Tuesday, September 16, 2014

California Dreamin'

Summer has come and gone, but I think we made the most of it! Our big vacation for the year was a ten day stay in southern California where my mom-in-law's family gathered for a big family reunion and celebration of Grandpa Bob's 90th birthday.

Initially when Matt told me about the possibility of the trip, he kept throwing out words like "Hollywood" and "Santa Barbara" and "L.A." I almost didn't believe him. Guys, I hadn't even seen a palm tree before! I'd only heard about these places in movies! In songs! There was no way.

As it turns out, you don't have to be famous to enter Los Angeles! Who knew?!

Matt and I (mostly Matt) carefully calculated all expenses for the trip and we started saving up months in advance. We proudly left Utah with a big envelope of cash and zero debt. Hooray!

We carpooled with Matt's sister and her husband and, boy, was that CR-V impressively packed. On the drive there we took the exit to Las Vegas because none of us had seen the strip before. I think it's safe to say Las Vegas is the strangest place I have ever seen. Impressive. But downright strange. I'm glad I saw it because now I never have to see it again. :)

Finally, after traffic like I had never witnessed before, we made it to a town outside L.A. where we'd be staying for a few days until the reunion festivities began. Stepping out of the car, it hit me. Humidity. Oh! This is what that feels like!  Everything about this area of California seemed other-worldly to me, right down to the greenery.
Napping with Carly in the greenest backyard I have ever had a privilege of napping.
The next morning we did a little sight-seeing in Hollywood! So exciting!
My goal was to see a celebrity by the end of the trip, but that sadly didn't happen. "Where all the famous people at?!"

The closest I got to seeing anyone noteworthy was the Walk of Fame. Oh and a guy dressed up as Darth Vader. Here's my best buds Michael and Phil:

Of course we had to get a glimpse of the Hollywood sign and stand in the middle of the road to snap some pics (much to the dismay of the locals.)
  We finished off the day with a visit to the Santa Monica Pier to play on the beach. Yup. JUST. LIKE. THE. MOVIES. My sis-in-law Lorry has this super-cool camera that takes super-cool pictures. So the super-cool pictures below are taken by super cool Lorry.
Matt and Luke swimming in the waves :)
Fun fact: Luke is currently serving an LDS mission in Arkansas!
Papa Kirt was a lifesaver this trip! Carly sure loves you!
Again, just like the movies. Couldn't believe it.
"Oh yeah! It's our 2-year anniversary! *kiss*"
 As the sun went down, we remembered we had officially been married for 2 years! Aww. We planned on getting a few cute shots of the two of us to commemorate...but I got a toe cramp. Of course. And of course Lorry documented it. Aw well. Makes for some funny photos:
Thanks for helping me stretch that out, hon.


Hey! That one turned out cute!

And back to the crazy.

Ignore my lazy eyes...and this one is cute too!
 The next day was our Six Flags trip! (And my personal favorite day) This is the only picture from that day because we were having too much fun!
The group minus Trevor and David
I have never had so much fun at an amusement park! Being the oldest of four siblings, whenever my family went to an amusement park, we got to pick maybe 1 or 2 roller coasters to ride with Dad, and then the rest of the time was spent on the kiddie rides. Fun, but not roller-coaster-nonstop-fun. Turns out, when you go to a park with adults only, you get to ride roller-coasters the entire time! What a rush! Carly was a champ and spent most of the day with her grandpa. We only lost the two of them once, and I only cried once. Those two events may or may not have gone hand-in-hand. Overall, a super fun day.

The next day we took a little break from all the go-go-go and beach bummed for a few hours near the Santa Barbara harbor. That evening Matt, Lorry, and her husband David ran a 5k while the kiddos and I cheered them on. We finished the day with dinner at Matt's cousin's gourmet pizza place. YUM.
I couldn't get enough of these funny lookin' trees!

 After that, we spent the next few days camping on the Carpinteria State Beach Campground for the Reid family reunion. Really though. We camped 200yrds from the beach. Cool huh?

The man of the week: Grandpa Bob

The Gigi Bare Group. I love these people.

The whole clan. Groovy colors eh?
It certainly was not as relaxing as I had hoped, but it was an incredibly fun vacay. See you next year summer!