Sweet Sandy Skies and Friendly Faces

by Lesley on October 18, 2013 · 4 comments

in santa barbara,travel

Santa Barbara: we came, we went, we conquered. With this view, how could we not?

family in sb

Granted, traveling with kids is never easy.  There was a lot of crying in the car and spit-up down my bra and diaper blowouts in the most inconvenient of places but mostly we kept happy attitudes and enjoyed creating memories as a family of four. FOUR!

Side note: every time I glanced back at my TWO kids (and all their STUFF) it reminded me just how real things got with adding another child. We’re, like, super legit now…all we need is a minivan.

Well, we also might need a better solution to help Anna sleep. My idea of tying a scarf around her head to stabilize her neck did not work so well. Exhibit A:


The first night of our journey we stayed at a casino in the Central Valley. The hotel was, well, not exactly kid friendly. (Unless you count the fake bears and pond near the entrance.) Anna and I entertained other guests by spending a good half hour re-enacting the book “Going on a Bear Hunt” in front of the hotel. I earned some mom points with that gig.


I think my children like hotel stays. They certainly made themselves right at home. I couldn’t believe how well everyone slept despite Owen getting up in the night to feed. Noise machines: God bless them.



The rest of the weekend we rented a charming and overpriced house on the Riviera. If you’ve never been to Santa Barbara I’ll just give it this plug: there is quite possibly no better city in America. The food! The beaches! The quaint white buildings! The palm trees! The views! The hills and the blue sky! Really… trust me…it’s fantastic. Had I been visiting without children I’d probably have read an entire book on the house balcony. But alas, this photo of my feet kicked back captured the ONLY three minute period when my kids napped at the same time.


But I can’t complain about not having enough alone time because we went to Santa Barbara to see friends. I spent Saturday morning on the balcony with Kristi eating Backyard Bowls and talking about soccer and babies and family and faith. I didn’t want her to leave! This is Kristi, aka Peach or Coach Kiely:


Isn’t she cute?

The other thing Jonathan and I love about Santa Barbara? The nostalgia! We visited our old church, drove past a few of our old dorms/houses/apartments, checked out the college’s new dining commons, took Anna in the beautiful prayer chapel, and stood up on the Westmont Rock (where Jonathan and I spent quite a few evenings “stargazing.”)


Another highlight of our weekend was seeing Jenny, Chris and their gaggle of kids. I watched Jenny and Chris fall in love at Westmont, so there’s nothing more fun than seeing them as parents. They have grown and matured, of course, but when I spend time with them it feels like we’re all still in college. They haven’t lost their carefree personalities even as responsibilities have grown, and there is a lightheartedness to their parenting I want to emulate with my own kids.

Jenny and I always said we wanted to plan to be pregnant together…and that wish came true with Owen and Kate’s arrivals. We spent a lot of the weekend nursing babies and discussing sleep, or lack thereof. And Jenny sent me home with a really cute Alaska onesie for Owen to wear this winter. I will consider it as part of Kate’s future dowry.


We were very happy to leave our children on Friday night to grab chocolate souffles at The Palace–one of my favorite SB restaurants. And I was REALLY happy when the guys took the kiddos on Monday morning and came back with Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf drinks. Because our husbands had lots of wedding duties, Jenny and I EARNED THOSE BEVERAGES. A pre-schooler, two toddlers and two infants–need I say more?

Anna had a blast with Asher and Lola. I wish they didn’t live in Alaska so we could spend every Monday morning together reading books and giggling.


And, of course, the main reason we went to Santa Barbara was Nate and Karen’s wedding celebration. I learned from previous experience that a wedding is no place to take an infant so we hired an expensive babysitter and left Owen at the house. I am so glad we did because the venue was perfect, Jonathan looked dapper in his groomsman suit, and the dancing was OFF THE HOOK. Naturally we forgot to take photos…like not one…but that’s okay because we were having too much fun to stop for such a thing. You’ll just have to believe me when I say it was a great night celebrating a great couple.

And now we’re home and back to the daily rhythms of food preparing, diaper changing, and child raising. I’m so thankful for our little break from normal. Santa Barbara, we miss you! 

For a trip down memory lane, check out our Seattle trip when Anna was a newborn, or one of my first posts about Santa Barbara back in 2007. 

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That scarf picture gives whole new meaning to the phrase child-restraint-system. And did you put the word "stargazing" in quotes because you really meant the two of you went on top of that rock to make out in the moonlight?


P.S. When Liz and I were in Santa Barbara in August, we stayed here: http://www.santabarbarainn.com/. Yes, it was lovely, thank you.

Andrea Zundel
Andrea Zundel

I laughed out loud at the scarf attempt, and Anna's obvious un-amusement. I am with you on the quest to find the perfect road tripping nap solution. Thank you for the tip: the scarf isn't it.


We just missed you guys in SB! We were there two weeks ago for homecoming. Although it was great to see friends, traveling with two littles was SO hard. My expectations were not appropriately prepared for how hard it was going to be (plus neither of our kids slept through the night the ENTIRE WEEKEND). Glad you enjoyed your time away but I bet (like me!) you are happy to be home in your own space again .

LesleyM moderator

@marisaloper It's very hard, I agree! There was one point when I really questioned if I should have gone but I had to remind myself that as long as the good outweighs the hard I made the right decision. I am definitely happy to be back to our own separate bedrooms this week! :) Too bad we missed each other in SB!