This wins the prize for longest post ever on Pure Reflections! For a long trip, there had to be a long post to do it justice. I promise it won't get dull, so bear with me as you read. I made sure to include a lot of photos, which is why you have to scroll so much. So, without further ado...
December 2, departure day. Here Libbey waits for her gourmet airport meal from Wendy's. We flew out of Nashville in the early evening.
Each seat back had a screen with movies and music and games, as well as a flight tracker with a satellite map. It was really neat!
Our plane landed in Los Angeles, CA at about 9 pm. We got our rental van (a VAN, meaning MORE ROOM FOR OUR STUFF!) and drove about an hour to a hotel for the night. The jet lag had us up in the wee hours of the morning, but we got to sleep in the next day.
The next morning we had a most fabulous hotel breakfast of Mexican food! I cant remember enjoying a complimentary hotel breakfast so much. All the food was fresh and hot and spicy. Thank you, California.
Later, after breakfast, we drove to Fresno. This is a picture of our descent into the San Joaquin Valley. HOME FREEEEEEEEE
Well, of course our first stop in Fresno was the orthodontist, where Delaney and I both had appointments. After that we ran some errands. It was kind of strange to be in a familiar place, yet so far from home!
That night for dinner, we met my grandparents (my Mom's parents) at Yoshino's, a Japanese teppanyaki restaurant. We were celebrating my grandparents' 50th anniversary!!
At this place, you sit around a big flat top grill and a guy comes out and cooks all your food right in front of you! It's a really fun show, and the food is delicious.
In the days that followed, we spent time up in Coarsegold/Oakhurst to visit friends. A bunch of us went to Round Table for pizza one night, which is always fun (and yummy).
Delaney and her friend Macy
From left: Holly, Hannah, me, Delaney, Macy and Tabitha. I love these girls!!
Another night, the Shaws hosted a big gathering at their house so that we could have more fellowship time. Ah, just like the old days...
There's always lots of food and conversation at the Shaw home.
One afternoon, we drove through Bass Lake where there was some wildfire damage. It's amazing how one small flame can end up with so much devastation.
The community really pulled together to help all those who lost their homes in the Courtney Fire.
I think the contrast between the blackened trees and the brown pine needles is interesting.
This is looking up to Mono Rock, a popular place to watch 4th of July fireworks over the lake. Now you can see it from the road below.
I think Bass Lake is so beautiful in the winter.
Hello, this is my new favorite peanut butter ever.
From the 4th to the 13th, we jumped around, staying at friend's houses at night and visiting during the day. I think we managed to see almost everyone we wanted to! Boy, was it a busy time, but a blessed one.
Libbey and her friends played hard. This was taken after midnight.
Our good friends the Telians loaned us their rental cottage for a few nights. It was a HUGE blessing to us! It provided us a place of our own to crash and keep all of our stuff, not to mention it had great internet for Dad to work, which he did throughout the whole trip.
We had dinner up at the Telians one night. Joseph, Leah and their kids were visiting as well, so it was great to see them! Here the men have a chat around the Turkish table.
Babies love Libbey. I can't explain why, they just do. Ezra here was no exception!
Reuben loved playing drums on grandpa's lap. *Cuteness overload*
Another night, after a day in Fresno, we spent time with our dear friends the Smiths. Libbey, Joy and Charity Rose had a marvelous time playing together, per usual.
Mom and Mrs. Smith
We always love going to the Becker's house! That's where our family went next, just before leaving town. The Shaws came over to hang out for a while too.
Smiles and cookies go together!
Monopoly was fun as well. Wyatt won, but Delaney came close. Let's just say that Hannah did well until the end, when she lost all of her money.
Wyatt with his $500's and Hannah with her $1's. Better luck next time, Hannah!
Libbey and her friends never tire of card games.
As I was trying to capture a candid moment of conversation between friends, Mrs. Becker looks at the camera and throws down a Shaka.
Hannah, Delaney and I slept in the Airstream trailer that night. And when camping in trailers, pillow fights are mandatory.
Jed, Jubilee and Libbey playing cards again.
The Beyer, Becker and Shaw kids scrape together enough money to buy donuts for lunch.
Thanks to a generous donation to our donut fund, we were able to buy 3 dozen scrumptious donuts!
#donutation #operationjudy #happyfaces4hungrykids
Dad and his buddy Dan
From left: Jubilee, Lilly, Amy, Libbey, Elley
Dad with his brothers in the Lord, Jeremy and Kevin
Our parents are so cute, really
Delaney, Macy, Holly, Hanna and me
Dad with his surrogate sons, the Shaw boys. Look at Joshua grinning!!
My sweet friend Amy
Libbey and her dear friend Elley
Isn't she darling? I love her!!
On Saturday, the 13th, Dad drove our family 3 hours from Oakhurst to Salinas, to stay with his parents for a couple of nights. It was so good to see Papa and Grandma Beyer again!
Music is beloved in the Beyer family. Here, father and son play together.
Age may have effected his body, but Papa can still make beautiful music on the piano. God is so gracious!
During our time with our grandparents, my aunt also stopped by for a short visit. We played Bingo had had a great time.
On Monday, the 15th, we drove down to Pismo Beach. Y'all, my parents have been coming to Pismo for almost 30 years, and I've been coming here ever since I was a tiny baby. The beach is probably my favorite place ever, and Pismo is the epitome of wondrous for me. It is my beach.
Our hotel, the Kon Tiki.
The Pacific Ocean is so beautiful.
There were exactly 110 steps to the sand from the top of the cliff. Talk about a leg workout! Not that we minded.
Dee and Lib were brave enough to get in the water!
Such beauty. Such freedom.
Underneath the Pismo Beach Pier.
I saw this as Dad and I were taking a walk one morning. I couldn't have said it better myself.
If there are any Telians reading this, this may be familiar to you. Dad and I visited North Beach campground, and of course I went to Blackbird Hollow. You can still make out "Hollow" carved into a tree there, but the soft wood has worn away most of "Blackbird" by now. So many memories there.
A stunning sunset over the ocean.
The heavens declare the work of the Lord.
Dee and I on the pier. Dee is looking orange.
While we were at Pismo, I took portraits of the girls, and some of Dad and Mom. Then we kind of went shutter happy and took random family pictures too. Here are some of my favorites (I didn't think "personal best" would be the right phrase):
She is very photogenic.
Delaney's photography skills have greatly improved.
She was especially proud of this photo, because she took it when she wasn't looking or something.
This is a classic photo of Libbey being cute and Delaney being nutty.
~Dad and Mom~
They did a great job posing for me that day.
Daddy and his girls
The three musketeers
I LOVE my Dad
Mom and Dee
Dad and Lib
On our last day in California, the 18th, Dee and I played our violins down by the pier. We were out there for about an hour and had a blast!
At 11:30 that night, our plane took off from LA. Over 5 hours later, 5 a.m. Central Time, we landed in Nashville. It was a 2 hour drive home to Kingston, and we arrived at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. It was a long, exhausting trip, but we were grateful to be home.
And especially grateful for sleep...at last!
My post is finished. Our trip to California was incredible and a lot of fun. But it is good to be back in the good ol' South as well. Thanks for reading, and Merry Christmas!