Tag Archives | san diego

Tag Archives | san diego

spring fever

My family has had a rough go of winter this year.  It seems at least one of us has been sick since Christmas!  We were supposed to spend our first weekend of Spring Break at the beach, but Grae, Stella, and Brady were all still down and out by the time our trip was planned to leave, so we missed our weekend plans in California.  By Tuesday, everyone seemed to be on the mend, so we decided to not waste a week of no school and head down to the beach after all!  It has been my experience that these little last minute trips are usually my favorite.

Instead of planning our whole itinerary or scheduling around other people, we made a little list of things we wanted to do while we were there and each day we crossed a few off.  This was the funnest way to travel!  Everyone made suggestions on the list and we had fun seeing what was next and having our options right in front of us.  Traveling can be stressful, especially with young kids.  We have learned a few tips along the way that has made life a little easier for us.  Enjoying the journey and not just the destination is crucial, I think.  What takes my sister 6 hours to drive by herself, takes my family of five 8 (sometimes 9) hours.  We stop often to keep everyone happy.  Being in a hurry and having high expectations are serious enjoyment killers on a trip, I will tell you what.  We have had trips where we had too much planned and we all ended up bickering most of the time. Here are a few of my own little tips for making life on the road a little easier with the little ones.


We tend to be on the road a lot as a family.  We get restless and thirst for adventure every so often.  I love being at home, but I also love experiencing that home is where we’re all together.  For us, home is also at the beach, it’s in the car on long drives, it’s experiencing new things together, eating our favorite foods together, living our lives together.  Sometimes hitting the road is just exactly what we need as a family to reconnect and reboot.  My girls are such good little travelers (Grae not so much) and I looooove seeing their little faces light up at that first peek of the beach.  On the ride home, I love my long chats with Brady about life and goals and who we are to ground me and to connect us as a couple.  I love watching Grae experience these family traditions for the first time and seeing how she adds to our family dynamic.  This trip was a sweet one, and I look forward to more adventures with this crew of mine.

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grae’s first trip | how we beach

Last month we took our first trip as a family of five and kicked off our miller’s summer bucket list.  It was such a relaxed trip and will go down as one of my favorite memories with my family.

I get asked a lot about where we stay and what we do in California.  My sister lives in Oceanside in North San Diego County.  It’s about 6 hours from where we live in Southern Utah and we make it out there as often as  possible.  We all love the beach, but it gives us a chance to catch up with family and get away.  We are so lucky to have family to stay with so we’re able to go down more often.  We have mastered doing a lot of fun things that don’t cost a lot of money.  So, if you are planning a Southern California getaway, this post is for you. ;) On this week’s vacation, we did almost all of our favorite things.

First thing first, I like to incorporation traditions wherever I can.  We all get a fancy starbucks drink when we leave early mornings.  This gets everyone out of the house a little easier and sets our trip off on the right foot.

When we get to California, the first thing we do is drive by the ocean with our windows down.  No matter if it’s midnight or noon, we drive by the ocean with no exception.  Auntie has her own little tradition with having a surprise for the girls as soon as we get there.  They have to close their eyes and hold out their hands (their favorite form of surprise).  Sometimes it’s a little tricker for them to play with while they’re there or sometimes a treat, but it’s always a highlight for them.

These are all simple things that we do that I know will lace together so many rich family memories for my children.

My number one suggestions of fun and FREE thing to do?  The beach, obviously.  This is likely what the kids will want to do everyday anyway and did I mention it’s FREE?? It’s fun for everyone! Don’t fill up your days with the zoo and seal world and legoland and disney.. choose one expensive thing to do (if you really want to) and the rest of the days?  Plant yourself in the sand, feel the breeze on your face and let the sounds of giggles and splashing take you to your happy place.  I was surprised this year by how easy it was to take a newborn to the beach.  I just wore her the whole time and kept her covered by our favorite aden and anais blankies.  A nursing friendly suit makes for a happy mama and happy baby.
*new mom tip* for a hot beach day with a baby, simply wet a swaddle blanket for a perfect way to shade and cool your babe.


 Everyone loves the beach!

One of our other favorite things to do in Oceanside is the Thursday night market.  Booths and booths of delicious food, treats and all other forms of goodies.  We load the kids in the wagon and go enjoy our evening.  This is also where I get our world famous caricatures.

 This year we crossed riding the train off our summer bucket list.  We always talk about doing it and this time we made it happen.  WORTH IT! It really was so fun.  The kids loved being able to ride the train (no car seats!) and they ride for free which makes this little endeavor super budget-friendly.  We took the train 40 minutes or so to Old Town in San Diego which has cute little shops (perfect souvenirs for your trip) and THE BEST mexican food I’ve ever had in my life at Barra Barra.  Oh, and the kids eat for free there as well. WIN-WIN.  We have decided that will be a staple on our trips from here on out.

Of course, fill in the gaps of your trip with lots and lots of beach time.
*beach tips*
We seem to have mastered taking kids down to the ocean, so here is what we never go without…
Sunscreen! Everyone needs it.
Food – the more food, the happier your little beachlings will be.
(we love red and white market’s deli for sandwiches and we can get snacks and drinks there which makes it easy)
water – water- water
Shade – a canopy or an umbrella is a great investment if you’re planning on spending more than an hour at the beach.
dry set of clothes for the kids to walk home in (a sweatshirt over a swimsuit will work)
Baby powder! Splash some powder on those sandy feet and the sand will dust right off.  So much easier than showering off and trying to avoid sand on the way out.
A wagon to load things (and tired kids) to and from is an excellent bonus.  We use a wagon way more than a stroller on our beach trips.

 Another favorite place to eat is Yellow Deli.  It’s all fresh, organic, homemade ingredients and such a beautiful location.  If you’ve never been to yellow deli, you need to try it!  It’s quite an experience.

But mostly importantly, our trips are about family.  Don’t get so caught up in the itinerary you’re missing enjoying your vacation.  Sometimes taking a day to lounge around the beach house is important to reset.  Getting exhausted on vacation is so not the point, in my opinion.

This trip was a special one, welcoming little Grae into our adventurous family.


If it’s possible, we fell even more in love with her this week at the beach.

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A day at the beach

There is nothing that feeds my soul more than watching my little girls run along the sandy beach, the waves chasing their little feet, the squeals and giggles as the warm sunshine tickles our skin.

 This Auntie… swoon!

 My sweet nephew Tage, he’s grown so much since this.

I’m currently booking sessions in Southern California for this summer.  Email me if you’re interested! cassmillerphoto (at) gmail (dot) com.

xoxo, C

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phone dump – vacation style

Our first California trip of the year was a total success!  My nephew was with us for the week while his mama was vacationing to the Dominican Republic so he and my mom came along for the ride!  We had such a relaxing trip.  It was just what we needed!  California truly has half my heart.

Obviously, our first priority is which Chipotle we’re stopping at first.  I time our departure based on our Chipotle trips alone.

This for me = pure bliss

I’d like to tell you Stella has drastically improved in her traveling since her first year (and second!) of screaming 6 of the 7 hours there.  I really would.  However, I would be bold face lying to you.  She doesn’t scream bloody murder anymore, we’ll give her that.  Now she has words and she knows how to use them.  But the whining and the “MAAAAAAAM!” every 20 seconds makes me wonder if the screaming was actually better.  At least the screaming wasn’t directed at me personally.  The thought of traveling with Stella makes my chest all splochy.

Her cuteness is her only saving grace in these types of situations.

 The very first thing my girls do at Auntie’s is wait not-so-patiently for their prizes.  That Auntie.. She always has something for them.  They’re spoiled, but not quite rotten which is a good mix I think.

Each morning the girls would bring me a lovely little bouquet from Auntie’s walkway.  I don’t care who you are, getting flowers from your kids never gets old.  Not even when they’re really weeds.

One morning I placed my bouquet down on this book.  When I went back to get it, I thought, Yep.  You’re right.  Heaven is here.

Thursday market is the highlight of our Oceanside life.  I have to find someone who makes those black and white sugar cookies here.  Heavens to betsy!

I love the food, the girls love the wagon ride.

HELLLOOOOO! From Stella on the balcony!

date night with my lover – cali style!  What a special treat! (except for we accidentally saw a horror movie and the Lord knows my tender heart can’t handle horror movies… I barely slept the rest of the trip.)

Is there anything better than sister time at the beach, you might be asking?

The answer is absolutely not.

This sunset was SO beautiful.  It was so neat letting the girls watch the sun dip completely into the water until it was gone.

With great company as always!

I have grown so completely fond of this little adventure crew of mine.  Seeing them all in a different city makes me realize just how lucky I am to have them for real.

 We tested out the ol’ mini van’s full capacity.  And I must say, it felt good.

I always think visiting Auntie is a great idea… until it’s time to leave.  Seriously it gets harder as the time rolls on.

The ride home was actually not as brutal as most travel is with Stella.  She slept for a good chunk and was kept busy by trader joe’s groceries-a-plenty!  The only problem was.. while i was busy assisting everyone else with potties before we left.. I forgot to go myself.  And that 32 ounces of diet coke wasn’t doing me any favors.  I had to seriously suck it up because I was not disrupting the peace for nothin’!  Good thing I have the worlds largest bladder. (And I’m dead serious when I say that.. a surgeon who has seen it up close and personal told me so!)

You did us well, California.  You always do.  We can’t wait to see you again!

“Real” pictures on the beach are coming soon to a computer screen near you! ;)

xoxo, C

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