Adventuring

Last week (in the spirit of adventure) we spent a couple nights camping up at San Onofre State Beach. Here are a few photos if you’d like to see!

Our friends and their two little girls joined us as well (that’s their “shaka shack” on the left :) and our camper van on the right), so the kids ran and played and reveled in the sand and dirt. Our campsite sat right on the ocean, but still had a barrier of smooth beach rocks that kept the little ones out of the water.

When we wanted some beach time, we did a quick walk down a little path so the kids could splash in the waves and the guys could surf. I forgot to pack my wetsuit (such as it is when packing for little ones – I remembered everything else!), and my swimsuit was less than surf friendly, so I wasn’t able to join this time.

At night, we left the van doors open while we slept, and it was heaven listening to the waves crashing just outside all night. Coffee in the morning tasted so glorious. I did most of the food prep beforehand, which made feeding everyone a lot simpler.

On the second night, we opted to try out one of the camp’s little beach bungalows (below). It was so cute and cozy, but we really missed our campsite. Next time we’ll save our money and just stay on the beach!

Another sweet family adventure for the books. Thanks for taking a look! xo

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Adventure

Last summer, the Mr gave me a surfboard (above) for my birthday, hoping that we could share one of his favorite pastimes. He had taken me surfing a handful of times over the years, but having my own board got me so excited to really learn. After a few slightly terrifying episodes getting tossed by waves (I’m a total wimp in the ocean), he thought it might be best to downgrade me to a less advanced board – this year’s birthday gift.

Years ago, I think part of my motivation to learn to surf came from the desire to be viewed as a tough girl, who could hang with the guys and fearlessly conquer the ocean (although if I’m completely honest, I’m more of a bask-in-the-sun-while-enjoying-my-book-type of person). But now my intention stems from wanting to spend time with my sons as they grow, doing something they might end up loving as much as their dad.

I love that my husband is always dreaming up ways to get our little family out of the house and into adventure. In this season of life, “adventure” looks like a night of beach camping, juggling pack-n-plays and sand toys, and making sure we have enough ice to keep the milk cold. One day when the boys are older, adventure might mean road trips up the West Coast, or surf trips to South America. And when those adventures come, I want to be out there in the water with them – talking about life and getting to know them in a deeper way – instead of sitting on the beach with a book.

We should still have a couple more warm-ish months this year, so I’m excited to get out in the water and keep trying. And as I’m getting tossed by waves, I’ll picture my sweet sons in the water next to me. Wish me luck! xo

Flying with little ones

Last week, the boys and I headed to NC to visit my family while the Mr is away for work. Flying with little ones (especially alone) is no joke, and I’ve spent the last few years honing my traveling skills with squirmy babies and toddlers. Here are a few things I’ve learned. :)

1. Bag of tricks. This one has never failed me. A few weeks before the flight, I browse Amazon for new small toys and activities and put them in an opaque bag (these are great) that fits into my diaper bag. The boys love digging through it and discovering something new every hour (or few minutes, haha). Other favorites I bring are stickers (hours of fun, if not a bit annoying to tidy up), a few new lightweight books, and snacks (obviously).

2. Get organized. On the subject of bags, I’ve found it really helpful to organize every single item in my carry on / diaper bag into its own smaller, categorized bag – a change of clothes in one, snacks in another, etc. It helps me stay sane and allows me to grab what I need at one glance instead of rifling through everything. I’ll often just use clear, gallon-size plastic bags so I can easily see what’s in them. They can also serve as wet bags for any unforeseen / inevitable accidents.

3. More is not more. It’s taken me years to become a more efficient and minimal packer (and there’s still much room for improvement!). But now having to pack for two kids as well as myself, I really have to resist the instinct to overpack. It can be tempting to bring every single thing we might possibly need, but I have regretted overpacking way more often than I have regretted not bringing any particular item, or extra pair of whatever.

4. Schedule flights around naps (if possible). This one hasn’t always gone in my favor, but scheduling flights in the late morning / midday sometimes means my little ones are able to pass out at some point on a long flight. The older they get the less often this happens, but it’s always a nice break when it does!

5. Direct vs. layovers. Does your little one do better with a break to stretch her legs and run around for a while? Then a layover might be best for you. Personally, I’d rather deal with one longer flight than managing the stress of boarding, deplaning, boarding again and possibly missing a connecting flight. Taking the time to think about your babe’s development stage and unique personality can help you make the best travel plans possible.

6. Take a deep breath and relax. I used to stress to the max about flying with my little ones – I was so terrified of annoying people. But in the last 3 years, I’ve never had anyone be rude to me (I think people mostly feel sorry for me, haha!). Fellow travelers are most likely to be kind and understanding, and will probably even offer to carry something for you! So give yourself some grace.

We are heading back to California later today, so wish us luck on our cross-country flight!

Do you have any fool-proof tips for traveling with kids? I’d love to hear them!

In Full Bloom: The Jacaranda

jacaranda-tree

This time of year, I am always astonished by the Jacaranda trees that explode into full bloom all around the city. And since it just might be my most favorite tree in the world, it makes me so happy that it happens to be the official tree of San Diego. Here are a few photos I took four years ago, near Balboa Park.

jacaranda-treejacaranda-tree jacaranda-tree jacaranda-tree

jacaranda-tree

jacaranda-tree

It makes me want to travel to Australia just for this. Wouldn’t it be stunning? The Mr and I may just have to start planning a trip. :)

Does your city have an official tree?

Out-of-Towners

Coronado

I love playing hostess to people from out of town; not only do you get to spend time with people you love who you don’t see often, but it’s such a refreshing way to fall in love with your city all over again. Last week my lovely parents came for a visit – here’s a peek of what we did. :)

We walked along the Harbor, enjoying all the beautiful, historic boats (which my dad LOVES). Below is the Star of India, the world’s oldest active ship. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Star-of-India

We strolled on the beach in Coronado, and sipped drinks and people watched at the Hotel del.

Hotel-del-Coronado

We even did a city tour, half of which was enjoyed in the water (I highly recommend doing a tour of your own city, if it’s available – I learned so much history and little known facts that were so interesting).

Sea-lions

San-Diego-harbor-tour   San-Diego-skyline-tour

We ate good food at some our favorite places (like here and here), and enjoyed the breathtaking view from C Level restaurant.

San-Diego-skyline

My mom even found the time to completely revamp our backyard (more photos of that to come!). She is a gardening genius, and works her magic in the dirt every time she comes to visit. I love spending that time with her making things beautiful.

potting-table

Since I can’t enjoy regular, everyday time with my family, these visits are so precious. It was such a special time with my favorite people, and of rediscovering this beautiful city the Mr and I call home. I highly recommend coming to San Diego for a visit! :)

Unbelievable Places

Lake-Retba-Senegal

Can you believe these places exist? Neither can I. Which ones would you visit if you could?

Salar-de-Uyuni-salt-flat-mirror

Tunnel-of-Love-Ukraine

Lavender-fields

Naica-Mine-Mexico

Lake Retba, Senegal / Salar de Uyuni Salt Flat Mirrors, Bolivia / Tunnel of Love, Ukraine / Lavender Fields, UK / Naica Mine, Mexico

I sometimes look into the endless heavens, the cosmos of which we can’t find the edge, and ask God what it means. Did You really do all of this to dazzle us? Do You really keep it shifting, rolling round the pinions to stave off boredom? God forbid Your glory would be our distraction. And God forbid we would ignore Your glory. – Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts

ps – more unbelievable places.

Dream Destinations

Croatia

Greece

Browsing through these photos has made me day-dreamy for an exotic vacation. I gravitate toward more tropical destinations, so Greece, Croatia, and Bora-Bora are top on my list of must-see-before-I-die places.

Wouldn’t it be heavenly to stay in an over-the-water bungalow, swim in the Blue Caves, or dine in a cliff-side restaurant?

What destinations are you dreaming about?

China

Bora-Bora

Seychelles