I've been doing a lot of that lately considering we just hit sub zero temperatures in MARCH. March is supposed to be the time when the birds start to come back and you can begin to feel the hint of spring in the air. It is not the time to have to dig the ice scraper back out from the pile of stuff its become buried under in the back of the car to chip away at the 1 inch layer of ice on your windshield at 8AM in the morning because there's no way your defroster is going to melt through that in the 25 minutes its going to take you to get to work.
But I digress. I really meant to tell you about our recent trip to CA. My boss was nice enough to send myself and the middle school youth minister to the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress at the end of February. When I moved to Minnesota, I always dreamed about being able to take a business trip back home, but never thought it would actually happen. The Congress was a four day seminar on Catholic Religious Education. It was awesome. Jim Wallis, author of God's Politics, was the keynote speaker on Saturday, and Thursday I was able to get to hear Mark Hart of Lifeteen speak twice. Plus on Friday Matt Maher played at lunch...just awesome. It was the first time since I've started this new job that I actually was someplace where I could get fed spiritually--that doesn't even happen at church much anymore, because I now attend church at the place I work and rather than being able to worship I'm constantly worried about worshipping right because I know people are watching...
But I digress again. Anyway, Congress was awesome, and we were able to be in CA for a week, so we were able to spend some quality time with friends and family. Did I mention this trip also happened to coincide with that unfortunate milestone birthday so many of us are celebrating this year? It was perfect timing. The first day we got there, we were able to hang out with my parents most of the day. My uncle joined us later that afternoon, and then we went out to dinner that night. Then Hubby and I went to the OC to check into the hotel my parents and uncle generously got for us (something about a concern that it wouldn't be appropriate for a high school youth minister to arrive at a religious convention with a severe case of road rage after having dealt with the southern CA traffic for the past two hours). The hotel was awesome--it had a huge koi pond in the center, and we got to see this little guy each morning at breakfast:
The next day was the first day of the conference, and I was able to meet Zack, a friend from high school, for lunch and get caught up. That night Hubby took me to a tea room in Orange for my birthday, and we joined my parents, brother and uncle at local Cheesecake Factory that night for dessert. My uncle got me a sympathy card for my birthday. A sympathy card. Those of you who know how old I am will understand the humor in this.
The next day Hubby and I had some time to ourselves after I was done at Congress, and we went out to dinner and then to see He's Just Not That Into You. It was cute. The following day it was more Congress and then a b-day celebration with extended family and friends at a local El Torito. Hubby and my mom did a great job of planning it, and it was really nice to see everyone. The next morning was the last day of Congress, and then Hubby and I had dinner with my family and longtime family friends. The next day was my b-day gift from Hubby: a day at Glen Ivy with a good friend. I love Glen Ivy. For those of you who have never been, it's an outdoor spa with different mineral baths and pools that are supposed to help you relax and with your skin. They have services there too, so of course we got massages. It was awesome, and over way too soon. We hung out again with my parents that night, and I met up with a girl that I haven't seen since we got married for coffee later. She was in high school when I was a youth ministry volunteer, and it was really awesome to see her as a grown 20-something-year-old woman. The next day, our final full day in CA, Hubby wanted to drive up to the mountains to get some pictures. I'm not really sure why we chose to go someplace with snow when we were in CA to escape snow, but it was fun. Here are some pictures:
That night we met some friends for dinner, and then caught the red eye back. It was a great trip, and over way too soon, but we were glad to be able to see everyone.