A Typical Family Weekend in SoCal

Dana Point Sunset

I usually post about my travels and adventures. I’m on the road so often that I never lack content ideas, but it’s rare that I show our daily life at home in Southern California. This weekend was typical for us. We went to a birthday party, attended the ballet, and hit up the beach as a Sunday favorite. It wasn’t extreme and I didn’t cross anything off my yearly list but it was beautiful. We try to make our daily life just as fantastic as our vacations, which isn’t too difficult when you live in Southern California. 

Superhero Princess Party

Our weekend officially began with a birthday party for Athena’s good friend, Declan. We spend a lot of time with the entire family and you might have read about our trip together to Loews in San Diego last week. Declan turned three years old and his mother planned a superhero party with Batman, capes and masks, and fun games. Even though Athena was a superhero, she couldn’t leave her princess side behind. She was a superhero princess – just one of the things I love about her so much. It was 100% reflective of her personality. She wasn’t too keen on seeing Batman walk in the door and spent most of the time sitting on my lap while the other kids played games with him. That’s not to say she didn’t have fun. She still managed to win a few prizes and eat delicious, blue cake. Surrounded by friends and laughter, we had a wonderful afternoon.

The fun didn’t stop there for Athena or us. Athena’s babysitter came over to take care of Athena and Darren and I were off to the ballet. Festival Ballet Theatre offers some of the best productions I’ve ever seen in my life so any time they have a performance coming up, I’m usually the first person to get tickets.

Festival Ballet Theatre Swan Lake

Luckily I was in town this week because Festival Ballet Theatre presented the opening of Swan Lake. I had never seen it before but it will now be a yearly tradition. Yuan Yuan Tan was mesmerizing. I’m convinced she is actually a swan. She made it look easy. She spent so much time on her toes that it looked like that’s the way we were made to move. I wanted her to stay on the stage for the entire production. I can only image that every women in the theater longed to move like her. As stunning as she was, it was the Jester, Lex Ishimoto, that impressed me the most. He officially gains the title of my favorite dancer of all time. How does someone get so good? How does such a young man move with such distinction? I want to learn more. Is he one of the dancers from Festival Ballet Theatre? Is he in any upcoming productions? I honestly enjoyed his performance so much that I’d plan to stay in town to see him again. I’m going to do my research. It’s worth finding out.

I was still dreaming about the ballet when I woke up this morning. As we drove to Dana Point, I imagined walking on my toes and moving like Yuan Yuan Tan. My greatest wish for Athena is that she finds something that she’s equally passionate about. Traveling and writing give me that kind of joy. It would be a dream come true for Athena to find a rewarding career when she gets older. We spend too much of our time working not to find something we love. Hopefully I will always encourage her to follow her passion regardless of what it is.

Making Sandcastles at Dana Point

Her passion today was building sandcastles. We spent the entire day at Dana Point Marina. Free parking, gentle waves, and a family-friendly atmosphere make it our favorite spot to relax. We’re thinking about buying a paddle board and a kayak to take to Dana Point. Seeing other kids on boards and in kayaks is encouraging. Spending quality time with Athena near or on the water is why we moved back to California. We want to make the most of it every day.

A typical weekend here in Orange County would have been my idea of a dream vacation a few years ago. I’m grateful for everything that we’ve accomplished in life and I look forward to what’s to come. We are dreamers.

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40 thoughts on “A Typical Family Weekend in SoCal

  1. This brought back some fond memories from my girlhood. I was born in San Diego and lived there until I moved to Hawai’i at age 17. I spent so much time with my family and friends at LaJolla…roasting corn on the cob over an open fire, building sand castles, surfing when a little older. It was a wonderful place to grow up.

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    • We went to San Diego last week and had a wonderful time with friends. We love San Diego as much as Orange County. We’re planning a trip back in May for a camping weekend. It will be similar to your memories of roasting corn on the cob over an open fire, building sand castles, and surfing. When do you live now? Are you still in Hawaii? You certainly grew up in amazing places.

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  2. Sounds like a great weekend and relaxing. Glad you had time to treasure the small things. Sounds like you made the right decision to move back to CA. We are moving to Oshkosh, WI in a few weeks. Lots of water and so looking forward to it.

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  3. Awesome post! The beach there looks gorgeous!! Athena is a beautiful young lady!! It’s cool you do things in your own neck of the woods too!! Have a wonderful week!! Hugz Lisa and Bear

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    • It’s not our favorite beach for beauty, but every beach here is stunning anyway. It is the one place, though, that I can totally relax with Athena at the water’s edge.

      How was your weekend? Did you get to enjoy the outdoors?

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  4. Lesley something in this post captured my attention. As much as I love to travel, I love home. This weekend at home is as enchanting for me as your travel in part in the way you describe it but in part because it’s the every day, here we are living our lives kind of post.
    I love that you asked, “How does someone get to be so good?” and my immediate thought is, “Lesley, you already know the answer to that question because you’re already doing it.” And setting a darned fine example of how to be that good.
    Teri

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  5. Sounds perfect! I hope to make it to SoCal at some point. Your mention of the ballet just reminded me that’s seeing a performance is on my list. Need to get it done in the next few months.

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      • Thanks for responding! I once went to Fall for Dance at the New York City Center — there were several styles of dance being performed, including ballet. But I’ve never been to a purely classical ballet performance. I have always wanted to see The Nutcracker, but honestly I’ll see anything at the NYC Ballet!

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  6. It’s great to find beauty and joy in the place where we live. Sometimes it seems “the grass is greener” somewhere else. When I first started writing, I wanted my setting to be something exciting and exotic, which for me meant far away! It took me a while to realize that where I live might be exotic and wonderful to someone else! All of my books are now set in the north of Canada – the place I also call home.

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  7. Dear Dreamer, I loved the way you said that Travelling and writing gives you the kind of joy one wishes to have from working for something you are passionate about! I hope everyone finds a passionate career. Your Athena is one lucky girl 🙂

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  8. Glad to hear that you are happy about your decision to move back to SoCal…. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else! And Athena is lucky to have a mother who wants her to live her own dream instead of telling her how to live her life… good for you.

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  9. Dear Lesley,

    Your posts are always so well-written, articulate, and infused with emotion and honesty. I love how you’ve exceeded other travel bloggers by letting your other interests in life (not just travel) shine through your writing. Your blog is not only a resource for travelers, but also for parenting, being honest and open, and listening to one’s heart and being true to oneself. Being a teacher myself, I always read your posts keeping in mind that you used to be a teacher! Your posts are so well-rounded and human, and they are not one-offs. You place everything within a context. This is why I return over and over to your blog and why your blog is one of the very few I get automatically to my Inbox.

    Marisa

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  10. Looks fantastic, Lesley. My daughter does ballet and jazz and the family who owns the dance school are all professionals. Their son has just been accepted into the Sydney Ballet Company and I feel so privileged to have seen him dance up close…a metre away. From what I understand of them, they live and breathe dance and it is a 100% focus, passion and obsession.
    My daughter just showed me a clip talking about how much video gamers, or at least the people that create them and the videos etc make. Wow! That’s serious money and my kids are certainly obsessed but I don’t want them growing up with screen eyes, either. I want them to appreciate the outdoors.
    I highly recommend the kayaking. I get out there regularly and do it, despite my mobility issues. My kids are in the sea scouts and get out a bit, However, my daughter does get a bit fearful of all the critters in the water: sharks, stingrays,oysters. The funny thing is she’s quite confident at Sea Scouts when we’re not around but when I’m around she won’t go out unless she’s under duress. Kids!

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