The story behind the trip to Laguna Beach…a celebration weekend was in order!

I already shared some of the photos taken from our Laguna Beach weekend. It took some creativity with a calendar to carve out an entire three-day weekend in the busiest month of the year, but we had a reason to prioritize a get-away.

Curve of Coast Dana Point

We were cashing in on a belated  Mother’s Day present. In May I had promised my mom a full day of shopping in Laguna Beach.  A day at the beach would also be a late spring kick-off to a season we hoped would be full of many little get-aways.

Palm Grove

But in early May –before we even made it to Mother’s Day, my dad ended up in the hospital. A really tough bout with pneumonia left him so weak he had trouble swallowing his food without choking or aspirating. There are so many muscles involved in the swallowing process and you need to be physically strong for everything to work as it should.

Six months of speech therapy to strengthen those tricky muscles and rebuild the swallowing reflex coupled with months of sticking close to home and following  a bevy of doctor’s orders…

Rocky Plateau

And I’m delighted to report that dad is stronger and in better overall health than we could have anticipated.

So this was our celebration weekend.

For mom it was a delayed Mother’s Day shopping spree…we jump-started Christmas shopping instead.

And for my dad, I wish I had thought to take a picture of him thoroughly enjoying his restaurant meals.

palm and rocky cliff

Although it has been very hard for me to watch my parents go through such a difficult time, I’ve also found it lovely to watch them stay solid in their commitment to one another, unwavering in their personal faith, and disciplined to follow through with all of the therapies while patiently waiting for answers.

So it was absolutely necessary that we finally make it to Laguna, and instead of just a shopping day, extend to include an entire celebration weekend.

We had such a good time, we may need to make this an annual event.

And this week there are four of us ALL breathing lighter!

70 thoughts on “The story behind the trip to Laguna Beach…a celebration weekend was in order!

  1. It’s wonderful news to read that your Father is doing so much better, Debra. So good, in fact, that you all could take this little get-away together. And you certainly chose a nice place. Laguna Beach looks beautiful. I certainly hope you all can find time to spend more weekends together. Sounds too nice not to.

    • Thank you so very much, John. My dad had a very difficult six months. He was on a g-tube for all of that time, and had to rely on my mom to help him take in a liquid diet by artificial means. As hard as that was, though, it was so calorie-rich that he gained weight, got stronger, and is now better than he’s been in a couple of years. And the tube was taken out the day before we went to Laguna. So there have been some really wonderful changes in the last couple of weeks.

      And I told my dad that I’m now going to start making him ice cream. I have your summer recipes bookmarked on my iPad and we will be eating summer ice creams in December…I might have to adapt a little for “fresh” fruit!

      • Well, that is very good news! Your family get-away was so much more than that. It was a celebration — and well-deserved. I really am happy for you, Debra, and your family.
        If you’re going to make Dad ice cream, I cannot recommend more highly the Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream recipe. Hands down, it is the favorite ice cream among all of my family and tasters. I’ve even had people offer to buy the supplies for another quart.
        Here’s the link. Do feel free to delete it if you don’t wish to have links posted in your Comments section. I’ll understand. :)
        http://fromthebartolinikitchens.com/2011/06/08/blueberry-cheesecake-ice-cream/

      • Perfect, John. And I can easily still get blueberries. I think I may have this on my iPad screen, but I’ll check. When you began posting about the ice creams I was already looking ahead to when it would be time! I’ll let you know! Thank you!

    • Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my good news, Tilly! I am feeling very relieved about my dad’s healthy renewal! And Laguna Beach is really quite a destination. I need to find another reason to plan a celebration so I can return soon! :-)

  2. What a wonderful weekend it looks to have been. Glad you’re thinking about making it an annual event, Even gladder your Dad’s doing ok xo

    • Sounds like you’ve been to New Jersey. This past summer I asked one of the locals why the lowest numbered street was 7th. He said there used to be a 1st. Gives the description beach front a new meaning for me.

    • Frankly, Carl, no! I have never wondered about the street names at the beach. But you can be sure that I’ll notice now! LOL! And we have the double concern because with earthquakes, the concern is even more so. Who knows if the whole coastline might just break off some day! Oh no!

  3. I’m so glad you dad recovered. What a stressful time for you all. It’s so worrying when you see your parents begin to become frail. My mother recently fell and broke her leg and needed an emergency trip to the hospital in an ambulance and then surgery, then re-hab, then home with assistance etc. It’s been quite exhausting and very sad to see. It sounds like your mom and dad have a rock-solid relationship which is wonderful xx

    • I am so sorry to hear about your mom’s accident, Charlie! When anyone, at any age, is accustomed to independence, having an accident or illness interfere with mobility and freedom is a huge emotional blow. And it’s hard on the families, too! I hope your mom is getting along well and healing? My dad has been very fortunate to have my mom. She has really been an excellent “caretaker” and I know that if he’d not had her to be so devoted to his needs we would have had a whole different set of problems. For now, all is well! Thank you for sharing in my happiness…and I hope you have a good resolve to your mom’s accident, too!

    • Thank you, Frank. I’m glad you liked the first photo. I was surprised at how nicely it came out. I took a lot of photos to get just a few that are really good. What did we do before digital! LOL! And thank you for your kind words regarding my parents. I have really been impressed at how they handled so much pressure without complaint. They have really been strong and they are really good examples to the rest of their family! :-)

  4. I’m so glad your dad is doing so much better. What a heartwarming story this is, it made me feel so good to see how your family pulled together and maintained their faith through such a difficult time. This was definitely the perfect celebratory shopping trip! Great photos too!

    • Thank you so much for your kind thoughts. Yes, we really did rely on team work. My parents live across the street so that was definitely a convenience. I was able to pop in frequently and make sure they were okay, but also just to visit. They didn’t have much freedom to move about for several months. But for now, all is well. One thing I really admired in them was how to face adversity without complaining. I never heard them whine and moan about anything…I have a way to go before my family will be able to say that about me! :-)

  5. A wonderful way to celebrate, not only a belated Mother’s Day, but all that your family, especially your mom and dad, have gone through and accomplished since May. We keep learning from our parents, don’t we, no matter how old we get? Your pictures are lovely, Debra, and your story inspiring.

    • Thank you, Penny. I have thought of some of the lovely things you said to me when I was having a very hard time this past spring. I was so worried for my dad at the time, truly not knowing what the future was going to look like for him, but you were very kind and reminded me not to run ahead, but to take it one day at a time. You shared from your heart about when your parents were so ill. That stayed with me, and I want to thank you. For now, all is well, and I do completely consider us very fortunate. I appreciate you! oxo

  6. Your story and outcome are great to read!!! Thanks so much for sharing the good news. Tell them “hello” for us!Love, Kathy

  7. Great to hear that your dad continues to get stronger, Debra.

    Like you, I am counting the days to Les Mis. I have misgivings about seeing it on a screen after loving it so much on Broadway.

    • Thank you so much, Koji. I was eager to share the reason behind our trip to Laguna Beach. I’m glad you enjoyed the photographs. It’s easier to accomplish good photos when the subject is beautiful. And the coastline is gorgeous, don’t you agree?

  8. Dear Debra, this is a lovely posting. I’m so glad to learn that your dad is so much better and that all his therapy has brought him to where he can truly enjoy a long-weekend outing with his family. I remember your earlier postings when he was so ill. You are, and I hope you know this, a good daughter. One devoted to her parents. And that must be a gift they deeply cherish. Peace.

    • Thank you so much, Dee. I am very close to my parents, and we as a family are quite a tight unit. I am so grateful that Dad is doing so well. He has had a rough year, but it’s ending well. Thank you for your very sweet comments. I so enjoy sharing with you!

    • Thank you for the compliment on the photos. I am working at it, yes, but when I take so many something always comes through that’s special! Of course, Laguna Beach is a nice subject to photograph. :-)

    • Thank you, Nancy. I have friends who choose Laguna Beach as their family destination each Christmas. They don’t do any gift sharing or make a big deal out of any festivities, they just all pool their resources and go for several days right at Christmas. I’d be in favor of that…I have to work on everyone else to convince them it’s a great idea! :-)

  9. How wonderful that your parents have a loving and devoted daughter like you. I’m so relieved that both are now healthy and can enjoy spending such a wonderful trip with you. The weather, the sound of the ocean, must all have been so healing for them.. and you. xx

    • Thank you so much, Barb. I am very fortunate to have a close relationship with my parents. I live across the street…through the years we’ve probably both wondered if that’s a great idea, but at this season in our lives it is very convenient. It was very nice to have the opportunity to get away during such a busy season. Thank you so much for sharing in our happiness! :-)

  10. Debra, it was so touching to read the reason for your trip. It’s been a hard year for your family and to have your father so much recovered and able to enjoy the weekend is lovely.

    • Thank you for your kind response to my Laguna Beach post, Perpetua. I have a very thankful heart this Christmas season. Earlier this year I really didn’t know for sure that my dad was going to be here…he was so incredibly ill and weak. But we are celebrating, and our time together on vacation was special. We haven’t done anything like that in years! oxo

  11. Debra, so utterly delighted that this trip marked the close of a worrying episode and the beginning of a Christmas of celebrating togetherness as a family. You and I went through similar things at similar times- I am chuffed to bits that everything is now going back to something approaching normal. Love to you all.

    • It’s taken me a while to get back to your thoughtful comment, Kate, but I read it when it first came in and had to smile. I have thought of you and your family so many times, hoping that all was well regarding your Mum’s health. Yes, we were both experiencing heavy times earlier this year. I’m delighted to know that things are well for you, too. One of the challenges of blogging is that we learn about one another, care about situations when they don’t seem to be well, yet sometimes the stories that connect to our families aren’t exactly ours to share openly. It’s a challenge being real, and at the same time, respecting privacy. We are ending the year well…and that’s a blessing for us both! oxo

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