Friday, June 27, 2008

Sunday -Santa Monica and Universal Citywalk

On Sunday morning, we decided to snap a few pictures at my apartment before we melted for the day. This turned out to be a good idea! It was hot out and we melted quickly...
We left and went to the church my cousin, Jamie, has been telling me a lot about. Mosaic Church is where he attended before he moved too far away, and it's the place that's really helped him grow spiritually. I felt really blessed to be part of the worship there, and I might check out a few of their other campuses around the area.

After church, we had decided to head towards Santa Monica for the afternoon. I called up my cousin, Micah, and his brother Mark who is in town on a break from med school in Iowa. I was happy to hear that they could join us!

Waiting around for the guys...

After walking down towards the pier,
we decided to head back up to "The Promenade" to find a place for lunch. A few of us ate at this great Falafel place in the food court. The Promenade was a lot of fun, and I'd like to head back there again sometime -if for nothing else than to watch the REALLY talented street musicians!
Looking out at the pier, complete with an amusement park and lots of street vendors.
This is to show you how wide the beach is, which seems crazy because towards the ocean, there's this little dip in the sand that forms a great slope to lay out on, and it was still full of people! You'd think there would be enough space for everyone!

Me, Mark, and Micah overlooking the beach. Mark is the cousin I've probably spent the most time with as an adult, since he'd come back to Fergus to visit his parents and we'd get to hang out quite a bit. It's been a fun week to reconnect, both Sunday at the beach, and also yesterday when I went to Jim and Marilyn's house and just spent the afternoon hanging out. Micah and I went to high school together (and lived together in a trailer selling concessions in Canada for a summer!) but it's fun to live in the same town again and get to see each other more often!
I love being surrounded by cousins!!! Kristen and Mark both had a part in my sister's wedding almost 7 years ago, so it was really fun to reconnect them, and I'm not sure that Kristen and Micah had ever met. It was strange for me to realize that my cousins had never met, but since they're from opposite sides of my family, I guess that's pretty normal!
We took a few (well, MANY!) pictures all in a row which of course made us think of my mom -the queen of picture-taking. So, we decided to make a quick video for my mom to let her know we were thinking of her. Enjoy!

Santa Monica from Kari Swanson on Vimeo.

I love sailboats... Sailing on Pickeral Lake in Minnesota is sure different than what it must be like to be out in the ocean on a sailboat. I think I'd like to try it sometime!

It was fun watching this couple hit the ball back and forth for a bit.
I love the colors in this shot.
Micah and Mark enjoyed their time in the sun, and here I am, talking to Jared on the phone, so he's really in this picture too! Hi Jared! We're glad you could "join" us!! Now we were just missing Jamie, but Micah called him after Jared...

My beautiful cousin with her naturally curly hair after getting it wet in the ocean.
The story with this picture is that there were actually some dolphins out a little ways in the water, jumping up and diving back in. I tried to snap a good picture of them, but seemed to miss each time. It was REALLY cool to watch them having fun in the water! I'm so glad we got to see it!!
A couple of HUGE helicopters flying by.
I love the glistening sun...

and the waves.
Okay. This picture cracked me up! I had taken a long walk down the beach, and on my way back, I followed this family for a while. If you click to enlarge the picture, you can see the mom strolling along with her arm around her son's shoulder, without a care in the world. Then, you can see the dad wearing two hats, carrying three pairs of shoes, two backpacks, and a few other things in his arms. It still cracks me up!
Kristen snapped this picture, which is priceless! She saw this old man wandering around with his big hat, stockings to his knees and wearing sneakers while walking in the sand. She couldn't resist a photo of his silhouette, and I'm so glad she got it! Cute picture!

A last look at the sun and sand and waves and ocean before we decided to leave for the day. We had spent a wonderful afternoon at the beach!
After leaving Santa Monica, we went to Universal Citywalk. It's this outdoor mall area with shops and restaurants and lots of neon. It's a pretty fun place that's hard to describe.
We watched this artist for a little while. He does "experiential art" like my cousin, Scott. Creating art while people are watching. It's very cool to see the progression of the picture!
There's an outdoor fountain area that has water shooting up from the ground. The kids around were having a blast playing in it!
As a big fan of "Forrest Gump" it was fun to see the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co restaurant. We didn't end up eating there after hearing the food wasn't that great, but to be honest, I'd still love to try it sometime -just for the atmosphere!
I love that the neon sign telling you what you can do with shrimp actually shows up in this picture! If you liked the movie, enlarge the picture and get a good laugh!
Forrest's bench and running shoes...
complete with the suitcase and box of chocolates!
Kristen and I glowing in the neon lights.

A view down the main road of Citywalk.
Kristen and Merilee at our dinner restaurant.

After eating a great meal, we decided to enjoy some yummy chocolates we found at a great chocolate shop. Mmmm... chocolate and peanut butter... can it get any better?
After leaving Universal Citywalk, I decided to drive home via the south side of Long Beach, so I could show Kristen and Merilee that part of the city. We drove along Ocean Blvd, saw some great places I'll need to check out, and ended up at the marina. This is a poor picture, but you can see the Queen Mary which is a WWII troopship, turned hotel/restaurant spot/tourist attraction. It's on my list of places to check out and seeing it all lit up at night reinforced that desire.
I love the look of the lights all reflecting off the water.
The bridge is lit with some pretty fun colors!

So, that's a taste of our Sunday! It was a fun day -hope you enjoyed yourselves!


kristen hagen said...

Ahhh, that was such a fun day!! I am really enjoying all of your blogging about our excursions -- a good way to relive my vacation. :) It has finally gotten as hot up here as it was down least you have the option of going and jumping in the ocean when you get too hot!

Did I tell you I've been making smoothies for breakfast? They are really good with ice cubes and pineapple, in addition to all the ingreds we used at your place. yum! I'm off now to go make a strawberry rhubarb crisp...

Miss you tons!
love, kristen

Aunt Barb said...

Kari, your blog is amazing and I always have such fun reading it and enjoying your great pictures! Finally I am sending you a comment to let you know!!

By the way...your cousins from both sides of the family HAVE met before and I gave Kristen a couple pictures to email to you to jog your memory...they will take you back in time!


Leingang Family said...

You must LOVE being in California! You take the most beautiful pictures. It's almost like being there. Well, not quite but it's beautiful just the same. :o)

Jeff and Missi, T, Jake, Samuel and Dan said...

Once again I must say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the pictures of the ocean. Isn't it just so beautiful! And NO BUGS! You gotta love that! Hotel Del Coranado was one of our favorite spots in San Diego. I think you are on one big vacation and are just working on the side! : ) It's always fun to read your blog.... Missi

doug&margarethe said...

I'm glad you remember me even when you are at the beach!!! Thanks for the video! Glad you could all be together and have fun at the beach! And aren't you glad now for all the past photos to help us remember our many fun times. Glad I could give you a few laughs.. beautiful beach photos!