Christmas Time in California
For the twins first Christmas, we decided it was a good idea to take an 11 hour flight nearly six thousand miles to see my family in Southern California. This would be a trip of firsts, including first trip on an airplane, first time meeting most of my family, dipping their toes into the Pacific Ocean and much more. We had great weather, lots of adventures and saw loads of friends and family during our two weeks in Cali. There was a lot of the unknown going into this trip, but we knew that we wanted to spend the time and energy out in California and give the twins a lovely Christmas adventure.
We were really unsure on how the twins would react to being on an airplane, especially as it was an 11 hour direct flight to Los Angeles from London. While we were a bit nervous, we got some good tips and tricks prior to flying that really came in handy (I'll share those later). The thing that helped us most was planning for the worst case scenario of them being up the whole time, screaming and annoying everyone on the plane. We loaded the carry-on luggage with toys, diapers, milk, extra clothes, the whole lot.
While they didn't sleep much on the flight out of London, this was expected and we did all we could to keep them entertained. By the end of the flight, they'd had a collective of about two hours of sleep, during a time they'd normally get ten to twelve. This created their jetlag that would last for about three days after we landed.
I had really wanted to stay as near to the beach as possible as the promise of warm weather was too tempting to not be near the beach. We stayed about a block from the beach in Huntington Beach and this proved the right decision. Just about every day we went for a stroll around the beach, the pier or the boardwalk as the weather reached 27 degrees Celsius (85 degrees Fahrenheit). Huntington is know as 'Surf City' and there was no shortage of big waves and surfers to enjoy them. I really wanted to go out, but tough to do when you're with family on vacation.
One of the best parts was getting to spend time at the beach with the kids and Super Mummy. The weather was so nice and warm that I can't think of a day that I wasn't wearing shorts, a t-shirt and flip flops while we were there. I always tell people in London that on Christmas Day it is at least 20*C/75*F as this is normally the case. Fortunately, this year didn't disappoint and we loved the warm weather.
We used this time to get some great pictures, which we turned into Christmas presents for my parents and even managed to meet up with my best friend, his wife and seven month old daughter. This was a really a special time as we have been lifelong friends since nearly birth, grew up together, have birthdays within a few weeks of each other and now have kids that are less than two months difference. In our previous lives, we would spend Christmas night at the local bars after our family duties were over, so this year was a bit different.
Another one of the firsts that I was really excited about for the twins was their first time dipping their toes into the Pacific Ocean. Surprisingly, the water was exceptionally warm for this time of year and Rocket Boy totally loved it. The Princess seemed okay with it until a wave came and that was the end of it for her enjoyment. It was really interesting to watch them and see how they reacted to something totally new that they'd never even remotely experienced before. Wet sand seemed quite interesting to RB as he loved having the tide pull away and his feet sink into the sand. I think the Princess will need a bit more exposure next time as she didn't seem to care about it one way or another.
Christmas eve was spent with my Mom's side of the family at my cousin's house. The kids had no shortage of cuddles and attention, not to mention gifts. They got to meet Great Aunt and Uncles, third cousins and have their first taste of Christmas. When Christmas morning finally came around, we went over to my Mom's house to have breakfast and or the kids to open some presents she had gotten them. As we did Christmas with the kids before we left, as we didn't want to cart more toys onto the airplane, this was nice for them to enjoy. Christmas afternoon was spent with my Dad's family nearby and two of my cousins that I've always been very close to were quite quickly under the spell of Rocket Boy and the Princess. The twins took to everyone really well and were quite spoilt with affection and clothes.
For me, the best part of the whole trip was having two weeks with my wife and twins in a place that means so much to me, shaped me as a kid and adult as well as seeing my family who I don't get to see too often. Of all the things I wanted to happen during this trip, I'd say we achieved and surpassed with flying colours! It was a great trip and the kids even managed to sleep about eight or so hours on the plane ride back. Think they'll become very experienced travellers quite soon.