Monday, June 30, 2014

Santa Barbara Mission

After our families all went our separate ways, our family decided to take our time before heading back to Fresno.  We stopped at the Mission Santa Barbara for a visit.  Grace's class learned about missions this past year, so she was very interested in getting to see another mission.

 The cemetery is always interesting... The landscape was so nice!
 We came just as mass was ending.  It's really neat that the space is still used for worship.  Glad we got to see the sanctuary!
 Jason and I enjoy museums and we usually take our time going through exhibits.  So much to learn and appreciate!
 One of the original bells
 Grace's class read The Island of the Blue Dolphins this year, and she got to see some of the history that inspired that book.
 Many of the mission's celebrations are celebrated on the top of these stairs.  Beautiful!
 There had been a sidewalk chalk art contest on the mission's grounds.  The kids thought it was so neat.  Here are their favorites- Grace chose a tiger, Jeremy chose Dr. Seuss.

On our way back, we also stopped in Pismo to do some shopping at the outlets.  It might surprise some to know that despite all of our trips to the coast, we haven't really spent time in Pismo.  It's a very busy touristy beach town.  We took a walk out to the pier, got some candy for the road, and also had dinner at Splash Cafe.  It's a place that everyone says you HAVE to visit when you're in Pismo, so we can now cross that off our list.  Apparently, there's always a line but it wasn't as busy as it can get so we lucked out.  The food really was delicious and we can see why they receive so much hype.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Santa Barbara

A few months ago, we decided we wanted to spend some time at the beach with Jennifer's family.  One thing led to another and Jason's cousin, Brad's family also decided to join us.  Jason looked for places along the coast that would be big enough for all of us and luckily, even though it was rather last minute, he found one on  So, after getting back from our SoCal trip, we were home long enough to pretty much do laundry, and then headed back out on the road.  This was our first time in Santa Barbara!

 The house wasn't exactly in the best location, but it was conveniently located and large enough for our big group.  The kids loved that there was a little theater room in the basement.
 One of the reasons why we love being at the coast is how laid-back our days are.  The kids can spend hours entertaining themselves in the sand.

 The cousins love spending time together, too!

 We took a long and relaxing walk to the pier.
 A man was fishing off the pier and kindly let Noah take over his rod for a while.
 I just love this picture!
 Brad said that the waves were good for beginner surfers in Ventura, so we headed down that way.
 Again, the kids spent hours playing in the sand and splashing in the waves.

 Jason and I love getting to relax on the beach! 

 Brad was so patient and offered to help everyone who wanted to try surfing.  He spent a lot of time with Grace and rekindled her love for surfing!

 Jason did a great job, too!

For many reasons, we valued this family time at Santa Barbara.  It will always be one of our most memorable family trips!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

20th High School Reunions

Well, neither Jason or I were able to attend our 20th high school reunions, but both of them would've been this year! Mine was held just earlier this month.  Can't hardly believe it!  I sure don't feel that old, hahaha!  We've been reminiscing and I dug through our albums to find these grad photos.

Family Vacation in SoCal

With my sister visiting, it was the perfect opportunity for our family to vacation in Southern California with her.  After our sisters' getaway trip, Jason and the kids drove down to pick us up from L.A. and we continued on towards San Diego.  We already visited Sea World a few years ago and definitely had no interest in returning there.  But, with both of our kids loving legos, we decided to revisit Legoland this trip, and we figured this would also be the perfect time to introduce them to the San Diego Zoo.


Being huge Star Wars fans, it was so neat to see the characters made out of legos!

This is Legoland's most thrilling ride and Jeremy was tall enough (and brave enough) to join Grace and Jason on it this year. 
 We cooled off in the middle of the day with a 4D show about Chima (Jeremy now loves Chima).

It was a fun time to visit Legoland with the popularity of The Lego Movie.  Our whole family loves that movie!  The original set was on display.

The kids begged Jason to go on this wet ride... After seeing how drenched everyone was after the ride, Jason and Jeremy decided to go topless so they'd at least have a dry shirt to put on afterwards.  Sadly, Grace didn't have that option!  She was completely soaked!

Apple fries- such a yummy treat!

 The attention to detail is amazing!
We had a fantastic time at Legoland and it was wonderful that Sarah got to be with us for it!

The day we visited the zoo was my birthday!  I proudly wore a Happy Birthday sticker all day!

 View from the gondola
 I don't remember why I was laughing so hard- Jason still makes me laugh all the time!

 Waited in line to see this adorable panda!

 What zoo trip would be complete without a souvenir picture with fake pandas?!

Such a wonderful way to spend my birthday- with my loving family!

One place we wanted to make sure to take Sarah to was Cabrillo National Monument.  We absolutely loved it the last time we visited.  There are tide pools full of sea life to explore.  Unfortunately, we came when the tides were rising and we didn't get to see as much this time around.  Not only that, there were definitely a lot more people!

The last place we visited before having to leave was Balboa Park.  There is so much to do there, but we didn't want to spend the limited amount we had in just one place.  We ended up renting a surrey bike and taking a quick tour that way.  It was a ton of fun!

After this, we had to say our goodbyes... I HATE goodbyes... It was so wonderful to spend so much time with Sarah during the past week and a half.  Luckily though, we'll get to see her again in Edmonton before the end of summer!