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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Daddy/Daughter trip to California

I have an obsession with California, I love everything about it. Some of my love has to do with the fact that my dad was born and raised there and I still have a lot of family in the area. I have been able to visit twice now. Ben and I went last May and my dad and I went in July of this year. Ben and my mom were unable to go so we had a daddy/daughter trip. My dad and I had a wonderful time. We get along perfectly and it was so cool to go back to his hometown with him (where he hadn’t been in 20 years). We arrived in Los Angeles late and my aunt Marti and cousin Kristina picked us up from LAX. We drove back to Bakersfield, CA where they live. We spent the day talking and relaxing. That night my aunt had a party so her friends and more of our family could come to visit.

After everyone left, we decided we wanted to go to San Francisco the next day. We (me, my dad, Aunt Marti, Uncle John, and Kristina) woke up early and drove north, stopping to see some more cousins along the way. When we arrived in SF, we were able to eat dinner with my cousin (on my mom’s side of the family) Andy and his wife, Elaine.

We spent the next day walking around SF. We took a cable car from Fisherman’s Wharf all the way to Union Square and then walked all the way back (it’s a long way), while sightseeing and window shopping.

We left San Francisco and drove south on the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). The scenery on this drive is breathtaking.

We drove through Carmel and looked at the adorable little shops, and took the 17 mile drive in Monterrey at Pebble Beach. It was beautiful.

We kept driving south on the Highway 1 until we reached a little town on the central coast of California called Cambria. My aunt and uncle love to stay in this town because it reminds them of Gatlinburg, TN. We ate at a really great restaurant with an ocean view when we arrived and went shopping the next day. Next we drove to a small town on the coast called Cayucos. This place is special because when my dad was young, he would come here to surf and fish off the pier. We watched men fish and one guy even let Kristina reel in a fish. He would catch them and feed it to the lazy sea lions that were so adorable.

We drove back to Bakersfield and decided that we wanted to go to the LA area the next day. Just my dad and I rented a car and left the next day for Santa Monica. We walked around by the pier and ate lunch at a restaurant with an awesome view of the pier and ocean called “The Lobster.” We left there and drove to Malibu. The weather was perfect and we spent the afternoon driving around in the Malibu hills. We drove from there to Hollywood, seeing sights like UCLA and Rodeo Drive on the way. I wanted to take him to see the Hollywood sign so we drove over to the neighborhood where most people stop and take pictures. We decided we wanted to get closer, so we kept driving up the mountain towards the sign. We got a few dirty looks from locals, but it was worth it because we got some amazingly close shots of the sign.
Next we parked at Hollywood & Highland and hung out the rest of the night walking around in downtown Hollywood. We took pictures of all of our favorite celebrity’s stars on the ground and listened to a jazz band that was playing. It was so much fun. We woke up the next day, and dad said, “This was a great trip, all we are missing is seeing a celebrity.” A few hours later we saw Jason Castro from American Idol at LAX and I was able to get a picture with him.
That made the trip complete. I can’t wait to go back to California. I have more pictures posted at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2095277&id=56705803&l=c8f963a56f.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Independence Day!!!

July was filled with lots of fun with friends and family. It started with the fourth of July. We went to the annual pre-4th of July bash with some of Ben’s friends from high school. They live in the country and always shoot off a ton of fireworks. Inevitably some of them always get aimed at one of the guys or the innocent bystanders, but we always have a blast.

On July 3, Ben and I hung out with my friend KK and her parents at the river. We watched fireworks after the local baseball game and just listened to music and laughed a lot.

Here is a video of the some of the fireworks on the river on July 3rd.

We ended the holiday celebration by traveling to Nashville to see Ben’s brother Chris and sister-in-law, Cara (who was pregnant and due very soon). We had a great time hanging out downtown all day. It started raining, so they decided to shoot off the fireworks early. We had just finished eating and had to sprint down to where they were going off. I just knew we were going to send Cara into early labor from all the running, but we made it. A few minutes into the BEST fireworks display we had ever seen, it started pouring rain, I mean BUCKETS. We huddled under a blanket (we didn’t bring umbrellas or buy ponchos) and got soaked, but we wouldn’t leave early. We sloshed back to the car, all wringing out our clothes and laughing because it was one of the best and most memorable 4th of July celebrations that we could remember.