Before we left NZ I was determined to come back and do more exploring in our own back yard. Our first school break was coming up and I had a whole list of places we could explore, but when it came down to it the kids (and Jason) would much rather go to California and ride roller coasters than watch the world famous hot air balloon festival in New Mexico. I was a tad bit disappointed, but even though we've been to Cali more times than I can count, we managed to find a few new things to check out. Everyone was happy in the end. We've driven through Palm Springs countless times, admiring the hundreds of windmills but never stopping. Jason found this gondola ride up the mountain, and although I admit I was a little hesitant at first, given my track record with panic attacks on these things, but I'm so glad we went. It was such a beautiful and peaceful way to spend the day. This was the first time since we've been back that I felt I could completely devote all my time and attention to my family. Sunshine on a crisp day, wooded hiking trails, nature scavenger hunt, picnic on the rocks and zero distractions. My happy place.