The vacation was part honeymoon (which we never took after getting married in October) and part celebration of being done with the home study phase of the adoption process. It was a week of just enjoying being a family of two. A week of not worrying about what was happening on the adoption front. And a week of remembering that we cannot stop living our lives just because we are on the waiting list. It can be so tempting to just sit still and worry about what is going to happen with the adoption. It is so easy to sit on dwell on all the things that could possibly happen, but the truth is we have absolutely no control over it. This vacation gave us the opportunity to remember that we have so much to be thankful for and we have so much to celebrate and we cannot waste moments worrying about how everything is going to work out. Instead, we must choose to live our lives to the fullest and enjoy the time that we have together and trust that things are going to happen when they are supposed to happen. And that is exactly what we did this past week.
I will not bore everyone with all of the details of our trip, but I will happily point out some of the highlights. The first highlight, truly was being able to spend seven uninterrupted days with my wife. Life gets so busy and it was so incredible to have so much time together to just enjoy an amazing week filled with adventures. We both put work aside, we both put cell phones aside, and we both put all of life's stress aside and just took time to be together and on vacation. That was better than anything else.
Other than that, there were some incredible moments. Last week we flew into San Diego, rented a car, and then spent the week driving up the coast of California before we flew out of San Francisco yesterday afternoon. California is an amazing place and we were in awe of the beauty and wildlife that we found there.
The first highlight was our overnight stay at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. The Wild Animal Park itself is an amazing place, but being able to have the opportunity to stay there overnight in a tent overlooking the Africa exhibit was simply incredible. In the morning we even had an opportunity to feed a giraffe. It was amazing.
|Carla and I in front of the elephant exhibit|
|Our tent for the evening|
|Carla and I in front of the Africa exhibit right outside of the campsite|
|Our view from the campsite|
|Feeding a very friendly giraffe|
We then started our drive up the coast. After some initial traffic around Los Angeles and Malibu, the road opened up and gave us some of the most spectacular views that I have ever seen. It was amazing to pull right off the road and be able to see a large group of elephant seals resting on the beach. We stayed in Ojai and then spent a wonderful morning in the beautiful city of Santa Barbara.
The next stop was one of our favorite stops because we had the chance to stay in the wonderful kitchy and tacky Madonna Inn. The Madonna Inn is a hotel where every room is decorated in a different theme. The rooms are completely over the top and absolutely fantastic. Because I told the hotel that this was our honeymoon, we were met with a wonderful bottle of champagne, with a card attached that congratulated Mr. and Mrs. Lifshitz. We appreciated the thought!
|This was room which was a circular shaped room|
|Our congratulatory bottle of champagne|
We then began the most breathtaking part of the drive which took us through Big Sur. I was extremely impressed by Carla's driving skills as some of those turns are rather dicey. We stopped to do some hiking through the redwood trees and look at the beautiful water falls hidden throughout the woods.
|In Big Sur|
Our final city before we flew out of San Francisco was Monterey. We absolutely loved Monterey. We spent hours in the Monterey Bay Aquarium and even got a behind the scenes tour of the place where we had the chance to see them feeding the sharks. We woke up early to go on a whale watching trip where we saw a huge herd of dolphins and a family of Orca whales. It was incredible. We also rented kayaks and spent an hour kayaking around Monterey Bay. Our kayak was greeted along the way by sea otters, sea lions, and harbor seals. They were so close to us!
We spent our last night at a beautiful Bed and Breakfast in Half Moon Bay and then made a quick stop our final morning to explore the tide pools there. We then flew out of San Francisco yesterday afternoon.
Overall, it was truly the vacation of a lifetime. We had so much fun exploring California together and allowing ourselves a while to just be and to not worry about what is ahead. After all of the stress that the first phase of the adoption process entailed, it was so important for us to just take time to be together and relax. I am incredibly thankful for our trip and now feel much better equipped to deal with the waiting that we will be doing.