After our day trip to Marfa, and an overnight stay in Van Horn, Texas, we headed to Salt Flat, Texas. The dry salt pan used to be a salt lake that dried up, and the result is the vast flat white land. The ground has this subtle sparkle from the salt, and after walking across the whole lake and back to our car, we could taste a bit of salt on our lips. There was only one other car that stopped alongside the road with us, but they didn’t stay too long. There is a marker that tells you a little bit about the history of the area, but other than that, most people probably overlook this area when driving by.
It was a warm day, but the slight breeze made it feel bearable. The white is blinding though, so our sunglasses stayed on. It was interesting crossing the expanse of it because there wasn’t much plant life or creepy crawling creatures, at least none that we noticed. There were bees flying, but that was about it. I took home a white branch as a souvenir.
White Sands National Monument was absolutely stunning. There is this large field of white sand dunes made of gypsum crystals. It totally trips you out because it looks cold (at least that’s what your mind tells you because it’s so reminiscent of snow), but it was so warm out. You don’t even attempt to wear shoes here because the sand is powder soft. We didn’t know what to expect, and was thinking it would be just like the salt flat, but this definitely exceeded our expectations. The whole area is so vast and we were just in awe at the beauty of it all; the glory of God is clearly evident in nature.
At the visitors center, you can learn more about the area and purchase a saucer sled ($15, but they’ll buy it back for $5). We drove around the dune field until we found the hill we wanted to go sledding on. I was a little nervous because we chose a steep one, so I made Ben go first. HA! I had butterflies in my stomach because I didn’t know what to expect, but oh man was that exhilarating. It was pure fun! I was happily shrieking as I made my way down. The uphill trek was a workout, but that trip down made it worth it. Ben and I felt like kids playing.
We will definitely be making another stop here with the girls one day. They would have a blast sledding up and down the hills. We were sending them videos of us sledding and they thought it was so funny how crazy we were screaming. From the salt pan, it was about a 2 hour drive to the white sands; these are definite road trip stops if you find yourself road tripping through west Texas and through the southwest part of New Mexico.
The big girls are coming home soon, but before they do, we wanted to take the babies on a quick getaway. So Sunday afternoon we made our way south to Carlsbad for a whole lot of relaxing, swimming, and ice cream. When we checked Sunday morning, the San Diego area was one of the few areas that didn’t have rain in their forecast, so we made reservations to go there. Well, on our way there we hit a really bad storm, and upon arrival, it sure was raining cats and dogs. We didn’t let that stop us though, and we still went swimming in the rain. After we were exhausted (and a wee bit cold) from swimming in the rain, we relaxed together in our cozy bed with a whole pint of ice cream.
The next day, we did much of the same… relax, swim, and ice cream. Don’t worry, we had carrots and tomatoes too, so the weekend wasn’t only low-nutrition foods. Our little babes kept excitedly yelling, “Two kid weekend!” It was actually only a quick overnight trip, but hey, I love their enthusiasm! We can’t wait for the big girls to be home (2 more days!), but until then, Ben and I (mainly Ben since I’m out of town) still have a couple more special outings planned for these two.
p.s. the rad pineapple sunglasses are from here.
We flew to San Antonio, Texas to drop off the girls, and then we did a mini road back home. Typically, when we go home from SA, we do the whole drive in one shot. We leave at 5am (TX time) and we get home around midnight (CA time). It’s a really long day, but we are just so anxious to get home, we get it done. This time though, since we were traveling without the girls, we thought it would be fun to take our time and make some stops. And since it was just a few weeks before our anniversary, we agreed to make this a mini anniversary trip and then do another mini road trip the weekend of our actual wedding anniversary. You put all the days together and we had a nice week together.
It was so strange to fly in to San Antonio and then leave the very next morning towards home. We basically said “hi” and “bye” to Ben’s mom and sister. From San Antonio, the drive to Marfa was a little over 6 hours. It would have been a little less, but we hit a really bad storm and had to drive super slowly because of the low visibility. Marfa is a small, peaceful town in the middle of nowhere. It’s known for the Marfa Lights, which we weren’t able to see, and some of their art installations like Prada Marfa. When we arrived, the weather was amazing. Several months back when we were considering a move to Texas, Ben looked up the Texas city with the best weather and Alpine, Texas was the winner. Considering Alpine is right next to Marfa, it makes sense why Marfa also had beautiful weather and wasn’t suffering from the sweltering heat like most of Texas. Or maybe we just happened to come at a really good time!
A few weeks prior to our trip, I looked at booking us a place to stay in Marfa, but everything was sold out. If I were going to stay there, El Cosmico looks fun and adventurous, or Hotel Paisano for a cozy ambience. Since we weren’t staying the night, we trekked on to Prada Marfa. It’s an art installation and not an actual store you can shop in. It’s about 30 minutes away from Marfa, and much closer to the city of Valentine.
I love the contrast of the faux storefront with the landscape. It really is in the middle of nowhere. It’s an interesting little stop should you find yourself driving through West Texas. We moved onward to Van Horn, which is where we booked a hotel for the night. I like historic hotels, and was interested in staying at Hotel El Capitan, but it was already sold out, so we ended up booking a random hotel through Hotwire. There’s still so much to share about all our stops, so get ready for a few more posts and loads of pictures!
With the big girls out of town, we’ve been trying to be intentional in giving the little ones some of adventures of their own. Thus, we took them to go orange picking at a local farm. They loved wandering through the grove, and they took so much delight in using all their might to pull an orange off the branch. Ben was in la-la-land walking through looking for fruit, and the girls were happily following along to see what they could pull off next. We ended up coming home with a 5 pound bag of oranges, several padrino peppers (they are delicious, so now we want to grow them!), and lots of tomatoes (can’t ever say no to pretty tomatoes!). The four of us agree that an afternoon of fruit picking is definitely a good adventure!
Mommy and Papi were taking us out for a surprise, so I thought that we were going to the Forum again because the last time we went to the Forum was to watch Marvel Universe Live. For that surprise, my mommy told my sisters and I to wear Spider-Man clothes. This time she did the same thing, but told us to wear Hello Kitty clothes.
I thought we were going to watch a Hello Kitty live show, but it was a party with lots of little shows. The party took place where the people were performing the Marvel Universe Live show. There were fashion mannequins, and the outfits they were wearing were cute!
The show said, “ALWAYS PARTY!” The music was really loud and Hello Kitty’s clothes were cute! It was fun watching the show with the live Sanrio characters.
My sisters and I wrote letters for Hello Kitty and I wonder if Hello Kitty got the letter. We got a Hello Kitty pin for writing the letters. My family and I went to Badtz-Maru’s Mortorcycle Garage and next to the garage was Badtz-Maru’s tattoo place! My family and I got tattoos. My Papi got a tattoo of all the characters, my mommy got a My Melody tattoo that said, “Lovely as a rose,” and True got a Twin Stars tattoo. I got a Chococat tattoo, Soul got a Hello Kitty tattoo, and Glow got the same tattoo as mommy.
When my sisters and I took a picture with Keroppi, I was pretending to be upside down like Keroppi! I liked taking pictures there because there were lots of fun scenes.
When we left, people gave us treats! When we got home, we looked at our treats. We got a Hello Kitty poster, bag, badge, and flashlight keychain. True and I got a program guide, some coloring pages, and origami paper, and other things. WE HAD SO MUCH FUN!
***After the show, Brave asked if she could write a report like her Marvel Universe Live one, so I happily obliged. She wrote all of the above, and I just corrected a few grammatical errors here and there.***
This post is in partnership with Sanrio. Hello Kitty’s Supercute Friendship Festival takes place at The Forum from June 12-14 (get tickets here). Check here for other tour dates to see if the show may be coming to a city near you. I’m always so thankful opportunities such as this (my girls are especially thankful for the perks), and also for the time you take to support me and this space.
I’m super late in sharing these images taken of some of our favorite fruits in Singapore. That trip jumpstarted something in Ben, it made him obsessed with rare and exotic fruits. His obsession has only gotten worse since he’s part of the California Rare Fruit Grower’s Association, and a viewing of The Fruit Hunters just continued to magnify his craze. Since our visit to Singapore last June, he’s been researching and filling our yard with some of the fruits we first tried in there. We can’t grow all the ones we loved because of our climate (to include a lack of humidity needed for some), but for the ones we can grow, he’s working on it!
Visiting the wet market was probably his favorite thing to do there. When I was teaching workshops, he loved walking around the markets. He would come back with bags full of fruit for us to try. Now that I think about it, when we honeymooned in Fiji, he loved walking around the markets there too!
Top photo (clockwise, from top left): Wax Jambu (we’re growing it!), but not growing the rest (Rambutan, Lychee, and Mangosteen – oh, but how we WISH we could grow Mangosteen!)
Next four photos: (1) Passionfruit (on left – we’re growing it!); Custard Apple (on right); (2 & 3) Dragon Fruit (not growing it, but it’s very drought resistant); (4) clockwise, from top – Passionfruit, Dragon Fruit, and Custard Apple