Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Apr '10

Vacation Days 1-3


We got up before 7 to catch our 7:15 a.m. shuttle to the airport. Normally getting up at 6:30 is a luxury, but it was painfully hard this day because we stayed up so late the night before getting things ready to go. Even Wes didn’t want to get up when he had to. His first word of the day was, “No!”

At the airport we checked into JetBlue, juggling three pieces of luggage, two carry-on bags, a car seat, a stroller, and Wesley. We managed. We had plenty of time until boarding, which was good, because for some reason when we hit the security clearance Wes had a meltdown. Still not sure why. He was so upset he was shaking, and we weren’t sure if he was suddenly sick or what. We pulled our stuff off the conveyor belt and stood to the side for a few minutes. He was still upset, but we decided to just get through security, so we did. It took longer, though, because I had forgotten to remove all our digital equipment from our bags along with the food/milk we brought for Wes (silly me, how could I have forgotten that with a baby soaking my shirt through with tears?). All the baby food and milk we brought for Wes had to be tested for Nitrate residue to make sure we weren’t packing explosives. And then, finally, we got through.

John got Wes to fall asleep while we waited to board. He slept through take-off and half the flight. He looked so tiny, buckled into the huge airplane seat, slumped against John’s side.

While he slept I got to watch home and garden TV shows and John watched sports programming on the nifty JetBlue TV sets built into the seat backs.

When Wes woke up he ate some pretzels, and then the stewardess brought around snacks (hurray for an airline that still feeds you!). Luckily for Wes they offered a Doritos Munchies Cheese Fix snack that included all his favorites: pretzels, Cheetos, chips, etc. Wes is a sucker for Cheetos.

As soon as we got off the plane I took a breath in and, man, California smells so GOOD! It smells warm and slightly humid and clean, like the ocean. It felt good to be in warm weather again.

I took Wes to the bathroom to change his pants. Literally. He was dry upon boarding the plane, but by the time we got off his pants were soaked through. We didn’t have his luggage yet, so he got to hang out in just a shirt and diaper for a while.

John’s mom came and got us and took us to San Pedro (just southwest of Long beach) to the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

We picked it because it’s small, low-key, and cheap. Bonus: It’s right on the beach and after we walked through the aquarium John and I took Wes for a walk on the beach–his first experience walking on sand. He liked to kick it.

The thing about being in LA is you never know when you’re going to get a piece of Hollywood. There was actually a film crew on the beach, and after we finished at the aquarium we saw them wheeling all their equipment off the sand. We learned they had been filming a commercial for Nickelodeon. And on our way to lunch we passed another film crew in downtown San Pedro; it looked like they were filming a stunt between some buildings.

We ate in a little seaside village (shopping/eating area) in San Pedro called Ports o’ Call. We sat on the patio overlooking the marina. We saw tugboats and bigger boats passing by, plus several helicopters flying overhead. Wes was asleep again, so we got to eat about half of our meal in peace. The weather was so beautiful in California, I enjoyed just being outside and breathing it all in. It’s very pleasant and peaceful–when you’re not stuck in traffic.

Which is what we were on our way back to north LA after lunch. It took us a good 2-2 1/2 hours to get home, but at least it was scenic. We drove along Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) through Santa Monica, right along the ocean, for a while, and then we headed east through Topanga Canyon, which is a long winding road through the mountains. It was beautiful, but I was tired and eventually fell asleep. Wes, meanwhile, was awake but perfectly content in the carseat in back.

When we got to the hotel Wes was ready to be let loose.

At night we met John’s step-dad for dinner at The Commons, which is a nice European-style shopping and restaurant center across the street from our hotel. I liked our hotel because it had a mini-fridge and microwave where we could store and heat up Wesley’s milk bottles. John’s mom took me to Ralph’s, a nice grocery store also in The Commons, so I could get Wes’s milk and snacks to last us a few days. By the time we finished dinner we were all so tired and slept well through the night.


This morning Wes woke up around 7:15, and once we were showered and clean we headed downstairs for our continental breakfast in the lobby. They had everything we needed! Maple and brown sugar oatmeal and Yoplait yogurt for Wes, plus bagels and hot chocolate for me and eggs and ham for John.

We spent the afternoon at The Getty. It’s full of amazing famous artwork, but of course all I have photos of is Wesley charging up and down one of the grassy hills outside.

Wes also found a bug to examine.

We had an amazing lunch at a surprisingly nice cafe inside the Getty. Wes ate cheese pizza (cheese pizza is a recurring theme throughout our vacation; it’s the one sure-fire thing I can get Wes to eat for lunch or dinner).

We strolled through the gardens, which weren’t really in bloom in March but were pretty anyway.

The Getty overlooks LA.


On Saturday we woke up and walked down the road to the Calabasas Farmer’s Market. Whenever I travel I try to go to the local farmer’s markets. You never know what you’ll see, and it’s free–unless you buy something, which I was totally tempted to do. I have never seen oranges sold with the leaves still attached, or strawberries that were so perfectly red ripe. It made my mouth water.

The market also had stalls of gorgeous locally grown flowers that I lusted after while John reminded me (a few times) that it was essentially impractical to buy flowers for our hotel room when we were checking out the next day. We saw a lot of locals pushing wheeled carts that they filled with fresh spinach leaves, fruits, mushrooms, breads, and flowers before walking back to their homes. I have never wanted to live in California until then.

From there we walked down the road to find a hair cutting place for John. We stopped in at two places to check prices and had to act non-appalled when we were told a men’s haircut started at $30 and $50, respectively. At the third place it was $20 and we went for it. Bonus: The salon had toys in the corner for Wes to play with. Double Bonus: The salon owners were Persian and it happened to be the Persian New Year. They brought in a box of pastries and passed it around. Nothing like a hair cut and free cream puffs!

Next door to the salon was a bakery called SusieCakes where John let me buy two cupcakes all for myself: red velvet and chocolate peanut butter. Yummmmmmmmm.

That evening John’s mom and I took Wes to a park while John and John’s step-dad went to Fry’s Electronic Superstore. Playgrounds in California are bedded with sand instead of woodchips. I took Wes’s shoes and socks off so he could run free. One thing I liked about the playground is that it was full of more diversity than you would ever see in one place in Utah.

It amazes me how much Wes is turning into a real little boy. He’s starting to climb everything and go down slides fearlessly.

That night John’s mom stayed with Wes so John and I could have a date! We went to the mall, got dinner (peanut butter banana smoothie for me, double cheese burger for John, apple pie from McDonald’s for both of us), and saw Avatar in 3-D. This was my first time seeing it, second for John. Oh yeah, movies in Los Angeles cost a fortune: $15.50 per person. But the film was good.

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