Golden State Escape

We’re back in the city after an exciting, relaxing and restorative vacation back home to Northern California. Nothing like traveling back in time to land far, far away to gain a little perspective.

Traveling to the airport and across the country alone with the kids was the easiest and smoothest to date… there were zero puke episodes on the 40 minute drive to JFK, and we made it into the airport and through security in record time. What a difference 10 months makes. My seasoned traveling toddlers knew the shoe and jacket removal drill like it was daily procedure, and the only real issue we encountered was placing Zoe’s babies in the buckets. It took three security guards to coax ol’ Tina and Baby Kitty out of her iron grip, but after a few tears and a quick belt travel, they were back right where they belong and pretty much stay every single day.

Note to self: Slip on shoes are MUCH easier to travel with.

We checked the stroller at the gate and boarded the plane, the kids excited and me discreetly wiping the cold sweat of anticipation off of my forehead. You can’t let them sense your fear, I thought. The other travelers sneered and rolled their eyes as we passed them in their seats. Flying with children would be so much more pleasant if it weren’t for other passengers judging and scooching away from us like we have a disease. Fortunately, I’m now a New Yorker, so guess how much I care about that any more? Rushed, impatient and self concerned travelers make up my neighborhood. You learn to ignore it.

Still, at their ages of 2 and 4, I can never really predict how they will behave and react to certain situations. They giggled and squealed in delight as the flight took off, and I laughed right along with them. We were excited for our vacation, and I wasn’t about to contain it.




They were really good. The only issue we encountered was the seatbelt sign, turbulence, and all three of us needing the lavatory at once. After a bit of a heated word exchange between me and an attendant, I left Jack in the bathroom by himself with the plane rocking, as I sat and waited in my seat as ordered. There’s a two person limit per lavatory, of course.




We landed safely and were greeted my mom and sister at SFO with open arms and excitement. There’s nothing quite like California air and the feeling of being *home*.

It had been close to a full year since our last trip across country to the place of our roots. The beauty and redundancy of a small town that never changes is really quite comforting to return to after living in a place of the extreme polar opposite. Friends and family welcomed us with love and smiles, and I saw feelings and expressions in my children that I rarely see normally. They were beaming and proud to be amongst people that love and care about them unconditionally.

We visited beloved close friends and family, our favorite old parks and haunts (including our favorite outdoor swimming pool), and spent a nice amount of time in the Santa Cruz Mountains at the home where Justin grew up. You can’t really compare that kind of nostalgia and home-y feel to anything, and I am so grateful that my children have this in their life-even though the times are few and far between right now. When we are in New York, they know that this place exists and for them it’s a place of comfort and freedom.








The kids planted trees, caught salamanders, and mixed cement for their own handprint stepping stones in Gran-Gran and Papa’s back yard. This was the ultimate vacation for them… just being kids.







I even got to go to our local Apple store and make a purchase that I’ve been waiting on, saving for, and anticipating for years. My first MacBook Pro. Welcome to the Shyba family, Pro, and helloooo productivity!

Grinning like a fool with my very first computer baby.

Our visit to California included a visit to the fabulous Four Seasons in San Francisco, of which I will share about in it’s very own post. That city is incredible-I cannot wait to share.

More than anything the time spent at home was really healing. We get so used to our daily routine amongst the hustle and bustle and being so far away from our support system that we forget how crucial it is to have in our lives. However, for me, New York City represents home and freedom. I’m happy here and I feel the most like myself than I ever have before. I imagine by the time Justin graduates dental school in 2013, I may be ready to move back to California because I know that it is best for my children. For now, though, the place where I grew up no longer feels like the place where I belong.

Maybe I can convince my entire family to move to New York? *ahem*

Join the Conversation


  • what a great west coast trip! and you never know about the family exodus to nyc – i’m from virginia and my brother moved to nyc first, then me, and then even our mom…

  • What a wonderful time with family and friends. It IS so important. Glad the trip went well. And congrats on your new “baby”. πŸ˜€

  • Love the pics! Looks like you had good weather too! We got out MacBook Pro about a year ago and I love it. I was strictly a PC gal but no longer. There is no turning back after you go Mac! Hope you enjoy yours too!

  • Amazing story telling. Lovely pictures. Happy Memories shared. I like how positive your blog is.

    I used to be the “Bloggoddess of Snark and Sarcasm” but I now have a new blog. Finding and falling in love with Harry, along with marriage and larger family, has really changed my heart, my thinking, and my world view. I love how you have strong sense of family. πŸ™‚

    Hugs, Lisa

  • oh lady, you KNOW i get this all too well. your dental school is my US Navy. i’m so thrilled that you got to spend such special time at home, with your family. i know it can be so very wonderful and perhaps not even appreciated (sometimes) until we are back in our day-to-day lives.

    (also, the shot of j and z holding hands in the airport is TO DIE FOR. you make such gorgeous and sweet kiddos.)

  • Enjoyed looking at your pictures and love the photo in your header. It was fun meeting you in NY.

  • Welcome back! I understand the torn feelings having called the South Bay AND NYC my homes, too, in addition to my native Tennessee.
    The pics are gorgeous, as usual.

  • Congrats on the new MAC. I adore mine and she’s an old lady by now. I just hope she stays strong and lasts me forever. Yikes! Hubby threatens to bring me back into the land of non-Mac and I won’t have it. I’m officially converted!

    You make me less worried about a quick 1-way trip from NYC to NC I have coming up with my lil one next week. I think it’ll be fine. Yay and hooray. I hope. πŸ™‚

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