Monday, September 28, 2015

California Part 4 - Crystal Cove

Behold!
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Heaven on earth? This is Crystal Cove State Park in California. We discovered this gem of a beach when my sister suggested we visit Laguna Beach for the tide pools, and we penned that in the itinerary. But then I started to fret about my kids finding seashells because it was their number one goal for our trip {they didn't know about Disneyland}. So I Googled, "can you find seashells at laguna beach", and one of the first results was a review for Laguna's next door neighbor, Crystal Cove State Park Beach. People were raving about Crystal Cove and the shells.

Then, I read the part about the historic district, and we were sold.
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We parked, hiked down the hill, under a tunnel, and found ourselves in a 1930s beach village.

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There were many people there, but it wasn't crowded the way the Santa Monica Pier had been.

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It was. Beautiful.  (o✪‿✪o)


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{A tiny crab.}
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{Posing like Ariel.}
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The sand was solid, much easier to walk on than Santa Monica's. The gulls dropped {what I think were} blue mussel shells and the girls collected many. But the water was the best, a sweet respite from the heat while we watched the sun set over the Pacific.

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We saw a few tide pools with a few sea creatures.

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This was almost our last photograph of Paxton. Thanks, Papa!
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{Kidding.}

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I don't really have much to say, I think the photos speak for themselves. Justin and I experienced a really corny moment where we had stars in our eyes and sand everywhere and we said, "This was long overdue." Everyone does that at some point on vacation, right? {Say yes.}

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You can rent a place to stay right on the beach. We might have to add that to our bucket list. The state park was set up to prevent a large resort taking over this piece of beauty. Instead a very vintage looking village is the only building that's been done here.

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It was hard to leave, not knowing when or if we'd splash in the Pacific again, but we faced a hike back up to the parking lot in the dark. {Not so bad, turns out for a buck or two you can hop on a shuttle from the village to the parking lots.}

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I think everyone who is familiar with California can name their favorite beach. Now I have mine.

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We toyed with the idea of joining this wedding celebration...

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...but we were hungry for more than wedding cake. So we crossed another California to-do off our list.

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In-N-Out. Yaaaaaassss!

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I call this Passed Out, Pacific Style.

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I've been missing this place ever since.
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Cheers,
Heather

See more of our California 2015 trip:
Part 1 - Santa Monica Pier
Part 2 - The Getty Center
Part 3 - Erickson Family
To Be Continued...



Friday, September 25, 2015

California Part 3 - Visiting the Erickson Side

From our visit to the Getty Center, we drove north {or something like that, I'm lost without the front range of Denver which is always west} to meet up with my paternal side of the family. My cousin's son had recently turned one and we had not yet met him face-to-face so that was a priority in California!

My dad and my cousin, Sarah:
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We spent the evening in their beautiful backyard {they have an orange tree, that's a novelty to Coloradans} for a barbeque and catching up on lost time. The kids enjoyed their 2nd cousin's toys, Cameron was nice enough to share.

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This is Cameron. Isn't he adorable? He looks like his mama, I had to steal him away for a selfie.

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Maybe Pax was relieved to have another guy around?

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Food was great! Company too.

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Eventually we had to get the kids to bed, so it was back to the HoJo for us. On a whim, we planned some more family time for the next morning. After some fort building, of course.

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So the next morning we met up again for a long, chatty brunch at Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles.

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We like breweries in this family. This one especially, they had really yummy food and an area to entertain kids while you eat and drink. It was awesome.

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The huge warm pretzel {with a pimento cheese dip & aioli} and the fried artichokes were sooo yummy.
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We ordered the kids a parfait to share and had trouble getting them to eat it because they were having such fun in the play area. It's hard to get them to eat when they're having fun.

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If you're in L.A. and looking for a brewery, might I suggest Golden Road? Especially if you have your family and kids with you.

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#beermosa

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We tried to soak up as much Cameron as we could. The next time we see the little guy he will have probably doubled in size. Kids have a way of doing that.

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So then we weren't quite ready to say goodbye and my cousin suggested we drive a few minutes over to Travel Town @ Griffith Park near the L.A. zoo to see the free train museum and ride the mini-train.

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Sounded good to us! And this random little girl who joined us for a photo op!

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How could we not pay the extra few bucks to ride the train?

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Kids love this sort of thing.

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We even managed the classic family photo dash, in which dad set up his timed camera on the closest trash can and we all hoped and prayed for a framer. We did good.

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Left to right: Gary & Debbie {my aunt & her wonderful husband}, Sarah {my one & only cousin} holding Cameron, her {sweetest guy ever and grillmaster} husband Corey, Sander, myself, mom, dad, and my kids in front. Dang, we look good for a timed photo.


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I'm so thankful we got to do this!

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Hi Cameron! ╲(。◕‿◕。)╱ Miss you already!
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Cousins! {Family, we need to recreate this shot one day, don't you think?}

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So Travel Town at Griffith park is a neat place if you're in the L.A. area with train-loving kids. {Pax is a Thomas fan.}

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A Women of the Clan:

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And with the cousin...

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Saying goodbye is hard. We don't see these much-loved people often. But next we had to drive down {the psychotic L.A. freeway system} to Anaheim/Orange that day.

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My parents--God bless them--took the girls in their rental car so the P-Town could nap on the way down. Could you ever sleep this way?

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So we headed south for...

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Cheers,
Heather

Part 1 - Santa Monica Pier
Part 2 - The Getty Center
To Be Continued...
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