
Between my sister and I we found plenty of yummy places to eat. Our first night we had delicious Mexican. I don't know if it was the combination of changing time zones (uh, 1 hour is all) and arriving on daylight savings but Lucy seemed to fall asleep in the middle of every dinner.

Our first full day we headed to some tide pools at a nearby beach. It was a beautiful day and we spent quite awhile exploring.

The whole family did one day at Disneyland and then Blake, Lucy and I went back for a second day to stand in line for characters and catch anything we missed. Ten minutes into our first day with the whole family and we ran into Snow White and Cinderella right next to the castle. A magical way to start the day!


Blake could spend all day doing the handful of thrill rides Disney has to offer. Our last three visits or so it's just been the 3 of us so he was thrilled to have a friend. Every chance they got Brinton and Blake were running to rides.

But only after us parade go-ers were properly supplied with cokes, corn dogs and popcorn to watch the best Disney parade ever! Every dream character of Lucy's was in this parade and we had perfect front row seats!

A shot of Toad for Coleman who couldn't make the trip :(

On Tuesday we decided to rent a Duffy boat and cruise around the island. This was at the top of my list of favorite things on our trip. We had a couple of hours to just cruise around all on our own - you don't have to do anything but pay to be able to rent a boat! Blake was very comfortable in his job as captain and we enjoyed lunch, gawking at homes, listening to good tunes on a sunny afternoon.

Wednesday brought the three of us back to Disneyland and there were more touches of Christmas all around the park. Go in's the best!

Storybookland one of Lucy's favorite.

Thursday was breakfast at Ruby's (I love you cinnamon roll french toast) and a beach day. Sand castles, chasing waves, reading and daydreaming.

Our hair is morphing into the same color/style.

Thursday night was a little crazy...Brinton had to head home a little early for work and couldn't get on a plane so he stayed at the airport for 9 hours until we picked him up. My dad and Blake headed to San Diego for a Chargers game and it took them like 7 hours to travel 120 miles away and missed half of the game and the four of us walked all over Fashion Island for our girls' night trying to find someplace to get seated to eat. Kind of a crazy night but we all made it back safe and sound and none of us punched each other out...success!

Brinton and Caitlin headed home Friday morning so my parents and us spent our last full day relaxing around Newport. Every time we're in that area we've driven by the Sherman Library & Gardens on PCH. I've always been intrigued and this time we stopped. Oh my gosh! This is such an amazing place and we spent a good chunk of time wandering and admiring the grounds.

A dream succulent garden.

The gardens were such a treat! Lucy felt like she was in an enchanted garden all to herself. It was like $3. to get in and again, another of my top moments.

To end the trip we had a dinner at The Crab Cooker. Lucy is terrified of crustaceans (lobsters, crabs) and she will scream like a hyena if we have to walk by them in the tank at Dan's - like hysterical scream. So of course we took her to Cooker and right past their case of crustaceans. Lucky for us she only squealed as she ran by but she did show us her crab face outside the restaurant. If you want to see something better than the crab face have Blake show you a video on his phone. On one of our beach days he found a dead crab and chased her around while she ran and screamed until she lost her breath. Blake of course laughed and filmed the whole thing...and that is why we are amazing parents!

Now that I've relived the whole trip....I'm ready to go back!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

post-vacation ramblings

Whew! We're back from our California getaway and we had a fabulous time! It's the longest trip we've taken in quite awhile - a full 7 days. We've taken almost a week before but that has involved a day or two of driving but this trip we flew (thanks Jetblue for rates cheaper than gas) so with a full week I was able to fully relax and reenergize. I haven't quite made it to organize yet far as pictures. I have two cameras and phone full of pictures so maybe I'll get to a trip report next week. Most of the readers of the blog were actually on the trip so I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself.

The picture above is Lucy on our full first day back home. She was full of energy and ready to resume nonstop fun with a fully housed staff of maids, butlers, audience members and entertainers... pretty much what she had on the trip.
So let's just say getting her back to reality has been a treat this week. On Monday I knew we needed a craft, outside time, tv time and snacks. On the Family Fun website they have a ton of cute craft ideas so I picked "take a nature walk, collect berries, leaves and twigs to make a sign". Well, the nature walk went well but once we got back inside Lucy said she refused to help make the "idiot" sign and colored pictures of Jack Skellington silently next to me. I was in no mood to argue and didn't attempt to cut a circle out of cardboard for nothing so I made the sign...alone.

Lucky for everyone it was back to work and preschool on Tuesday. My favorite thing about Lucy's school is the cute crafts she comes home with. Tuesday they made a "thankful tree" with what Lucy is thankful for: mom, dad, wedge. Of course she left out Suki. We asked her why and she said "I'm not thankful for him."

My poor Suk.

We're all back into our routines and vacation hangovers are going away. But today panic set in for me a bit - Christmas is just over 5 weeks away and I haven't bought a single thing. Nothing! But worse than that is I have no real ideas for gifts. Today I thought I might have a possible, little "stuffer" idea...
Lucy has a new obsession...Muppets. With the new movie coming out it's all she can talk about. I personally find them a bit creeptown, usa, but I do remember watching Muppet movies as a kid so I guess I get her obsession. Well in a magazine ad we saw OPI nail polish in Muppet colors (not as weird as it sounds) but Lucy freaked! So today I find myself traveling the valley to find this polish. Sometimes I get so fixated on something that I will do insane things like drive to as many JCPenny Salons (I had a coupon) as I can think of and none of them had the MISS PIGGY COLOR! Finally, in the parking lot of Valley Fair mall I took a breath from inhaling caramel corn (the only redeeming store or item that mall has) and realized I was spending a ridiculous amount of time (and gas) looking for nail polish...Muppet nail polish...for a 4 year old.

So nothing checked off my list today and the laid back vibe of vacation may be dwindling but that's why we have lots of pictures and really fun memories. So with the chaotic craziness of the holidays around the corner (which really, everyone secretly loves) I'll have a happy place in my head to go to...

(she is such a good girl and she had such a fun week - I can't even remember how lame our trips must have been before her)

p.s. if you're not watching Parenthood you should. It's probably my favorite right now. It always has really good music but when I heard this tonight (and knew every word) I was like, love it!