Ladies’ Escape: Laguna Beach

Six years ago, we began a treasured tradition with the women on my mom’s side of the family…girls’ weekend away. In March of 2005, we celebrated my grandmother’s 93rd birthday with a weekend in La Jolla. We set the bar high: great food (even in our little hotel rooms!), lots of laughter, entirely too much jockeying for “I want to tell my story” time (we are a family of talkers!), shopping in San Diego, eating out in interesting restaurants (we’re also a family of eaters!), and spending an entire weekend reconnecting with the women of our tribe. So good.

For Grandma’s 94th birthday in 2006, we celebrated with a weekend in Pasadena, including more great food, conversation, and a Pasadena Design Home tour, among other things. The next year we waited until fall for our getaway, and we were in Laguna Beach at my Aunt Krissy’s house to celebrate my mom’s birthday this time. At 95, Grandma had not been doing well, but she was back to her old self that weekend. Gourmet food in house and out, shopping, games, and laughter…that last weekend together turned out to be an even bigger blessing, because Grandma passed away peacefully in her home that week. We are so blessed to have had her in our lives all of those years, and to have celebrated family with her on her last weekend of life. The next year, we knew that Grandma would like the idea of us keeping up our girls’ weekends, so we spent the weekend in my sister Amy’s new condo in downtown San Diego. Such great memories, shown here. Then in October of 2009 we spent a beautiful weekend in Twenty-nine Palms, CA. It’s an unlikely destination that might actually have been my favorite place of all of our weekends together. Check out the pictures here and you’ll see why. Then last year we stayed at my cousin Lisa’s beautiful and artistic house in Claremont, a great artsy town that I’d never explored before. I only posted a couple of pictures here.

And I’ll make up for that lack of photos I posted last year with the plethora of photos from this year. Last weekend’s retreat at Aunt Krissy’s in Laguna Beach was quiet and relaxing. In fact, we didn’t even go into town or out to eat once! Our only excursion was to visit some model homes nearby, as we all share a love for great home design. And really, what reason could we have for leaving such a wonderful respite? We were well stocked with Trader Joe’s tastiness and even had a masseuse visit on Sunday morning before we headed back to reality. Thanks ladies, for another great memory.

We started the weekend on Friday night with dinner at the house and a game that Mom brought…I love my cousin Michele and sister Amy high-fiving in this photo! Competition runs in this family’s blood.

Cousin Lisa couldn’t make it this weekend because she was home making more of this gorgeous pottery for her upcoming sale.

We spent the first evening staying up late playing, with a little bit of crafting. I brought my Project Life weekly scrapbook and a sewing project. Even Michele, who claims not to be a crafter, made a million gorgeous bows to put on her Christmas presents this year.

The next morning I slept in. Well, I woke up at 5:30 and thought, “At home, I’d have another half hour or so until I need to wake up. Here, I could sleep another three!” I didn’t. But I think I made it past 8:00, which is a long time record. Amy and Mom made us these delicious bagels topped with cream cheese, lime marinated red onions, salmon, and fresh tomatoes. So good.

My niece, Baby K, is the newest Berg girl, and a sweet addition to our weekend. At least for those of us who didn’t have to sleep with her at night!

You stay away from that booze, Baby K!

And try not to get stepped on.

It doesn’t seem fair to take photos of homes that we’re only in for girls’ weekend, and then neglect to photograph Aunt Krissy’s beautiful place.

She always has interesting vignettes here and there, like this carved gourd and other objects of art.

After breakfast we just lazed about enjoying each other’s company, and eating more, until it was time to make lunch. Yes, that’s the way we roll in our family.

We were all thrilled to try Trader Joe’s new mache lettuce, which scared those of us who prefer our greens not so bitter. What a pleasant surprise! Apparently it is more nutritious than spinach, and totally mild in flavor. Think: butter lettuce with vitamins. I am buying this the next time I shop.

After lunch we visited some model homes nearby, looking for ideas. The biggest thing I learned is that someday I simply must create an entire wall of windows in my family room. And if I adopt enough kids, I can get a couch like this one, too.

And in the backyard, I’ll plant greenery along the back wall to give the illusion of a little escape, when really it’s just a suburban tract home.

What else should we do when we get home? Cook and eat, of course. It’s so pleasant to cook with other women, and without children underfoot. If I could embrace it morally, I could get into the idea of having sister wives. Except for the sharing of my husband bit. Not sure about that.

Then there was some late night crafting. Well, I thought it was late night crafting. I held out as long as I could until I was so totally exhausted and I knew it just had to be late enough for me to respectably go to bed. So I checked the time. “What the heck? No way!” I exclaimed aloud. Amy, another exhausted mother, thought to herself, “Wow! It must be even later than I thought! It must be 11:00 or something!” It was 8:45. Yes, that is the life of the tired mom. Feeling like you’ve lived it up into the wee hours of the morning. Even when it’s before 9:00.

Next morning, I just couldn’t stay in bed past six, so I wandered upstairs in the quiet house to relax on Krissy’s fainting couch. I was joined, one at a time, by the other ladies. Each time we squeezed one more into the little nook. What a pleasant way to wake up.

Then we had Uncle Stan’s ricotta cheese pancakes for breakfast. So fluffy, light, and delicious.

Time to pack up, but we couldn’t leave without our massages. Our friend Hilde did the honors. She also teaches hula and yoga. What a multi-talented woman!

The ladies together again. Next year, La Jolla at cousin Debby’s house.

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2 thoughts on “Ladies’ Escape: Laguna Beach

  1. High five for concisely explaining our custom for others. I was surprised that you took so many photos while seeming to just be laying around. Gee, I might have put on some jewelry or held in my stomach. Like the best of the photographers, you were unobtrusive. Well, sneaky. Thanks

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