Tuesday, January 21, 2014

V.A.C.A.T.I.O.N 6

Day 6:  We headed back to Historic Downtown Santa Barbara, but this time, we did it the smarter way!
We walked the shorter route (2 miles) to a trolley stop at Stearns Wharf, and took a trolley to the opposite end (uphill) of State Street.  This way we could visit all of the fun shops and make it back to the ocean (downhill)!
 State Street is lined with beautiful flowers and tall palm trees and has every store you could possibly imagine!
 In between several of the stores, a small walkway would open up into another street of stores, beautiful water fountains, and fun structures.
 We even found a few vintage stores to browse!
This shot is from Antique Alley.
 The shop in the picture below was my favorite vintage store--The Mermaid's Chest.
When the owner was 19  years old (1976), she hopped a train car in Indianapolis during a blizzard and road it all the way to Santa Barbara.  She never looked back and has loved living in California!  She now owns this cute this shop that has a fantastic view of the ocean.  She only returns to Indiana when she wants to pick up more stock for her shop.
 While my mom, dad, and I browsed the last few shops (including a 99 Cent Grocery Store...hello, awesome produce deals!), Cody took the kids back to the beach to play.
 Carson's favorite game was throwing rocks into the waves.

 Cloe loved writing in the sand.
 McClain was the great digger!

 Maddox did a little bit of everything!

 The kids played together to build castles and moats.
 I love sweet little sandy hands!
 I love the view of the palm trees and the mountains.
 Wish we could have bottled up the sound and smell of the salty, fresh ocean waves!
 Walking...walking...walking...and more walking.
This day we walked 7.9 miles!
 Goodbye to our last day in Santa Barbara!
 I hope we'll be back again someday!

Friday, January 17, 2014

V.A.C.A.T.I.O.N 5

Day 5: Beach Day!
We drove south on scenic Coastal Hwy 1.  
This is one of most our favorite drives in ever!  
I'm not sure how the gang in the back of the RV felt about the curving and climbing around the scenic coast, but up front, it was beautiful!
We were on the hunt for a perfect beach to stop and play.
We couldn't seem to find the perfect beach that we had in mind.
I remembered a nice beach in Malibu, but nothing quite looked as I remembered (16 years ago!).
So, we finally snagged a free parking spot along the highway, threw on our swimming suits, and trecked down to a beautiful, sandy beach with crashing waves. 
(We didn't actually know the name of the beach that we had stopped at until we Instagrammed a picture and found it listed as our location...ZUMA BEACH!)
 As it turns out, Zuma Beach is FABULOUS!
This is the beach used often for filming.
Scenes with lifeguards running...right here!
Scenes with lifeguard stands...right here!
Scenes with a concession stand...right here!
 The kids had SO much fun playing in the sand with some new little friends from Pasadena.
While the kids played, their mom told us all the fun facts about Zuma Beach and gave us awesome tips about the Rose Parade! 
 The beach is also known for it's fun glimpses of sea animals playing!
We watched several dolphins out playing and jumping!
Of course, nothing beats a cartwheel by Cloe on the beach!
This little guy could not get enough of the fun on the beach!
 Running, chasing seagulls, throwing sand, slapping the waves...he's a beach baby at heart!
The kids played happily together for h.o.u.r.s.
The tide went out and let them explore the beach and look for more seashells.
I love chubby, sandy hands!
Sheer joy!
I became a little obsessed with catching every moment on the beach with this little guy!
(the big kids were a little too generous with their splashing!)
When we went into the bath house, I completely cracked up when the kids were surprised and asked,  "How in the world did sand get in THERE???"  
Guess we're still Iowans at heart!
 But truly, we love California!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

V.A.C.A.T.I.O.N 3 and 4

Day 3:  We headed out of Arizona early in the morning and hit the road to sunny California!

Our first stop in California required a switch of shoes...flip flops on!
 For lunch we stopped at a California Classic: In-N-Out Burger.  
Their burgers and fries are so fresh and amazing!
This place is a must-try if you're visiting California or Arizona!
 We drove for what felt like forever and saw just about every kind of scenery.
This mountain pass was the last leg of the journey to Santa Barbara.
Unfortunately, the sun set at 5:00 pm, so it was dark for our drive along the coast.
 After we got the camper parked, we decided to take the 1-mile long walk down to the ocean.  The ocean was actually just a few blocks away, but we had to walk through a neighborhood to an area where we could cross under the interstate to get to the beach.
Along the way, we came across this incredibly shocking display of Christmas lights!
Even though it was dark, we all enjoyed hearing the crashing waves and smelling the fresh ocean breeze!

Day 4:
The next morning it was fun to see the little retro Santa Barbara Sunrise RV Park Office in the daylight--a little building right out of the 50's!  Palm trees make everything a little prettier, too!
These beautiful flowers were the view right out the door of the camper.
I love flowers in the winter!
All of the people we met in the RV Park were super friendly!
One young couple was traveling the Coast in their awesome VW Van.  Seriously, if we ever moved to CA, that would be the fun vehicle to have!
They recommended the Santa Barbara Farmer's Market.
We walked a couple of miles weaving in and out of neighborhoods and industrial areas to get to the downtown area. (It felt a little shady at times, but we made it!)
This Farmer's Market did not disappoint!
 The fresh produce was so colorful!  We got to try so many fun fruits and vegetables, too!
 The big, sweet chunks of oranges and other citrus fruits were our favorites!
 We bought a fruit that was a cross between a pear, a banana, and something else...not the best!
However, these honey sticks were delicious!
 The flowers were so brightly colored and beautiful!
 Cloe could fit right in out here!
 These rainbow carrots were so good!  We bought a big bunch of them and disappeared quickly! 
 These almonds were amazing!  The spicy ginger ones were my favorite!
At the farmer's market, we also met a lady who made her own essential oils!  My mom and I purchased her lavender and tangerine--amazing! 
We spent a little time on the main shopping street and then headed to the pier.  
Cloe had her picture taken by these dolphins when she was 2 months old!
She is much happier in this picture!
 Mac embraced his inner California Dude personality with his sweet shades.
Carson was hangin loose on the beach!
 There is *nothing* better than walking barefoot on the beach!
 The water was pretty mild.  I wouldn't have wanted to go for a long swim, but it wasn't too bad!
 Cloe was the #1 seashell collector!
 This is my favorite scene: my family on the beach!  (Poor Maddox!  He really is a part of the family, but he fell asleep in the stroller!)
 They were so tired of smiling nicely, so we let them come up with their own poses!
(Maddox is still sleeping!)
We all walked back to the RV Park and enjoyed our spiral ham that we'd left in the crock pot for the day!
Then Cody and I quickly ran back down to the beach to catch the sunset.
 The extra miles of walking were totally worth it!

 We had one last treat for the day: Kombucha!
Tri-County Produce was the coolest open front farmer's market-like grocery store.
What a sweet view from your grocery store, too!
Traveling by foot earned us 13 miles for that day!