California, There I Went...

I just got back from a trip to California to see my Dad.  The extended family is trying to make it an annual thing, to be there over the Fourth of July holiday, or in that general time frame.  My brother, Scott, and wife, Wynette, were there almost the whole time we were there, and brother Steve and wife Jill were there for about three days overlapping with us.  My husby, Dennis, couldn’t go, unfortunately, due to work commitments. 

Of my kids, only Kacy (and husband Arick) and Brad (and girlfriend Jen) could go.  And of course, along with Kacy and Arick came my Little Bit, Mister Mason, one and only (so far) grandchild.  Woo hoo!!  I was just so excited to experience Mason’s “beach firsts” along with him.  I sort of like him.

Highlights of the trip:
--Singing Mason to sleep on the second flight.  His favorite in my repertoire is “Hush Little Baby,” but I also did “For Baby” (yes, the old John Denver song… it was his Mommy’s favorite, too), “In the Garden,” “As the Deer,” and “Day is Done.”  I love the way he watches me so intently, totally relaxed, but won’t fall asleep until I stop looking at him while I sing.
--Days on the beach.  The first day, most of us ended up at the beach at the end of Grand Avenue.  (I never know if that’s Pismo or Grover, so we just say “End of Grand.”)  Steve, Jill, Wynette, Dad, Kacy, Arick, Brad, Jen, Mason and I had a blast.  I thought Mason might be a little afraid of the water, but the waves were breaking pretty far out, and the water wasn't rough at all.  He ran straight in, even though it was colllllddddd.  The movement of the water seemed to confuse his walking skills a little (he’s only been walking for about 6 months, after all), but there was always someone there to help him stand.  Another day, we went to Pismo (by the pier), and another day we went to the Dino Caves.  There were other shorter times at the beach, of course, but those were my favorite.
--Watching Mason and Noah together.   My youngest nephew, Zach, and wife Heidi traveled all the way from Missouri, by car.  Their baby, Noah, is 10 months old, and a little butterball of cuteness.  He outweighs Mason, who is almost 18 months old, but regardless, is still in that littler-baby, crawling stage.  So, so, so, so cute.  He and Mason just hit it off, of course.  I loved watching my brother (Scott) be a grandpa, and sitting with Wynette with our grandbabies.  It brought back wonderful memories times in the past when we’d sit together with our own babies on our knees.
--A fun afternoon in San Luis.  Downtown San Luis Obispo is a great place to walk, shop, browse… and we did it all. 
--Dogs, dogs, dogs!  Molly (Dad’s Pomeranian) is queen of the castle, of course, but she (mostly) welcomed Scott and Wynette’s three Chihuahuas, Sweet Pea, Merle and Jasmine.  None of them was quite sure about Ozzie, Adam and Melody’s Australian Cattle Dog.  It was junior high all over again, with all the little dogs ganging up on poor Ozzie.  Lots and lots of barking and yapping was heard.
--Tour of Hollywood:  The day we arrived in LA, it was early enough that we had some tourist time.  We rented the car for the week, and headed to Hollywood Blvd.  We ate lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, with the legendary Hollywood sign in sight.  We sat on the patio and watched all the “freaks and geeks” walk by.  Best people-watching place ever.  We wandered around, saw the stars in the sidewalk on the “Walk of Fame,” saw the set-up for a movie premiere, saw the creepiest Michael Jackson impersonator ever (let’s just say he really did look like MJ), and took a lot of pictures.  We got back in the car, and drove up Sunset Blvd, seeing all the sights along the way.  Then we hopped on the freeway and headed up to Dad’s.  Great day.
--Other highlights:  Fireworks.  Fro-yo.  Quirkle.  Sunsets.  Hot-tubbing.  Getting felt up by TSA.  Watching the Casey Anthony verdict (don’t get me started).  Church at Oak Park.  Sharing a room with four others.  Jen’s sleep-talking.  Old Juan’s.  Watching my brothers and sisters-in-love meet Mason.

Ten days of fun with family… hard to beat that.  There were only two negatives, for me.  One, we had some delays on our flights home, but we were thankful that we didn’t end up spending the night on the airport floor.  Two, I had a bit of a meltdown when I first walked into Dad’s house.  Mom’s been gone for two years, but somewhere deep inside, I still expect her to be standing there at the door waiting for me.  I’ll just have to wait for Heaven, where I know she’s standing at the door (probably shoving poor Peter out of the way) waiting for me.  
Great-Grandpa with Noah and Mason
I know I said I’m a “story-teller” in my initial blog post, and that this blog is sadly lacking in actual stories.  This is why I have to blog quickly after events.  Otherwise, I get very boring.  Sigh.

Arick said something that, for me, summed up the whole trip, and I shall close with it.  There we were, gathered around the table, being loud and hilarious, all 14 of us.  Arick:  “How do we not have our own reality show?!?”

(All pictures in this post were taken by Kacy)


Scott said...

Classic summary and great perspective from Gma Susie on this trip, highlighted by the AWESOME (read that "get her copyright on these pics as soon as possible") pictures from Kacy of the moments. Brad lifting Jen in the sunset, Arick/Mason walking away in the sunset, Dad with two of his five great-grandsons, fricking amazing...Loved the summary...even though I didn't know you were watching me with one of my two awesome grandsons...hehehehehe

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