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California Forever – Fall 2018

Fall in California this year…







Typically the kids + I spend Christmas + New Years in California.  But for the first time this Christmas we will be in Ontario with Jeff’s family.  So there you have it!  November in California!

The flight was relatively uneventful + drama free.  The kids are older, they are entertained with the iPad (which is only reserved for flights), etc. + are generally pretty well behaved.


But as we descended upon Los Angeles, the usual brown smoggy haze, lent itself to a much more suffocating blanket of smoke from the aftermath of the devastating Woolsey Fires.

The first couple days of the trip we laid low with family, enjoying a Thanksgiving ham + relishing in the warm + lazy embrace of California.  In fine print that translates as, “I finally was given a chance to CHILL + thus, almost went into a coma”.

After a few days of sloth, that’s when everything went into hyper speed.  California Science Museum:Photo Nov 24, 10 25 00 AMAdmission if FREE!!!  Unless you want to see the rotating exhibits, then you have to shell out some clams.

There are kids’ discovery rooms on every floor + the nuggets went nuts for them!Photo Nov 24, 12 20 43 PMThe museum is located near USC.  There was a huge USC/Notre Dame game happening later that night.  Football culture is something I completely don’t understand being the non sporty person that I am.  But, have a look at these tailgater cuties all set up for the big game!  I can get behind this crew.Photo Nov 24, 1 18 38 PM.jpgAlright, let’s speed it up a bit here or we’ll never make it to the end of this post!  I grew up on Kanan Road in Agoura Hills.  I took for granted that Kanan is a short drive west through the canyons to the beaches of Malibu.  We drove towards the coast in silence, gaping at the vast amount of land had been burned down by the fires.Photo Nov 26, 11 22 17 AMIt is truly unbelievable + shocking what the firefighters were up against.  TRUE HEROES.

The dark, black charred hills were such a contrast to the sparkling sapphire blue of the Pacific Ocean.Photo Nov 26, 9 41 18 AMThe next day we climbed majestic oak trees, which hold such a special place in my heart.Photo Nov 27, 11 19 06 AMAnd Clementine was in heaven doing her best Moana impressions while we cut down the banana trees in the front yard.Photo Nov 27, 3 23 38 PM

Santa Barbara Zoo is always a must on our visits.  It’s small, the landscaping is gorgeous + quintessential California.  And the train ride of course!  Little Clementine was very nervous.Photo Nov 28, 11 04 28 AMWe spent a lot of quality time with the gorillas.Photo Nov 28, 12 02 15 PM.jpgIf you happen to notice, I didn’t showcase any pictures of Langdon at the zoo.  That’s because someone was having big time feelings about lots of things that day.  Translation = tantrums.

And then, there was meeting Santa!  Just look at Clem’s little paw holding onto Santa!Photo Nov 30, 4 38 22 PM

Hamming it up with Nana at the Westlake Promenade!Photo Nov 30, 12 18 52 PMMy sister was frothing at the mouth for Christmas since we will be away this year!  And so – TREE FARM!!!Photo Dec 01, 9 51 07 AMI stuffed the kids in their “christmas outfits” thinking I could manage one photo for a christmas card.  But that didn’t happen.  It was hot out!  Everyone was cranky!  But, how cute is this???Photo Dec 01, 10 02 22 AMAnd later that day…Gingerbread houses!!!!  SO MUCH CHRISTMAS!  ALL THE CHRISTMAS!!!!!Processed with VSCO with al1 presetAlright, let’s keep moving.  On to the Natural History Museum where dinosaur bones make you wanna shake a tail feather!Photo Dec 02, 10 04 25 AMOnce again, not many pictures of Langdon from that day because….tantrums.  We pack a lot into a short amount of time during our visits down south.  Los Angeles is absolutely enormous.  The population of Los Angeles is 4 million + the population of Vancouver is 610,000 as of 2018.  Los Angeles is glamorous, bright, loud + busy.  Langdon gets over stimulated + it all fries his wee brain in a skillet.

Thus, on the last day our unofficial tradition is to go back to the beach.  Zuma Beach.  There was an otherworldly feel post fires at Zuma.  There were tractors, dump trucks, fire trucks etc., busy working on reconstruction.  There was evidence of the presence of livestock that took shelter on the beaches during the evacuation of Malibu.

The iconic blue lifeguard towers.  And a howling toddler.Photo Dec 03, 10 01 50 AMThe joy of being buried in the sand.Photo Dec 03, 10 56 09 AMHarvesting kelp.Photo Dec 03, 11 06 40 AMAnd a last dip in the ocean.  So much joy, so many dolphin sightings.  The endless horizon.  The sound of crashing waves.  Ugh I miss California.Photo Dec 03, 11 43 33 AM (1)But oh, dear readers.  This is not where the story ends.  The morning of our flight back to Vancouver I woke at 4:45am.  We rolled out of the driveway towards the airport at 5:45am.  But thank you L.A. traffic + toddler potty breaks because WE MISSED OUR FLIGHT!!!  FIRST TIME EVER.Photo Dec 04, 7 53 13 AMThat’s the kids flipping out as I was arranging plans for the next flight to Vancouver.  I had to kill over THREE HOURS in the airport with these two.  But do you know what saved my sanity + my life?  The outdoor smoking/dog potty rest spot!Photo Dec 04, 9 54 35 AMTo kill time, we wandered around + I happened to spot this tiny outdoor oasis!  The general public smoke less these days, thus it seemed as if only the airport staff taking their lunch breaks knew about this Garden of Eden, because for over three hours the majority of the time, we were the only three there!  Such a contrast to the terminal indoors – over crowded, announcements blaring every minute, tense travelers, sensory overload!Photo Dec 04, 9 27 20 AM (1)No joke.  We were in that teeny outdoor space for the entire duration.  Hallelujah.  Because it was all downhill after that.Photo Dec 04, 11 56 45 AMClem was loopy.  She has never napped well.  Let’s say it was a very trying flight back home.  And a very trying taxi ride home.  Thank you Mr. Ipad.  You give me much relief.

We walked into the door after our long long day at 4:30pm.  Jeff was at work but left us a sweet welcome home.Photo Dec 04, 4 37 27 PMI’m going to be honest.  Once again it has been a difficult transition for me to return to Vancouver.  It’s an arduous existence to come from a place of light to a place of darkness.  I won’t go into it further because that would call for ANOTHER blog post about the difference between Los Angeles + Vancouver.  And I know y’all are sick of that subject!  So I survive with an excessive amount of indoor lighting, going out in the rain + rocking out to music as much as possible to keep my mood up.

Thanks for reading, Christmas is right around the corner!  Until next time – I’ll see you in Ontario!!!

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. stacey hull #

    I share your struggle with having one foot in LA and the other in Vancouver. I too am from Los Angeles(grew up in Long Beach, lived my adult life in SF then Echo Park/ Silver Lake), and raising my two kids with my Canadian husband here. We are actually going to visit my family this week. I love both cities, I say its like comparing apples and oranges. But I think my heart will always be with the Sun, Mexican food, appropriate weather for Vans slip ons and faster drivers. !Viva California!

    December 18, 2018
    • OMG YESSS!!!! I miss California culture every single day! If you ever want to hang out + talk about tacos, email me!!!!

      February 1, 2019
  2. I like the clothes your angels wear. Where do you get them, how do you select them?

    December 18, 2018
  3. Kenneth #

    HOLA, Shell’s, haha, enjoyed reading about your time in LALA-land, well needless to say its,…
    …definitely The Place, (althou hard to beat Hawaii during the winter,…lol !!! ), happy to hear
    U did have a great time back ‘’Home’’, always AWsuM to see, Clem & LL, and you of course!!!
    Ok, we will definitely miss U guy’s this year, but hey there’s always, Next Year !!!!!!!
    Miss U
    Luv, Dads

    December 18, 2018
  4. Kenneth Dad’s Nishino #

    Hey, Shell’s, again wonderful photo’s of the kid’s, loved the one with, Clem & Ai’chan In their stroller’s, Clem, looks so cool with her shades, and Aiko, with her typical Oba’😣😣 looks, Hahaha,….LOL ‼️💕‼️Hope U guy’s have a wonderful trip to Ontario 😁👍😁 and a Merry
    Xma’s to ALL of the Fayle’s…..take care, Cheers, and Best Regards, Dad’s

    December 22, 2018
  5. Kenneth Dad’s Nishino #

    PS: love those USC tail-gater’s,….’’’ FIGHT. – ON. ‘’’. 🏈

    December 22, 2018

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