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  • Writer's picture Jana

There is Life (and Summer fun) After an Out-of-This-World European Vacation.

Updated: Aug 14, 2022

Let's face it, it's a bit hard to top three weeks in Portugal. Coming home from any vacation is always a bit of a let down, but coming home from three weeks in charming and picturesque Portugal is that much more of an adjustment.

Since I didn't have camp plans for the kids this summer, I had to hit the ground running, as soon as we returned in early July. One can't very well sit home with four kids all day for seven weeks during the hot summer and not expect to go a tad bit crazy.

Within a fews days of returning, we were at the beach in Malibu, where we returned repeatedly throughout the summer. To me, there is nothing better than a day at the beach. With the hot weather we get in Hidden Hills, escaping to Malibu for the day always feels like a mini vacation of sorts.

Speaking of weather, we had a mixture of it in July and August, so we made our plans accordingly. Fortunately, this summer was not as hot as some of the others we have had since moving to this area, five years ago. On the cooler days, we visited botanical gardens or stayed in our own neck of the woods, enjoying our pool. On the warmer days, or what might be considered hot days by a normal person (90-plus degrees), we packed up and headed to the beach to cool off.

Since I was not able to take everyday off (rather every third day, on average), the long days at home were sometimes challenging. However the kids were mostly good sports about finding things to do at home on the days I had to be productive here, Squabbles broke out from time-to-time, but they were mostly manageable.

As I put this blog together and went through the photos, I realized that we did lots of fun things (despite the numerous complaints of boredom I heard, always on the days we spent at home). In past summers (pre-Covid), the kids spent much of their time in camp, and I realize that I missed them a lot. Similar to when they are in school all day, I found that my summer days would get swallowed up at my desk with tasks too numerous to mention and too tedious to recount. However this summer, between our three-week trip and them being home with me the remainder of the summer, I found that I had to really be efficient with my time so that I could manage those days off, for fun family outings.

I hope you enjoy reliving our summer along with me. I feel blessed to be able to have spent the entirety of it with my children and proud that I remained calm and sane, for at least most of the time. As everyone keeps reminding me, they will gone before I know it, so there is no time like the present to enjoy their company.

Stay tuned, as we depart for our "farewell summer" trip tomorrow. More summer to come....

Shortly after we arrived home from Europe, we visited Granny at the cemetery to share all of our travel tales with her. From there we made a long-overdue visit to one of our favorite botanical gardens, Descanso. The weather was lovely, which made for a perfect day.

I had an endoscopy shortly upon our return, to diagnose why I was having pain when swallowing. The kids each sent me with a personal keepsake they carefully chose. Guess who chose the globe? I was relieved to have it over and receive good news about my results from my doctor. I am already feeling the positive affects of our treatment plan.

We had friends over for ice cream parties, swimming, and board games.

We headed to Santa Barbara one day and enjoyed a picture-perfect day at The Santa Barbara Zoo. We hadn't visited there since before the pandemic, so it was a real treat. Afterward, we ate a lovely seaside restaurant where we all dined on delicious fish and chips.

Our favorite goats spent the month of July eating their way through the plentiful dry brush in Hidden Hills (thanks to the historic drought in California). We spent time with them, which brought us great joy.

We spent a wonderful day at The Getty Center enjoying the museum, stunning gardens and lunch in their fabulous restaurant with unparalleled views of the city and the ocean.

We visited the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) downtown followed by a delicious dinner in Chinatown. I thought my fortune was apropos.

We had some great beach days, especially once the weather warmed up more in August. Garin brought his friend Noah a few times, which means a mother to five on those days.

We visited the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) where we took in the stunning Alexander McQueen exhibit. That was followed by a lovely evening outdoor jazz concert the museum. We ended the even with dinner at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles, visited by President Obama himself. Roscoes has delicious soul food and a one-of-a-kind vibe. When we arrived, we found this stunning and touching mural in the parking lot dedicated to Kobe and Gigi Bryant.

We had a great day at the California Science Center visiting an interesting exhibit on Fire Safety at home (most pertinent for us in Hidden Hills); a riveting exhibit on the Pandemic; and the special exhibit Angkor, The Lost Empire of Cambodia,; amongst many other fun-filled exhibits.

We cooked lots of delicious dinners together and Miles set many beautiful tables for us this summer, including herbs, flowers and other foliage from our garden for his table-scapes.

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