This holiday, we went to Los Angeles and Palm Springs to visit our families. Despite my computer breaking and Toby needing stitches (more on that later!), it was one of those great, boisterous trips where everyone’s excited, and you return home happy and refreshed. I’d love to share a few of the highlights, if you’d like to see…

Now that Toby can walk (yay!), he hates sitting still, so we figured the plane rides might be a little tricky. See the poor red-shirted dude sandwiched between babies? He was a great sport, but to sweeten the deal, we brought little bags of candy as a heartfelt apology to our seatmates, which we passed out as soon as we sat down. Hopefully, the Snickers helped distract them from kicked seatbacks and screechy yelps. (You can also buy cute kits on Etsy.)

We landed in LA, where we stayed a couple nights with friends and a couple nights at the Oceana Hotel Santa Monica (a hotel we really love).

A couple mornings, our friends took us to Thyme, an amazing neighborhood cafe in Santa Monica with delicious pastries, salads and a breakfast burrito that will change your life. Here, Toby shares toast and eggs with his friend Norah.

Thyme also had some of the best chocolate-chip cookies I’ve ever had — chewy, salty, rich, with that slight flavor of cookie dough. If you live in LA, I would honestly recommend a trip over there, they are that good!

Santa Monica is a great place with a baby in tow–with the beach, farmer’s markets, playgrounds, the amusement park, street musicians on the Promenade

…and car shopping carts at Whole Foods! Score! Toby was in heaven.

After a few days in LA, we packed up the rental car and drove two hours into the desert to Palm Springs. Here’s Toby playing with my glasses during the car ride (followed by my wallet, keys and cell phone, naturally).

There we met up with both sides of our family: Alex’s mom, sister, brother and sister-in-law and my dad and brother. It was awesome.

We were lucky enough to book the same rental house as last year, where we could hang out during the day and all eat dinner together at night.

One day, as a special treat, we stopped by Ruby’s Diner to get Toby a mini lamb burger and ice water, which he excitedly assumed was a milkshake, just like Daddy’s.

Ruby’s is a cute 1950’s-style diner, with old-school bikes and a running train track above the tables!

Now a tradition, we were thrilled to spend a couple of Toby’s naptimes at the The Ace Hotel‘s awesome pool, which has hammocks, a ping-pong table, a hot tub and delicious food. The music was great, and everyone was super friendly. Such a fun place to hang out. Felt a million miles from freezing cold NYC!

Alex, his sister and I chilled in the hot tub…

…next to a cute couple reading their Kindles! How 2012. :)

My brother had lost a bet with his friend earlier in the month, and his punishment was that he had to grow out his beard until January 1st. Doesn’t he look straight out of the 70’s with his corduroys and PBR?

Instead of a rental car, my brother and dad rented a huge yellow motorcycle during their trip. Toby was completely enamored and gazed at them like they were superheroes. (Can you spot his little feet in the third photo? :)

One afternoon, we all decided to ride the aerial tram to the top of the mountains overlooking Palm Springs. Even though Alex is scared of heights, and I’m a tried-and-true claustrophobe, we had a (white-knuckled) awesome time. The tram walls are all glass, and the car slowly rotates as it rises 2.5 miles to the top of the mountain. The craziest part is, at the bottom, the weather can be hot and sunny, but at the top, everyone’s wearing winter jackets and going sledding and cross-country skiing! The tram ride is only 10 minutes, but the temperature differences are phenomenal! (Btw, I love my sister-in-law Lesley’s face in this photo! :)

Overall, it was a wonderful Christmas. Thank you so much for reading! Hope you had a great one, too. Also, any LA or Palm Springs recommendations? I’d love to hear!. xoxoxo

A mini travelogue:

Favorite LA dinner restaurants we tried (without the baby): Son of a Gun (fun to share small plates with friends, especially the fried chicken sandwich), Lucques (romantic, you can sit the ivy-covered garden), The Tasting Kitchen (our favorite restaurant in LA, simply amazing food and cocktails, and warm, friendly ambiance).

Favorite LA lunch spots we tried: Thyme, Huckleberry.

Favorite Palm Springs lunch spots we tried: Cheeky’s (for everyone), Ruby’s Diner (for kids), El Mirasol (for inexpensive yummy Mexican food where you can sit outside).

Favorite Palm Springs activities we tried: The Living Desert, The Aerial Tramway, the Ace Hotel‘s rad pool.

P.S. 10 tips for traveling with a baby

(Most photos taken with the Hipstamatic app on the iPhone)