Becky Novacek Photography » Blog

california getaway 2014. {beckynovacekphotography} my family photographer : )

So, it’s almost the halfway point through 2014 and I can honestly say it’s been a remarkable year already. Starting with my trip to Africa, followed by a trip to Vegas for WPPI, then trips to Minneapolis for Junk Bonanza and recently to California. For a self professed homebody, this is an eventful year! Typically, in January, I would have been digging in to home improvement projects, because it’s my slower season, but instead, I was getting prepared for Africa. Fast forward to now and I am just feeling the home improvement bug hit hard! I bartered with a painter who will be painting all the trim in our house. So excited! I’m changing the trim from really creamy ivory to white. It needs to be done so badly and I can’t wait to see how it turns out. I’m also FINALLY having the wood trimmed banisters to white. It was my intention to do that in the first year we lived here, and if it doesn’t happen soon, I’m going to have to dig out my stuffed geese, country blue and mauve!  Funny how nine years flies by! So many projects that are still not done. It makes me wonder about moving and a possible major renovation project house. We shall see. I am trusting that God will guide us as we proceed. For now, I am loving our home and trying to finish up the few projects that are left. We knew when we bought this house, it wasn’t our forever house, so I am savoring it for all it’s worth now!  In anticipation of the trim being painted, I stopped by Sherwin Williams and picked up some sample paint. I like that they offer the small samples, because I’ve been known to make a mistake in picking paint before, so the samples are invaluable. I used a formula suggested by Mandi of Vintage Revivals. Her room makeovers are swoon worthy. So creative. In the early 90s, while building a new house, I was really into white walls. My bedroom was all white, with just a bit of blue/white ticking and I loved it. It was such a peaceful, tranquil room. I still love that feel, so in 2014, I want to go back to that. I painted a small swatch of the sample paint behind the door in our green bedroom. I am so over green! I don’t even really like green anymore. Green, brown, purple and red are a no-go for me. I love white walls, with grays, yellows, pinks and blues now. I used such a minute amount of the paint sample, that I thought why not paint the insides of my bathroom drawers and shelves? They bothered me when we moved into this house and in nine years, I’ve done nothing about it. It’s shameful! So I now have sparkling clean white drawers and hope to get to my shelves later today or tomorrow. I have a newborn session (out of town), head shots and a senior session today, so I may wait until tomorrow. Regardless, it’s such a great feeling! As I was pulling everything out of my drawers, I threw a few things away and everything is super tidy. Love that. Less is more. Did you see this image/text that was floating all over IG and FB a couple of weeks ago: vacations

I was seeing it almost daily while in California with Brooke and the kids, with Jared, Beth and Eli joining later. So true. If you have the opportunity to travel with loved ones, do everything in your power to make it happen. Stop making excuses for why you can’t afford it, or can’t leave town, or yada, yada….just go. I am so thankful that when Brooke asked me to go, I pretty much just said yes without hesitating. The trip originally involved a road trip (which I have never done!), but we ended up flying. Someday a road trip may happen, but I was okay with flying. We spent hours and hours at the pool, playing games, sitting on the balcony, going on walks, a day at Disneyland, simple meals, and just hanging out, without an agenda. I felt like I bonded with them like never before. I would have never guessed that this was possible, I thought we were as bonded as we could be, but traveling together, sleeping together, eating together and just being together 24/7 is different. 

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I brought my camera into Disneyland, but didn’t take that many photos there, other than the Jedi experience, which was priceless! The older boys had done this when they were little, so we were thrilled that the littles had a chance to do it. 

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One of the best nights was one night when we just went down to the grassy area at the resort and the bigs played basketball, while the littles played make-believe and blew bubbles. I had my camera and snapped to my heart’s delight. I think shooting on a night like that restores any rut one can get into. It’s easy to get lazy about shooting your own family, but so satisfying when you make the effort. Funny story about playing basketball. On the night before I flew home, Brooke was putting the littles to bed, so Payton, Griffin and I went down to the basketball court. It was almost dark, so I thought I was along to watch and just hang out…but the boys wanted me to play. I haven’t shot a basketball in twenty years and it wasn’t pretty then. They wanted me to play so bad, so I shot a few to make them happy. When they saw my pathetic shot, they proceeded to school me. Payton was taking video while I shot and they were gently critiquing me and giving me advice. It was adorable! They took me through defensive drills, boxing out, and shooting. Thank God there aren’t any photos of this! I know there are videos, so that’s frightening! The cool thing was, they wanted to help me AND it was obvious that they have the fundamentals of basketball down pat. They are so obviously learning from their coaches, because they were teaching me and able to see what I was doing wrong (maybe not that difficult!). 

On Sunday morning, we all gathered and went to breakfast and the Market. 

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The kids were so happy to see Eli!

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I have wanted to stay at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs for a few years and decided that by the time we had all had so much togetherness, it might be good for me to get away for a night. When Brooke, Payton and Grey dropped me off, I didn’t feel the need to get away…I was even a little sad to say goodbye. 

M18A6857 web This is not your typical hotel. It’s so refreshingly simple and well done, with attention to detail. Visually really appealing to me. I opted for a room with a private patio and I’m so glad I did! I spent the majority of my wakeful hours on the patio, even though it was a million degrees out.

I had dinner alone at King’s Highway, which was formerly a Denny’s. They serve locally sourced food and it was delightful! I had a beet, oat and veggie burger and salad, and locally brewed beer. I took iPhone photos of some of my experience at the Ace, just because I didn’t want to drag my big camera everywhere. 

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My sanctuary. I brought notecards to write notes to my African friends, plus a stack of books and my iPad. I still haven’t sent the handwritten notes. I drank my coffee and ate my fresh fruit, and did my devotions on my patio in the morning, after an early morning run through old Palm Springs. I saw some interesting sights coming out of some of the seedy motels in the area. Not something I see in Fremont. Made me sad for them. 

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After breakfast and my run, I got cleaned up and ready for Jared, Beth and Eli to pick me up.

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We took a few fun shots around the Ace, but it was honestly SO hot, we didn’t last long! I’m happy with the few we took…we’ll do a full out session sometime soon here at home. We had lunch at In-N-Out, went shopping and then went back to the resort to swim. 

Josh flew in the day that I flew out. We got to have lunch together, but then it was their family time. When they dropped me off at the airport, I was seriously surprised by my bittersweet feelings. I couldn’t hold back tears…and my tears were tears of joy, sadness to leave, anticipation to see Tom, and sheer exhaustion! I was tearful all day. AND I almost missed my connecting flight in Denver, but I did make it at the last minute. 

If I haven’t made it clear, I think family vacations are the bomb! I want to vacation with all of our kids now! Tom thinks a winter vacation to Naples is in order (which I agree needs to happen), but we also need to get away with all of our kids and build some memories! I am so thankful to have had this opportunity! 

God bless! 



Shannon R - It sounds like you had a wonderful time with your family! My whole family (15 of us) go on a cruise together every year. Everyone loves cruising. We are able to spend a lot of time together and we still have our own rooms to go back to at night. There are so many activities available and we can do them together or choose to do our own thing for awhile. I think it’s the perfect kind of vacation for an extended family. It’s something we all look forward to every year.

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