10.05.2013

California


As most of you know, almost two weeks ago
Spencer and I left for our first ever kid-less vacation.
Actually, 
it was our first vacation just the two of us since our honeymoon!

Leaving Claire behind was really, really tough.
It felt like I drove to Abbotsford,
lobbed off my left leg and left it with my parents and drove away.
You may think I'm exaggerating,
but it really felt like I was missing something that much apart of me.
We left her with my parents for 3 nights and the other half with Spencer's parents.

The first few days were hard. 
It was really tough not having her around,
sharing life with her.
It was hard to shed the 'mom' skin
and not have to take care of her.

On the other hand,
I LOVED having Spencer around for the week.
We got in plenty of quality time.
He is starting this week working full time.
He is starting up his own business and of course it requires his hours.
I appreciated having him around me 24/7 for that week.

Monday afternoon we left from Vancouver on a cruise ship.
The day started off right with a glass of bubbly to celebrate while packing and listening to music.
Then we took the train to Waterfront and enjoyed the sun shining and being downtown.
We grabbed a coffee before standing in lines to board the ship.

It was really cool to leave from Vancouver. The weather was great,
we had an old man on a scooter serenading us as we left.
Vancouver looked amazing from the water,
and as we went underneath the Lions Gate bridge everyone cheered.







 Ready to embark on a relaxing vacation! 

The first day 
(and most of the cruise)
we sat on our balcony
(wouldn't ever cruise without one!)
and read books and magazines.
It was slightly colder then I expected,
 I had to go inside to get my scarf and a jacket!

See the rainbow?


On the ship there were plenty
of little lounges & seating areas.
We would grab a drink of some kind and find a little corner
to chat, look out over the water or play a game.
If you know the Smids you won't be surprised 
to learn that I lost Scrabble. 

Little chocolates on our pillow for turn down service.
(The bed was pretty uncomfortable and much smaller then what we've become accustomed to.)

One night we ordered this mousse for dessert and it arrived looking so pretty.
When I said I wanted to take its picture,
Spencer stuck his finger in it.
Again, surprised?

We did plenty of this...
but this was the day we were on the coast of California so it was warm!
Like shorts and a tank top warm!

Dinner out! 

This is how a temporarily kid-less mother can eat.
Coffee, a cookie and a bit of chicken papikash.

Our last night on the cruise after the show
we came across this little lounge.
The girl singing had a beautiful low, smokey voice.
She sang ballads and people danced.
(We were the youngest on the ship by a lot of years)
and I was so impressed how many couple knew how 
to legitimately ballroom dance!
They looked so good out there gliding around.
We enjoyed a beverage and watched.

Coming into L.A. early in the morning.


We stayed right near Echo Park just north west of downtown.
The location of our accommodation was amazing.
Right off Sunset,
10 minutes to downtown,10 minutes to Universal City/Burbank 
and about 30 minutes to the beach.
We could see the HOLLYWOOD sign from the driveway.



While we were waiting to see Conan
we went for lunch at the really cute place
recommended by one of the Conan staff.
It was right up my ally.
All kinds of artisan gifts,
vinegars and oils,
little snacks 
and house made salads, soups, and sandwiches.
I had a really good Asian chicken salad that I want to try and recreate.

Conan was awesome. 
His host/MC was hil.ar.i.ous.
And of course, Andy Richter.

Later on we went into Venice and Santa Monica.
We went to a yummy German sausage place called Wurstkuche.
They had all kind of german sausages on buns
as well as German and Belgian beers on tap.
Spencer loved it.
They had it set up like a traditional German beer house,
and also had a small courtyard outside with a fireplace and cafe lights strung in the trees.
The atmosphere was really relaxed,
our neighbouring table even had their mastiff laying next to them.

 


After dinner we drove to Santa Monica and walked along Ocean Ave.
I was really looking forward to going to the theme park and riding on the Ferris Wheel
but when we got their it was too late and it was closed.
The pier was rather dull without the park open.
We walked to the end, stood their for a moment, and walked back.
It was beautiful to see at night,
but also kind of creepy walking around a closed theme park.
It felt like a scene from C.S.I.

Friday we went 10 mins up the highway to Universal Studios.
We spent a few hours there and went on the rides and saw the shows.
Did the back lot tour and we even saw one of my all time favourite celebrities,
She doesn't know it yet,
but we're best friends.

Afterwards we went for a drive up in the Hollywood Hills
and gawked at the huge houses behind hedges and gates.
Laughing at the potential cost and comparing it to Vancouver's prices.
On the way down the hill we came past the Hollywood Bowl and saw this sign out front:



We had plans to go see the same show when they come to
 Rogers Arena in Vancouver
on January 15th.
Before I knew it, 
Spencer had made a right turn into the parking lot
mentioning that if tickets were decent we'd be going.
Well, a few minutes later I had these puppies in my hands!

After we made an impulse, spur of the moment decision
(which I might add, is how we actually booked our cruise)
we went for a little drive on our way back 'home'.
We parked and walked to see the Graumen's Chinese Theater,
the mall Hollywood and Highlands which has the famous Dolby Theater.
This is the location of the Academy Awards, for those who care.
The red carpet actually runs through the mall.




That night we went to the concert.
It was AH-MAZE-ING.
I had seen Keith Urban in highschool and it was such a great show.
Spencer is one of the country artists Spencer really likes,
and he loves his guitar playing so it was fun for us to both be 
equally excited to see the show.
It was something we had both been wanting to do for a while,
and how awesome was it to see him at an outdoor amphitheater 
on a warm night in LA?! 

Dustin Lynch opened for 
Little Big Town who opened for 
Basically the entire concert
BLEW MY MIND.

Everyone with their phones out to make fairy lights.

Little Big Town covers Elvira by the Oakridge Boys
video

This is when he brought a girl up on stage who had a sign saying
"Its my birthday!"
She was up there for a long time chatting with him.
She and her husband told Keith Urban about their wedding
and his lyrics were in her vows.
Her husband said,
"Keith now I'm Mr. Right Now and now you're Mr. Right".
At least he knows his place... haha.
video


video

 A view of the city from Mulholland Drive on the hill. Our last night in LA.               Hollywood and Vine.

The day we left to come home it was 93 degrees!



 We spent our last few hours tanning on the beach.
Rain storms waiting for us in Vancouver.

An 'upscale' coffee house downtown.
I thought it was kind of funny...


There you have it!
Our trip in a nutshell and a half
of photos and videos.

I was very happy to return home to my baby
even though she seemed rather indifferent to our return.
She did give me a hundred kisses,
and I was happy to return them.

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