WOW. On so many levels....WOW. That's how we feel about our vacation to Los Angeles. Wow. We can't stop saying it. Where do I begin?
First of all, I have a disclaimer--we forgot our camera. Luckily, Cathy, our friend we were staying with let us use her digital camera. However, we couldn't find the USB chord to download the photos. We're hoping she'll email them soon!
The first two days of the trip were pretty rough. Vic had meetings all day so I was "home alone" with Lucy. Wow. Traveling with a toddler....Thankfully, Cathy lives in Beverly Hills in a gorgeous neighborhood so we escaped the madness by going on several walks. I think I lost a few pounds on this trip from the sheer amount of walking I did. Cathy's home also happens to be just a few blocks from the temple so we spent a lot of time walking the grounds and playing in the fountains. (I'm sure the temple ground workers really loved that).
Once Vic reunited with us, things started getting much better. Thursday night, Sept. 13th, Cathy invited us to join her temple at the beach to celebrate the Jewish New Year--Rosh Hashana. Because it was the first day of Rosh Hashana, they put into practice the tashlikh, a custom in which prayers are recited near a body natural flowing water (the Pacific Ocean in this case), and your sins are symbolically cast into the water. Many also have the custom to throw bread or pebbles into the water, to symbolize the "casting off" of sins. We had just picnicked on the beach so we had left over sandwich bread that we used. It was actually a really neat experience. We spent several minutes speaking with a man from the synagogue in more depth about how the tradition started, etc. Very enlightening.
We started off the next day with lunch at In-n-Out before heading to Venice beach where we rented beach cruisers (and a baby hurley chariot thing) and biked up and down the beach. We had a total blast. Lucy loved riding behind the bikes in her little chariot (she is a little cherub after all). It was so fun to be back on our old stomping grounds where we used to roller blade and have family home evenings with the singles ward. So many memories. The weather was perfect--not too hot, not too cool. We worked up a sweat while biking so it was the perfect time to hit the water. Lucy was so timid of the sand at first. She refused to put her feet down! She would just curl her legs up in a ball and bring her knees to her ears anytime we tried to set her down. She finally warmed up to the idea of walking on a less "stable" substance and took off without fear. Her favorite part of the beach was all the birds. After wading in the water and getting used to the temperature, she finally dove in with daddy. It was such a joy to see them in the ocean together.
It was during our time at Venice beach that we got a call from our realtor telling us that the couple who were buying our condo could NOT get approved for a loan! Another WOW. Well...we are happy to stay in Park City, because we love it here...but sad for obvious other reasons.
Saturday was our Disneyland day. WOW. Lucy had a major breakdown about 2 hours into the day and we thought we were going to have to leave. She had another major come apart near the end of the day....But somehow we managed to last 9 HOURS! She was a trooper when all was said and done. Here's a list of all we did:
-Peter Pan (we HAD to do Peter Pan! I considered it homework for my role).
-Pirates of the Caribbean (daddy loved this ride because Lucy cuddled up to him most of the time...she was scared and excited at the same time. The animated parrot at the very end was her favorite part, of course).
-Heimlich (a "roller coaster" for little kids in A Bugs Land--in the California Adventure Park)
-Running through the shooting water fountains in A Bugs Land. She could have done this for hours if we let her. She was soaking wet by the end. I got some great video of this which I will have to post later due to the camera issue.
-Animation studio. Talking with Crush, the Turtle.
-The roller coaster in California Adventure. Lucy didn't go on this one. But Vic and I had a blast! Wendy, Pete, and Peggy were there for the day so they watched Lucy for us.
-Cinderella story time in Princess Land--or whatever they call it. Lucy just walked around from carpet to carpet taking food from other people. It was hilarious. That girl is so unabashed!
-Balloons. No, the balloons were not a ride, but Lucy got more excited about seeing the huge bunches of Mickey Mouse balloons than she did about any of the rides or even the birds at the beach. For Christmas we are getting her a few toys and a room full of balloons!
When we left Disneyland all we could say was, "Wow." We were SO tired, but had so much fun. And we owe a huge THANK YOU to Mike and Patty Hatch for getting us in FREE!
Sunday we enjoyed a nice day at church, chit chatting with old friends and trying to make Lucy play nice in the nursery with the other kids. After church we were guests at a fabulous BBQ thrown by Ms. Joey Blanch. Delicious burgers complete with avocado and bacon. You can't go wrong with those two items. The best part is that Lucy slept for 3 hours during this little shindig. Vic got to squeeze in TWO games of Settlers of Catan. He was in heaven. I also got to spend time with my old roommate and dear friend, Jessica Bean. We had a blast catching up on life and laughing together. Love that girl! Those in attendance : Joey, Lincoln, Jessica, Eric Artell (you have seen him in Pepsi commercials, Oscar Meyer, Verizon, Dragonfly TV on PBS (http://www.eric-artell.com/), Jason and Lisa Stout, Mike and Patti Hatch, and the "more than just good looks" Tim Butler. Great friends, great times.
Later that evening we enjoyed a leisurely stroll with another favorite of mine--Mr. Timothy Butler. Tim was there through every step of our courtship and even gave the toast at our wedding luncheon. This guy is quality. I wish he lived closer so we could hang out more. We enjoyed the views of Century City and the Wilshire Corridor, all while involved in great conversation and breathing in the wonderful California ocean air. By this point I had no desire to come home!
Monday was spent packing and cleaning and off to the airport it was. Lucy sat buckled in her car seat the entire flight home (as well as the flight there!) It was great flying Southwest and being on a half empty flight both times!
We are home and back to the grind. It's SO nice for Lucy to have her own space. She has slept in until almost 10 a.m. the past two days. The poor thing is exhausted. We have to figure out what to do about selling our condo and sort through some other things as well. But all in all, it was a very rejuvenating trip and helped me so much with my perspective. I have been whining about living in Utah but I discovered/was reminded while in L.A. that Utah, especially Park City, is a great place to live and raise a family. I'm so grateful for that perspective (as well as some others that I won't go into). I'm so grateful for all of our wonderful California friends who made our trip so enjoyable and worthwhile.
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