California Catch-up, Part 1

Six weeks on the road and I’m already two weeks behind on blogging. Too many cool things to do, and too much normal life stuff to keep up with! Gah!

I recently read a kids’ book about Henry David Thoreau. He lived in a little tiny cabin and spent two years just hanging out in nature and writing. He didn’t have three kids. He didn’t even have a spouse. I could write 7000 pages, too, if I had my own cabin in the woods and no other life.

So there, Thoreau. Kiss it.

Then again, he did say this, which pretty much sums up where we’ve been for the past couple of months: 

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” 

So yeah, there’s that.

I’d still like some extended time alone in a cabin somewhere. What can I say. I dream big.

Anyhoo, in order to catch up, I’ve given up on the idea of separate blog posts for all that we’ve done since the whale-watching cruise. There’s just no way. So I’m going to try to synopsize the second half of our California stint as thoroughly as I can while being as concise as possible. In two parts. Maybe three.

Ha! Wish me luck. I have so much to share (and write down for our own memories!).

This post highlights our living arrangements during our month in SoCal:


We loved where we stayed. LOVED it. It was a perfect location, smack dab between L.A. and San Diego, walking distance to the beach (albeit, with a lot of stairs, but we liked the exercise), and a very nice, clean, saltwater pool just steps away from the condo. 

Dana Point is also an ideal family spot because it’s a little “sleepier” than some of the other beach towns, which means you don’t have college kids partying all night outside your door. Yet, Laguna Beach, which is bustling with all kinds of cute shops and great restaurants, was just the next town up. And San Clemente, which has a Baha’i center and a wonderful Baha’i community, is the next town down. So really perfect for our stay.

And the cost of our condo was not bad at all for its quality and location. For the entire month of May, we paid $2400, everything included. It’s a lot more expensive in July and August, but the rest of the year, if you have any reason to spend a month in southern CA, I highly recommend it. Here’s the link to the listing, at least to see photos of it, since I was dumb and hardly took any pictures of the place. 🙂

 Up those steps and to the right was our front door.

And some evidence that we did do some actual official learnin’ and workin’ in the condo:

Right before we hit the pool. 🙂 


I have hundreds of photos from the beach. Hundreds. I wish I could share them all. I’m sure after Oregon, I’ll compile all of my favorite beach pics, so here I’ll just show you a few of the highlights. 

The walk down to the beach was truly a haul. I never counted the stairs, but I’m sure there were at least 100. It was a gorgeous walk, though, and we needed the exercise with all the gelato we kept pounding back in Laguna Beach, so it was all good.

There were actually three different paths to the beach – one was all stairs, one was a combination of stairs and ramps, and one was almost all ramp with just a few stairs. You’d think the ramp one would be easiest. Not so much.

But the view on the way down really made you not care so much.

Yeah, that green plot there on the left is where we’re going to built our 20 million dollar vacation home someday. Ha! It’s mind-boggling to me how gargantuan and expensive these homes are. And they’re RIGHT next to each other. I suppose you don’t need a yard when you have the ocean at your doorstep?

Going down.

Going up.

Going down again.

This was the overlook across the street from the condo where I dashed away from my family and had an amazing dolphin experience.

(No worries. They did get to see some dolphins eventually.)

The beach was fun. Aren’t beaches always fun? At first, the kids were all freaked by the kelp washed up on shore, but after a week they were “rescuing” kelp from the waves and piling it up on the sand. 

There were some neat tidepools at the end of our beach. 

Like how I call it “our beach”? We sort of did feel like we owned it while we were there. It was awful nice of us to share it with all those other people. 

And creatures, like this little hermit crab:

And some urchins. (Or anemones? I can never keep them straight, which is inexcusable since we visited two aquariums and a zoo in a three-week span. Shame on me.) 

From a distance, these things below just looked like black rock. So I was surprised to approach them and find they are covered completely with shells. Coolio.

We were also surprised on our way home from the beach one day by this cute little feller. 

What is that, a marmot? They live in the rocks that separate the beach from the bajillion-dollar homes. Super cute.

We were all about the animal encounters in California. More of those to come in Part 2. 


On a totally different note . . . When BoyWonder is happy or excited, he jumps. (Incidentally, he also grabs himself by the unmentionables, but we’ve started to curb that instinct a bit. Thank God.) I have a LOT of photos of him mid-air, especially at the beach. Those waves are exciting, man.

See? That’s only a fraction of the photos I have of him with his feet off the ground. I’ve already got a couple from Oregon. They may all end up in their own blog post down the road. I should have nicknamed him Grasshopper. Who says white boys can’t jump?

And with that, I’ll leave you with a few more happy beach photos:

Coming up in Part 2: Feeding Giraffes at the San Diego Zoo, My Ridiculously Gorgeous Grandmother, and My Ambivalence Toward San Francisco Despite the Butterscotch Hot Fudge Sundaes in Ghiradelli Square (it’s like they read my mind!!)

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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

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