June 30, 2011

California in May: part three

Part three (the final installment) of California in May represents our time in Southern California, before and after Lindsey's wedding. We spent our first night in Irvine where Steve's grandmother, Nanuka, lives. I wish I had taken more photos of our dinner with Steve's aunt and uncle, because it was delicious.

The next morning's meal was probably Steve's favorite. Nanuka prepared an egg and sausage dish, some fruit, coffee and toast...and we were stuffed. But before we could clear the table, she said, "Now wait just a minute, I have one more surprise." I watched Steve's eyes light up as she brought out the palacsinta, a traditional Hungarian dish. The closest thing I'd had to palacsinta was Swedish pancakes, but this is much better. Layers and layers of cakes with a sweet, nutty walnut spread in between each. I don't how we managed to fit it into our stomachs but we did. Of course Nanuka sent us off with leftovers.

We met up with my mom and Ron at the Orange county airport, and drove to our hotel in Santa Monica. We spent the afternoon before the wedding cruising the Santa Monica pier like true tourists.

Spending time in Southern California reminded me so much of my college days in San Diego. They feel so far away to me now, especially after living in two very different places since graduation. Beach life is so carefree, so fun--it just sucks you in. I remember walking along the boardwalk in Mission Beach (which has a similar feel to Santa Monica) with my mom after visiting USD for the first time. She took one look at my face and knew she had lost me to SoCal--at least for awhile.

The next morning we met up with Josh and Robin and did a bit more wandering. My mom suggested--subtly at first--that we ride the Ferris Wheel. Robin and I have a running joke that my mom always has to do the most touristy things on vacation. Once in New York City, she insisted that we ride a horse-drawn carriage through Central Park. We refused (I know, we're too cool). But this time, she kept bringing it up, so we agreed. Plus, it gave us a chance to capture a round of couples shots. :)

The funny thing is, after the Ferris Wheel, all of the attractions suddenly seemed like fun. We took 4 out 5 spots at the water gun race, but not one of us won. Then Robin, Josh, Steve and I stepped up to the plate and rode the roller coaster. It was pretty wimpy, but still fun.

I think from now on I'll let my mom participate in her touristy activities. Hey, maybe I'll even join her!

Until next time, California!

California in May: part two

Part two of California in May was our trip to Malibu for Lindsey and Tyler's wedding. Lindsey is Robin's best friend and college roommate. They are pretty cute together (Lindsey and Tyler and Lindsey and Robin) so we couldn't miss this event!

Lindsey and Tyler's wedding was the kind of wedding that makes you smile. Not because every single detail was planned perfectly (although it was) but because it really felt personal and sincere.

Oh yeah, and the location was amazing! The Adamson House is right on the water, and the ceremony took place under a huge beautiful tree. Lindsey walked down the aisle with stems of calla lilies that her mom and bridesmaids had each placed in a vase on their way down the aisle.

Throughout the night we danced to some cool songs (no YMCA for this couple!) and ate some amazing food and treats. I may have gone overboard with taking photos of these two, but they were just too photogenic.

Robin gave a speech. And it was funny! (she's always been the funny one, but I think I'm catching up)

I loved the lights, the mason jars, the succulents and the dark wood tables. Gah! So pretty.

Linds and Ty are a bit crazy. In a good way. I'm not sure what the story is, but I guess it's not a party unless Ty takes off his shirt? Well it happened. It was a party.

Congratulations Lindsey and Tyler!

June 29, 2011

California in May: part one

We flew to California twice last May, and were lucky to attend two big events--one graduation and one wedding.

Part one of our California in May was Steve's sister's graduation from Westmont College. It just so happened that our friends, Patrick and Paige, were headed to CA on the same flight. Although it was early morning when we took off, Steve decided to show off the stack of free drink tickets he's accumulated over years of flying on Southwest. The flight attendants were impressed.

We landed in Los Angeles, took a parking shuttle to the edge of the airport, and walked across the street to Steve's grandparents' house. This was definitely the first time that I've left the airport on foot. It would have been an easy walk, except for the fact that Steve had had hernia repair surgery the week before, and wasn't able to carry anything. We were probably a funny picture--a tall, healthy guy walking like an old man, and me, rolling our suitcase with two heavy computer bags slung over my shoulder.

Steve's paternal grandparents, Kiki and Pepere, have lived in their place by the airport, ever since Steve's dad was a boy. Everywhere you look, there are family photos. I enjoyed flipping through the Trudelle family history while Steve entertained us with some piano playing.

Kiki explained that she sometimes throws this at pesky crows :)

The next morning we drove to Santa Barbara for Chrissa's graduation. Chrissa is the fourth child, a kinesiology major, and an NAIA All-American runner. She is cute, quirky, patient, and kind. And we were all there to celebrate her.

We held a little reception in the student lounge in Chrissa's dorm. We ate, took photos, and listened to Steve play a few more songs on the piano (his family was surprised to learn that he has been taking lessons since Christmas!).

After the party, we headed back to LA to watch Chrissa run the 5k at the Oxy Invitational (racing after graduation seemed crazy to me, but not to Chrissa!). It was so exciting to watch her run (I wish I had taken some photos) and reach her personal record of 17:42.56. That's 5:41 per mile people!

We drove back up to Santa Barbara to spend the night, and then back to LA to fly out the next morning. It was a packed weekend (with lots of driving), but definitely worth it. Before we left, I captured this photo of Steve with his sweet grandparents. Photos like these remind me how blessed I am to be in this Trudelle family tree. :)