Tuesday, July 27, 2010

California Vacation 2010!

Part I -Santa Ynez Valley (Santa Barbara-Solvang)
July 17-18

We returned on 7/21 from our vacation to California. We wanted to take the kids to Legoland, north of San Diego. But I wanted to start out in the Santa Barbara area. I had never been there, and I wanted to go somewhere I hadn't been. We stayed in Solvang, which is about 45 minutes from Santa Barbara. It's a rather quaint and authentic Danish town in the Santa Ynez Valley. Being that Chris's side of the family is rich in Danish history (Chris is close to being half Danish), this seemed more than appropriate to spend our first part of the vacation. And Legos and Legoland originated in Denmark, so it wall wrapped together!

The picture on the top left is where we had lunch in Solvang on July 17th. Yummy meatballs and other Danish food! Well, being that I'm pregnant and still not feeling too hot, I didn't opt for exploring foreign food. I stuck with a club sandwhich and fries.

Our cute little hotel in Solvang:
Across the street and down the way, in front of this little hotel, the kids got into the fun. You can see Mikelle's feet at the bottom of Christian's picture. Mikelle wasn't too thrilled that he had to stand on top of her for us to achieve the picture.

I had to laugh though. Solvang and Santa Barbara were experiencing a what they called a "heat wave", apparently (upper 80s at the most) and their papers referred to it as 'scorching' and 'baking'. Now that was funny. We loved the cooler weather (which was most of the reason we left town)! Sure, there were moments that I needed shade, but once in the shade, it felt great! Scorching and baking? Pul-leeze. Those people don't know how good they have it.

The Santa Ynez Valley is a beautiful place. It would have been nice to see more clouds there, but plenty of that waited for us in San Diego.

While in Santa Barbara, the kids enjoyed two of the beaches. The first one was Carpinteria, just east of Santa Barbara, and then East Beach in Santa Barbara. Carpinteria has calmer waves, thanks to an offshore reef. We opted for the kids to play at that one - especially since Mikelle had a bad and scary experience back in 2005 at an LA beach. She was apprehensive at first, but as you can see, she "accumulated" just fine to the fun!

Carpinteria Beach - 7/17/10

East Beach - 7/18/10

Since the next day was Sunday, we told the kids we were going to the beach, but not to really play around too much. We were eventually going to get down to San Diego that day. You can see the little bit that they got away with. I also wanted Mikelle to see the difference in the waves, so she could see how some are a little more "dicey" than others. East Beach waves were definitely more appropriate for surfing and had larger waves.

As we left Solvang, headed down Santa Barbara and then ultimately San Diego on 7/18, we stopped for this photo op near Solvang in Buellton. The night before we ate here:

Next destination? San Diego-Legoland! Stay tuned for Part II!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Independence Day 2010

Independence Day Celebration 7/3/10

Even though we don't have much family around anymore, we are fortunate that Chris's cousin Brandon lives nearby. His daughter graduated high school a month ago and we attended a big graduation party for her. Then just last Saturday (7/3) we attended their annual Fourth of July party. It's kind of surreal being there because even though I didn't know Brandon and his wife Amy in high school, they were just a year ahead of me and we attended the same HS (however, Chris lived in Tempe and I didn't meet him until after high school).

Therefore, at their big parties, I catch glimpses of familiar faces from high school plus Chris's other cousins and aunts and uncles at these parties. It's quite refreshing for our state of loneliness we often feel for having virtually our whole immediate family move away from the area, to have these gatherings to attend!
Here are some snapshots of us from the party:

It's hard for me to write on the blog in the summer because I swear I have the summer equivalent of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). It mostly affects people in cold, gray climates and their winters are tough. The opposite is true for me. I welcome clouds, rain and cooler temps. The summers here make me depressed, angry and stir-crazy. It's for that reason I am not a big Independence Day fan. It just doesn't occur at a good time of year!

If I moved to Oregon tomorrow, I wouldn't be negatively effected by the grayer winters and frequent rains. I am certain. I crave the green and softer diffused light. And I crave crossing rivers and streams that actually have water in them. This AZ climate has never been for me. I feel so couped up in this "cave" during the summers and even if it wasn't so hot, the constant sunlight gets to me. I know I've covered this on other entries, so I'm not going to repeat it now.

16 Weeks

This week I make it to week number 16! That means I am almost done with Month 4! Month 1-4 are my least favorite. Well, months 1-9 aren't too fun either, but it's 1-4 that I'd like to forget forever. I'm feeling better now, which is unusual because with my other two, I didn't start feeling better until at least week 18. But I'm not complaining!