This lady turned 39 in early June!

My coworker Bryan asked me to attend an ACSD conference with him at Biola in early June. It sounded interesting and worked with our schedule so I signed on. I got excited when I realized it ended the day before my sister's birthday. I went back and forth about whether I could go fly to her after that or if I asked her to join me if that would be fun or a burden but ultimately went for it and was met with an immediate yes from my sister to join me in. The planning began and we settled on meeting up in Newport Beach for a few days of sun, food, and quality time.

[[Side note: The conference was great and plenary speakers dealt with issues of diversity and racism in nuanced and thought through ways that often left tension with the lack of conclusions ... but isn't that what we are living in currently? Bryan met me at the airpot and we had an afternoon of catching up at Panera, him graciously taking me around Target, and then a quick stop at our hotel before meeting about 20 past students at In'N'Out. It was so sweet to reconnect and spend 4 hours around fast food tables laughing and finding our groove with old groups. I enjoyed time with my spiritual director, who attended with us, and who introduced us to an AMAZING, ginormous bakery called Porto's that had Brioche Cinnamon Buns (yum!!) We did an enneagram 8-hour seminar that was interesting, information overload. We spent lunches and dinners at the CAF in passionate, intense conversations about our learning and our personal lives. There was a custom doughnut stand and popsicle stand one night. I got a night with Bry and Greg to unwind and get to know Greg, our US coworker better. And we got an afternoon in Newport, walking around Balboa with Willow and Steph, former RCs, debriefing with Bry in the car while Greg slept and doing dinner (lobster tacos!) with the Lundes, a Biola professor who came to Ecuador to visit us. It was full and rich.]]

Post conference Greg dropped me in Newport Beach at the airbnb I'd booked and I had about 10 hours to myself before Kim arrived. It was a welcome break after 5 packed, people days and I walked 4 miles shopping at Ross, Trader Joe's, and Michael's before grabbing a salad from Panera and watching a show on my bed. I may or may not have walked to the grocery store 2 blocks away at 9pm to get a half pint of Ben & Jerry's peanut butter core and finished it off cleanly.

The days with Kim were spent in a lazy rhythm. We had time to talk without being interrupted. We slept in and walked to coffee and breakfasts. We got doughnuts at SideCar (huckleberry and browned butter sea salt get 4 thumbs up) and walked 17th street. We splurged her birthday money on a fresh, high end meal at Fig & Olive where we talked about Enneagram (which Kim doesn't buy into but was willing to engage in) and family dynamics during trips. This could have been ruined by a rental car incident to remain untold but Kim did a great job brushing it off and enjoying the time. We walked along Laguna Beach, checking out the coastline, the doors and the gardens along the way. We spent way too long at Target trying on about 20 swimsuits each. We tried Poke bowls for the first time (love, raw salmon for the win), circled Newport Beach determined to find free parking and spent a late afternoon reading and dozing on the coastline. We got acai bowls from Banzai Bowls and I fell in love all over again. We walked Balboa Island, marveling at the prices and watching people paddleboard on the water. We spent a warm, sunny day at Newport finding shade under the caves, followed by Mediterranean bowls at Cava (also so good. Full of veggies, heat and falafel.) We shopped and chatted about random things. We walked and talked about parenting and surviving and living well. We read and we ate ice cream on our porch at night and went looking for a cookie place that wasn't found and ended up with mediocre, overpriced cookies but who else would be willing to do that together? 

It was a great, relaxing time and it reminded me how important it is to carve out time for each other. Time away from kids and husbands, to just be without all of the logistics of families, to share our current lives while having a deep understanding for our growing up lives and how those two intertwine. 

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