Friday, June 15, 2012

Vacation High


Chris had another conference to attend in California, this time in Long Beach, and he asked me to come along again.  I felt a tad bit guilty about leaving my children for a few days after just doing it in January, but upon asking my parents and hearing their excitement about the opportunity about watching their grandchildren for a few days, I eagerly anticipated the trip!

When we had visited in January I had signed up for San Diego Living Social deals to be sent to my inbox.  A few weeks ago I received a deal advertising a sunrise hot air balloon adventure in Temecula wine valley.  It was an incredible savings off of the original price, and this is something I always dreamed of doing.  I was nervous though about booking it because we only had a two day window of opportunity, and if the weather didn’t work out those two days we would have been out of luck (and out of the money!).  My original plan was to surprise Chris, but unsure of if he would really love it or not, I asked him about it.  His response was a very enthusiastic “YES! BOOK IT!”  And so we did!



We had to leave our hotel in Long Beach at 3 in order to get to the winery two hours away by 5.  It was an early morning, but our excitement gave us some momentum!  Once we arrived we were greeted with smiling faces and a huge breakfast spread.  We signed a waiver that I didn’t read too closely so I wouldn’t develop fear, and we waited for our balloons to fill!



Still waiting!  It was a cool morning, probably in the low 50’s, so layers felt nice!  Once the sun came up though and we got up in that HOT air balloon it heated up quickly!


Excited!  We got to go inside the balloon while it was filling! It was massive.  I could not believe how little we looked inside of there.


This is the winery we left from.  Beautiful.


It was such a beautiful morning.  Very little wind.  So peaceful.  I was struck by just how silent it was up in the balloon.  Only the sound of our pilot’s voice was heard. He was a talker too! I just wanted to ask him to politely be quiet so I could just soak in the beauty! Smile (Those are orange trees on the left)


This picture is so dumb – but hey, why not include it.  After our balloon landed they shuttled us back to the winery in this party bus they use for touring.  The poles were just recently added at the request of many of their patrons.  Seriously? 


We landed around 8 and Chris and I headed in to Temecula and found a little dive to grab a few pancakes.  It hit the spot, but after that we were exhausted!  We decided to find a park and sleep in the car for a bit to reenergize ourselves!  We found a beautiful park and crashed.  Soon though this man approached us and asked us if we wouldn’t mind moving as he was having carpet cleaners coming.  I guess we were parked in his spot! I had to wake my sleeping husband in the back seat.  We laughed about how ridiculous we must have looked. I bet that man wondered who these vagabonds were outside his home!

After that we visited a few wineries around the valley.  The picture on the left was a beautiful place overlooking the valley. Chris and I shared a tray of food, the music, and the sunshine. I could have stayed there all day.  I’m not sure what Chris is doing on the right.  Flashing his west coast sign perhaps?




The following day we went to visit my precious Great Aunt Donna. It is my paternal Grandmother’s sister.  She is 93 years old and his lived in this house right on the ocean for nearly 60 years.  Her address is literally “The Strand” as you can walk right out of her home and on to the beach.  My family had a couple of vacations here over the years growing up, so it was so much fun for me to show Chris her home and meet this precious woman.


Here I was showing her some pictures of our children and also a video of my Grandpa and Grandma who she hasn’t seen in quite a few years. Sadly, neither she, or my grandparents, can travel anymore – so seeing each other is no longer a possibility.  Her eyes filled with tears at the sight of my Grandma and she grabbed my hand and said, “My sister Alice.  Oh how I miss her.”


After visiting her Chris and I had a few hours to spare before joining Aunt Donna and her son for dinner.  We decided to hit the beach of course!



We had dinner at one of Aunt Donna’s favorite restaurants right down the strand from her home.  It was nice to see my Dad’s cousin Tom as well.  The lady sitting next to Chris, Lavonne, is one of the ladies that stays with my Aunt Donna 24/7 which allows her to continue to live in her home.


On my final day in CA I was able to visit an old friend of mine.  We had lunch together while Chris had to give a presentation.  It is always such a treat to see her and her about her life in California!

And now I’m home, Chris is home, we’re all reunited. 

It is sure nice to have a few days away, but man it’s always nice to come back home!  I was greeted with three children running in to my arms, and I swear they had grown considerably in the 5 days that I was gone!


  1. What a great opportunity for you and Chris to focus on each other and make memories together. Bless your parents for being willing and able to care for your children - that's a gift!!

    Beautiful pictures! I'm not sure I'm brave enough to do a hot air balloon ride, but I loved seeing pics from yours! :)

    1. Davene! I'm sure you could handle a hot air balloon ride just fine! :) It really felt very safe! My parents are a huge blessing to us and I hope that they realize it!

  2. How incredibly fabulous does all this look?!?! You lucky girl! I'm glad you got a chance to get away. I don't know how you keep up w/ 3???? I also LOVE LOVE the white button down top you're wearing in the last few pics. You look beautiful and you both look so happy!

    1. Haha. Thanks Holly! I got that white shirt second hand a while ago! I loved it too though, just need to learn what all I can do with it. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Way to document a lovely trip! It looks like you all had a wonderful time. I'm so glad! Love all of your cute outfits too! ;) Miss you!!!!!

    1. I miss you too!!! Thanks for taking the time to look at our trip pics. I can't wait to see YOURS! Now that will be some pictures worth looking at. 1. because you'll be in them, but 2. because of the destination! You will put CA to shame! :)

  4. Anonymous17.6.12

    You all look so happy in these pictures :) Also...the pic of you up in the the background you can see your shadow...too cute! :) I miss you guys and can't wait to come see you in two months!!!!!!! :) :) Love ya sis!

    1. Thanks Marf! Can't wait to see you soon either!

  5. so happy you and chris had this chance to get away and thank you for spending time with my dear Aunt Donna.. Love the pictures and we had a the best time being with your beautiful children..

    1. Thanks to you this trip was even possible Bapa! We love you and appreciate you so much!


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