I meant to get up early and get things done around my house before my grandparents arrived with Pino and Rosanna. I really did. Instead, the house phone rang at 8:15. Groggily, I answered. I didn't really sleep well because I kept waking up worrying I messed up something I served on Friday at work. (Maybe I should look into medication.) Anyway, when I heard my grandma's cheery voice saying they had just left the San Gabriel Valley, I knew it was time to get my butt in gear. I took a shower and picked up my house in record time. And, just as I was shoving the last random piece of scattered junk from my living room into the hall closet, there was a knock at the door.
My cousins and grandparents came in, and we gave them a little tour of our casa. After a quick shot of espresso (courtesy of the awesome espresso machine from Jackie), we were on the road, headed north.
Instead of taking the 101, we went down Malibu Canyon and drove up the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu.
We stopped at Zuma Beach to take some pictures and a little stroll.
The weather was absolutely perfect today. And the water at the beach was a gorgeous, deep blue.
You know these folks by now...
We said ciao to Malibu and continued north. About an hour later, we stopped for lunch at the Summerland Beach Cafe, a favorite of Jackie's that serves some pretty kick ass breakfast (the bacon, especially).
Josh and Pino each had una birra.
We sat outside and soaked in the gorgeous weather and the smell of the ocean.
I had a breakfast combo with eggs, bacon, and french toast. The bacon was, of course, outstanding. The french toast was a little gooey for my taste, but that didn't really stop me from eating it!
Rosanna really wanted to go to the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens. I had never been, but she really, really wanted to see a Redwood tree, so when she read in her guidebook that there were Redwoods at the Botanical Gardens, off we went.
I really liked this oak tree.
My grandma rounding the bend with Rosanna.
Finally, we found the Redwoods.
Pino and Rosanna were really excited to see cacti. Weird to us, but I suppose it makes sense since there really isn't much desert plant life in Italy.
Our last stop was the Santa Barbara Mission.
The fountain outside.
I love this chandelier.
Inside the mission.
I thought this sculpture was especially beautiful and powerful.
The mission garden.
The palm trees surrounding the mission. It was an incredibly beautiful day to be outside.
After touring the mission, the cousins and grandparents were pooped. They headed south on the 101, and Josh and I stayed to wander around State Street. We window shopped and then stumbled across this little wine and cheese shop. Wine and cheese? Yeah, you know we stopped.
After sampling some pairings of wine and cheese (only one small bite for Josh since he really shouldn't have cheese), we bought some of our favorite things we sampled and headed to the car.
It has been a long, but wonderful day. One of those days that all my worries about work and life dissipated and my mind was calm and present. Soaking in the sun, family, and a little sightseeing in our own backyard has got to be one of the best ways to spend a Saturday.