Monday, February 15, 2016

Santa Monica and Palm Springs, California

We just got back from our second trip as a family of three.  We had a blast!  Over Thanksgiving my Aunt Carmen asked us if we wanted to join them in Palm Springs over Super Bowl weekend.  We already had a trip planned over the New Year for Florida and I wasn't sure we could swing both trips.  We had pretty much decided it wasn't going to happen and then almost 2 weeks before the trip we looked at tickets again and found some cheap direct flights and decided to go for it.  We are so glad we did!  Thanks Carmen for the invite!

We flew out on Thursday, February 4th at 7:15 pm which is Linnea's bedtime.  I wasn't sure how she would do flying at her bedtime but of course she did great.  We got to the airport earlier than we did when we flew with only backpacks and no baby ;) but we needed to have time to feed Linnea and ourselves before the flight.

Linnea nursed on the plane and then fell asleep for about 2 hours.  She has a hard time falling asleep in our arms since we lay her down awake but eventually Jake found the magic spot and she fell asleep.  She woke up with about an hour of the flight left and stayed awake until we got to my cousin's house.  We flew with Linnea's car seat this time but we didn't take a stroller.  The travel stroller we purchased we were iffy about so we decided to go without one.  There were several times when we wished we had one but it wasn't awful.

We rented a car through Alamo Rent A Car and they let us pick any SUV out of the row!  I thought it was awesome! It was like car shopping but without having to keep it forever and ever.  We picked a Chevy at first but when Jake was installing the car seat he realized the driver's seat would have to be scooted all the way up so while I nursed Linnea again (an extra feed to hopefully encourage her to go back to bed for the night) he shopped the other cars in the row and found a Kia that worked great!  He moved all our stuff, I finished feeding Linnea and we drove to my cousin's apartment.

Friday, February 5th, 2016 - Linnea's 7 Month Birthday!
We stayed with my cousin Holly and her husband Chris.  They live in Santa Monica, California.  The next morning we walked to breakfast with Holly and their dog Dora.  We had breakfast at a place called Flake and you can get scoops of cereal plus hot breakfast.  It was great.

Fruit loops with almonds on top makes it healthy, right?
Linnea and Dora had a fun time hanging out with each other.

When we went to Florida in January we borrowed a baby tent from a friend to use on the beach.  We ended up having Linnea sleep in it one night and for a few naps when we were at Chelsea's parents' house because they didn't have a pack n play.  It worked really well.  After that trip we looked for a tent we could buy and use on future trips so we didn't have to worry about getting pack n plays.  I ordered 3 tents from Amazon and after I mentioned my quest to find the perfect tent to our friend Christina (who we borrowed the first tent from) she said we could have theirs if they could borrow it one more time in June.  No problem!

At first we didn't zip it up but in the middle of the night I found Linnea hanging halfway out of the tent so I decided zipping her up might be safer.  We brought a self inflating camping pad to put under the tent so she isn't sleeping directly on the floor.  It seemed to work great.

After breakfast we got ready for the day and then walked to the beach.
 We walked down the boardwalk and towards Venice Beach.
Linnea looked so cute in her hat and sunglasses plus her chubby cheeks look great with any outfit.
We watched some skateboarders while Linnea napped.  One bonus of not having the stroller was that Linnea figured out how to nap in the carrier.
I missed a cool trick but you can still see some of the skaters.

 Naptime on Venice Beach

Our plan was to grab some lunch before getting in the car and driving to Palm Springs but once we checked the traffic and noticed that the 2 hour drive was going to take at least 4 hours we decided to go later that night or the next day.  (We ended up going the next morning because we were pretty tired by the end of the day.)
We borrowed this cool portable high chair, In The Pocket Baby, from our friend Liz.  When we went to Stockholm to visit before we moved there we saw this packable high chair and bought it for Liz.  I was looking for one for our trip and ordered a different brand and it was bulky and didn't work that well so we borrowed this one from Liz.  We are going to order one but they don't ship to the US so we are going to have to have a friend in Sweden mail it to us.  It was AWESOME!  I'm thinking a traveling with a baby post might be in the near future so I can talk about all our fun gadgets!

After lunch we went to a baby store to look at a travel stroller and then walked around and grabbed coffee, tea and some chocolate.

Next up was the Santa Monica Pier.  We got there just in time for the sunset.

 We stopped by the carousel to feed Linnea again using the portable high chair.  I'm telling you that thing is awesome!
 Someone was tired but I didn't mind the extra cuddles!

 On the way back to the car we walked through a neat park.
Also, I figured out how to get pictures with Linnea and me . . . wear her and go on a trip!
This was some artwork in a park.  Those are wind sensors which Jake happens to help make/design at Garmin.

We had dinner with Chris, Holly and Dora (their dog) at a Ramen noodle place in Santa Monica.  It was really good.  We walked there (about 15 minutes) while carrying Linnea in her car seat so she could fall asleep during dinner.  That was definitely one of the times we wished we had a stroller.  We didn't want to wear her because we wanted to be able to eat and since it was bedtime we knew she would fall asleep so sleeping upright in the portable high chair wasn't going to work.  She nursed and then fell asleep in her car seat under the table at the restaurant while we ate dinner.

Saturday, February 6th, 2016
The next morning we drove to Palm Springs.  Chris, Holly's husband, was sick so he didn't go which meant Holly rode with us which was super fun.  We got to spend extra time with her and she was able to tell us about the area while we were driving.

My Aunt rented a house in Palm Springs for the weekend and we had a great time just hanging out.

We went to lunch at a place called Cheeky's.  We had about an hour wait so we had some drinks and walked around an art fair.  Linnea ate lunch (using her cool high chair again) and then fell asleep in her car seat while we ate lunch.  She is really the best.

I feel like this restaurant was named after Linnea!
After lunch we went back to the house and Linnea went swimming for the first time in a pool.  It was also the first time she didn't cry.  It was probably because the pool was heated and she wasn't skinny dipping :).

Jake also dunked her.  She didn't hate it but I doubt she loved it.
 The view was awesome!

We walked around the neighborhood before dinner.  The house next to ours was Elvis Presley's Estate. 
Elvis Presley's Estate
 We ate dinner at a place called Trio.  It was really good.  Linnea nursed right before dinner and then she fell asleep in the corner of the restaurant next to our table while we ate dinner.

After dinner Jake and I decided to sit by the pool and look at the stars.  We sat down on some lounge chairs and started talking.  Jake said something about wishing we could turn off the lights from the house so we could see the stars better.  Then in his head he started thinking he could see the stars better from the roof and he glanced up at a certain part of the roof right above our heads.  That is when he saw something moving and then saw eyes . . . of a raccoon.  He told me he could see better up there but it looks like someone else already is there and that is when I turned around to see the raccoon hanging off the house about to attack us.  Okay, so maybe that is a small exaggeration but I freaked out!  I don't think I've ever seen a raccoon and for some reason I mixed it up with a possum and thought it would hiss and start attacking us after it jumped on us from the roof, of course.  So I grabbed Jake's leg while panicking asking him what we are going to do.  What was the plan?  Run inside while screaming? Or don't move a muscle and hope it forgets we are there?  I swear it lasted for minutes but probably less than a minute later the raccoon left.  Then I ran inside and told my cousins and didn't know if I'd ever fall asleep that night since my heart was racing.

Sunday, February 7th, 2016
The next morning we hung out before going to Joshua Tree National Park.

It was windy and I was feeding Linnea so the video is a little shaky but it was such a neat place!
 We did a little bit of hiking . . .
 don't worry Grandparents.  Linnea was safe.  We were going for the dramatic picture.  Did it work?

 It helps going to a gorgeous place with a professional photographer in the family.  #myauntrocks

Carmen, Holly and Jake did a little more exploring that wasn't baby friendly while I nursed Linnea.

We stopped by Pioneertown for lunch.  Pioneertown is a working city they built in the 1950s to use to shoot western movies and tv shows.  It reminded me of Cow Town in Wichita but on a smaller scale.  We had an awesome lunch.

I had steak, fries and mac and cheese.  You can see Linnea's portable high chair a little better in the picture above.

 Linnea got into a little bit of trouble . . .

 There were lots of windmills around Palm Springs.

We watched the Super Bowl and had tacos before heading back to Santa Monica.  We could have driven back on Monday morning but we didn't want to risk getting stuck in LA rush hour traffic. 
We packed up the room while Linnea fell asleep in her car seat . . .
in the bathroom.  She is a champ.
 We stayed the night with my cousin Sydney in Marina del Rey, California.

Monday, February 8th, 2016
The next morning we walked to a breakfast place and then to Venice Beach.
We found a few strollers.  HA!  Kind of reminded us of Stockholm.
Linnea took her morning nap on Jake.  I don't think either of them had a problem with it.

We decided to divide and conquer again at the airport.  This time Jake returned the rental car while I checked us in.  I had to check us in because I had Linnea on my ticket and the person flying with the infant has to check in at the counter.  Next time I think I'll put Linnea on Jake's ticket that way I can park/return the car and he can check in our bags.

We flew from LAX to KC on Spirit Airlines and got in the KC around 6:30.  Linnea slept on me in the carrier for about 2 hours on the flight which was great.

Since Linnea was still on California time she didn't go to bed until 9:15 pm and we let me her sleep in until 9:00 the next morning.  It was glorious!

We had an awesome time in California and it just reaffirmed what we already knew . . . we love to travel.  We learned a few things on this trip that should helps us travel even better on the next trip (which isn't planned yet but I'm sure we will get the itch again soon).

Things We Learned on the Trip:
*Dividing and conquering at the airport makes everything better.
*Traveling without a stroller isn't ideal but it is doable.
*The more you travel the better you will get at it.  We know more of what we needed on this trip than we did our last one and we will know even more for our next trip.  (Aka - you don't need as many burp rags as you used to.)
*The portable high chair was a life saver!
*So was the Ergo 360 carrier!
*Put sunscreen on the baby even if you think she is out of the sun.  She was a little rosy after our first day and we thought we burned her face but then the next morning she woke up with normal skin.  She could have been hot or a little windblown but we played it safe the next few days and put some sunscreen on her just in case.
*Be flexible.  I didn't worry about her nap-times at all on this trip.  She napped when she needed it and just went with the flow.  We were able to transfer her from her car seat (while sleeping) to the carrier and she stayed asleep.  We didn't think it would work but it did!
*Traveling is only going to get harder the more mobile and opinionated she gets so we are hoping to get really good at it before then so it is still something we can do and enjoy!

Hope you enjoyed reading about our trip!

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