by Monica Swason


So guys...Welcome to July!  Wait - What the what!?  Did I just say July!? oh my goodness, summer is flying by at the speed of a flying firecracker.

Speaking of which:  HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! {insert big booms and flags and sparklers and watermelon and hot dogs and red white and blue everything.}  I hope your celebration is full of all the good stuff.

I'm writing this post from an airplane between LA and Seattle, and that might be totally normal to some of you, but it's my first time ever using the internet on an airplane!  (You can't do that flying to or from Hawaii, because of, well, the ocean.)  So for me, this is a bit of a thrill.

But before we hit Seattle and all of the fun awaiting us over the next nine days, I wanted to give a quick check-in/update from our time in CALI! ??

And.  California was...GOOD.  Like, really good.


I mean there's always a mix of good and bad, highs and lows (wins and losses) in everything.  Especially when you're traveling.  Or competing.  (And especially when you're traveling and competing!) But to keep in the spirit of summertime and the all-American holiday happiness...

I'll focus on the highlights:

Like Luke's surfing.  (Such a highlight! -but more on that in a second...)


I'll start from the beginning:  Traveling with Levi (our trip to Cali was our first time traveling alone together!)  He's been a good travel buddy.

And a snazzy one at that...

Then the one day I got to spend with Dave before he had to fly back to Hawaii. I wished so much that he could stay for the whole trip, but that whole thing about "work" and "providing for his family" kind of got in the way of that. Geesh. ??


But I did get to wear my fun new jumper (romper? I don't even know) that I got on clearance before I left Hawaii for the one fun family night out before Dave had to fly back home. And I could live in this thing. (Billabong and yes, it works as PJ's too. ;)

And indeed it is sweet to have the brothers back together! (Levi's world is back in order again!)

A big beach highlight was using our brand new NESO tent. (Lifesaver)

And because everyone who passes us asks us about our tent, Neso offered to give a $10 discount to anyone who uses orders one using PROMO CODE:  GROMMOM! Click over to NESO to check them out and order one!

Another highlight was our amazing stay at the Embassy Suites Irvine. We had stayed at an Embassy Suites last summer (when I traveled with all four boys!) and again this past spring in Waikiki. It seriously felt like home.  They cleaned our rooms, cooked us breakfast, and served us at happy hour every night...Which now that I think about it really isn't anything like home so I was just so grateful.


(I'll be sharing a bit more about that part of our stay in a future post!)

But when we weren't in a hotel, this trip was all about staying with families. Dave and Luke had stayed with one family in San Clemente, and Luke, Levi and I stayed with one in Huntington Beach. We had not met either before but had a connection through mutual friends to meet them. And as I wrap up this part of the trip, an absolute HIGHLIGHT is the new friends (really family!) I feel like we have because of that time. They opened their homes, their refrigerators, (their jacuzzis!) to us and we felt so loved and blessed and welcomed.  At the end of the day, PEOPLE are what it's all about. (and if there's a dog around, even better!)  


But the biggest HIGHLIGHT of all, of course, was Luke's contest results:

Luke got THIRD PLACE IN THE NATION in the EXPLORER 12 and Under Division!   Seriously so proud of this boy.  Not just for the contest results but for every day that has led up to it.  He's full of character and heart and a whole lot of determination.  I'm a big fan, and just so inspired by this



More highlights:  Daily A few trips to get ice cream in various forms...(see what happens when Dad leaves us on our own...we get naughty!)

And the daily highlight of the Southern California sunsets.


On a completely different note, but a very qualifiable HIGHLIGHT... is that while I was doing daily beach trips with the boys, THESE TWO BEAUTIES (@marykaterob and @legitsadierob AKA the girls from DUCK DYNASTY!  AKA the YouTube sensations with nearly a million subscribers and a combined THREE MILLION Instagram followers...) shouted out little ole ME in a YouTube video!  They talk about the great impact MY BOOK, (The Secret of Your Naturally Skinny Friends,) has had on their journey to work through diet and body image issues.  Wow.  Just wow!


I was so excited when I discovered it because, well, most of you know I haven't marketed this book at has sold mostly through word of mouth.  But now that these two shared it on their site...just before they go on a SPEAKING TOUR (where we can hope they'll also talk about it...)  Well, as you can imagine, it is a huge blessing and a major encouragement to me.

Check out their #liveoriginal tour page HERE!

See below to watch these two cuties talk about the "easiest diet ever."

So yeah - that was a great way to wrap up my highlight reel!  (and go to my BOOK PAGE to read more about my book and how to order!)

I truly hope you're all doing great and are enjoying your own summer highlights!

Wanna share some? Please do in comments!

See you back here soon!


PS  Would love your prayers for my boy Jonah, who is also on an airplane right now on his way to Indonesia with Surfing the Nations.  He'll be gone just over three weeks and man I'm gonna miss him, but I'm so very excited for his chance to spread his wings, experience new places and grow!