Thanksgiving All Month Long

November 1st hit and for the 30 days that followed we were lucky enough to spend it surrounded by friends and family all throughout and around California. The timing couldn't have been more perfect with the holidays on our heels. Our hearts were definitely aching for familiar faces and familiar bear hugs. Our route this month took us from San Luis Obispo to see Chip's bro/gf to Long Beach to see Durango friends to Anaheim to see Chip's immediate family then finally, to Newport Beach to see aunts and uncles. We are so grateful to have had all this quality one on one time with the great people you'll see below. It was priceless.

San Luis Obispo

We shacked up for almost two weeks in and around the San Luis Obispo (SLO) area so we could spent quality time with Matt (Chip's bro) and Lydia (Matt's gf). Of the trip thus far, this is the longest we stayed in one area and Matt and Lyd lovingly opened their small apartment up to us to spend most of the nights at. We had such a blast visiting beaches, taking dump truck walks, watching the boys surf, going for runs around their neighborhood, checking out the local farmer's market, working at the library, hitting up our favorite park (numerous times!), and just be able to do every day things like cook, clean, exercise, get haircuts, etc. The minute we sunk into Matt and Lydia's comfy couch, it was like a flood of old memories came swimming back to us and we instantly wanted a routine life in a house. We even had to remind Matt several times that we were content just hanging around the 'hood and house. 


Camping at Montana De Oro with Matt and Lydia.


Lydia and the boys looking for sea life at Shell Beach

Naptimes on the couch. 

Check this picture out from 2015!! Our boys were SO little. 

While the boys head out to surf (or wipeout).

Days were spent in the sand for us and in the water for Chip.

Same spot in 2017 - 2 years later. Crazy.


Pismo Beach State Park

We were fortunate to cross paths once again with new friends we had met at Descend on Bend, the Wade family. They are also out traveling the U.S. in their Vanagon with two kids, it's extra fun and inspiring to camp with other families. We shared a spot at Pismo Beach State Park and it ended up being exactly what the four of us needed. The boys played so hard in the sand by day and with dump trucks by night with their two sweet kids. I am especially happy when the boys don't need me, except to wipe their behinds or eat some food, and this was one of those times. We enjoyed adult time equally and had fun getting to know the Wades better. We value these relationships we are forming on the road. Plus like I've always said: The VW community is a grand one. We are instantly bonded in friendship over the love of travel and our vans. 


The Wades (& Marley) and the Kellers (& Spud)

The four muskateers. 

Digging, scooping, tossing, and swimming in sand and water!

Spud & Marley

Spud & Marley


Girl's weekend in Long Beach, CA

I feel so fortunate to have had a couple close friends fly in from Durango so we could celebrate with a proper girl's weekend (away from kids). Katie and Amber made their way to Long Beach to meet up with me and it couldn't have come at a better time. I was surely missing home and friends, they provided just enough love and fun in one weekend to hopefully last me for the rest of the trip. We had a blast in our Air BnB that was only a ten minute walk from the beach. We belly-laughed A LOT, ate some home cookin', and ensured we all stayed hydrated with margaritas and fresh limes from the backyard. It was definitely a weekend for the books. 


A beach day at 1,000 steps beach, Laguna, California

Morning strolls and relaxing on Long Beach

Morning strolls and relaxing on Long Beach

More girl-chatting on the beach...

Margaritas (with extra salt!)

Margaritas (with extra salt!)


Anaheim / Newport Beach / Huntington Beach

The last two and a half weeks in November were spent enjoying quality family-time with Chip's immediate and extended family. Again, this time was so valuable. Typically we don't get the opportunity to see many of these family members for more than a quick visit once a year. But to be able to sleepover at their place or drop-in during the day to enjoy everyday life with them was really fun and one of the main reasons we wanted to take a trip like this. Making memories with family and friends with whom we don't see often enough is so good for our soul. 

For part of this time, Chip's parents rented a house in Anaheim over Thanksgiving week and we spent every day, several times a day swimming in the pool and hot tub right in our backyard. The boys perfected their swimming and back floats, as well as learned how to jump off (and somersault off) the diving board. Being able to wake up and spend the day with aunts, uncles, grandpa, grandma, and cousin, Penelope, was definitely the highlight of the week. I can't say it enough, but this time was priceless with family. 


Playing with cousin, Penelope.

After-naps snacks.

Huntington Beach (photo shoot with these cuties!)

Huntington Beach (photo shoot with these cuties!)

Penelope daydreaming about the day when she can surf.


Showing Penelope how to splash like a pro.

Reading books with Lyd. 

Our pool for the week - all day. Every day. 

The grandparents and their grandchildren. 


Sunset boat rides with Nancy, Bo, and Susie. 

Reid clearly drinking a Corona and teaching Bo how to drive. 


With that, we are saying goodbye to a wonderful chapter in our journey. The state of California may not be what won us over but our family and friends sure did. We sign off for now, and bid adieu to Spud for a few months. We are heading to HAWAII to warm up for the winter!!!!!!!