California Vacation 2018

Since we got back from vacation in July, I’ve had alot of ideas for blog posts, but was just too busy to do any.  This is only my second post this month! What?!  I figure it’s about time to put something out there since it’s been a month since we went on vacation.

This is going to be a very photo-heavy post.  We spent a week in southern California at the end of July.  We were able to meet up with my sister’s family, my cousin’s family, and my mom at different times, so it was nice to spend so much time with loved ones that I rarely get to see.  This was also the first time my kids had been on a plane, to the ocean, or to California.  Lots of firsts for them!  I prepared them with horror stories of airplane security check lines and tiny airplane seats with broken junk and options to pay lots of money for more broken junk.  On the way there, we flew Delta and it was the best flight experience I’ve had since I flew Virgin Airlines almost a decade ago.  On the way back, we flew American and my kids were pretty disappointed, but did acknowledge that I wasn’t exaggerating with airline horror stories, haha!  The ocean water and sand even cleared up my skin by like, 95%, but that changed once I got back home.  So, I’ll have another post coming soon about my updated skincare routine.  Either way, I took it as a sign that I need to live on the beach for the sake of my health.  It’s all just for my health, not because the beach is awesome and amazing and fun and relaxing.

Ben, Austin, and Averie on the way to California

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Logan and me, excited to be sitting together!

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Our first meal in Cali was at Panang Thai, which is near LAX.  No matter which restaurant we chose, the GPS went crazy and kept trying to take us back to the airport.  We finally got decent directions for this place and were grateful for the lovely waitstaff and delicious food.

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Growing up in the hood and listening to rap and hip hop in the ’90s, I heard alot about Crenshaw.  I also wanted to get a picture of one of many bikers who had a death wish on the highway.  Why would you pull out in front of so many moving vehicles when the only thing between you and death is a helmet made of plastic and foam?!

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I added the moustache to this work of art, but this is otherwise all custom work on a quality vehicle.

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When you go on vacation and this is the view you see as you pull up the hotel, you know things are going to be good!

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Wandering through a closed Chinatown, looking for breakfast, which we did find at a Chinese bakery!

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So, of course I spent most of my time at Universal Studios in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I mean, my gimpy feet were bothering me and the sunshine made the temperature hotter.  So, to prevent extra pain and headaches, I just hung out with the Harry Potter stuff, drinking pumpkin juice and walking around in air conditioned stores.  We did all start our visit with fried potatoes, pumpkin juice, and butterbeers at the Three Broomsticks before getting our own wands at Ollivanders.  I did decide on a Cauldron Cake at Honeyduke’s before the evening was over and it was delightful!  I wish the cafeteria at work had these.

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Pumpkin juice, Excedrin Migraine, Tylenol, and Advil got me through the day.

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Ben, Logan, and Averie came back to enjoy a Simpsons donut from the Kwik-E-Mart on the cool patio at the Hog’s Head.

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I had already decided that the first day would be Universal and the second day would be at the beach so that we could just relax and not walk around for miles in the sun.  The beach at Oceanside is much cooler and wilder than some of the other beaches, but we did read up on it first and knew what to expect.  You get used to the cold water quickly once the sun comes out to greet you.

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I offered to let this guy look through the telescope, but he was more interested in floor food.  Go figure!

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Averie broke her toe a month before we went to California.  So, she was still walking around in a boot for most of the trip.  She wanted to just tape her toes and wear flip flops for anything beach-related, though.  Even without toe tape or boots, I was still limping along behind her.

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The kids had a million questions about everything in the water and on the pier.  We have a saltwater fish tank at home, so we were trying to explain to the kids that all the work Ben does with the fish tank is to mimic the environment of the ocean that mother nature takes care of every day.

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Ben and the kids got ice cream here the night that we hung out with my family on the pier.

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Night surfing!  I can’t even surf during the day.  I so admired this dude.

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The waves get pretty big at night.  All you can really see from a distance is the foam.

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The resort where we stayed had a viewing deck that we checked out at night when it was less busy.

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I get a bit of vertigo when I get close to the edge, but not Logan!

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Sea World San Diego!  We didn’t think that we’d be able to afford more than one theme park, but my mom’s friends are both in the military and got some free tickets for us.  There was a whole aquarium filled with adorable sea turtles!

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Biting flamingo, kakaw!

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While eating at one of the food court patios, I heard Ben say, “Oh, we have some guests,” and felt some fuzzy things on my legs.  I freaked out!  Then, I saw that they were just baby ducklings!  They waddled so quickly that I nearly missed getting a picture.

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I almost missed the penguin exhibit before I realized that they had it dark and cold inside not because it was closed, but to imitate July in Antarctica.  This lil dude was outside of the penguin exhibit and posed for quite a few pictures while complaining at me when I took too long between his various poses.

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Our last meal in Cali was breakfast with my sister and nephew at the Naked Cafe.  The food was amazing!  (Coconut French toast, whaaaat?)  If I had to eat at this place for every meal for the rest of my life, I could probably handle that.

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Probably my favorite name for a store ever!

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Polka dot is a cool color for a car!

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My babies, proudly wearing their California t-shirts at the airport.

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Our middle schooler, tolerating yet another photo.

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That is the end of our California vacation!  Thank you for reading this far!  I hope you enjoyed the photos and descriptions.  If you want to hear some more about our vacation, head on over to my YouTube channel for some vlogs!  Let me know if you liked this post by clicking the like button below.  Have you ever been to California?  If so, what part?  Do you surf?  Every driven a polka-dot vehicle?  Tell me all about it in the comments below!

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Planning, Etsy Haul, and Giveaway – July, Averie’s Birthday Party, Week of 7.2.18

Hello, interwebz! I have been working on this post for awhile, but have been sick and busy. So, it’s a few weeks late, but you might get something out of it (literally!) I found a birthday scrapbook kit from Tuesday Morning and ordered some stickers from Etsy. Then, I mashed them all together in my planner for the monthly overview and first week of July.

I gathered together all of my stuffs and prepared myself for some epic planning…and then worked on it five minutes at a time throughout the day.

I ordered a few stickers from XOXO Prints on Etsy. I mean, penguins, you guys. Penguins. Also, I wanted to do a mermaid or sea theme for the week of my stepdaughter’s birthday because she loves mermaids and sea creatures so much. XOXO Prints had both! I just love Natasha’s work and these photos cannot do justice to the vivid colors. As a member of the Facebook group, I also got some freebies that I want to hug. I placed all the stickers in the back of my planner on some extra pages to make sure I have access to the penguins as the moods strike my planning soul.

Then, of course, I ordered some Gertie stickers from WilaWalaCo. Jenna recently moved across the country and I was kinda feenin’ for a Gertie fix. When I saw the “Pants Are Evil” stickers, that was it! I had to buy them! I want one for every day of my life. Pants are worse than bras. Pajamas for life!

I also picked up some Gertie stickers to remind me to be creative and track my instagramming. Gertie is the unicorn mentor that I’ve always wanted. Le sigh. I’m a Gertie Gal on Facebook, so I got some freebies with my order. In addition to another sticker to add to my discount card.

The Stickery was recommended to me, I believe, by my good friend, Sarah. The store had great prices on some social media productivity stickers as well as a Christmas countdown sheet that I loved. With these stickers, I might actually be inspired to get stuff done when I’m not dying from stress and the heat! Woo hoo!

First, I worked through the scrapbooking kit and added it to the last week of June, which is when we celebrated Averie’s birthday. There was a little folder and a few questionnaires. I think Averie will both be humiliated and love looking back on these in the years to come. Lilah actually took all of the pictures since I was in no shape to do so. Extra thanks to Lilah for preserving these memories for us!

Then, I started on July. It’s a busy month, and I’m really looking forward to our family vacation this month. I apologize for all of the green boxes, but I’m trying to protect people’s privacy. So many birthdays, doctors, memories, and events this month!

So, I focused on the first week of July next. As you can see from the monthly view, it’s a busy week. We celebrate Independence Day in the U.S. on Wednesday and I’m off work, but I’m also on call and will be out of town. Work is complicated by the holiday. Life is complicated by the holiday. What’s a gal to do? I just loaded the pages with beautiful and happy stickers to remind me of the good parts of each day.

I went in and filled out all the events afterwards and tried to keep it looking semi-pretty. By the end of this week, there will probably be no white left on these pages. Until then, breathe in stickers…breathe out stickers…Wait. Eww.  Gross.

If you have read through all of this, then you deserve an award! This month, I’m actually going to give one of my supercoolreallyawesome readers an award. Remember those XOXO Prints penguin stickers? If you win, then you will get your choice of a full sheet of the coffee penguin, sick penguin, or celebrating penguin stickers. Do you know how hard it was for me to not use these yet?! The contest starts on July 4th at 12 AM CT and ends July 11th at 12 AM CT.  Click on the RaffleCopter link below to enter the giveaway for a chance to lay your hands on some of these cute stickers!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/008275071/?

Thanks for reading and good luck!