The Tagalongs

DSC_00214am…way too early to be leaving for work. At some point during the night, Nolin had found his way into our bedroom and was now taking up 3/4 of the bed. The joke would be on him though because when he woke up there would be no one home.

Well not technically. Jenn and Grace had left the day before for L.A., but Pap-Pap snuck in sometime around 2:45am and was sleeping in Nolin’s room. So Nolin would be ecstatic when he realized that he would have Pap-Pap one-on-one for the next few days, but it would be a bit of a shock when he woke up since we had not really explained that to him at all.

GraceLAI arrived in California around 11am, and was picked up by my tagalongs (not the girl scout cookie, but Jenn, Grace and Grammy) shortly there after. It was my work conference, but it was hard for the girls to pass up a trip to the Ritz near Laguna Beach.

Jenn, Grace and Grammy spent Sunday touring L.A. and we had Monday to look for “Speidi & L.C.” at Laguna Beach and lounge around the beach at our hotel. When we got to the hotel, Jenn dropped us off and went to return the rental car.

There is one thing about nice hotels that I am not used too, nor necessarily really care about…people having to be over the top accommodating. Such was the case when I simply asked a guy walking by if we were heading towards the correct elevator for our room (we had already gone to the wrong/private wing of the hotel).

DSC_0135He told us to follow him and proceeded to give us a personalized tour of the hotel. Very nice, but with bags and an 18-month old, I kind of just wanted to get settled in the room. As he was exiting the elevator after pushing the 4th floor button for us, he ended with “Well Mr. & Mrs. O’Brien, I hope that you all enjoy your stay with us”. Teresa and I looked at each other. I started laughing, she immediately put her head through the closing doors and shouted “I’m not Mrs. O’Brien!“…Grace clapped her hands with amusement. Yep, just me and my sugar momma with our adopted daughter.

Grace fought off sleep all day, but woke up for a while around 1am and then again at 5:40am (to be fair it was really like sleeping in for her), so the two of us took an early morning stroll down the bluff to the beach to let Jenn & Teresa get some more sleep. We arrived around the same time as the high school surfing team.

On The RocksAs they are putting on their wetsuits, waxing their surfboards and checking out the break, Grace begins waving to them and saying “hi!” with a slight southern draw. They would look over and say hello back and Grace would hide her head and start laughing, then turn back look at them and say “wow”…Are you kidding me?! My face was turning bright red as my daughter was becoming a little flirt for someone other than me or Jenn right in front of my eyes. Heaven help me.

Grace and I would have a few other early morning trips, but most of her waking time I was at work. We did have a chance to meet up with my cousin for dinner on Wednesday night. Her son is about 3 months older than Grace, so she found reviews for a great child friendly restaurant to make the experience easier on all of us. Turned out to be a bar with a kids hideaway…it was perfect.

IMG_20140219_183920This was Grace’s first opportunity to meet her cousin Braden, and it was Jenn & I’s opportunity to spend time with Michelle and Don…living on the West Coast it is something that doesn’t happen enough.

By the final night, we were all exhausted. I was in bed by 7:45, which was a good thing considering the long road home that would await us the following day.

After four nights in a hotel room with three adults and one 18 month old it took us a while to clean up, but we got on our way, made a quick stop at a park in Laguna Beach then off to LAX. That was 10:30am, after some delays we arrived (on separate flights) at 2:30am. Grace woke up for a bit at 5:45 followed by Nolin (with a never ending plethora of things to talk about) at 7:45.

Bathing SuitWhile most of Nolin’s stories involved a changing cast of animal characters, the premise was always the same…Daddy Aardvark, Mommy Aardvark and Sister Aardvark all leaving Brother Aardvark by himself until eventually Brother saved everyone and they all lived “happily ever after”. Yeah next time we need to give him more of a heads up instead of disappearing in the middle of the night.

These stories were also complimented with a few basic understanding questions for a 3.5 year old:

  • What would happen if the earth stopped spinning? And would we be ok if we had access to space suits?
  • What happens when a sun explodes?
  • How do Tornadoes start spinning?

Well I guess it is time for me to go back to school because simply staring at your kid apparently does not constitute as a good enough answer. Maybe more sleep would help, but what would be the fun in that.ON THE BEACH

Every trip to California needs a good model pic
Every trip to California needs a good model pic

Grace BeachDSC_0200
Fancy GraceTennisGrace on chairDSC_0027DSC_0146

5 Thoughts

  1. I am so proud to be related to Our Modern Family and to enjoy your travels even if it is from afar. How much fun did you have? Did Pap-Pap survive? We love all of you.

    Ba and Pop

    1. I think Pap-Pap had a great time, so did Nolin eating hotdogs, popcorn and pizza and taking trips to the zoo. Turned out to be a great work trip, and can’t complain when you can do that with family and get to visit family too…now we are eagerly awaiting you all’s arrival!

  2. Well what awesome photographs….and a lovely story along with it! I absolutely love following your blog and traveling right along with you all…and to share all the expressions you and the family share in the photos! YOU all are such a lovely, wonderful family….ENJOY every moment as you have been doing! Love you all !

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