My last post (check it out here) left off with us in Yuma, on the way to Mexico for Christmas. Heading south of the Border as a family is something I’ve wanted to do for a while- but it seemed that the fear of the unknown always stood in our way- where to cross, where to stay, how to get there, would people hate Americans given the current situation of our political leadership, etc.
Being a part of a large caravan, arranged by FullTime Families, alleviated many of these concerns.
Our route was fully supported by a Mexican police escort, which not only provided safety but also smoother interactions with border agents and with crossing through big cities, such as Mexicali.
After talking with the head of our group, border security took one 2 minute look through our rig, and didn’t even bother to check out the kids birth certificates or stamp our passports (which honestly, was a little disappointing).
We re-convened on the Mexican side of the border, and the kids had a chance to play next to the “wall” while we waited for everyone to get back in formation, and then we were off (our rig is in front here).
With the escort blocking off the streets for us, our travel down to San Felipe was smooth and uneventful.
Leg 1: San Felipe, Mexico
Our accommodations were already arranged as well- we were camping at Victor’s RV Resort in San Felipe, B.C., a small town on the Gulf of California.
Victor’s turned out to be a beautiful location, with plenty of sand for the kids to play in, and a nicely covered Palapa for us to gather for potlucks and game nights, which our group did frequently.
I had quite a few pleasant runs along the beach, we took a little field trip to the Giant Cactus Farm as a group, and enjoyed fresh tacos, tortillas, and churros right along the boardwalk.
It doesn’t get any fresher than this!
We visited the San Felipe Lighthouse as well, and spent plenty of time playing in the sand and between the trailers.
Ellie reprised her role as the quintessential beach dog…
Always keeping a watchful eye on her charges:
The kids even picked up (and used) quite a bit of Spanish, and the exchange rate between Pesos and Dollars added a in bit of math work to keep our brains active during the school break.
The best part of it all was the new friendships we were making- each of the kids found some great friends, and us adults made some nice connections as well. Everyone says how hard it must be finding community on the road- but I honestly couldn’t have felt more surrounded by caring people during our stay there.
Here’s our rig’s “living room”, all decorated and ready for Christmas! I actually had more fun decorating our trailer than I do our house at home- it felt less cluttered, and more manageable somehow.
I especially enjoyed the Christmas Eve candle light vigil on the beach- it was such a beautiful way to celebrate our faith, and so wonderful to be surrounded by new friends who shared it as we sang Christmas songs, and honored Jesus’ birth.
On Christmas day, in addition to Santa’s visit to our own rig (turns out he could find us just fine in Mexico!) there was a white elephant gift exchange, and the kids enjoyed breaking out their new Laser Tag game and riding 4 wheelers on the dunes nearby.
I had waited until the last possible minute to finish my Christmas pajama sewing, but finished just in the nick of time on Christmas Eve, so that the kids could wake up to a new pair of PJs to honor the day.
Christmas Pajamas on the Sand!
What a view to wake up to, too! The kids shirts are all made from Jalie 2918 (men’s tee) and the boys bottoms are the Parsley Pants from Made by Rae, modified to have a yoga waistband. Sophia’s pants are the Portlanders pattern- always a great fit from all three of these, with a little room to grow!
You can see they’re pretty happy to be continuing our Beach Christmas PJ tradition:
I even made a pair for Sophia’s new friend, who just happened to be her same exact size- they were so adorable twinning together! (All fabric for these was from The Fabric Fairy). A local helped us out by snapping a family photo on Christmas day- winning!
Mexican Beach Hoodie in San Felipe, MX
I couldn’t resist squeezing in a bit of selfish sewing as well- putting together a classic Mexican Beach hoodie using the Studio to Street pattern (Greenstyle) and a textured double knit from So Sew English.
Since it was a double knit, I didn’t even have to line the hood- I just let the reverse side of the fabric serve as the waistband, cuffs and lining.
I did use a smaller seam allowance (1/4″ instead of 3/8″) because the fabric didn’t have as much stretch as was called for, and the sleeves in the pattern tend to be a little slim fitting anyway.
I accented the hood seams, cuffs and waistband with a reverse coverstitch detail, and added a kangaroo pocket.
Being on the beach just makes me so happy!
After a week, we were sad to leave, but looking forward to the next leg of our adventure- a family reunion with my husband’s extended family in Los Angeles.
This time the border crossing back wasn’t quite as easy, since we were on our own, and there were some real nail biting moments when Google tried to take us on a few back alleyway shortcuts through Mexicali, but we finally made it to the other side.
Stopovers: Lake Medera and San Diego
We made a couple hops on the way up to LA- one for the night in Lake Medera, where the kids had a snowball fight in the morning (it was chillllyyy there- our pipes even froze!), and whipped out their winter coats for some playground play. This was quite a shock after our warmer Mexico weather, but a little fun, too. I went for a morning run around the lake, enjoying the peace and quiet there.
We spent another night at Campland in San Diego, dropping in on my dad and stepmom, who were more than happy to supply the kids with ice cream to make up for their hard work in the car.
Since these were just quick breaks, no sewing was accomplished, but we did have a good time exploring and getting the wiggles out. Noah spent his time in the car counting palm trees- he got to over 1ooo before he gave up! (see? more math!) Sophia spent her time reading the graphic novel version of the bible, and Oliver dove into his Kindle and didn’t come up for air until we hit the campground.
Leg 2: Los Angeles, CA
We spent the next four days “moochdocking” (technical term for getting free power/water/space from a friend or relative) at my husband’s Aunt and Uncle’s church in Hollywood.
The kids spent hours upon hours playing with their cousins here, we took in the latest Star Wars movie, and I ran up to the Griffith Observatory. I also checked out my first Soul Cycle class- so much fun!
I couldn’t resist sneaking in a little fabric shopping in the Fashion District- it was New Year’s Eve, so most of the shops were closing early, but I was especially impressed by the athletic selection at Blue Moon Fabrics!
With my favorite shopping “helper”, of course:
Rib Knit Riviera Raglan in Los Angeles, CA
Four days meant more than enough time to get another garment sewn up, and while the weather was warmer than in Mexico, it still held a bit of a chill (can’t escape from winter entirely, I suppose) and a ribbed knit Riviera Raglan was just what I needed.
This fabric is from Surge, and while I initially purchased it for cuffs and neckbands, the weight and recovery was an excellent match for a sweater as well. Just to change things up a bit, I lengthened the cuffs, and added a hem band.
We took these photos along Hollywood Boulevard- I tried to find some “stars” I recognized, but I’m not a big movie person, so if you spot anyone you know, give me a holler and tell me what they’re about!
Regardless, it felt pretty cool to be surrounded by such huge historical and cultural talent.
The Riviera was one of my top choices from my Raglan Round Up post- check that out here, if you’d like to see it compared with other raglan patterns!
While we had intended on heading home after LA, we ended up getting invited to an additional adventure with some full time family friends- so our trip has one more stop to share! It’s an exciting one- so I’ll save that for my next post (be sure you’re subscribed here! You can also catch a glimpse of our lives on Instagram, here)