Friday, September 21, 2012


Our boys got their first taste of an amusement park along the Santa Cruz boardwalk. We spent an evening there, and all four of the older cousins were completely thrilled with the rides. (Some of the adults, on the other hand, were a little nauseous after chaperoning the children on them.)

One of the fun moments of this trip was when we decided, spur of the moment, that all the parents were going to ditch our kids for a few minutes and go on an adult roller coaster. It was five minutes before closing, and the attendant told us to forego buying tickets and simply go on the ride before we missed it. Within moments, we all un-leashed ourselves from the kids, threw them at poor Sheila and Sarah, and dashed toward the roller coaster. But... it was so much fun.

Below is a picture of Zack, Josh and Jake waiting for their first ride. So excited. So intense.

Sweet little Ainsley.

We also spent a day, as a group, up in San Francisco.

The Morey Family.

Me and Ella.

Lunch down at Fishermans Wharf. More chowder in sour dough bowls. So yummy. 

The whole crew. (Minus me.)

The baby girls.

This is supposedly a picture of the streetcar... but somehow I wind up looking only at Justin every time I look at this picture.

Union Square, to finish off the day.

 Back at the house in Santa Cruz, the cousins all had such an amazing time with each other. We were so thankful and blessed to see the friendships that are developing between these guys.


More playing.

An artichoke appetizer.

Adam, in the kitchen doing some cooking. On our last night in Santa Cruz, he cooked a marinara clam sauce that Justin says I "have" to get the recipe for. (Adam? Recipe please?)

Smores and campfires.


We spent a wonderful week in Santa Cruz with a bunch of our New York family. Though there was much beauty and fun that was a part of this trip, with out any contest, the best part was simply being able to be with our family; to spend time with people that we love.

There were also some fun little details about Santa Cruz that were interesting. It's an authentic beach town, and on any given morning, if you walked along the cliff, you would see hundreds of surfers out doing their thing. If you click on the picture below, you'll see a bunch of black dots. Those are all the die-hard surfers, out there on this overcast California morning. (Every day began overcast but turned brilliantly sunny by late morning.)

Justin's Mom rented this great place a not more than a couple hundred feet from the ocean. The kids all had lots of fun playing together all week long.

The beaches were beautiful; sunny and warm, with huge waves. We made quite a big group, down there on the beach.

Our nephew, Zack, loved the water and couldn't get enough!

Justin, too, spent lots of time in the ocean, riding the waves on his boogie board. Other than the last day where I cut up my leg and my knee because of some huge waves that knocked me to the ocean floor, I spent quite a few hours out there riding the waves as well. The water was cold, but not so cold that you couldn't swim.

Our niece, Eva, spent a lot of time with her little cousin, Josh, during this vacation. It was really sweet to see them solidify their friendship.

Ella playing with the seaweed. We had such a wonderful week with this little one, and she is such a joy; brings such delight. 


Mike with his kids.

The Hatfield Family. 

Ella Bella.


Though just over a month, it seems like ages ago that we were walking through the Dallas airport, geared and excited for two weeks in California with family and friends. The flights were long, but smooth. On each flight, some flight attendants befriended the kids, and wound up taking Ella for long walks up and down the aisle and even rocking her to sleep. I was not expecting that kind of treatment.

We spent our first night just the five of us, in this quaint little hotel in downtown San Fran.  

With a few hours before bedtime, we took to the streets of this incredible city.

Justin and I pushed our double stroller up the craziest hill of our life. It was actually scary. We had asked the concierge at our hotel how far it was to walk from where we were staying (Union Square) to Fishermans Wharf. He told us it was about a mile. He neglected to mention that it was a mile STRAIGHT UP the side of Mt. Crumpet. (Suess reference.) We survived, and it became the first real adventure of the trip. For anyone who knows this hill, it's pretty insane. People were watching Justin and I push our double stroller up this thing, with another kid strapped onto his back, and were just smiling in pity. 

But we made it. Fishermans Wharf was a pretty lively place to begin our California journey. Seafood chowder in sour dough bowls was a tasty first dinner.

Union Square - right near where we were staying. In some ways, it really felt like a northeastern city, only with palm trees. And zero humidity.

We met up with the rest of the crew the next day in Santa Cruz. One day was spent at a quaint little harbour town called Monteray.

The candy shop was out of this world. Joshua literally peed his pants in excitement. 

Below is a picture of Sheila (Mom/Grandma) and all her boys.