Travel

Vacation Photos: Palm Springs and San Francisco

Joanna Goddard and Toby

Happy New Year! How was your holiday break? Hope you had a good one. We headed to Palm Springs and San Francisco this year to visit family and eat our weight in tacos. Here are a few photos, if you’d like to see…

Sycamore House in Palm Springs

First up, we went to Palm Springs for four nights. We always meet Alex’s family here for the holidays and rent a couple houses with pools. (The city has so many rad midcentury places, which are more affordable than many hotels.) This year, we stayed at the beautiful Sycamore House; and our relatives stayed at this colorful spot with a killer view.

Family Vacation to California

Christmas morning was a happy chaos of breakfast tacos, swimming and presents. Toby’s favorites were these (real!) guest checks, so he could pretend to be a waiter, and of course a car magazine.

Tattoo sleeves

Alex tried on these hilarious tattoo sleeves. (Between you and me, I secretly found them so attractive, haha. Who knew?!)

Pamela Love necklace

And he gave me this nickname necklace, which says “Bunny” (him) on one side, and “Fox” (me) on the other side. It made me so teary, and I still haven’t taken it off.

Family Vacation to California

Family Vacation to California

And, finally, Anton’s most beloved gift was a package of break-open geodes. Our rental house didn’t have a hammer, so he just hurled them against other rocks until they cracked open; and they were beautiful and sparkly inside.

Family Vacation to California

But the biggest highlight of the trip was that the boys got to stay up for Christmas dinner. Usually they head to bed, and we have an adults dinner around 8 p.m., but this year we ate at 6 p.m. and it was wonderful to have them there. Toby dressed up, and Alex served him a martini glass with water.

Noe Valley house

Beautiful Noe Valley backyard

After Palm Springs, we flew up to San Francisco to see my dad, sister and niece and in-laws. My friend Birgit was out of town, so she let us crash at her beautiful place. How amazing is the garden? Her artist friend had come to visit years ago and built the wooden walkways as a host gift. Note to self: Improve my host gifts. (See her full house tour here, if you’d like.)

Billy Goat Hill views

San Francisco was so much fun to explore, as always. (Thank you again for the advice!) We saw alligators at the Academy of Sciences, braved the slides at Dolores Park, watched mice battle soldiers at The Nutcracker, wolfed pizza at Pizzeria Delfina, and of course ate many more tacos.

Pelican Inn

Joanna Goddard and Toby

Pelican Inn

The final weekend, we went with a big group of relatives to the Pelican Inn at Muir Beach, which really captures the feel of an English pub. They serve classics like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and bangers and mash — plus pints of lager and cider.

Family Vacation to California

Family Vacation to California

Family Vacation to California

Here are some photos Anton took, which actually capture the vibe really well!

Joanna and Alex

After lunch, we walked over to the beach for some fresh ocean air.

Muir Beach

Muir Beach

Muir Beach

Muir Beach

Muir Beach

Muir Beach

Above is a classic portrait of a Goddard-Williams vacation, in which one child is happy and wants to stay yet the other child is annoyed and wants to leave. EVERY TIME, GUYS, EVERY FREAKING TIME.

Paul Kalanithi's grave

California sunset

Finally, our last night, on New Year’s Eve, we visited my brother-in-law Paul’s grave. My sister poured out a glass of his favorite whiskey, and we drank some ourselves while the kids ran around and the sun dipped behind the mountains. On the back of his tombstone is a beautiful excerpt from a John Bunyan poem: “Then Fancies fly away, He’ll fear not what men say, He’ll labour Night and Day, To be a Pilgrim.” Be still my heart.

Joanna and Alex

Toby and Anton

Now we are home sweet home, back in Brooklyn. Hope you had a good holiday and are looking forward to the new year. Lots of love to you. And now: 2018, let’s do this. xoxo

P.S. Eight California trips, since Toby was teeny tiny!

  1. Dee says...

    I am going to Palm Springs for the first time for a friend’s wedding and bringing our 7 month old boy with us. I was wondering if you had used any babysitters or service while in Palm Springs that you liked. A general comment- how do folks find baby sitters in new cities?

  2. ellen patton says...

    I went to LA over the holidays (I grew up in Van Nuys) and it was so nice to be in warm weather!

    I love that B&W photo of the waves in the 9th photo — do you know where it’s from? Thank you!

    And happy new year!

    –blog fan

  3. Natalie says...

    Is Paul buried at Skylawn? It looks like where my aunt’s ashes were scattered and it’s just the most beautiful and peaceful place.

    Thanks for sharing these photos and stories, Joanna. Happy New Year!

  4. Cherie Sage says...

    I was so thrilled when I saw you had visited The Pelican. We stumbled across this pub one day on our family vacation after an scrapped attempt to visit Muir Wood. It ended up being a highlight of the trip.

  5. Colleen says...

    Swoon! Looks like an amazing trip! I love San Francisco but feel like going with my kids would be difficult. I’m not yet out of the stroller stage which I can’t imagine conquering those hills with (my boys are 6 months and 3 years). I’ll have to wait it out a bit. How were your boys on the hills?

  6. kristen says...

    question: what is the etiquette in taking restaurant photos? (at least the ones with other people outside your party in them.) do you say, ‘this will be going on my blog, hope you are okay with that’ or what? and i only ask BECAUSE, once, i was reading a local bloggers blog and SAW MYSELF in one of her photos. i nearly died. it was such a terrible picture of me. (think those celebrity shots of them sneezing coming out of the grocery store and having that plastered all over the front cover.) i didn’t know i was in her frame AND i didn’t know it would be the one she chose for her blog post. yikes. (and then i proceeded to scrutinize every last detail of said picture, as most women do. ☺) i just wonder what do you do about things like that? i am seriously curious. thanks!

  7. Abesha1 says...

    I hope you visited Tartine or Bi-Rite Creamery while you were at Dolores Park!

    I’ll join the many readers saying, Thank you, for including you death and grief in this otherwise very cheerful post… it was very appreciated.

  8. brianna says...

    I love how your vacations are a perfect mix of good food, touristy sites, and playing.

  9. That print of waves in the kitchen of your friend’s house — I must have!!! Details??

  10. Daynna Shannon says...

    I need so happy that you mentioned how one kid always wants to leave while the other wants to stay. I could read your frustration so clearly and what I appreciated is that whenever anyone shares photos of vacations or events, the pictures tell a happy story that can often invite envy. But including a mention of your troubles, as well, makes it such a breath of fresh air because it’s SO DAMN relatable! Nothing is picture perfect! And it’s knowing that others suffer the same or similar frustrations that sometimes can get you through it.

  11. Sarah Offord says...

    I totally saw your husband at Lulu’s in Palm Springs, and said to my husband “That’s Cup Of Joe’s Husband!!” haha. I love that city so much, looks like you guys had an awesome time:)

  12. Holly says...

    Your trip looks so lovely – thank you for sharing with us!

    Do know where the black and white wave picture from the SF home is from? It’s beautiful and my dining area could use something similar.

  13. Jackie says...

    What a lovely pictures from your trip! Thanks for sharing these family moments.

    Do you mind sharing where you got Toby’s red stripe tee? I’ve been looking for kids’ tees with neck openings like those of baby onesies, but don’t have any luck finding them past baby sizes. Thanks!

  14. This looks like a great trip! I love the Sycamore house, it’s beautiful. Toby looks so handsome, his water martini is a great touch.
    x Tali

  15. Rue says...

    I’m a geologist, so those Anton photos made my DAY.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s awesome, rue!

    • Rue says...

      I’m often a big hit with the preschool crowd because of my job!

  16. Annalee says...

    Hello! Any places in San Fran that were overrated or not worth it? We’ll be there for a couple days with our kids (5 and 3) in tow and time will be of the essence!

    • Abesha1 says...

      The Academy of Science is phenomenal… a rainforest, aquarium, African hall, snow exhibit, and so much more. Go up top to see the living room, and plan to spend a full day there!

  17. I don’t know how I missed that When Breath Becomes Air was written by the man who was married to your sister. I feel like I have a personal connection to this now, even though we’ve never met. I’ve been wanting to read that book since it came out and have a renewed excitement to finally get my hands on a copy. But as I was scrolling through the pictures, I got to the one of the grave site and the name caught my attention. I knew I had seen it somewhere before and immediately that book popped into my head, so I did a Google search, and then I had my verification. I’m so astounded by myself that I missed that for all these years. Wow… Yeah, I need this book.

  18. Keri says...

    This sounds like the most amazing, chilled out, family Christmas ever!! And who doesn’t love tacos. I got goosebumps reading about your visit to Paul – what a lovely way to remember him as you usher in the new year. Happy 2018 Cup of Jo Family.

  19. Madeline says...

    Thank you so much! My husband and I are celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary in SF & Napa in April. It’s our first trip without our toddler in tow and after these pictures we’ve booked two nights at the Pelican Inn. I am so excited for lazy mornings and beautiful hikes and sitting on the beach without worrying that my kid is eating too much sand that I can’t sleep.

  20. Happy New Year! Thanks for sharing your fabulous trip. One day I will explore San Fransisco and the California Coast. It’s a dream!

  21. love the photos especially the ones taken by anton! :)))

    also i was scrolling the beach photos and went – what is going on?!!! before reading your caption hehe :D

  22. Karina says...

    Love love love the Pelican Inn (and that whole area)! My Dad’s side of the family is from England, so that became my mini British getaway when I lived up in NorCal.

  23. dying to know what is going on with that couple behind anton in his monster sweater lol

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha I KNOW! the ultimate “talk to the hand” :)

  24. Emily says...

    Happy 2018 to you and your family, Joanna! I just read the Washington Post article about Lucy and John’s relationship, what a monumental holiday for you all!

  25. I read your post, then almost immediately after saw this on WaPo: http://wapo.st/2qjKntN . Wow, what a beautiful love story.

  26. Allegra says...

    I just read the Washington Post article on Lucy and it touched me so much and made me so happy that I had to specifically come over here to tell you. All the best for 2018 to you and yours, Joanna.

  27. Suzie says...

    Great trip! What amazing homes you stayed in. Your kiddos are so big now! Wow!

  28. Jenna says...

    Happy New Year to you! :) I loved seeing Toby’s martini water hehe a couple of weeks ago my husband made us some raspberry margarita’s (delicious!) but when he asked I thought he meant after our 2 year old went to bed.. nope! He handed me a glass full of pink goodness and she immediately hoped up saying “pink! me! pink!” so he made her a virgin one!!!! <3 she LOVED it and felt so special haha I told him we are either really awesome parents or really awful ones.. either way, it was so fun to see her toddling around with her pink drink and saying, "virgin margreta" ha!

  29. Elizabeth says...

    I have been a reader for many, many years (since before either boy was born!), so I say this with all love: you don’t have to introduce every post with “if you’d like to see.” We are on your blog. Of course we would like to see.

    • I actually think it’s very sweet and very Jo. I always smile when I read that line.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good point, elizabeth, haha, although i would never want to assume people want to see! i know everyone has their own busy lives and not every post is for everyone :)

  30. Megan says...
  31. TNelly says...

    I enjoyed the simplicity and thoughtfulness of the gifts, guest checks and break open geodes, well done. And tacos, cant forget the tacos!!

  32. Sasha says...

    Joanna,
    Finishing off your post with how your family went to Paul’s grave on New Year’s eve was so touching! And then two hours later I read this! https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/two-dying-memoirists-wrote-bestsellers-about-their-final-days-then-their-spouses-fell-in-love/2018/01/03/3143305a-ebe5-11e7-9f92-10a2203f6c8d_story.html?utm_term=.b5dc049deb72
    This is the best news sicne Meghan Markle and Prince Harry got engaged (seriously). I am so happy for your sister!

  33. This is totally unrelated to your post, but I have been following your writing for years (since the Glamour days!) and just read this article about your sister and her new found love:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/two-dying-memoirists-wrote-bestsellers-about-their-final-days-then-their-spouses-fell-in-love/2018/01/03/3143305a-ebe5-11e7-9f92-10a2203f6c8d_story.html?utm_term=.3ed3f44bfa3b

    I live in Raleigh and cannot believe they finally met face to face near my city. It makes my heart so happy for her and for you as well, as I know you’ve felt her heartbreak as well. What an incredible story.

  34. Carrie says...

    My nephew got geodes for Christmas also and being that we hosted, the sidewalk in front of our house is now all scarred up from him- but it’s okay because he left me with half of a beautiful, glittering geode to display… so, tit for tit (Dwight Shrute)

    Welcome back! Your trip looks like loads of fun. Love that we get to peek in on it :)

  35. Caitlin says...

    Every time you write about Paul, I get choked up. Such a sweet way to celebrate the New Year with him.

    • grace says...

      same =(

  36. Elise Backinger says...

    Oh, heavens. Muir Beach. I used to ride my horse there. Not sure if that is still allowed. And I remember when The Pelican Inn was built. A beautiful place to be sure. Thank you for your fun photos and stories.

    • Sal says...

      It’s still allowed! Love that place

  37. Next time you’re in SF with the kids, you’ve all got to go to the Musee Mecanique! So much fun and $5 bucks worth of quarters will entertain you all for quite some time. I never tire of that place!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, yes!!! alex took anton there, while toby and i went to the nutcracker. they LOVED it!

    • Oh, fun. It is so magical!

  38. Kelly says...

    your post about 1 kid happy and one kid wanting to leave made me laugh! Not quite the same situation, but we vacationed near there with my now 7 year old who was an only child 5 years old at the time. After a long and happy day at Stinson Beach where she found a family of 3 girls to play with, she had the mother of all epic meltdowns when she realized they were off to dinner together, and we were not joining them. It was soooo mortifying and terrible!

    But, now what we remember about that day is mostly her joy and happiness playing in the sand and surf, and the nice dinner we had once she recovered from her meltdown.

    • Jeannie says...

      Ohhhh my gosh, this story is so incredibly cute, sweet and hilarious!!! Hey I might have an adult meltdown if I made three awesome new girlfriends and wasn’t invitedd to dinner with them that very evening, too!?? Lol!

  39. Natalie T. says...

    Also, I love your nicknames for each other. Funny, though: I thought Alex would be Fox and you would be Bunny. :)

    • Em says...

      I thought Jo would be the bunny, too!!

  40. Natalie T. says...

    Happy New Year and I always love seeing your vacation photos. This time it was different because seeing Paul’s tombstone made me tear up. What an impact he has made on so many people. I’ll be re-reading his book again and recommend it to all of the special people in my life.

    On another note, how cute is it that the kids love the simplest things? That waiter pad!

  41. Anne says...

    Off topic but I’m excited for the financial post!! I love talking about budgeting and money. I hope it comes this week :)

  42. Gaylen Blankenship says...

    How fun to see you at the pelican inn. I was married there and made everyone bring tennis shoes so we could hike up to the top of the hill looking down on the beach. Had a great meal with all our family and friends there, and woke up to that lovely beach…..thanks for the memories…..

  43. Lucy In England says...

    Your Insta photo of Toby, Anton and Cadie all together broke my heart a little. What a beautiful place to all be together with Paul and remember with love.

  44. Rebecca says...

    Maybe next time you go on vacation, other members of your staff can write posts? I missed them this week!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      aw, thank you! we were actually all off for christmas — the office closes for a week every december.

  45. sasha says...

    Well goodness, the graveside visit had me crying, then reminded me of my favorite book from last year, The Bright Hour, and I started poking around and found this, https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/entertainment/books/two-dying-memoirists-wrote-bestsellers-about-their-final-days-then-their-spouses-fell-in-love/2018/01/03/3143305a-ebe5-11e7-9f92-10a2203f6c8d_story.html.

    I had no idea! How very extremely wonderful and hopeful. This made my whole week. So happy for everyone.

    • sasha says...

      So excited to read Paul’s memoir, next in line after my daughter’s boyfriend finishes his copy. She bought it for him as a Christmas gift.

  46. Mimi says...

    The picture of Paul’s grave touched me deeply. I find his book unforgettable … his death unbearably tragic.
    Glad you enjoyed your trip. Love your family! HappyNewYear. Mimi

  47. Anya says...

    Wonderful photos – I love Muir Beach – I went there for the first time in May with my parents.. nice that it’s hidden away from the tourist attraction of Muir Woods (which is also lovely, but best appreciated at non-touristy times).
    I too was touched by your brother-in-law’s words. Thanks for sharing more about him.

  48. Your family photos make me excited for my two sons to grow up. They’re 3 and 1 at the moment and life is pretty hard but I see your photos and really hope one day they discover what your boys have.

    • Andrea T says...

      I feel the same! My boys are 2.5 yrs & 5 months and I can’t wait for the adventures (and more sleep)!

    • Vanessa says...

      Hi!
      I agree :)
      My two girls are 3 and 5 and something magical just started occurring over the holidays: they’re playing together and the moments in between arguments/cries is lengthening. Yippy!

  49. Amy K P says...

    So glad you all had a nice vacation – my sister and I always hope we’ll spot you sometime in SF as we love the blog. I was so moved by the quote on Paul’s grave, I grew up going to a very special summer camp where we sang “He Who Would Valiant Be” (the hymn based on that poem) every morning – I used to sing it to my babies sometimes when rocking them.

  50. Gillian says...

    So glad to have you back! It’s like when a friend comes back from holiday and you get to have that long awaited for catch up! Thanks for all you do for Cup of Jo. It’s really the little things like a new blog post that make life better!

    • Katherine says...

      Oh my gosh I feel the same way! I was regularly checking Cup of Jo to see if there were any updates and this morning I was so happy to see a new post :)

    • Em says...

      Literally this morning I thought, “my girls are back today!”

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awwww :) :) :)

    • Katie says...

      I did and thought the same thing! Happy New Year Cup of Jo ladies!

  51. Heather says...

    Scrolling through such sweet photos and then stopped short at the photo of your brother-in-law’s gravesite. I read his beautiful memoir earlier this year, and am so sorry for your family’s heartbreaking loss. Lovely that you were able to be there with your sister.

  52. Ashley says...

    I’m curious if your boys gifted their uncle the rocks? It’s something my little guys would do with all earnestness and love.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      they didn’t (maybe my niece did?) but they did a special dance for him (heartbreak!) and also toby wondered why it didn’t also say “beloved uncle” on his gravestone (double heartbreak). he is deeply missed. xoxo

    • Maiz says...

      Oh, that sweet, sweet Toby!

    • Jane says...

      It is a Jewish custom to leave rocks on the gravestones of the deceased.

  53. Diana McNeill says...

    Your family looks good in California!

  54. I think you did a really good job of taking your kids to our city. Unsurprisingly:).

    And I have the start of tears in my eyes for your brother-in-law and his family. I am so sorry you all lost him, and I am moved by the way you remember him.

  55. B says...

    Love the touching tribute to Paul and Anton’s cropping out adult heads to focus on kids and beer. ? The gifts and dinner were wonderful to see.

    • Sarah says...

      Ditto!!! Loved this photo! So artistic.

  56. Darcy says...

    ALWAYS with the one kid happy/one kid sad —- why is that?!?! Whenever we do anything this happens! LOL!

  57. Oh my god your comment about the kids on vacation – I only have one and can already understand what you mean! Your pictures are darling – what a fun trip for your family. Happy New Year!

  58. Emily Levitt says...

    Love that you got Toby a guest check pad! The toy company I work for has a “pretend play diner set” (http://shop.eeboo.com/p/best-pals-diner-pretend-play (if you’re curious!)) and we included a guest check pad, although slightly altered, because we all wanted one when we were kids! Why is having a thick pad of something seem so fun and grown up?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      LOVE that!

  59. Anne says...

    Love the photos! Looks like such a wonderful time, and now you have me wanting to go to California! Literally lol’d at the kid sad/kid happy moment.

    Also, thank you (and Lucy) for sharing Paul’s visit with us. I laughed and cried to his book and think of him and his family often.

  60. Jo says...

    Thanks for sharing! Santa brought my little one a restaurant pad, too :). She loves taking everyone’s orders. Sadly, though, her restaurant always seems to be out of French fries, ha!

  61. You might have commented on this before since you guys to go CA somewhat often, but – how do your boys (especially Anton since he’s younger) do with the time change? I have a son who will be 3 in March, and he is soo schedule-driven. We have traveled with him several times, but all of our travel has been within one hour of our time zone, so it hasn’t been a huge deal. Do they go to bed super early while you’re out there? Or, hang out and adjust, then re-adjust back home?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Good question, Ale! Like you, I was worried about this when we took our first trip. But since then we’ve always been amazed by how quickly they adjust. We try to have them take a short nap on the flight and then stay up pretty late the first night, even if they’re sleepy; then they might wake up early the next day, but after that, they’re pretty much on the new schedule.

      Some overall tips: We immediately start eating on clock time; that helps everyone’s body adjust. And we get lots of natural light during the day so our circadian rhythms get on track.

      Good luck! I bet it will be great. (It even works really quickly when we travel to Europe with a 5-6 hour time change.)

    • Kelly says...

      we took my now 7-year-old to California from the midwest when she was 3 and again at 5…she is already a super early riser and not good on less than ideal sleep…much to our surprise she adapted day 1. Slept in until past 7 every day and was able to hang out until 8:30-9 every night! I know it is nerve wracking but somehow it works! ironically one trip in our own time zone was the one i remember her waking up at the crack of dawn every day and wanting to die of tiredness. but those memories fade in time :)

  62. Alli says...

    I’m glad to see you had a great trip! This might be creepy but I saw you and your family LITERALLY WALK UNDER MY BAY WINDOW on Cumberland Street (that little side street off of Dolores Park) and was so bummed that I was on a conference call and couldn’t dash out to say hello ;) You guys looked like you were having a great time!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, that is so funny, alli! we would have loved to say hi!!

  63. The quote on Paul’s grave had me in tears.

    So glad you guys had a wonderful time, and happy to have you back! <3

  64. What do you know, we had tacos for Christmas too. Our taco bar was so delicious I hope it sticks and becomes an annual tradition.

  65. Crystal says...

    I can’t wait to leave work today because Paul’s book is waiting for me in my mailbox. I just finished reading Nina Riggs’ “The Bright Hour” and loved the tribute she made to Paul and finally said, OK that’s it. I will order another beautiful but at times hard to contemplate book. I hope I savor Paul’s book a bit more than Nina’s….I’m sad that I read the whole book in one day. But that’s the great thing about books – you’ll hopefully have the opportunity to read it again.

  66. Deanna says...

    Whenever I feel like I need direction in my life (which is often) I reread the last paragraph Paul wrote, and it reminds me that as long as I’m bringing joy to others I have all the direction I need. (And it make me tear up everytime because he is a truly stunning writer.)

  67. We did New Year’s dinner at home with my stepson and he drank sparkling cider out of a champagne flute. He said he felt “fancy” with his cocktail. Of course we had to keep checking the glasses to make sure he didn’t get our champagne. And thank goodness for east coast New Year’s feed so at 9 we could convince him that yes, he had stayed up to the right time

  68. Dana says...

    That was fun. :)

    Have had a Cup of Jo shaped hole in my heart while waiting for your return!

    Cheers to 2018.

    • Lily says...

      Same here!

    • sasha says...

      Yep! Missed the posts and community so much!

  69. SR says...

    Lovely photos. Always so impressed with how well you travel with the kids! Your brother-in-law will always be an inspiration to so many, thank you for sharing and sending light and love to your sister and niece especially.

  70. This looks so wonderful, Jo. I lolled at your one kid happy/one kid sad comment. ❤️❤️❤️

  71. Kristyn says...

    Your boys are seriously the sweetest. I cannot handle Toby and the martini glass, dressed up for dinner!

  72. Jeanne says...

    Wow the sudden tears at seeing Paul’s gravesite. I had been thinking of him this last week. Your niece is so bright and beautiful. Thank you for sharing all these photos with us. What a great trip.

  73. fefe says...

    Looks amazing!

  74. I’m just now reading your brother-in-law’s book, and although I’m not the first, second, or last to say it, I’m in awe of his mind and find myself soaking up every morsel that he gives of his heart and intellect. With equal parts sadness and fondness. Man oh man. Love and Happy New Year to your fam!

  75. Sara says...

    So happy you had a wonderful time out West! Sorry to be this girl but would you mind sharing where your shirt is from in the first pic? LOVE IT!

  76. That was one great break. We did a number of Christmases away in different places when our children were small and we all still remember the standout: a tiny cottage in a hidden Yorkshire dale, no electricity but gas and candlelight. Cold, yes. But so very magical. There are many ways to celebrate. I quite fancy the desert next year…

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that sounds so magical, annie!

  77. CM says...

    I live in the gorgeous state of California and am always so happy to see people enjoy their visits with us :)

    your pictures are so fun! and then made me cry. yes, be still my heart and be reminded to live every moment of this gift that we have called life.

  78. Barbara says...

    Thanks for sharing ! The boys pictures are just so perfect. Their zest for life can’t help but make one smile on this cold January day. Happy 2018!

  79. Glenda says...

    Love the pics and story. I follow Lucy’s story and loved reading Paul’s book.

  80. Jill says...

    That sunset photo is so beautiful…..he must have wanted to let you know that he was with you all in that moment.

  81. Lily says...

    Thank you for the honest moment about traveling with kids. It made me laugh and it is true for our family as well.

  82. Shashi says...

    Love your vacation synopsis. I remember one time reading that you were always on the fence about california verus New York. My husband and I are like that and have finally (we think!) settled on New York with many trips back to see family and friends. I love New York but still wonder about California especially when there is talk of tacos and beaches! What made you decide to stay in New York?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      such a good question, shashi. we’re the same as you — we LOVE new york, but when we’re hanging out on a sunny california beach in december, we’re like, hmmm…. :) overall, we are happy in brooklyn with the boys’ schools, our friends and community, and the overall small-town vibe that our neighborhood has. what about you?

  83. Ellen says...

    I’m curious about how you find traveling for Christmas. Do you guys try to right-size presents for suitcases? How do the boys think Santa pulls this off? Thanks for sharing about your lovely trip!

    • Anne says...

      The boys? *I* wonder how Santa pulls it off, too! Hahaha, would be so interesting to know all the logistics.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yes! we send some presents to my mother-in-law, who lives in orange county. she brings them to palm springs with her, so we don’t have to fly with them.

      plus, we bring an extra small suitcase for presents — so we can bring a few more with us, and also so we can bring the boys’ gifts home. (the boys think it’s VERY exciting to have a suitcase dedicated just to presents:)

  84. Eloise says...

    Thanks for sharing this – sounds and looks like a wonderful vacation. Your brother in law’s words/life story inspire me every day.

  85. amy says...

    Happy new year! what gorgeous photos. I am glad you had a nice break. I always think of Paul and Lucy and wonder how she is getting on. Paul’s book was my favorite read of 2017. Love to your family!

  86. Jennie says...

    1. I clearly need to up my host gift game.
    2. I am starving right now and want to devour Toby’s pizza.