Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Our Family Vacation: Los Angeles!

What a fun adventure!

We picked LA because of the beautiful weather and the plethora of things to do. It's funny how we keep gravitating toward the west coast for our vacations: San Diego, San Francisco, Portland/Seattle, and then the San Juan Islands.

We arrived early on Sunday morning and headed straight to the PCC Flea Market. What fun! We stuck to the outside vendors and enjoyed the sunshine. Then we headed to Dog Haus for delicious veggie dogs and then to Grant Park. I brought a big sheet with us on the trip, so Matt and I were able to relax in the shade and play Quiddler while the boys played independently on the playground. We headed back to our AirBnB early in the afternoon for swimming and hot tubbing. Matt's brother joined us (he lives in the area), and we ordered Chinese food for delivery. This was the first time I've ever used the delivery feature within Yelp, and I am hooked! It was so relaxing to be able to spend every afternoon at our rental house without having to pack everyone back into the car and sit for dinner. Instead, we had all kinds of food delivered (from pizza to Indian), and the biggest delivery fee was $2. We dined on the back patio every night and watched the sun set.

On Monday we went bike riding in Santa Monica and then played at the beach. We grabbed tacos at Tacos Por Favor and cupcakes at Sprinkles (I definitely recommend them; they are right behind my absolutely favorite cupcakes from Crave in Houston). Then it was back to our "house hotel" for swimming, hot tubbing, reading, and dinner.

On Tuesday Matt dropped the boys and me off at the Los Angeles Zoo while he went for a two-hour run. Then we went to eat at UCLA (what an amazingly diverse student body!). Then it was back to the house for our evening ritual.

On Wednesday we took the ferry to Catalina Island. We rented a golf cart and drove around the entire island. We stopped at a park and then a beach (and had the most amazing pretzel rolls from this restaurant). That night, Matt's brother watched the boys so Matt and I could go on a date. We picked a rooftop showing of High Fidelity. So fun!

Thursday was a beach day and then Pepperdine University for lunch (we like taking our boys to eat at college campuses, so they develop a positive association with college; plus, it's just really fun!). Pepperdine has got to be one of the most beautiful campuses in the US. It sits atop a hill that overlooks the ocean.

On Friday we took a tour of our friend's kombucha factory, which was so awesome. Then we headed to Venice beach to check out the canals and Muscle Beach (and get organic Mexican food). We also grabbed amazing ice-cream before heading to the airport.

Although the traffic in LA was pretty much terrible all the time (and it's such a sprawling city, so we found ourselves needing to drive a lot), we had an awesome trip. The boys are so much fun, and it was relaxing to play games with Matt and read library books on my Kindle app.

I'm glad we're able to prioritize family vacations at this time in our lives. When we were saving up money to build our house, we didn't really travel. Now that both Matt and I are working full-time, we have a very reasonable mortgage, our cars are paid off, and we are able to prioritize vacations.

P.S. If you want real-time updates, check out @saracotner on Instagram!

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