Thanks to pregnancy, toddler, newborn, and…well, LIFE, I was never able to share our trip to California back in August. John is on the board for our dear friends’ amazing skin care product company, and instead of just flying out himself for the meeting, we decided to make a family trip out of it. We spent a week in an adorable little cottage on the beach, visiting with friends and living the glorious coastal life. And with another board meeting coming up next month, we’ll be doing it again! Prepping for that trip prompted me to look back through the photos from August’s trip. We were not in the best place in our relationship (to put it lightly), so I didn’t have the best memories of the trip at first. But the trip actually was the turning point for us to do the work and make things better, and now I can look back and see the fabulous parts. I can’t believe how much Oden has grown and matured in the months since the trip. He is so excited to fly in an airplane and play in the sand with his buddies again!
Back in August, I was five months pregnant with Mr. Morrison, so I was past the nauseous part and feeling pretty good. I don’t think it needs to be said that traveling with a toddler is a source of anxiety for most parents. It can go one of two ways- a super fun adventure or a screaming disaster! We started off the trip on a sour note by missing our first flight. Instead of going all the way home before the next flight, we decided to leave the airport and get lunch nearby. We hopped on the bus (Oden’s favorite!) and were almost to the economy lot when I realized we’d already checked Oden’s car seat with our luggage and couldn’t go anywhere. So, we stayed on the bus, headed back to the airport, and basically rode escalators with Oden for a few hours. Needless to say, I was happy when my little traveler fell asleep on the first flight. Almost as cool as escalators, the moving sidewalk was a big hit before our second flight. We finally got to our friends’ farm super late, but got to wake up in one of my favorite places. I love the morning view from the bed!
Four Elements Farm is tucked up in the hills between Morro Bay and Atascadero. Our friends grow all sorts of food, including Satsuma tangerines and calendula they use in their incredible all-purpose salve, All Good Goop. Ryan and Caroline are old friends and their daughters, Kalia and Allegra, live a pretty magical life on the farm. Throughout the week, Oden loved running around after them, trying to do all of the things they were doing- climbing jungle gyms and trees, swinging on rope swings. He fits right in.
On the day of the board meeting, John headed off in the morning while I took Oden grocery-shopping and then we checked into our little cottage. Not only does this place have a stellar view of the Morro Bay rock, but it’s at the end of a cul-de-sac and the beach is RIGHT THERE. And check out the fireplace! This Cali girl felt immediately at home. I spent more than one evening enjoying the sunset from the front deck, barefoot with my non-alcoholic wine. It was fun to see the surfers come and go (one of my favorite pasttimes from high school!). That first night, we met our friends and walked down to the water at sunset. I love seeing our kids getting to know each other.
Amanda and I left John and Oden to spend the day with Caroline and the girls. We took off for a day together, shopping for souvenirs and chatting over a long lunch on the water. We spied sea otters in the harbor and stopped for an ice cream. John sent photos of the fun we were missing back at the house. We headed back and took a walk to the tide pools. Amanda and I spent hours as kids exploring tide pools, checking out the sea anemones and starfish. Oden got a little bit more time with Auntie before she hopped in the car to head home. Tears were shed, as always. We watched another glorious sunset before plopping a couple of kiddos in the bath. These are the days!
The next day, John slept late so Oden and I visited a donut shop and headed to a nearby park. The weather was stellar in the morning! By the time we got back, playtime on the beach was a bit cloudy but toddlers don’t care (and neither did I). Just like I remember from growing up, there’s something about beach time that makes you extra tired. Oden slept remarkably well during the whole trip! We finished the day with a picnic dinner at a different beach with the whole gang. Can we talk about the pristine VW bus? My dream!
The next day, we dropped Oden off to play with the girls for a couple of hours and went to lunch on the water. We ate ice cream and watched an older man and a child play giant chess. We spent the end of the day back at the farm. Oden gifted me with a priceless piece of art he’d made and we all took a walk to the field where they grow glorious flowers. The setting sun made the light golden and soft, and each flower was prettier than the last.
The last couple of days of our trip were filled with trips to a fabulous playground, walks on the beach during Oden’s nap, and soaking up the coastal sunshine while we could. I collected at least a dozen sand dollars and John showed Oden how he makes sandcastles. It’s the little moments during a vacation that make the best memories!
Oden had so much fun with Kalia and Allegra at the farm that we decided to leave him again and take a grown-up adventure. We drove north and stopped when we wanted to. We grabbed coffee and delicious shortbread cookies in Cayucos. We shopped for stunning blown glass in the tiny town of Harmony. If we ever renew our vows, I think the chapel in Harmony might have to be the place!
We got little photo updates that Oden was having a blast, which let us have fun, too. We let our imaginations run wild and looked at real estate near Cambria. We took a walk on Moonstone Beach, stopping to document the growing baby bump. We stopped and watched the giant elephant seals spar in the ocean and cooed at the baby seals on the beach. We ended the day with a late lunch at Robin’s in Cambria, one of my all-time favorite spots. By the time we got home, Oden was climbing trees like the girls and blending right into farm life!
On our last day, we made a stop for lunch at Ruddell’s Smokehouse for delicious smoked fish tacos. We brought some back to the cottage to share with friends and hosted the whole crew for dinner, sunshine time on the deck, and a few good laughs! I even got all of the good luck that comes with tiny hands on my belly.
And just like that, our trip was over. We made it home without incident with full hearts, thanks to the sea and dear friends. Next week, we get to do it again…and I hope this trip is even better than the last! Stay tuned!
Bit by the travel bug? Check out more of our adventures here!