Saturday, March 10, 2012

Leaving Los Angeles

The snow falling outside the windows of the Salt Lake City airport has baby Lena’s attention as she recovers from our morning flight from Los Angeles. Waking her up at midnight for this morning’s exhausting drive from Santa Maria to the LAX airport has done little to dampen her cheerful mood.

Everywhere we traveled this week, people have gawked at our 5 ½ month old Lena and remarked at what a cute, good mannered baby she is!

IMAG1951_edited-1.jpg A lucky handful of my Delta coworkers and others got a chance to adore Lena as we bounced back and forth between ticket counters at the Portland airport on Monday.

IMAG1960.jpg The TSA agents at PDX airport each had their crummy day brightened as a smiling Lena passed through the security checkpoint.

IMAG1965.jpg Lena survived her first ever plane ride to Los Angeles like a champ! Kathy and I strategically waited each time to feed her until she was right on the verge of blessing our fellow passengers with her brute lung prowess. When the bottle didn’t do the trick, I resorted to my tried and true elixir of softly sung worship songs or personalized Coldplay melodies in her ear.

Unfazed by our short notice the night before, my Uncle Steve and Aunt Marilyn McCoy graciously opened up their house to us in Santa Maria for a few days. DSC_0719_edited-1.JPGIMAG1989.jpgThe southern California weather didn’t cooperate long enough for us to get out on their yacht in Santa Barbara, but we enjoyed everything else they offered: loving family time and lots of encouragement.

Aunt Marilyn’s cooking was outrageously delicious, although we did sneak out to Cool Hand Luke’s (for their house favorite “shark bites”)…

IMAG2023_edited-1.jpg…as well as the obligatory stop for Double Doubles at In-N-Out. My cousin Jefferson is a manager!

DSC_0728.JPG Jeff’s family-- Rebecca, Ethan, Tyler, and Hanna McCoy, A.K.A. the Jeffersons-- were also mesmerized by Lena's smile when they met her for the first time. IMAG1994.jpgIMAG2000.jpg We absolutely love these people! But since our busy summer schedule will prevent the three of us from being at the 2012 Morrow Bay family reunion, the rest of our SoCal family will have to wait to meet Lena until Delta’s flights have open seats again.

The only thing that hasn’t worked out this week (unless you count that whole blown international trip opportunity thingy that I mentioned here in my previous post) is consistent weather.
DSC_0709.JPG Lena did get her first ever glimpse of ocean waves within hours of landing in California. But rather than surfing the next day…

DSC_0714.JPG …I squandered our lone day of surfboard-beckoning sunshine at Pismo Beach with sightseeing.

DSC_0721.JPG After calling dibs on a surfboard at a Pismo Beach surf shop the previous day, we waited forever on the second day for the cold, stormy skies to clear up long enough for Lena to see Daddy ride those waves. Hey, call me a fair weather surfer… but our Oregon Coast back home already provides PLENTY of chilly, rainy surfing weather!

Now that we’re in the Salt Lake City airport, we still have a chance to bounce over to the Everglades or Alaska to wrap up the trip with some hiking. Our possible connections won’t leave for a couple more hours, so why decide now? At this point, it seems likely that the group majority will vote for a direct flight home. Either way, let’s hope that Lena has mercy on our seatmates and sings her baby songs in the muted, soothing key of “coo.” IMAG2091.jpg

Update: This cliffhanger ending is actually just an ending. We flew home from SLC shortly after I originally posted this last week. Photos added on 3/10, and I just added the video below:

Hit the "Play" button above for a video of us on the pier at Pismo Beach. This sunset was the last sunshine we saw all week!

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