Who Needs a White Christmas
I am spending my last of 16 days in Santa Barbara, California. The weather has been sunny and mostly warm. What a beautiful place to spend Christmas. We are here because my brother recently moved here from Dallas. Although it was heartbreaking to lose the only family member we had in Dallas, we are excited to have such a beautiful place to visit and excited for his success. My in-laws came from Vancouver, my parents from Colorado and my family from Plano. We were quite a crew and we had a blast together.
In the past two weeks we have seen killer whales, a grey whale, and a pod of several hundred dolphins from the deck of a whale watching boat with Captain Matt at the healm, an octopus swimming in the ocean (I have never seen one outside of an aquarium before,) lots of dolphins every day from long walks and romps on the beach, great tide pools full of anemones and starfish. My kids have played in the ocean, ridden waves on their boogie boards, built fabulous driftwood forts and collected myriad shells, glass and rocks.
We have visited almost every museum in town. Santa Barbara is a town of about 90,000 people, and is located about 90 miles north of Los Angeles on the Pacific Ocean. It is a beautiful place and each museum we visited was unique and wonderful. We learned about the Chumash tribe who lived in the area from 13,000 years ago until the mid-1800s. We visited one of the oldest missions in California that still has an active church and is supported by local families. There is a small but wonderful zoo where Conner and I fed a giraffe. It is something to be eye level to such a magnificent animal with a tongue as long as your arm that is rough like a cat’s tongue!
I could go on and on about all of the different things we did but that would get tiresome. My long-winded point is two-fold. One, who needs a white Christmas when surrounded by such natural beauty and the bounty of family. I miss my family dreadfully and wish my kids were able to see their grandparents more often. Trips like this are such a special treat. Two, there were a few grumbles on Christmas morning when there weren’t as many presents as usual (although the kids had been warned ahead of time that the trip was a gift in itself.) By the time we catalogued all of the things we have seen and done while here, I don’t think the toys were missed at all. My kids are never happier than when playing outside on the beach or snuggled on the couch with a grandparent reading to them. This Christmas was most special because of the wonderful time that we shared together. We might forget who gave us what silly gift, but I know none of us will ever forget the sight of hundred of dolphins leaping and dancing within arms reach. I truly believe that seeing the world is the best gift that I can give to my children, that and being with family!
Enjoy your travels and your family in the upcoming year!