Whitakers Head West 2016: Part Three

You can read all about our journey from Texas to California, and back, in parts onetwo, threefour, five and six

Our time in the San Diego area was far too short, but we were really looking forward to our stint with the Tierney family and showing the kids “real LA” which, to be honest, is probably a lot like “real Austin.”

I had to chuckle on Sunday morning when we woke up and breakfast for 20 was being cooked and no one even batted an eye. There really should’ve been pictorial documentation of that morning, but the phone was dead and the conversation too good. Because we had celebrated Mass the night before, we met up with a friend in Santa Monica to explore while the Tierney’s haded to Mass.

The Clippers fan asked for a pit stop at the Staples Center so we obliged. How I have one kid who roots for the Mets/Jets and another for the Clippers is beyond me. These are questions I do not have answers for, people.


Our awesome friend and guide was Sean. His mom was on my Christ Renews His Parish team back in Indy. Right after we formed our CRHP team, Sean was diagnosed with cancer. He was 16. Y’all, there was a time when no one believed he would survive. He is a walking miracle. As it turns out, he and Luke got along swimmingly.


We enjoyed a little time at the Getty Museum. Wellllll, the kids may not have enjoyed it as much as Scott, Sean and I. But it was FREE.




Hey Monet! I remember you.



I really loved this painting. It’s what happens when you spend 8+ years of your life nursing babies.


We got a bird’s eye view of the cityscape, too, in all its smog and wildfire smoke glory. Also, did I mention we almost died – twice – in LA traffic? After relaying our near death experience to our LA friends they had little sympathy for us and told us it was just par for the course. Thank God Scott was behind the wheel.


After an art-filled morning, we headed over to the Santa Monica Pier for a little seafood lunch and a whole lotta people watching. That was an educational walk, for sure. Sean, thank you for being the very best tour guide. It was a gift to see you – so happy, so healthy and so successful.



We rolled back into Gramblewood just in time for a swim party with the Darr and Tierney families (Blythe bailed on us because of a newborn, I guess I’m okay with that ;). Between us there were 20 kids. Isn’t that awesome? Well, we were down a few older boys (mine and the Tierney’s) who ditched us for a Boy Scout BBQ and movie. But still. Lotta kids. Lotta fun. Just look.


Somehow, the kids convinced the dads to start this fantastic game of “throw me in the pool.” It sounded like such a good idea but I neglected to ask the dads the next day how they fared. The moms just stood by, drinking Dr Pepper and taking pictures.




At this point, Gianna was like, “peace out, y’all.” Every time we would put her to bed, we would say, “but it’s only 8pm in California!” And, when we got her up early, we were like, “but it’s 8am in Texas!” I’m not 100% sure she thought that was the best way to look at the time difference. Either way, she earned trooper of the trip.


The highlight, for me, was getting to know two pretty fantastic women just a little better. Isn’t it crazy how people live on your computer but you feel like you know them? The commonalities among us were many, but it was our love of faith and DP that sealed the deal. It’s really too bad Texas is SO far from sweet California. The kids were like, “So when can we see y’all again?” Um, a while?


I think one of the most beautiful moments of the day happened in the late hours of the evening. Scott had gone to pick up the big boys and I found Kendra in the kitchen, baking Mary Jane’s birthday cupcakes. And as she iced the cupcakes, we talked about life – Luke’s prematurity, Jim’s cancer and what being the mom of many sometimes looks like. Faith often comes in many forms and affects us each in a different way. As we swapped stories over that kitchen counter, I was grateful. Grateful for the funny ways in which God works in our lives and how sweet it is when you discover a kindred spirit.

Kendra, a million thank you’s are not enough for letting us crash at your home. I will save the sap for tomorrow, because you still have us one more day!

That’s right, tomorrow I chat about the mouse that eats money, the ride we all loved and the discovery of a California icon.


  1. Whitakers Head West 2016: Part Two - Team Whitaker on September 12, 2016 at 6:48 am

    […] can read all about our journey from Texas to California, and back, in parts one, two, three and four (and maybe […]

  2. Cat on September 16, 2016 at 9:57 am

    I have enjoyed your recaps of your journeys. I just did CRHP for the first time this weekend (in Indiana, no less), and had been on the fence about joining the team after. I read this post just in time. The fact that you re-connected with a teammate’s grown child many many years later in a land far away just really spoke so much to me about the bond that is formed. I signed my commitment 🙂

    • Kathryn on September 16, 2016 at 2:31 pm

      You don’t even know how happy that makes me. Your time in formation will be blessed, that I promise.

  3. K on October 5, 2016 at 1:42 am

    I was really great to have you visit! And that conversation was a real highlight. 🙂 My kids keep asking when you’ll be back . . .

    • Kathryn on October 6, 2016 at 1:59 am


  4. Whitakers Head West 2016: Part Four - Team Whitaker on November 15, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    […] can read all about our journey from Texas to California, and back, in parts one, two, three, four, five and […]

  5. Whitakers Head West 2016: Part One - Team Whitaker on November 15, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    […] can read all about our journey from Texas to California, and back, in parts one, two, three, four, five and […]

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