Cali Vacay Slideshow {Part I - The Coast}

For a good nine months I've been keenly aware that we needed a vacation. In the beginning of our marriage and family, we rarely traveled for fun. Every trip was either holiday or obligation-based...nice, important, but not vacation. Our last big trip was three years ago to Rome for JPII's canonization which was once-in-a-lifetime and beyond grace-filled but that proved to be much more pilgrimage than vacation. We've learned, though, how important it is to take real time off to rest and simply be as a family. It's become incredibly important for us to least in theory. I suffer from what is known as Vacation Paralysis Indecision (it's a lesser known malady falling under the greater affliction commonly referred to as First World Problems). Without some sort of reason to bring us somewhere (and with a whole lot of other Big Things on my mind), it felt so hard to just pick something and do it! I want to see everywhere! So about a month and a half ago I just begged my husband to pull the trigger. And that, in a nutshell, is how California happened. It was on our list since neither of us had ever been there and it had the opportunity for beach and mountain and forest all in one trip. And my should've-been-a-travel-agent husband made it happen.

So now I share a piece of it here. Pull up your folding chair and pretend to be interested. I'll have you know I did you the service of culling more than half of these. And I'll try to keep my commentary brief but, you know, we'll see. My slideshow after all.

Not gonna lie, when I realized we were flying out on 100th anniversary feast of Our Lady of Fatima, I was a little nervous. But all was well and the sun stayed in place and no world ended.

Not tired at all. #bagsfordays #4amwakeup 
This boy (goofiest crumbiest face ever) did not like the plane :( He's our first kid to get really nervous during take off and during the first one was yell/crying, "too high! Too high!" It broke my heart but skilled distracters we are, we calmed him down fairly quickly and he was fine once take offs were over. He loved landing, though, despite a few rough ones.

For the first half of our trip we chose Oxnard, just north of L.A. We had never heard of it before either but it promised low crowds, decent weather, and amazing rental houses right. on. the. beach. After a long day of traveling, despite the crazy time change, we couldn't say no to the boys throwing on their suits and heading straight for the water.

The beach was stunning. At any given time there were no more than a handful of other people as far as the eye could see.

That's our house! The yellow one right in the middle! 

So so fun watching these boys play together

The very next day I had the chance to hang out with about 100 other wonderful Catholic women who welcomed this Easterner to the SoCal Catholic Women's Conference. (Backstory: I contacted Micaela and Kendra to let them know we were thinking about coming out that way and to see if it would be possible to finally meet them in person. They let me know that if we nudged our dates up just a tad, I'd be able to have the trip coincide with the conference. And it worked!) 

It was a huge blessing to hear and meet Karianna Frey, Blythe Fike, and Kendra.

And, of course, my friend Micaela who emceed and organized and is as gracious and lovely as I knew she would be. Such a gift to meet these ladies in person!

While I was there, Brian took the boys to the L.A. science museum and natural history museum...

Then they met us up at the house afterwards for a family pizza party.

Just hanging out in the yard of Gramblewood.

The rest of the time we vacationed...

My fish taco buddy. Picked them up at the Sunday farmer's market just down the street.

Super touristy boat ride. 


But sea lions! From a distance!

And dolphins all around the boat! Super awesome photography skilz here, friends. But I promise, they were there and super fun.

For some reason this picture screams family vacation to me :)

Rosary walk with my husband on the beach? Yes, please.

We couldn't have asked for better weather. It was hotter there than normal for this time of year but it was perfect beach weather for us. I was a little nervous it would be too chilly for enjoying the beach and was happily proven wrong.

We took an afternoon to go tide pooling. We found crabs and sea urchins and shells and mussels and sea caves.

(Brian and John Paul are way out there on top of that rock.)

And then (after dropping off our sea urchin and crab friends into the harbor, of course) we took to the road...

(Don't put those chairs away just yet...part deux coming soon...)


  1. How exciting that you got to meet all those cool west coast Catholic mamas! I am sure they were just as thrilled to meet a cool east coaster like you! Your pictures are great. I enjoy family vacation posts, so I am looking forward to the next installment!

  2. Looks like you had a great time. I love the photo at the aquarium where the light is coming through on the boys. and also the one from the boat ride where the one rock is perfectly framed in the arch of the other rock.

  3. This looks awesome! How wonderful to have a house right on the beach and not a ton of people. I look forward to part two!

  4. Just home from our own vacation, but add whales and sharks to our viewing list ;-)
    Totally agree with you, taking time to have a vacation is soo important.
    Amazed at you view right out your window!


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