The first part of our trip to California was a complete whirlwind. I felt very fortunate that our six hour flight wasn’t as bad as I expected. Ryder and Siella were total pros, entirely well behaved as they watched movies, played games, and asked tons of questions about what they saw out the windows. Gemma, on the other hand, grew restless towards the end of the flight, and I found myself looking at my watch, every minute on the minute, for the last two hours. Luckily the flight was packed with kids, probably on their spring breaks too, so her outbursts didn’t seem to bother many passengers on the already noisy flight.
In the days leading up to the trip, I was an emotional wreck, as I kept thinking that this was it for us, and we would come home packing our bags for a possible move. So many of you reached out via text, phone and email, in response to my previous post and the whole probability just felt so real. I couldn’t even have a conversation about a possible move without bursting into complete tears, but following many breakdowns, and conversations with Jason, I decided to look at this trip as a vacation, because it was. But, the whole time, I did have to keep in the back of my head the question – is this place for us.
We planned out each day methodically, as we wanted to cover as much ground as possible in one short week. From amusement parks, to beach, to seeing friends, we packed in more than I could have imagined, and we still had a few days left. And I thought the jet lag would wreak havoc on the kids, but surprisingly, it actually had the adverse effect. They were sleeping in, sometimes not getting out of bed until 7:30am, which is so unlike them. But a huge bonus for us!
First stop on the list was the beach to enjoy as much sun time as possible. I’m sure some people would think that mid 60’s is hardly beach weather, but after our very long NYC winter, we needed a dose of vitamin D.
Our close friends moved just south of LA three years ago, so our first beach stop was with them at Manhattan Beach. Their son Calum is the same age as Ryder, and even though they hadn’t seen each other since they were four, they picked up right where they left off, as if they had seen each other yesterday. They played in the sand and ocean, and Ryder even tested out a boogie board. We went back to their gorgeous home in Redondo Beach, where we had dinner, and completely caught up on the last three years. We were so relaxed, enjoying the totally laid back California vibe. It truly was such an incredible day catching up with our friends, and along the way I was taking note on just how I loved the areas of Manhattan and Redondo Beach.
Easter Sunday was spent at the Loews Beach Hotel in Santa Monica (more about that here). We visited the pier, played games, rode some rides, went to the beach, and soaked up every bit of the amazing hotel for a few days. And again, in the back of my mind, I kept checking off neighborhoods, to see if I could eventually picture my clan there. Throughout the week, I spoke endlessly with friends about schools, programs, daily lives, all while trying to enjoy myself and just live in the moment.
We all live for the beach and tried to get there as many times as possible. The kids played endlessly outdoors, and definitely stayed up way past their bedtimes, but they had the time of their lives. California definitely agreed with them. I mean, how could it not- they were off from school, with no schedules or homework. Just fun in the sun for the entire week, and they even slept. I know, I already talked about the sleep thing, but I really expected 3am wakeups everyday, not waking them up after I finished my first cup of coffee.
With all of our work travel and busy daily routines, we always try to make the most out of our time spent together as a family. We could have been anywhere last week and enjoyed ourselves as much as we did, but being in California was pretty amazing.
As I keep my mental list of pros and cons, a decision on a potential move has not been made yet, but more to come of our adventures in the sunshine state.
To be continued…..