Category Archives: Post-Road Tripping

One Year Since Moving Out West

About this time last year, the Noren crew was somewhere between Ohio and Kentucky.  We survived all the preparation for our cross-country adventure and said farewell to our home in Jersey City.  Hubby and I had no idea what to expect of our trip with two toddlers in tow, but if you’ve been here before, you’ll recall that our kiddos were awesome little travelers.  Once we made it to Santa Fe, we got our routines down pat.  (So what that it was Day 12 of our 13-Day Road Trip.  Better late, than never!)

Even though our little ones won’t have memories of the trip, I’ll always look back and think fondly of our cross-country adventure.

And for the nearly five-month radio silence?  No excuses, just Life.

Some adventures that Team Noren embarked upon since the last time I was here…

Hubby and I started running regularly and ran our first races this year – me, my first 5k and 10k races and hubby, his first half marathon.  We missed all of the walking we did on the East Coast and wanted a way to stay active.  I also give credit to my mom and stepdad who inspired me to start running.  They’re super active ‘retirees’ and avid runners.

Other mini-adventures we had:

We met Thomas the Train at the Fillmore Western & Railway in April.



We visited and toured the Camarillo Fire Station in May.



We went to the Ventura County Fair in August.





This summer was especially busy with bridal showers, weddings, Kid A turning 2, hubby starting a new job, my new adventure launching in Ventura, Kid C starting preschool, and all of us finding the rhythm of our new West Coast lifestyle.

And don’t these two photos of the girls ‘surfing’ with Grandpa say it all?!



With the holiday trifecta around the corner, I’m looking forward to sharing more adventures like attempts at making Halloween costumes, a vacation back to the East Coast in November, and more.

Sunken Gardens and Arlington Theatre (Santa Barbara, CA)

A beautiful trip we frequently travel is from Ventura to Santa Barbara, a 33-mile drive on the 101 freeway that runs along the same route as PCH (Pacific Coast Highway).  You’ll find ocean views to your left and mountain views to your right.

Since moving out here, we’ve been to Santa Barbara several times.  Not only does my best friend live in Santa Barbara (which warrants frequent visits), there is also the Santa Barbara Zoo, several museums, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and other hidden gems.

One hidden gem that the kids enjoyed were the Sunken Gardens outside of the Santa Barbara County Courthouse.  They had a blast just running around the grassy area and also watching some older kids, who were there for what looked like a class trip.




We also took a peak at the Arlington Theatre.  Since it was closed, we mostly enjoyed it from the outside.  There were interesting architectural features.  The parts I found most interesting were the ceiling detail and light fixtures.



We definitely have more exploring to do in Santa Barbara, with and without the kiddos.  On top of the Must-See List (with the kids) is this play structure near the Alice Keck Park that also has beautiful gardens to wander through.  On the Must-Do List (without the kids) is hiking one of the many trails in Santa Barbara, starting with this hike.

Has it really been 5 months?

It’s been five months since Team Noren finished our cross-country road trip adventure.  I had hopes to pick up this blog sooner, but Life happens and so here we are.  After we arrived in Ventura on October 12th, there were a few important events that happened:

        • We celebrated my sister’s birthday and engagement party mid-October.
        •  Team Noren’s first Halloween in CA included a visit to the McGrath Street Pumpkin Patch and the first time taking the kids trick-or-treating. (Click here for more pictures at the pumpkin patch.)
        • We signed a one-year lease and moved into our new house on November 1st, unloaded two U-boxes worth of stuff into the garage the same day, and are continuing to make our house feel like home.
        •  The Holiday Trifecta (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day) happened, which filled us with delicious food and fun with family and friends. (Go alliteration!)
        • Kid C turned 3 years old at the end of January, which indicates how fast time is flying by… because, didn’t we just bring you home from the hospital?

Here are some random photos capturing stuff between then and now:


One of two U-boxes that we shipped from Jersey City, NJ arrived safely (and stored for two months) in Oxnard, CA


Seafood feast as prepared by Grandpa C.


Kid C at playground by Ventura Pier


Kid A at playground by Ventura Pier


Vintage snowman tag as part of the holiday decor on our mantle

We’re still getting accustomed to our new life in Ventura.  The biggest adjustments for me – having to drive everywhere, rebuilding the feeling of community, and accepting that pizza will never be the same out here, even if an establishment touts NY-style pizza.

That’s all I got for now.  Since I’m the only one who has yet to get out of pajamas this morning, I best get ready for the day.  Stay tuned for more about Team Noren’s jaunts to Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Ojai.