June 10, 2017
Three weeks ago, my boyfriend Lavon and I, along with his brother and his wife, Rodney and Laura, flew out to California to visit another brother, Lee, and his wife Lauren. If you don’t know this, Laura, Lauren and I were good friends in high school, then one by one all three of us started dating brothers! Our friends are family and because of this, it made the trip the BEST EVER! Seriously, I wish we could all go back, sightsee more and visit longer! Lee and Lauren moved from Iowa to California last summer after they got married, and they now live on a navy base north of LA. We’ve always wanted to make an effort to go out to see them and we were finally able to make it happen!
I was the only one that had never been to California or anywhere out west for that matter, and it completely blew me away! The people, the sights, the sea, the mountains, everything was so breathtaking! I couldn’t get over how beautiful this part of the country was and you’ll easily be able to see that from the many pictures 🙂 This was a short trip, but we packed every single day FULL! There were so many things we wanted to see and do before we left, and I couldn’t even begin with all the fun memories we made while we were out there! But here are a few memories I know I will never want to forget!
- As we were flying over Nevada, we peeked out the window and could see the Hoover Dam!
- Saturday seemed to be the day of waiting…first it was our flight delay, then it was baggage claim, then car rental, the LA traffic…everything took longer than we expected but it still turned out to be one of my favorite memories!
- Sunday afternoon, we met up with our cousin, Anndra and her husband, Joel for a picnic! They just moved out to Phoenix to work with Aim Right Ministries and were in LA for the weekend for a conference! They had just announced they’re having a little baby girl in October so it was wonderful to catch up with them again!
- We drove around Skid Row in downtown LA, and my heart hurt so terribly bad for that place. The poverty was heart-wrenching and I pray every day for that community. It was nothing like I had ever seen before.
- With all of us being huge burger lovers, we went to Slater’s 50/50 one evening. It specializes in burgers by design so you literally make your own burger! The best part was when Rodney stated, “I don’t mean to be over reactionary, but this might just be the best burger I’ve ever had in my life.”
- After Slater’s, we decided to drive by the Bachelor mansion on our way home. However, by the time we finally got there, it was dark and half of us were asleep! We did decide we could still tease the others at home and say “Oh we’ve been there! We’ve seen that!”
- Everyone pitched in and helped out in making taco salad for dinner Monday night, and for some unknown reason, I loved this! We were a family, and that night so special to me.
- Tuesday evening for dinner, we met up with two of Lee and Lauren’s friends at a Korean barbecue restaurant. How it worked was you order unlimited amount of multiple kinds of meat you want and you grill it yourself at your table! This was nothing like I’ve ever had before, and let’s just say the others enjoyed it a whole lot more than I did so they treated me to In-n-Out Burger afterwards 🙂
- We went to Ben & Jerry’s for ice cream one evening and for some unknown reason there was a whole lot of funny confusion on where we were going…
- Lee showed us where he works and one of the planes he works on on the navy base! We always hear so much about their life out there and what it’s like being in the navy, so it was awesome to actually SEE what he does!
- The hours on hours on hours we spent in the car going from one thing to the next made for lots of good conversations and jokes! Definitely some I always want to remember! I quickly learned that driving in LA is MUCH different than driving in Iowa…
- And the last memory I don’t want to forget…getting up at 3:45am to catch a flight back to Iowa is not fun, especially when you know it will be awhile until we see two dear friends again.
We left the airport right at sunset, so the view on our way to Lee and Lauren’s home was so beautiful!
I definitely have a love for palm trees…
Because Lee is in the navy, he is usually gone weeks at a time. We planned our trip so it would land on a weekend he would be home, and it was so good to see these two together. They go through so much not being able to be together every day and I admire their strength!
On Sunday, we toured Hollywood, went on the star walk, and found Tom Hanks handprints!
We took back roads, got as close as we could, and got right under that Hollywood sign!
But honestly, I was more excited about the view from the Hollywood sign looking out over LA…it was breathtaking!
I took most of the pictures during the whole trip, but I guess he thought we needed pictures of me too 🙂
These two have been happily married since last summer! View their wedding here!
And these two are the NEW newlyweds since March! View their wedding here!
I have no idea what everyone is doing, but this is probably my favorite from the trip…
I love these dear people of mine!!!
We went to the Griffith Observatory right after and this was the view!
“Quit taking pictures and hold my hand.” This was most likely what he was thinking!
Ahhhhh I can’t get over how beautiful it all was.
What a handsome man…
I love this man so much!
This is what we found at a gas station in the flower bed! A bush trimmed to be a dog!
On Monday, we traveled to Ojai hoping to find some hot springs we could swim in, but unfortunately we found out they were privately owned! But the cute little town and countryside were worth driving to!
We found good hiking trails, but we found even better homegrown oranges!
“Mmmmm these are some good oranges! I don’t even like oranges that much and these are delicious.”
But unfortunately, they were on the other side of the fence which made it difficult! But that obviously didn’t stop us!
This is when we decided to hike back down the trail to our car and get our backpacks to fill with oranges to eventually squeeze into juice!
Homegrown California orange juice is THE BEST! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Turned out Ojai had a Summer St. so they obviously made me take a picture in front of it!
If you know me, I obviously loved this place…
That evening we made homemade salsa, and boyyyyyyy was it spicy!
Lee and Lauren’s cute little puppy Milo!
Milo turned one year old while we were there, so Lauren made him a little muffin cake for his birthday! How cute!
We didn’t have to add any sugar or anything to the orange juice, and let’s just say it turned out a lot better than the salsa did…
I was washing dishes after dinner on Monday night and I look up to see my man with my camera on the other side of the window. I guess he wanted pictures of me too 🙂
He LOVED his cake!
On Tuesday, we FINALLY had time to make it to the beach! It was a bit windy and the water was colddddddd, but it was still the beautiful beach so it was well worth my wind blown hair!
Ask the others, and I could’ve stayed here forever.
This is when they realized how very cold that water was!
My favorite place to be with my favorite person…
There were some surfers out!
Lauren looking as cute as always…
We found some tiny little crab bug things buried in the sand…they were gross…
This is when Rodney yelled there were those tiny crab things crawling on our feet…
And I’ll end with my favorite of all time…
Lee and Lauren – Thank you a million times over for opening up your home to us and making our visit so wonderful! I know we will cherish the fun memories we made together and I’m so thankful we were finally able to make a visit happen! I am so blessed to have friends as family and I guarantee you there will be a lot more of these trips to come. We miss you guys so much and pray for you every day! Love you!