"Either write something worth doing or do something worth writing."
-Benjamin Franklin

Friday, June 13, 2014

Trip to California June 2014

Cami and I have been waiting all year to go on our vacation to LA and see my Animo Inglewood class of 2014 graduate. Along the way, we packed our week with visits with friends, Disney, family, and the beach. It was a total blast and I frankly need a vacation from my vacation we partied so hard. 


Left early in the morning on our flight. Cami was more excited to go on the airplane than anything else I think! However, unknown to me, she has recently developed a fear of HEIGHTS. She went from elated cries of joy while taking off, to cries of worry and held my hand so tight when she saw the houses were getting smaller and the trees turned to green dots. We talked about it and how she didn't need to be scared. However, she was so funny and insisted on keeping the window down until we landed. What we can't see can't hurt us I suppose! 

When we landed, Aubs picked us up and we went straight to lunch. She was kind of persistent about a place in Irvine and it sounded good to me. Turns out, she was plotting. I went to the bathroom and came back to my table filled with my favorite people. Lauren, Ami, and Leah were there to surprise me! Ami and Leah had driven 6 hours that morning to meet up with us and go to Disneyland the next day! She originally told me that she wouldn't be able to make it, so it was such a shock and I was over the moon.

Later that night, we went over to Uncle Brennan's and Aunt Krista's for dinner. It was delicious and fresh, as was the company. I love discussing movies, books, anything really with those two. They are sharp, kind, and interesting. I love their kids.

Reunited BFFs!

This little ham Mackenzie is just a crack up. Looking forward to our reunion for more hang out time.

If only Cami had access to dirt like this at our house... 

Dirt pies for dessert. Yum.

Cami and Leah bonded (which was the point because we will force them to be best friends naturally).

Then we went home and hung out with Aub and Hunter for a minute and I was so dead tired it was off to bed for a fun day at Disney on Wed.


We woke up and Aubrey had packed delicious lunches. She's the best by the way. We headed out and got the most perfect parking. It is right by Disney in the parking lot where you just walk a block to the entrance. Saved us like 45 minutes at least. Bummer the next day it was full! Now we know.

We decided to go with California Adventure and it was less crowded. We could just enjoy the day and get everything in we wanted. Which was a ton! We met up with the Peterson clan, and even better, Rachel and Thomas came up from San Diego to join us!

Pure joy at Disney. 

This doggie we borrowed from a friend was genius and she didn't mind at all! 

Taking a break to evaluate next steps!

Cami was supposed to be napping and they kept reaching for each other to hold hands. Died.


She gave the bug a kiss.

Having fun at the splash pad.

Waiting for the ride!

They saved us awesome seats for the parade.

Parade time. 

Ami, this is my fav.

All together in Car's Land

Last ride!


This was the day for my long-anticipated reunion with my high school teacher friends and students. Cami and I drove up that morning to visit with Lipton and how good it was. I love that lady. She is the kind of person that makes you feel like a million bucks and her heart is the size of a watermelon. So full of love and vigor for life, she is a fresh breath of air in a smoggy LA!

To miss traffic we got to the school early and picnicked on a blanket while Cami ran around like a crazy person. It was a great plan because the students soon began filing in. Oh.my.goodness. So handsome, beautiful, and grown up. I seriously didn't recognize some of them. I love the transition 9th-12th grade it is truly shocking!!! I was ecstatic to see them, and for me, it felt like I never left. I am just full of so much love for these kids, they've changed my life for the better in incredible ways. 

Of course, it was bitter-sweet because Izzy and Denise weren't there. However, I am so proud of how their peers have dealt with the tragedy and embraced life and each other. I had a feeling that Izzy and Denise were for sure there in spirit to cheer on their friends. 

Kimberly, she is a gem. 

This kid is amazing. He had the option of choosing the gang life with his friends and most of his family. Opted out, rose above, worked hard, and will be starting his dream of being a firefighter. Love him. 

Sweet Itzel with Leslie.

Karla and Geraldine, some of my fav Juniors graduating next year!

Yesenia wanted to start the service club freshmen year and has been serving ever since. 

Cami loved meeting friends!

These two beauties arrived from Guatamala a few years ago and have been working their butts off to be successful. 

Claudia was Valedictorian and will be attending BROWN in the fall. She was constantly coming in for help and improvements on her essays. Even though she said my class was the hardest she ever took (yay!) she said she learned so much from it. Well she could learn so much from anything; her perfectionist work ethic is outstanding. 

Sweet Angela will be going to UCLA!

Evelin is Izzy's sister, my student who passed away. She gave a beautiful speech and lit up the place with her positive spirits. She is still struggling of course, but seems to know in whom she trusts. :) She's got a lot of faith.

Zitlalic I almost didn't recognize. What a beauty! She worked so hard in my reading class and grew like 3 reading levels in a year. I think will be going to Northridge this fall!

These two handsome ushers will be graduating next year.

Sadly these two kids were unable to graduate and got their GED. Came to support their friends and will be kicking themselves in gear this fall hopefully. 

Teacher Favs Lipton and Smith. 

Back for more at Disneyland! Even though it was insanely crowded with every teenager in the world there (school trips) we still managed to get so much in and had a great time with just me, Aubs, and Cami. 

Slightly scared on pirates.

Fetal position when unsure about the ride.

Feeding Disney Ducks.

Enjoyed so many parades!

Buzz Lightyear ride was a riot.

Cami was in the middle and in charge of spinning us the entire time while Aub and I tried to shoot. She was ruthless, no breaks and lots and lots of spinning! So funny.

Best dinner. Monte Carlo 3 cheese blend with Salmon salad. Couldn't even get through the Monte with the three of us.

Scary witch. Not a big fan.

These princess pics seriously melt my heart.

Sleeping Beauty gets a kiss no problem.

For some reason she is obsessed with these little guys.

Conquered Pirates!

Tarazan time!

Showing off for the princess.

She had that nervous/excited smile plastered on her face the whole time! I never get her to smile in pics! Curse you princesses.


Tangled show! Front row seats.

Look closely at our chose of snacks in the candy shop. We win.

Loved her pink horse. 

She rode on it all by herself. No babies here!

Was pretty much a recovery day. We were supposed to go see Anne/Clark/Mary but driving up again to LA just wasn't an option. :( So we rested up a bit and caught up on sleep and spent the day with our favorite Auntie and Uncle. We headed to the most beautiful beach I've seen in Cali. Near Laguna Niguel.

Hunter played with Cami in the water and sand and she sure loves him!


Tidepools had all sorts of creatures to discover.

"Tunnel!" As Cami would say.

Aubrey and Cami playing. 
Family Nap.

Later we headed to the pool for a double whammy. Hunter really wanted to take her even though she was like half asleep we thought, why not. She loved the warm water and there was a splash pad there that was a big hit. 

That night Hunter watched Cami while Aub and I went to see that new Tom Cruise movie. It was interesting, I liked it. Then we got pizza and yogurt. Called it a day! 


We woke up and drove to Westchester to go to church at my old church ward/building. Everything was the same, but I was surprised about how small the ward seemed! So many families have moved out. It was great to see old friends and catch up. Cami had diaper rash from all of her swimsuit playing the day before, and kept yelling "OWIE BUM" in the middle of sacrament, refusing to get near me because she thought I'd make her sit. Interesting way for ppl to meet her again. haha. 

She did great in nursery! Playing with friend Jack.

Lexi and Milo, a few of my old piano students. What cuties.

Friends at first (born weeks apart) and friends at last. Lucy and Cami.

Such serious hand holding going on 

Afterwards we went to Jenika's for a gourmet lunch and to hang out with her cute family. Her kids are adorable, they made me excited for a bigger family someday. 

We met up with Allison at the park, my friend from Teach For America and we had a good chat. Then, Anne and Clark met us and I drove Anne back to her sister's in Mission Viejo. I was so happy that she flew down to hang out that weekend, I miss her! 

We got back in time for a delicious rib dinner hosted by Aubrey and her mom in law, Pam. Pam and Paul are the best, they basically treat Cami like their granddaughter. They are just full of so much love. They brought her the cutest minnie dress in the world, another tutu dress, and some bubbles and candy. Spoilleeddd! They ate her up and she was so sweet to them, giving them big hugs and kisses when it was time for bed.


We packed up in the morning, got our rental car, and headed to Anne's sisters to pick her up for our last day of partying. We got to Huntington Beach, ate some delicious Super Mex food, and went paddleboarding. We decided to put Cami on the paddlebaord and try it out. She was great! Mostly. She kept calling it the "boat" and sat still until she realized she hated her life-vest. She refused to be consoled until I undid it 5 minutes from the shore. Holding on tight, we made it. Poor Clark and Anne dealt with some screaming the last little bit though. Ey ey ey. 

Afterwards we drove to the observatory in LA and enjoyed the view while Cami ran around.

You can see the Hollywood sign in background if you look close.

Then, we headed to my fav restaurant C & O's for some delicious Italian. I love hanging out with those two, interesting, authentic, and funny people. We celebrated Clark's bday over some lava cake, garlic knots, and chicken raviolis. Clark ran to catch his airplane and we met up with Anne at the hotel. 

Showered and crashed. 


Craziest morning ever waking up early and trying to find out where to drop off the rental car in the airport. Dumb rental guy told me the wrong info. We should have missed our flight, but miracles happen.

Cami was perfect on the plane.

Tanner picked us up and it was soo good to see him. Here were are with the vacation blues! :)