Friday, January 30, 2015

July Trip Out West: California with Friends and Family

When we moved to south Florida a year and a half ago, we made the hard decision to stop traveling home for the holidays.  The cost of flights during the holiday break are usually doubled sometimes tripled, there can be inclement weather, and a week or two was never going to be enough time to visit both sides of the family.  Instead we saved up Dallas's vacation days and took the month of July to fly back west to visit friends and family.  It was a whirlwind of a vacation with five different flights, six different states, and three long road trips.  But it was all worth it to spend time with our family whom we had been greatly missing since our move.

Our first leg of the trip was spent in Northern California.  Oddly enough it is MUCH cheaper to fly to San Francisco than Utah, Idaho, or Wyoming (the other states we were trying to get to.)  Our flight left pretty early in the morning, thus Daxton's pleasant face in the picture below.  We flew from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco.

The flight actually went very well and I got some of the best snuggles from my little man.  It had been so long since he had fallen asleep on my "puffies" and I loved every minute of it!  It's crazy to think back to a time when he actually fit on my lap.

When he woke he watched Planes (fitting for our plane ride) sucked on his suckers, and played several different games.  We landed in San Francisco around 1:30.  We had planned it specifically so we would have time to get a rental car and drive out to the East bay without hitting any traffic.  Boy were we wrong!  There must have been an afternoon ball game, because when we got on the freeway around 2:30 it was packed.  The drive that would usually take us no more than 30 minutes took us longer than 3 hours!  Dallas was so giddy to be back in the bay area, but massive traffic is NOT one of the things I miss about our move to south Florida.  Luckily Daxton was a saint watching the iPad and falling asleep for part of the drive.  We also packed a lot of snacks for the plane which we munched on while navigating bumper to bumper.  I can honestly say that we have regained so much of our day because we don't have to drive through that traffic!  By the time we reached our hotel in Walnut Creek we were exhausted and ready for bed.

Since we were going to be gone for about 5 weeks, Dallas still worked several days while we were on vacation.  He actually loved it though.  He got to ride BART into the city, meet up with all his old colleagues, work at his old office building, go out to lunch at his favorite restaurants...he loved every minute!
So while he was at the office the next day, three of my best buddies came over to swim at our hotel.  It was so so good to see Michelle, Jules, and Annie!  We all used to live on the same block and all have kids about the same age.  It was such a perfect setup and I can honestly say that I miss them each terribly.  The kids had a great morning swimming together, eating suckers, and chasing each other around the hotel.  And I had the best time catching up with these girls!  It was much needed quality time for my soul.

That night, after Dallas got off work, we drove out to Clayton to spend the evening with my brother and his family.  They continue to be the thing I miss most about leaving the bay area.  I cherish the time I got to spend spoiling these crazies and all the fun we had together.  I was an auntie first before I became a mommy and I loved every minute of it!
We met up with everyone for my oldest nephew, Lincoln's, soccer game.  Dallas immediately fell into step cheering and yelling on the sidelines, while Daxton and I wrestled and played with the kids.

Daxton was in heaven!
I'm not sure how much he remembered his cousins since he was pretty young when we moved, but he fell right back into step with their family.  Will was so patient with him as the hugs were never ending!  It took about two minutes for Olive and Daxton to start chasing each other and they literally kept it up for about two weeks straight.

Little Olive was the most changed since we had moved.  She and Daxton were born about three months a part and both have grown so much over the past year.  She was such a sweetheart and let me snuggle her to my hearts content!

After Lincoln's game we all went back to my brother's house in Clayton.  Dallas and I both got pretty emotional sitting in their back yard watching the kids all play together and race on their plasma cars.  To say we miss them would be an understatement.  It was a little piece of heaven watching them all laugh and play together.

This is the face of a very happy and content uncle, father, and husband.  I think we may always consider the Bay area our home.
And it felt good to go home.

The next morning was a Saturday and it worked out perfectly to meet up with good friends, the Lyman Family, for brunch.  Dallas and Jason were roommates at college and their friendship means the world to him.  It was such a fun morning catching up, eating yummy food, and introducing our little ones.  They are a great family!

That afternoon/evening was a family event.  Sweet little Ellis chose to be baptized and became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  It was so much fun being able to share her special day, even if Daxton was having a rough time with jet lag.  I was very honored that she asked mom and I to sing with her during the program.  I may have teared up a bit listening to her sweet solo. Three generations of Adams girls singing together.  I know I don't have a daughter of my own, but I sure do love my little Ellie and loved the chance to share that experience with her and mom.

Love my little niece!

The following day we had a big Sunday evening BBQ in our old neighborhood.  Oh how I miss these amazing people!  It's was such a great "Virginia Hills Reunion" and so much fun to catch up with everyone!  The kids played all evening so well together which allowed us adults to have some good quality time.  I really, really miss the closeness I had with these girls.  I've made friends here in Florida, but nothing like the closeness of my Virginia Hills girls.  We all lived on the same block and would congregate at either parks or in the back yard to chat and let the kids play.  So many fun memories were made with these ladies.  I've been blessed with some of the most incredible friends throughout the years.  

The Girls

The Boys

Wow, even as I type this post, my heart is so full when I see all these smiling faces.  I love and miss them all so much.

Future Mr. and Mrs.???

Happy couples!

This was our sad attempt at trying to get a picture of the kids together.  Brooks was a sweetheart trying to hold Daxton in place and smiling so big, but sadly the toddlers were not up for picture taking...not too surprised!

My favorite of the evening was looking out and seeing Hadley in a swing by herself quietly wondering when someone was going to push her.  I started laughing out loud with Michelle saying that I had a picture of Brooks in the exact same position, just a year earlier.  When I got home from all our travels I found it and sure enough the exact same swing and facial expression!  Not only does it sum up my absolute love for their kids, but for Michelle and Nate as well!  
It was a jammed pack weekend of amazing fun with loving family and friends.  It was also the perfect way to spend our vacation out west!

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