So, last fall we were in Oklahoma when we got a call about bringing Ben to California to visit The Doctors show. It was pretty last minute and we had an appointment scheduled for Ben to head into Dallas and visit with the eSight folks, so I told The Doctors I wasn’t sure if we could make it or not – I needed to verify we could reschedule the eSight visit because we were NOT going to miss that! Thankfully the Dallas office said no problem, and we set up the flights to Los Angeles for Ben, me (Heidi/mom) and for our oldest son, Christopher. He was born in LA but hadn’t been there since he was 8 weeks old and we really wanted to make sure he had a chance to see where we lived for that year. Los Angeles was on Ben’s list because he had wanted to see where his brother was born, where his parents and grandparents were born, etc. Thankfully we were able to coordinate it and bring him along.
We flew early on Monday morning and were met by a driver to get us to our hotel, where we quickly settled in and then were picked up by another driver. We stopped for fish tacos (they were delicious) & he brought us to a beach house where we met up with Dr. Sears. He came with us to show Ben the Pacific ocean – and his response was fantastic! While he had seen the gulf coast and the Atlantic ocean, neither of those beaches could compare to the crashing waves in this cove in Laguna Beach. It was gorgeous and loud and wonderful. I had been to this town on the coast years prior and had such happy memories there, so I was thrilled that Ben could see this beautiful place and overwhelming waves. It was perfect. We had someone with us to do some filming/stills and we did a little interview but mostly we just enjoyed the coast.
Afterwards we were brought back to our hotel where we enjoyed their “TV dinners” (they were delicious and cute!) and the boys swam in the pool for awhile.
Tuesday morning we were up early to be picked up for some background story at a home not far from the studios. It didn’t take long, and the house was beautiful (Ben said he wants us to set up a patio like they had!) Then we had the rest of the day free to play so had dinner by the pool and more swimming.
Wednesday was ours to play – the boys wanted more beach time so we headed down to Santa Monica and I showed the kids where their dad and I had wandered and gotten pictures while I was pregnant with Christopher. They found a book store and an Apple store and we had to stay there awhile before I finally got them down to the actual pier and beach. There was custard ice cream cones on the pier and shell collecting and silly souvenirs and playing in the waves. I first visited Santa Monica my sophomore year of college, almost 20 years prior. I couldn’t believe I was here all these years later with my kids – and they loved it.
Oh, we used a car service to get to/from the beach, which was our first experience with it. The drivers were wonderful! I admit that if I ran into these guys on the street they are not the first ones I would have asked for a ride. But they were so kind, talked with my kids, had chargers for me to make sure my phone was charged, fun conversationalists – very, very positive experience. They both asked what brought us to LA and one driver asked if he could take a picture with us after dropping us off – it was funny.
Unfortunately they were filming a tv show in our pool so no nighttime swimming, but that was okay. (I think it was an episode of “The New Girl”?) We actually wandered to the grocery store across the street for some supplies and the kids watched someone make sushi and wanted to try it. There were at least 3 sushi restaurants around our hotel but the kids wanted to try the grocery store one they saw get made – and it was fantastic! C’s a big sushi fan and has tried it at a variety of places while we’ve been traveling but he said this was some of the best. I know – so funny.
Thursday was in the studio – a driver came for us and we had our wardrobe options, I went to hair and make-up (THAT was a story.) We had a room waiting for us with snacks and they sent in their on set tutor. If there are school aged kids in the studio they need a certified teacher? So even though we were just around a day they had someone come in, and she visited with the kids while I was getting hair/make up done. They brought us to the set briefly between tapings so Ben and C could see where they would be, we could let Ben see how bright it would be and where cables and such were on the path we would walk, C decided to stay back stage with one of the helpers rather than be on set, etc. That was really helpful in easing Ben’s concerns going on stage. Then we just hung out until it was our turn on set!
They showed the video clip from our day at the beach and the background interviews and then we talked with the hosts about our story.
And as you hear, the next day we were picked up and taken to Legoland! It was really “awesome” as Ben says, and I was reminded of the tiny village I visited in Holland when I was around Ben’s age and on a girl scouts field trip – here’s their site. Oh, and of course we tried their apple fries, and Ben got to drive a lego car. They LOVED it. Photos to come in another post.
Then we headed home. We had been video chatting with the family every day but the younger kids were having a hard time having mom gone for a week. They were very, very happy to wake up Saturday morning and see we were back. It was a wonderful trip, and I’m so thankful that Ben was able to see California.