The Grand Del Mar

This place was LUXURIOUS. I mean, as we’re walking through the hallway to our room the boys both turn and look at me and say, “mama, i think this place is too nice for us.” Yes, they were so right. We have stayed in beautiful hotels all over the world. But we’re talking palatial. But not in a bad way, you would think the staff would be snotty or stare at me funny as my three shoeless children run through the lobby in their wet bathing suit clad bodies. Nope. not once.

It’s set a few miles from the beach and looks like a Tuscan villa. Literally, with all the land and gorgeous trees you could possibly fool yourself into believing you were in Italy. I believe there are only 200 rooms, beautiful golf course, and fabulous spa. And you know me and spas, I can be kinda picky. It was awesome. You know how irritating it can be to go to a beautiful hotel and then be nickel and dimed while you’re there? For instance, you get charged for internet service, valet parking, water, using the spa on a day you don’t have a treatment? That kind of stuff ┬áR E A L L Y gets under my skin. I hate it. Well, this place is not like that. In fact, we had fresh fruit or chocolate covered strawberries delivered to our room every day, fresh bottled water each night, free internet, free valet, use of the spa all day any day. You get my drift.

We spent a glorious week here and the majority of my family never left the resort except for a few dinners in Del Mar. We ventured to the beach one day, Legoland another, and then all the days in between we never left the pool. Nice segway into pool talk. Pools are important to me since I have 3 kids that think gills have replaced their lungs. There is an adult pool, right near the spa that I heard and saw was gorgeous although never personally lounged by it. Then there are 2 other pools, and a wading pool, all for kids. Next to the larger pool there is sand. Yes, sand. You don’t even have to go to the beach to build a sand castle. The poolside food was fantastic as well.

There is a huge grassy area in front of the hotel, basically like a rolling hill at a park. The kids ran on that several times before and after dinner. And all over the hotel you find fire pits.

Since there are 5 of us and we we can’t do normal hotel rooms anymore, you try fitting 5 people in 2 double beds. It doesn’t work. Especially when one of them is just like his Tati and kicks the neighboring child out of the bed. My mom foresaw this problem and got us a suite. This is not your normal suite. There was a living room with a pull out sofa and then a bedroom, but somehow there were 4 flat screen TVs. Oh, and a bathroom. How about 2 full bathrooms with a total of 4 sinks. It was perfect for us. And there were 2 sitting chairs that came together perfectly to make Greta’s bed. The first night she spent on the floor in a sleeping bag and then insisted on laying “on somethin’!” Here’s some photos of the hotel and our room just to give you an idea of what we destroyed while staying there.

The view from our room of the Adult Pool.

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One of the 2 identical bathrooms.

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Down this hall is the espresso/gelato cafe who also made awesome sandwiches for our day trips.

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The whole crew.

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Anderson Family

I have had to keep this photo shoot under raps for awhile. This was a 50th wedding present for their parents, and since their anniversary is over, I can now share! This has been the largest family to date that I’ve had the chance to photograph. And I realized after doing this shoot that I am really good at telling people what to do. As if you didn’t already know this information.

We went to the Santa Monica Pier, and in between doing big group shots, sibling shots, grandchildren shots, we made some time for some individual family mini sessions. Here are some of my faves. I haven’t had a chance to update my photo blog yet, but more from this shoot will be on there this week.

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Quick Note: Saturday from 2pm-4pm the kids are having their first lemonade stand. There will be lemonade and homemade cookies for sale for 25 cents each. If you know where I live and are reading this, you better come. If you don’t know where I live and want to stop by, send me an email. The kids have already painted their signs and all the ingredients are bought. It will be pretty darn cute and the cookies, I promise will be awesome. See you there!

What I am loving right now.

Listening to this non-stop.

Watching the kids peck away on this, courtesy of Craigslist.


My new pillows, courtesy of Pier One. Soon I will share my new living room, well, it’s not new, but I made a bunch of changes. Some of these are in my bedroom, which has also seen some changes.

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These guys, purchased at West Elm.


These shoes. Thank you


And last but certainly not least. Check this out, our new record player! How fun is that. And it’s portable! If only we had some records to play. . .


pizza making

We have adopted Wednesday nights as our pizza making nights. The house looks like a flour bomb exploded once we are done, but the kids couldn’t be more thrilled with the whole thing.

And after trying both white and whole wheat dough, the consensus among everyone is whole wheat is much better. The kids all voted that homemade pizza is way better than any other pizza they’ve ever had. I agree.

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Ojai- Food

Yes, I had to dedicate an entire post to food. We eat a lot on vacation. The kids eat a lot on vacation. Well, my kids eat a lot all the time, but when they are swimming, you cannot get food into their stomachs fast enough. All. Day. Long.

This family loves to eat. I often don’t eat enough due to the constant food preparation for consumption by my 3 little people, but when I have the chance. I can eat with the best of them. And most of my friends know I love beer. The pub at Ojai has a great beer sampler I highly recommend. Prepare to be hungry.

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The kids drink smoothies in the summer ALL the time. An “after breakfast right before camp” snack and usually an after dinner snack. On vacation they usually drink them twice a day, every day. I just love these next two photos, with the kids in birth order and their smoothies afterwards, in the same order. You can totally match up their leftovers with each kid.

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Polaroids from Ojai

We are home! But we’re sad. We had a fantastic time. But I can’t post pictures yet because there’s 600 photos I have to go through. So I figured I better work chronologically and finish posting our Ojai photos. One trip at a time. wink wink

But I can tell you the the place was amazing. I would recommend it to anyone. With families. Without families. Girls weekend. Boys weekend. Couples retreat. It’s fantastic. And the guests were from all over the world, a lot from Europe and of course we met many Angelenos there on a quick getaway. It’s the perfect distance to Legoland, SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo, Wild Animal Park, etc. The weather was great, not too hot, but just right. We had one morning of drizzle, it was our last day, which we didn’t complain about because it made leaving that much easier. The kids all cried when we walked down the hallway for the last time. Greta repeatedly asking if we could live here forEVER. One minor drawback, no washer and dryer. We had gotten used to staying in condos with washers and dryers so that mid way through we could do some laundry. You have no idea how much you have to pack for 5 people for 8 days. With restaurant clothes, beach toys, pool toys, amusement park clothes, as many swim suits as we own, I can go on. But here’s the regular post from our Ojai trip last month:

I don’t know why I haven’t posted any polaroids, probably because it involves taking my scanner down from the kids’ art closet and it’s a pain in the butt. You will be seeing more polaroids soon, I have a house project that I am working on, and I can’t wait! Needless to say I scanned the polaroids from our trip to Ojai, here they are.

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