I used to live in Carpinteria, CA. It’s one of the most beautiful little towns in all of California. Lived here in 1997-98. I worked at a little grocery store in a super rich town up the freeway, and went to the city college to build up credits to transfer. I left there to attend Ricks College, now BYU-Idaho, and left to serve an LDS mission in Jacksonville, FL.
That was a long time ago. I was single, and in a different chapter of life than I am now. Each day living here, I remember waking up to a cool fog and misty air. By 11am, the sun would break out, and the temperature would never exceed 90 degrees. Mostly 75-80. Flowers everywhere, and a very relaxed, optimistic feeling abounded in this little town.
I wanted to show Shaun and the kids this beautiful hometown of mine on our vacation. Arriving here, I remembered how gorgeous it is, and how lucky I was to have lived there. Not that Mom and I could afford to. The homes are in the million range. We lived in a shack of a mobile home, or rented a room from a nice lady under her home. Mom was a nanny, while I had a blast up Ricks.
We got to our little condo Thursday night, and noticed that there were no vents. No a/c anywhere. Having just gone through the 99 degree a/c breaking down trial back home, we panicked. Read the welcome binder left for us that said, ‘Due to the climate here, a/c is not needed in these units’. We thought ‘Wow. Really?’. Sure enough, we opened the window and the air was so cool and relieving.
That next morning, I woke up a little early to go get some groceries. I was intrigued to find that the store had no bags, and learned that Carpinteria does not use paper or plastic bags at their stores. Everyone brings their own bags to keep the city clean. Neat. I bought a 20 cent reusable bag, walked back to the car, reveled in the cool air, and drove straight to the beach. It’s just down Linden street. I followed the roads I remembered my Mom driving around, parked the car, ditched my shoes, and raced to the beach alone.
It was heaven, so wonderful. 60 degree morning. I let my feet get wet. I took a quick Instagram video. I saw a few people here and there walking the coast. People were kind, and said ‘Good morning.’ I breathed in the air, and said a prayer of thanks for letting me come back to this place one more time.
After feeling guilty enough for enjoying the beach first alone, I got back to the condo, packed everyone up, and took them back to the same spot. Here’s the pics of that moment, the first beach welcome for the boys. I planned on taking a walk with them. The boys instantly stripped their shirts, and jumped in. They were ecstatic. Too funny.
Little Brooke walking everywhere now. We went swimming at our condo’s pool. Water was warmer than the beach, and was a nice treat to splash around in.
The next day, we played in Santa Barbara. I remembered back in 2000, I would come home from college to visit Mom. At the time, she was a nanny, and brought the little girl to this amazing wooden park. I googled the park, and we had a great time. Such an amazing park.
Next stop, State street. A really huge version of Town Square we have here. This used to be my playground. I would get done with college for the day, take the bus to State Street, and go read books in the huge Borders bookstore before heading to work or home.
This day, I was on the hunt for some good sun hats. We packed the kids in the stroller, blessed $20 craigslist stroller. Brooke was pooped and fussy, and let me carry her in the baby carrier. It was heaven.
We stopped by my old work, a small store called Montecito Village Grocery. Some great memories from my time working there. Worked with a fun, gorgeous gal who gave me rides home and was so kind to me. The sound of her laugh was infectious and made everything wonderful. It’s a small store, and celebrities would stop by to shop. We were told by our manager to not ask for autographs and just be polite. Many tv stars; some rude, some nice, and some who just did not want to be recognized. Kathy Bates was my favorite. She was so nice, and said ‘Thank you, maam’ to me.
I just wanted to take a look inside. It’s always interesting to return somewhere when you’re a different person than you were last time you were there. Shaun and the kids hung out in the car for a moment.
We stopped for lunch at this great beach cafe. It’s an old Victorian home remodeled for eating. Loved the open windows, airy feeling. I watched through my window a table of people getting pictures with some guy. Probably a celebrity. Happens often around here. I found a postcard of the place on our table. I decided to start a neat vacation tradition. Get post cards, and write down memories of our time there. Keep for journaling and record making. I like it.
The boys would not stop rough housing on their bench. They were laughing and just being boys, but Shaun had to sit between them. An older couple sat across from us, and the lady was smiling, watching us struggle. Shaun and I tried to eat as fast as we could, before kids got too crazy, as always the case when eating out with kids:)
Our pretty, little condo. The boys enjoyed watching Mulan in the morning. I loved sitting on the balcony, feeling the cool air, and seeing the neighbor’s pretty flower boxes. Loved the big windows. Neighbors were kind and said hi. Probably used to seeing a bunch of different visitors in this specific vacation condo during the summer.
Saturday afternoon was our last day of playing at the beach. It was packed. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who thought this was a great place to visit. Kevin loved being splashed by the waves. Brooke was all about plowing through the sand castles Shaun made for her. Ethan was intent on digging for crabs, and putting them in his bucket of water.
I tried to get a picture with the boys, but man, they just wanted to run. Managed to get one:)
Shaun and I would trade off kid duty, while one of us went out in the ocean. I loved being tossed by the waves, seaweed swirling around. Everyone on the beach was happy. I talked with some of them. Some were from Colorado, and others jumped on the train from Santa Barbara for a day on the beach. Some guys would go out far in the water, and swim laps. Tons of youth were boogie boarding.
I wish I had the camera for this, but at one point, Kevin walked up to a bunch of teenage girls in bikinis in the water. He just started talking to them. They were having fun splashing around, and one of them was kind and talked back to Kevin, smiling. It was a darling memory, and I just cracked up watching him, and grateful that the girls were nice to him.
We came home, washed all the sand off us, and crashed for the night. Lots of shells and sand everywhere. I didn’t mind:)
Sunday, leaving day. My last morning to get some beach time. I got up around 6;30, and drove over. Loved going barefoot everywhere. Misty fog. Walkers on the beach. I took the same walk that my Mom and I took every morning. It was neat to do it again, but made me remember her walking right by me. I’m sure she watched from heaven above. Brought the camera and took some pictures. Need to edit those, and will share soon, but here’s what I took on the phone.
I walked back through the campground for a break from sand walking. Campers everywhere. Some just waking up in their tents, and sitting on their chairs, watching the waves. I was continually amazed at the openness and kindness of people I passed. Almost everyone said ‘Good morning’ to me. Some stopped their conversations with their friend to say hi to me as I walked by. It was just nice. I collected sea shells for treasures, tried my best to breathe and soak in as much beach as possible, let my feet get splashed by waves, and finally headed back to the car.
Packing the car to go home was horrendous, as usual on trips, and we finally got gas and headed back home on the freeway. I tried hard not to cry leaving that beautiful place, and the ocean got farther and farther away from view. Failed. Not too big a fan of hot, desert weather and rocks. Temperature was back to hot and dry at our first stop near Barstow.
At least, we got to go on a vacation. I saw my boys so very happy playing in the ocean. I built sand castles with them. We ate yummy food. We saw everyone biking everywhere. We had a good place to stay. Brooke was able to take a nap. We had so much fun at Jacquie’s and Disneyland. The boys still keep asking ‘When are we going to see Brian and Jacquie?’. I savored every bit of the trip, and counted my blessings that it happened. Vacations are so needed. I’m so grateful for this one, and look forward to more in the future.