Tag Archives: California

All Aboard

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Trains and I, we have a love-hate relationship.

Growing up in California, the land of the car, trains seemed almost otherworldly.

Very glamourous. Very romantic. Very 1940s.

So moving to England and actually riding on trains to commute to work was a big slap in the face. All that scrambling to get a seat. Grumpy passengers. Piles of rubbish all over. The strong scent of urine in the air.

It didn’t exactly live up to expectations.

But now of course, Josh loves trains.

Probably because he doesn’t have to commute on them.

And the family thought it would be fun to take a train ride while we were out in California, from Ventura to Santa Barbara.

And they were right.

It was fun and Josh loved it.

We had to wait a while for the train to actually turn up. I think it was at least a half an hour late. Which meant plenty of time to hang out and play with the family.

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And, of course, find some toys with Uncle Terry.

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Once we were finally on the train, Josh went crazy, running up and down the aisles telling everyone to “go hide!”

Apparently trains are good places to play hide and seek.

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The view was pretty nice too.

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A short time later, we were in Santa Barbara.

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We went and walked around a bit down by the pier, enjoying all that California December sunshine.

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After lunch, we went and wandered up State Street.

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We ended up going to see the courthouse there, which is such a beautiful building.

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Though Josh was far more interested in his space shuttle than looking at any architecture.

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It was such a lovely day.

It probably helps that this was the view from the train on the way back.

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I imagine that helps make commuting just that little bit nicer in California.

Even if the train still smells like pee.

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Snow Day

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We’ve had some snow here in England this weekend.

And it has not gone past my attention that Southern California is back in the 80s this week.

In fact, I’ve really enjoyed looking at all the sunny photos of everyone playing at the beach. It’s given me something to look at as I walk around the house wearing ten sweatshirts at once.

But instead of posting a photo of me wearing ten sweatshirts, I thought I’d post a few photos I took of us playing in the snow.

Because, when all is said and done, it was actually fun.

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For twenty minutes at least.

After that, my toes go numb.

And frozen toes are no fun at all.

Back in Blighty

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Well, we’re back.

Back in England.

And I’m missing California and all my family and friends.

A lot.

But what better way to work through my sadness than by catching up on this blog that I have been neglecting these last few weeks while I was having way too much fun in California?

I’ve been asking around and I think the best way to approach this it to work through some of our adventures we went on while in California, one at a time. That way it won’t be photo overload, though let me just say, I took a lot of pictures.

A lot.

But I know the family loves seeing them and it makes me less sad, so there you have it.

And to start it all off, here are some photos from a trip we took down to the California Science Centre in Los Angeles.

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Josh is still obsessed with anything with wheels, so it was great to see him running around so excited.

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We had tickets to see the space shuttle Endeavour and I had spent the week prior talking all about the shuttle to Josh, showing him videos of it taking off and making its final flight over California.

And while I think Josh enjoyed it, he seemed a bit daunted by how big it was. He just kept saying “it’s very big” and “can we go to the toy shop?”

Oh well.

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We did end up going to the toy shop afterwards and bought Josh a miniature space shuttle, which he loved, and of course, managed to break after all of about ten minutes playing with it.

Nothing that a little glue won’t fix.

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It was such a wonderful museum though, with far more interactive exhibits for children than any museum we’ve been to in London.

We’ll definitely be going back again.

Maybe not for the space shuttle.

But definitely for the fish.

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The fish were a big hit.

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Learning to Run

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I apologise in advance if this blog post is bragging.

It could have so easily gone the other way though.

Back in August when I turned the big 3-0, I made a birthday promise to myself, mainly promising not to complain as much about living in England.

For the record, I think I have been a lot better, getting out with Josh and exploring the countryside a bit more.

In my birthday promise, I also said I would like to start running more; a promise I easily forgot when the cold weather and rain came.

But thankfully my sister reads the blog and she didn’t forget.

In fact, as a birthday gift, she signed us up for a 5k.

And as much as the thought of running three miles made me feel nauseous, this last weekend we did it.

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And you know what?

I felt really good about it.

I think it helps that I had my wonderful sister to run with.

And let’s face it, it’s much nicer to run along the beach in 60 degree weather than in frosty England.

I mean, look at the view.

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So thank you Erin for the wonderful gift and making sure I actually followed through on something.

You’re an amazing sister!

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Let me know if we’re on for that half marathon next Christmas.

I’ll easily need the whole year to train for that.

The Little Sand Storm

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We’re here!

Josh and I, and all of our passports, have safely made it to California.

And just so he knows someday, Josh was the BEST little traveler.

For the whole 11 hour flight, complete with turbulence which meant he had to stay buckled in his seat the last four hours, he was an angel. And even though he didn’t sleep a wink the entire flight, we had no tantrums; he was easygoing, listened to me and was just an all around awesome little travel buddy.

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So thank you Josh.

I’ll have to try and remember this for when, on the return flight, inevitably it will all go horribly wrong and I will be tearing my hair out with a screaming two year old.

Then again, Tim will be there next time to hand off to, so perhaps it’s not so bleak after all.

But, as I said, we are here in California; jet lagged and enjoying the sunshine.

And since Josh continues to insist upon getting up at ungodly hours of the morning (one day it was 1:30am), we have gone out several days to the beach already, taking some early morning strolls.

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Josh hasn’t really been around the ocean much, so I expected him to be a bit more hesitant walking near the water.

But he surprised me and did just the opposite, rolling around in the sand, reminding me very much of his Aunt Erin when she was little.

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He just loved running around and throwing sand up into the air, rolling around in it, rubbing it onto his clothes.

This kid loves sand.

One surfer passing by laughed seeing Josh playing and called him a little sand storm.

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I think I’d rather have a sand storm than a snow storm any day….

A Beach in Winter

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Things have been fairly hectic around here lately.

Christmas is just around the corner and the holiday baking is in full force. Between decorating sugar cookies and icing the gingerbread men, it’s easy to forget that Josh and I leave for California this weekend!

Yup, sunshine here we come! Or rain; I think it’s raining in California.

Either way, it has to be warmer than England. It was minus five last night with snow supposedly on the way.

Also, we have had some wonderful visitors staying with us the last few days.

That’s right; Laura and Elle are back with us and what better way to celebrate the cold weather and being in Europe than three Californians taking a trip to the beach.

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We drove down to Brighton and played in the sand rocks, which Josh especially loved throwing around.

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Josh was thrown up in the air, his favourite, by Elle.

Elle is one strong lady.

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I think Tim is the only other person I’ve seen able to throw him that high.

We went for a walk out on the pier.

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On the pier, Josh, Laura and Elle had their very first Brighton rock from Brighton’s best rock shop, though I think they all probably say that.

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Best shop or not, it was pretty yummy.

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So, even though we weren’t in California, we had a great day.

Eating Brighton rock and watching an amazing sunset.

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We’ll be seeing you very soon California!

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Autumn Leaves

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Last weekend, it was just the right freezing crisp conditions that made all the fall colours really stand out.

We took advantage of this by pushing Josh in as many piles of leaves as we could find.

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Thankfully, he didn’t seem to mind too much.

In fact, he loved playing in the leaves, gathering up as many as he could hold and throwing them up in the air.

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I think he especially enjoyed it when Mommy joined in and we threw leaves at eachother.

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Now that’s something I can’t remember getting to do in California.

We were probably too busy going to the beach…