We’ve Been Gone, Gone, Gone

By the time most of y’all read this, my little family will be back home in Birmingham. We have been in California for most of the last week, visiting David’s best friend’s family and basically having a big ole time. I haven’t said anything about the trip before now because, well, I thought we would have a house sitter but then I decided not to get a house sitter and then I started to get paranoid about a RING OF THIEVES having Google alerts for blog posts that mention “vacation” and I just decided that I would wait until the end of our trip before I wrote anything about it.

So I guess you could say we have now reached Safe Blogging Territory.

We didn’t have our finest travel day on the way out here, thanks to the Loudest Talker Ever on the row behind us when we flew out of Birmingham, a plane switcheroo / re-ticketing fiasco once we got to Dallas, and someone in front of me who opted to keep her seat reclined all the way from Dallas to LA, which pretty much triggered every claustrophobic / personal space issue I have. It ended up being the perfect opportunity to distract myself with Mindy Kaling’s book, though, so all’s well that ends well, I reckon.

(However, I will go on the record and say that I’m not the biggest fan of reclining seats on planes.)

(We’re all doing our best to sit quietly in our thirteen inches of space without having some sort of breakdown, so the reclining seat feels like an intrusion to me.)

(You may be picking up on the fact that I have some thoughts about this particular non-issue.)

Ever since we landed and settled in our rental car, however, we have had a ball. Here are some of the highlights.

Noah’s Ark at the Skirball – We did this on Saturday morning, I think, and it was so fun. The Noah’s Ark play area was gorgeous and hands-on at the same time; the kids and the grown-ups loved it.

Greenlee’s Blueberry Cinnamon Bread – Sweet mercy. This stuff is dangerous.

Rita’s – David and Alex love the custard, but I am partial to the watermelon and the mango Italian ice. It’s the perfect summer dessert because it’s fruity and tangy and not too sweet. I am certain that I would develop quite the Italian ice habit if there happened to be a Rita’s anywhere near my house.


Tempurpedic mattress – Granted, this is a strange-ish addition to my list. But there is a Tempurpedic mattress in the room where David and I slept, and the sleeping was such a magical experience that I now refer to said mattress as Mama’s Little Cloud. David agrees. I looked forward to going to sleep every night like a kid looks forward to Christmas, and I’m a little afraid of my reaction when I have to re-adjust to our mattress at home. I so appreciate that our mattress has been a good’un for 10 or so years, but part of me wants to figure out how to pack that Tempurpedic in a carry-on bag and take it home.

– Trader Joe’s Sea Salt & Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds – Under normal circumstances I do not care for dark chocolate. But these almonds are not normal circumstances. Not by any stretch of the imagination. Because these almonds are a wonder.

photo 2

Maleficent at The El Capitan – I’d never been to The El Capitan before Sunday, so I got a huge kick of being in such a beautiful theatre, seeing the magic show before the movie, and then getting to eyeball the kids’ reactions as they watched Maleficent. What surprised me was how much I liked the movie, too – and how once again Disney has given us a movie with a message that’s way bigger than the movie itself. Really, really good.


– Time to hang out and visit – Sometimes trips to see friends can get super-rushed and busy. That has not been the case this time around. We have hung out at the house more than we’ve run around town, which means that the kids have played and played and played while the adults have talked and talked and talked. It’s been good for my head and my heart. I know David would say the same.

We’re a little sad that it’s time to go home – but we’re mighty grateful to have been here. And now we’re looking forward to a safe trip home with no reclining seats on the row in front of us.

A girl can dream.

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  1. Glad you had a great vacation. I keep hearing about Rita’s and need to give it a try. I could not agree with you more regarding the reclining seats on planes. I will never forget a flight where the gentleman in front of me was in such recline, I was tempted to give him a facial! To this day I have never seen a seat recline that far. (Or someone who had zero interest in anyone else’s comfort but their own.)

  2. I think I need to make a run to TJ’s for those almonds. I thought about it when you instagrammed it, so thanks for the reminder. They sound amazing.

  3. The picture of the little girl and your boy melted my heart.

  4. lydialou says:

    I am not a fan of reclining seats either. I am more of a sit up straight kind of gal. And I know how irritating it is when someone reclines until they are practically in your face–for hours. I must also mention I am not a fan of a small child whose parents let them kick the seat in front of them–for hours either. Maybe I should just go for first class-NOT EVER!! I am cheap! We are going overseas this summer and I purchased the economy comfort which gives you a WHOLE FOUR INCHES more space. I will let you know about that. I figured that sitting in a seat for almost twelve hours might warrant an upgrade. Glad you had fun in California!

  5. Rita’s is awesome! My personal favorite is cotton candy…it tastes and smells just like cotton candy….love it!! I get a little pouty when that is not one of the flavors of the day. You can tell I have a very classy palate. Glad you had a wonderful visit.

  6. I totally loved Maleficent! Excellent movie.

  7. Michelle says:

    When you head to Gulf Shores, AL stop in Foley—we have a Rita’s across from the Outlet Mall.

  8. My family loves Rita’s. We moved to New Jersey from Indiana 7 years ago and my kids have been in love with Rita’s ever since (they didn’t have Rita’s in Indiana). Last weekend after my older daughter’s playoff softball games, the team went to Rita’s. This past weekend after my younger daughter’s playoff softball games, the team went to Rita’s. My favorites are the passion fruit and mango.

  9. I bought myself a Tempurpedic about 6 weeks ago and oh my goodness, what a difference in how I sleep! I know there are folks who have tried them and hate them but I will never buy a traditional mattress again. I recently was out of town, staying in both a hotel and a friend’s home. Both places had better than decent mattresses but I couldn’t wait to get home to my Tempurpedic. I am spoiled for life. And no I do not work for the company. I just have a lot of connective tissue issues/disorders and anything that helps relieve stiffness/soreness/ pain is a big deal for me.

  10. We had bought my Mother a Tempurpedic that adjusted so that she could sit up in bed & even have her knees supported. When she died, my daughter claimed the bed and has loved it as much as Mother did. Matt Firm has a (very annoying) ad right now that says “if it’s over eight, you should replace”. Thinking you & D should be shopping for a “T”!

  11. I am with you in the reclining seats. I never recline mine and I always feel such hostility toward any person in front of me who reclines into my lap. Last time I flew to Seattle, I had a recliner in front if me and a grown man beside me who thought it would be ok to remove his tennis shoes (that he had been wearing WITHOUT socks) for the entirety of the 5 hour flight. A flight that caused me to be in an airport shuttle at 4 am, BTW. To say I was fit to be tied would be a gross understatement.

  12. There is NOTHING pleasant about flying anymore, it is simply necessary transportation. But, the most annoying of all the annoyances is having the person in front of me recline their seat. We flew more often before we retired and started doing our major traveling in a motorhome (such luxury, even in our older not-at-all-luxurious one) and I’m sad to hear that people are still so rude even in such a confined place.

  13. I guess I don’t understand about the reclining airline seats. we mostly fly Alaska Airlines and the seats barely recline, so it’s no problem. I have issues with the kids in the seat behind that have to kick the seatback or stretch out their legs pushing on the seatback, over and over and over again. I’m old enough to not mind a bit saying something. life is too short for annoyances like that.

  14. Oh, I second that relining seats are AWFUL and definitely a big bother to the person behind. Crazy! Sounds like a really fun trip and hoping you had a much better trip home without any reclining seats.

  15. Rebecca says:

    My husband was an Imagineer and for 3 years we lived in LA. We LOVED the El Capitan, our children still speak so fondly of seeing the premiere of Beauty and the Beast there. Glad you had a great time and I hope your return was safe and free of reclining seats!

  16. Trader Joe’s is the best store ever. I love their hair care products. Next time you go back get some Trader Joe’s Shampoo. I love that stuff. Make sure you send it to Renee Williams in Midway lol

  17. Imagine if you could go to Rita’s for dessert after Chuys. Your life would be complete! :)

  18. Sally R says:

    with you on the reclining airline seats. I get a bit passive aggressive and get up and down a couple of times, grabbing the seat in front of me both as I get up and down. “Oh, did I disturb you?” Heh, heh, heh. I did once have the opportunity to sit in first class and thought the reclining seats wouldn’t be a problem, but they still are because they recline down even farther.

    Re the tempurpedic mattress – I think they can be rather warm, but I had a shoulder injury so I ordered a tempurpedic mattress topper and it worked great. Much cheaper than a full mattress and easier to handle. Mentioned this to a friend who also didn’t want to spend the money on a full mattress. She went out and did the same and said she could finally sleep comfortably.

  19. I always have such a good time reading about your good times!

  20. Heather says:

    Oh, can I empathize with your flight. Flew today from Nashville to Charlotte via Atlanta. One of my seats was broken and literally rocked the whole time (and not in a good way). One of my flights, the people in the seats on either side of me “hogged” the arm rests, so I literally flew folded up like a pretzel the whole flight. And on both flights the people sitting in the seats beside me used every curse word known to man. Whew, glory. I am so thankful to be home! And I’m thinking I’m gonna have to find a box of those almonds to recover…teeheehee!! :)

  21. Well, welcome to my state of California! I hope you enjoyed yourself.

  22. I’m with you on waiting to share where I’m going to be AFTER the fact. I once let my readers know I was going to be at a certain place one night, and worried the entire time I should have also mentioned my big fierce dogs with fangs back at the house.

    Glad you had a fun time in California.