A Few Photos from My Travels

I love to travel. It is a big passion of mine. Whenever I can go anywhere out of town I become excited. I prefer to leave the state of California, but with the kids being so young it is hard to hop on a plane to Europe, especially when you need $6,000 just to begin your journey in the summertime. With that being said California has a lot to offer too! I still have not seen all of the central and eastern parts of the state. One day I hope to travel more outside of the state- but for now I plan on going to visit that last “local” California mission (San Gabriel) before the year ends.

Below are a few photos from my two favorite cities – Paris and San Francisco and a country that I have grown to love and appreciate even more since meeting and marrying Max- Italy. I am proud to say that that I have been to 38 states and 19 countries at the age of 41. I hope that by the age of 61 that I can raise these numbers including visiting another continent or two with Max and the kids who also love to travel!

Monet

Notre Dame

Tour Montparnasse

Paris

Chinatown

North Beach

Golden Gate Bridge

Fisherman's Wharf

San Francisco

the beach

Tribunale Ordinario di Firenze

Lucchetti dell’amore

Ponte Vecchio

Italy

(day 364)

Thanksgiving at Knott’s Berry Farm

Sally / Woodstock

We had planned on spending Thanksgiving at Knott’s Berry Farm a few weeks ago… and then rain came into the forecast. A few days prior to the holiday the rain prediction disappeared. We do not have much family in the Los Angeles area and usually head down to San Diego to be with friends.

This year we decided to stay at home and spend the day doing something local that the kids would enjoy. It was a great day. My feet were a little sore from the walk in flip flops the day prior, but I survived. We headed home after a successful day at Knott’s Berry Farm – and even better I purchased season passes so we can visit whenever we want in 2014! Yeah!!

camp bus

roller coaster

the cars

soaring ride

air mail

The kids went on many rides and when we first arrived we did not have to wait long to ride anything. It was great. I even went on a somewhat “super spinny” ride which I usually avoid – since those rides can make me sick! I had to do it or the kids would not be able to go on the ride. I survived.. as did the kids. Always something fun to ride at Knott’s Berry Farm.

turkey leg lunch

Now this is a Thanksgiving lunch!

salon girls bench

carolers

we love snoopy!

Wandering around the park

(day 354)

The long walk

the surfer statue

It was an afternoon off to spend with the kids. It was a super sunny and warm day for it being the end of November. I drove past the ocean on my way home from work and I knew that I wanted to go back.. and we had the time. After eating lunch with Max we headed to the beach. The goal was to walk from the Manhattan Beach Pier to the Hermosa Beach Pier (3.4 miles) – something I used to do on a regular basis when I was in my early 20’s. It was a somewhat ambitious walk to do with the kids, but we do some serious hiking and this was a relaxing walk. They both had tennis shoes on and I wore flip flops- I am not sure why I did not have tennis shoes on… note to self – next time wear tennis shoes for support.

Christmas Tree on HB Pier

It was a gorgeous day. There were people everywhere as we slowly made our way to the Hermosa Beach Pier. At the base of the pier was a decorated Christmas tree. We also saw our favorite surfer statue and the kids spent a good 5 minutes climbing on him.

At some point I looked over towards the ocean and saw that kids were sliding down a man-made hill of sand on saucers and other items (sledding without snow). I asked two little girls if Malina and Matteo could borrow their saucers to go down the hill. They loved it!

Manhattan Beach Pier-Lights

It was a big walk back to the Manhattan Beach Pier and because it was late afternoon we were able to see the sun set. We also saw some Christmas lights out. What we did not see were the trees on the Manhattan Beach Pier that were there only 5 days ago. Thank goodness I took the photos I did over the weekend.

Eventually we made our way home with a few stops along the way. My feet were super sore and the kids fell asleep within minutes of putting their heads to the pillow.

(day 353)

Trying to Ski

me

Winter is somewhat upon us now – as a matter of fact half of yesterday the sun was hiding where I live (near the beach). The other half of the day the sun was out. I will admit that I have not found my coat yet, or the kids for that matter. One thing that you might need a coat for is to go skiing.

Guess what? I do not know how to ski! Growing up in Indiana we had plenty of snow, but no mountains. Then I moved to Southern California and there were plenty of mountains and three ski resort areas with the closest only 2.5 hours- Big Bear/Arrowhead. There are local mountains as well, less than an hour from where I live- Mount Baldy- but I have never been there. I would like to visit Mammoth in the winter and was lucky enough to see Lake Tahoe once in the winter (but that was not for skiing purposes).

I can cross country ski- it is really not that hard. I had the opportunity to try that out in Yosemite and it was an amazing experience. Fast forward 5 years and I finally tried downhill skiing. I will admit it was good to try it out, but I could not do it well. I was actually quite horrible at it. I tried twice – maybe it was two years in a row- but neither trip was successful. Whenever I landed on the ground I had the hardest time getting up. I have not tried skiing again and probably never will. I enjoy the atmosphere at the lodge and want the kids to eventually see snow and try skiing themselves, but for now I will enjoy the beach and the sun instead of the snow!

down again

Lisa & I

(day 343)

Bonding with the kids

what's happening?

I was very excited to take the kids out the other evening. On the agenda was shopping and catching a free concert while watching an annual tree lighting ceremony. All of this was taking place at the outlets. Apparently many other people had this idea too. The outlets were packed! We were so lucky to find parking on the first try.

We ended up buying lots of great items from the trip, but the highlight of the evening was feeling the energy from the crowd there to watch the concert. I will admit it now – I knew no one playing, but I did recognize songs that one singer/songwriter played. Malina on the other hand was in her element dancing around and telling us who people were. The band R5 were the main attraction, and we discovered that the lead singer was also was an actor from a television show called “Austin and Ally”. Malina recognized Ross Lynch (the singer) immediately and told us who he was. It was great fun going out with the kids enjoying time together. Let’s see what I come up with next….

world's largest tree

shopping

the stands

live music

live music 2

up close

palm tree with lights

(day 336)