This is an overdue post, but we’ve been resting.
Touring the US with a 1 year old is like traveling with an eccentric rock star who makes crazy demands that make no sense (“you must diaper me while I run screaming through the house”), throws food, and wets herself, but is also so adorable and exciting.
So it’s an adventure but it’s really tiring.
Here are some stats on our summer in the US
- 30 hours- total travel time (with flight delays) from Mozambique to the US
- 11 glorious hours- total time Lula slept on the plane to the US!
- 2.5 - months Lula and Mindy were in the US (Nils for about a month and a half- he had to shuttle back on forth.)
- 4 - number of weddings Nils managed to go to in only a month and a half
- 7 - number of cities/countries visited (LA, San Diego, Big Sur, Seattle, DC, New York, Mexico)
- 12- number of different houses/apartments/hotels we stayed in over the summer
- 16 million jillion- number of times we thought to ourselves ”wait- what the f? why are we moving around so much?”
There’s really too much to tell so let’s go with the highlight reel (in no particular order):
1. Fresh fruit in the summer in California is AMAZING. This is a picture of Lula covered in strawberry juice wearing, of course, nana’s hat.
We get fruit here, sure, but not a ton of variety and a lot of it is *crazy* expensive because it’s imported. So Lula was in heaven- she ate fistfuls of blueberries, mounds of juicy peaches and plums and tons of strawberries.
2. Hanging with Mindy’s nephews and nieces.
They are awesome and wild and we miss them massively. Hanging out with her cousins, Lula got lots of new words including “No!” and “Mine!” Her cousin Ella literally made Lula laugh so hard she fell down.
3. The beach house.
With Nana, we rented a little beach house in Ventura (“shabby chic” with the emphasis a bit more on the shabby part) and people came to visit- Jade, Micah, Rachel, Jenny, and all the nieces and nephews. We’d walk to this great park overlooking the ocean in the mornings
Lula discovered her deep, irrational love of chasing seagulls. She’s like Don Quixote but with birds.
Later, as it got cooler, we’d move to the beach, which was just a few houses down.
It was great to be able to spend so much time with Nana. And Lula loved playing with Nana- in fact, one of her first new words in California was “Nana”. As anyone who knows Vida (who once briefly but seriously considered officially changing her name to “Nans”) can imagine, she was *thrilled*.
She even watched Lula for a few days so we could attend Dawn and Justin’s wedding solo and take a mini vacation to Big Sur. Thanks Nans!
Grandma Delia makes amazing Puerto Rican rice and beans. Every Hernandez loves them. So you can imagine how happy Grandma Delia was when Lula tasted her first bite and let out a huge, “mmmmmmm” and then cleaned her plate. You could see Grandma’s heart swell. Then she began feeding the rice and beans to Grandma.
We also got to hang with Marc and Carie, which was great. We stayed with them for weeks (thanks guys!) and got to walk to what has to be one of the best parks in all of LA. I’d see Kendra (the ex-playboy bunny from Girls Next Door) at the park basically everyday.
Lula loved Marc and Carie and Marc would stick out his tongue at Lula which would make her laugh and do it back. Now, when we even mention his name she lights up and sticks out her tongue.
It’s cute, but Jenny and Mindy taught Marc’s children to scream “nipples!!” in crowded malls, restaurants, stores while making little o’s with their fists. That was cute and hilarious.
We were massively lucky to have Jenny around basically all summer. Just huge hearts everywhere.
6. Cruise to Mexico
With Mindy’s family we went on a cruise to Mexico. Cruises are weird. For good and bad, this picture says pretty much everything about the cruise.
We got off the boat in Cabo and took a little motorboat to a small patch of sand, which was quiet and pretty and great.
We got to spend time with some of our favorite people in the world in LA, DC, and NYC. It was fantastic.
Sadly, our camera was stolen at a Denny’s in Ventura so we have some picture gaps here.
In addition to above, you should be seeing pictures of the weddings of Alex +Shana, Justin+ Dawn, Tom+Brooke, and Micah+Sarah. And us weathering the “hurricane” in NYC with Anne, MT, Ramon, Tony, and Andres, playing in the park with Summer and Gus, Nils’ birthday in DC with lots of Woos (Grant! Liz! Brett! ABP!) Greengrass, Mike Moats, Al, Jan! Mindy eating In-N-Out on the beach at dusk with Jade, and an amazing visit from Meri (sorry again about the cat poop on your pillow!) and much more.
We got a new camera just in time for hanging with cousin Michelle, Brad and Gabo. Lula received her first kiss.
Cousin Michelle taught the kids how to play softball at a Capitol Hill cafe. It went about as well as you’d expect.
Since Nana is my mother and Uncle Sid is her father, we were totally unfazed by the dirty looks of people around us trying to have a quiet coffee at 7am as Lula and Gabo played t-ball under their tables.
Long story short- it was a fantastic summer. It’s been a long time since we felt like we had a real, long, old-school “summer”. It’s not something we’ll get to do often.
But it’s nice to be back in Mozambique after so much travel, and Lula is happy to have her room, toys and books back.
We already miss our people so make plans to come visit! (Ramon will be our first visitor- see you soon, Padrino!)
If you’d read this far, you have to be related to us. Like a close blood relation. Nana, is that you? Either way, thanks for reading! If you want even more, here are some
Lula at the beach house
Mindy surfing in Santa Barbara. You can’t tell how bad I am in this photo. Notice the massive waves.
Getting ready to board the plane back to Mozambique. Still so happy. Still so clean.
With Rachel and family in Ventura
Jenny and Ryan always eat this way. It’s really inefficient.
After 28 hours of travel, these were the stairs Lula wanted to climb
Uh, I’m not really a talker on plane- no offense, buddy. Keep to myself. Just eat my crackers and scream my head off sometimes like any other passenger.
Climbing stairs to the slide in Ventura.