We spent the last week in Los Angeles, California. The land of the rich and....not-so-heinous.
(If you don't want to read me chatter on about baby wearing on the streets of Beverly Hills and see far too many pictures of my kids, you may want to skip this one!) (For photography friends, I challenged myself to only bring one lens with me this trip, so all photos were with my 24mm).
Seriously guys, the people who live in Beverly Hills (where we were based for a week) are NICE. Perhaps I'm used to the gruffness of New Englanders, perhaps it's because we stuck out like a lost family of neutral-colors-and-stripes in a sea of flash and neon. During one early morning coffee run, a man pulled over, rolled down his window, and informed me that my baby (being back carried in my Ergo) needed a hat because he was chilly! Had he been a sanctimonious mommy, I might have been annoyed, but he had a look of sincere concern on his face. It was 65 degrees, for the record, and Graham was in a sweater and long pants. COLD, I TELL YOU.
Traveling with kids is a special sort of experience. My advice? Don't do it. I'm kidding...or am I? Flying for six hours on a plane is not something I would do again with my 3.5 year old for the foreseeable future. Does that mean EVERY parent should not do it? Certainly not. There was a 2.5 year old girl sitting in front of us during the flight out who was AN ANGEL. While chaos with a side of whining and crying was happening behind her. Picture a threenager at his worst, and then picture yourself trapped in a steel tube for 6+ hours with said threenager. Yikes. Then you finally emerge, battered and bruised, hair tangled, sticky with who knows what smeared all over your body....and it's only 10:00AM because California is three hours earlier. Try as we did, they could not/would not adjust to the time change. Which meant 3:45/4am wake ups every day in the pitch dark. Let's take a moment to bow our heads and thank the universe that Starbucks opens at 4:30am, shall we?
Another perk of early wake ups? We were on the beach at the Santa Monica Pier by 7:00AM on Sunday, and pretty much had the whole thing to ourselves. When people started to show up, we were getting some stares. Was it the fact that our 3 year old was in the "cold" water up to his chest (the water is WARM compared to home)? Was it our pasty white Massachusetts skin? Was it our lack of sequins? We will never know.
Note to self:
Three teenage girls in black mini-dresses taking pictures with smoke bombs at 7:00AM: NOT WEIRD.
Three year old swimming in ocean at 7:00AM: WEIRD.
Three hours after we arrived, the pier finally opened and we were, naturally, the first in line for the boys' first ride on a ferris wheel. We may have been wet, covered in sand, and smelling like stale Starbucks...but when you tell a three year old you're going to ride a ferris wheel, you make damn sure that you ride the ferris wheel before you leave if you don't want to hear about it for the rest of your life.
4:30am wake ups might also mean that my mother-in-law's neighbors will hate her forever due to the ruckus outside their window all week. But when you're traveling with kids...you gotta let them be kids. How gorgeous are these purple jacaranda trees? Everything was in bloom and boy does L.A. have some beautiful flowers and trees.
As we took our first sips of strong Starbucks coffee each morning and felt the life return to our tired bodies, we took the long way back through the neighborhoods of Beverly Hills and admired the multi-million dollar homes with their gorgeous manicured lawns and fancy paver driveways. This is a pocket of wealth like nothing I've ever seen before. Massachusetts' state vehicle might be the CR-V or the Subaru Outback...here it is the Mercedes wagon.
I've never felt so out of place in my brown saltwater sandals and plain clothes as padding quietly through these neighborhoods at 6:00AM while Miles ate a muffin the size of his head and Graham nodded off in the ergo. Side note: apparently no one really baby wears here? Ergos are as common as water in Massachusetts, here, I had AT LEAST 20 separate people, in all different locations around the city, exclaim in delight/amusement/wonder at the baby "in that thing"!
What I LOVED about L.A. is that everything is outdoor-centric. Museums, parks, dining...it's outside. I mean, they SHOULD be outdoors, their weather is amazing. People kept apologizing to us for a few clouds which is funny coming from New England. Our gorgeous is their "okay".
In between the 4am wake ups, the beautiful people staring, the early morning trips to the pier, and the flights from hell, we got to soak up a lot of time with family and that made the whole trip worth it. Because when family can't come to you, you go to them!