Snapshots of our Week | Visiting California

Last week we flew to California for the first time in three years! It was a trip we have been looking forward to for a long while, and it did not disappoint. Lila and Logan loved spending every day with their cousin, Lucy, and it was so nice to catch up with all of our family members and some of my old friends from high school. 

On Monday we spent the day flying across the country on Jet Blue. Logan was very anxious about the flight, but he did great. I surprised the kids with Kindle Fire tablets on the plane, which kept them busy the whole flight. Yay screen time!

My dad picked us up at SFO and we drove to Sunnyvale. We had a nice dinner in the backyard with my sister and her family.

On Tuesday the kids woke up and jumped in the pool right away. Lucy and Dave came over to join the swim and then we spent part of the afternoon at a local park. Dinner that night was at our favorite pizza place, Ciceros, where our family has been going weekly for 35 years!

Wednesday was the fourth of July. In the morning, Eric and I took the kids over to the playgrounds of a local elementary school to play (the same playgrounds where I played as a kid), and then we went over to my friend Jen's house for lunch to celebrate the third birthday of her twins. It was fun catching up with old friends and seeing how much all the kiddos have grown. The last time I saw Dylan and Avery, they were only a few days old!

That night we had dinner at my sister's house and then we walked over to a local school to watch the fireworks. Logan fell asleep midway through and Eric had to carry him back to the car afterward. The kids didn't get to bed that night until late!

On Thursday we all drove up to San Francisco (along with my parents and my sister and brother) and went for a cruise around the San Francisco Bay (Lila had requested a "boat ride"). We had lunch at a bar and grill on Pier 39 and then my kids started melting down (probably due to the late night before). They were asleep within five minutes of being back in the car.

That night after the kids were in bed, Eric and I met up with some of my friends from high school at our favorite local pub - the Duke of Edinburgh. The Duke is closing and moving in a few weeks so I was glad to visit its original location one last time. Lots of great memories there.

On Friday we had a lazy day around my parents' house - recovering from July 4th and the trip to San Francisco. The kids watched movies and went swimming. I attempted to track down a fish taco, but both Rubio's locations were closed!

On Saturday we went out to lunch at a yummy Mexican restaurant in Los Altos (oh how I've missed good Mexican food!) and met my brother's girlfriend. She brought her pet rabbit to meet the kids and they were enthralled (that is until it bit Lila!). It was a fun day with family. We stopped into a bookstore and a toy store in Los Altos and then went back to the house to swim.

On Sunday we took the kids to a local children's zoo called Happy Hollow, and then a final swim in the pool before heading back to Cicero's for more pizza and then dessert at my sister's house. The kids put their handprints into a block of cement before we left.

On Monday we flew back to New York!

It was such a nice trip, but too quick... we are already thinking about next summer. I'd love to come out for a longer stretch of time next year and do a few more outings - maybe head up to Tahoe for a few days.

Now we are back on Long Island and trying to get over the jet lag - my kids have never slept in this late before!

Francesca Russell is a documentary-style family photographer and filmmaker located in Garden City South, NY. If you'd like to see more of her recent documentary family photography, head over to her Facebook page or follow her everyday adventures on Instagram. If you are looking for a family photographer or lifestyle videographer on Long Island or in the New York City area to document your family, small business or event, please contact her for more information.