Rose Bowl Trip-Part 1


I cannot wait to share everything about this trip with you guys!  I’m super pumped we’re starting today!  We just returned from eight glorious days in sunny California and if you ask my children what’s their favorite vacation to date…they’d all say this one.  It was GOOD!  

Let me give you a little back story-my husband, Tab, is a college football official.  Every year around the end of the college season the planner in me begins to get anxious.  I need to PLAN!  Tab and I absolutely love taking our kids along to a bowl game.  {Now in the midst of carrying a four-year-old up a hill at 6:45 a.m. to get to our parade seats was I questioning it?  Yes, I cannot lie.  I might have questioned it for a minute that day at 6:45 BUT all the other minutes of the trip I was so thankful we took them.}  The problem with this and my planner self is we have to wait to hear anything until December.  I’ve been known to have a plan, a back-up plan, and maybe a third option-just in case.  So you know that day often referred to as Selection Sunday in the football world when the selection committee chooses the four teams headed to the playoffs?  Then all the other bowl teams are announced?  Well after all those teams have been selected THEN in the official world different games are given to each conference to provide officials.  After that, the conference supervisors select their crews for their games and finally-we’re told if we got a bowl game and where we’re headed.  

Tab and I were lying in bed about to go to sleep after discussing a wide variety of scenarios and could-be situations when he got the call from his referee saying, “We’re headed to Pasadena!”.  


The Rose Bowl is known as, “the granddaddy of them all”, to the sports world, but it’s also known as that in the officials’ world as well.  The Rose Bowl is THE bowl that is known for going above and beyond for families of the game day officials.  I realize the officials and their families are low on the totem pole when most bowls are planning the fun and festivities for teams and fans, but the time and effort the Rose Bowl gives does not go unnoticed.  In the officiating world, the talk is THIS is the game you want to get.  Not only because IT’S THE ROSE BOWL, but because they’re known for spoiling us rotten.  🙂

Needless to say, EVERY SINGLE YEAR we await that call we have our fingers a bit crossed hoping to hear, “ROSE BOWL!!!”.   We were PUMPED to know we’d be headed to Pasadena right after Christmas!!  And we knew immediately we’d make it a family affair because IT’S THE ROSE BOWL!

Tab had to be there for meetings and such on the 29th of December-game day on the first so we decided to add a bit of fun to the beginning and end to make it a vacation we’d never forget.

I got lots of DM’s and comments asking great questions, so I’ll try to address them all in these posts, but if you have another question, please comment or e-mail me at and I’ll share a little Q and A about the trip in a post as well.

This row looks like a row you’d like to avoid on an airplane.  Doesn’t it?  

Can you tell we were just a tad excited?

Ebby Lee watched a movie on her I-pad while I read my kindle the entire way there. 

We landed and had a bit of a bag situation.  One of our bags didn’t make our flight but was on the flight from Dallas right after ours.  We grabbed lunch at the Sheraton at the airport so we could swing by and grab our bag right after eating.  Standing in front of me in the baggage line was approximately 200 high school students from a school in Mississippi who were ALL missing their luggage.  I wanted to hug their chaperones.  

This girl was READY for California!

Los Angeles, we were so excited to see you!

We checked into our first hotel of the stay, JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live.  One of my main travel tips would be to stay loyal to brands…airlines and hotels.  Most airlines and hotel chains have credit card options where you can accumulate points to be applied to flights or hotel stays.  We put almost every expense on our credit card {and then pay it off at the end of the month} so we’re earning points at no cost to us. 

This hotel is in the heart of the hustle and bustle full of Christmas activities.

Located right outside the Staples Center and near lots of fun!  We took a little tour of the area as soon as we arrived.

Do you recognize that guy? 

Hey, Shaq!

Bowen thought he was being hilarious while Britt was terrified of this little exhibit.
We arrived in our room to the most gorgeous flowers sent from Tab’s mom, sister, and brother.  Congratulating him on the game!  Super sweet!

Our plans for the evening…the L.A. Zoo Lights!  When googling festive things to do in the area, this was the first thing that kept popping up.

Can we say, “GORGEOUS?”!!!

One of Tab’s closest college football friends and his family live in L.A. so we invited them to check out the lights with us. The last time we saw them was 2011 when Tab and I were in California solo.

The lights were AWESOME!  All the animals are tucked away but there’s a 60-90 minute walking trail full of gorgeous light displays for you to see along the way.  Since we were visiting with friends we hadn’t seen in years, we took closer to two and a half hours to walk through the exhibit.

Great way to begin the trip!

The kettle corn made it even better!

Britty started melting toward the end of the walk.  Her legs were tired.

One final picture before calling it a night.


Remember-if you have a question about football or our trip, comment or shoot me an e-mail {}.  There’s a big Q and A post in the works.  Thank you!

Happy Tuesday!

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  1. 1.7.20
    Mix and Match Mama said:

    Oh my gosh! I loved every single pic!!! I'm so excited to see the other blog posts about this trip!!

  2. 1.7.20
    Julie Bradford said:

    how fun!!!! can't wait to see more pics… the game didn't disappoint either.. was a fun game to watch!!!!

  3. 1.7.20
    Kara said:

    I cannot wait to hear all about this trip. So awesome…and like you said, trip of a lifetime.

  4. 1.7.20
    Leah Reinemund said:

    Ahhhh I grew up in Pasadena, went to maranatha high school about 1/10 of a mile from the rose bowl! I miss it so much, I live here in Dallas now! I am so glad you had a wonderful time there it truly is a special place!!

  5. 1.7.20
    Kimberly K. said:

    HOW FUN. SO EXCITING! I am living vicariously through your posts for sure.

    side note: my coworker was part of the 200 people from MS without their luggage!! small world!! lol

  6. 1.8.20
    Anonymous said:

    What a FUN trip!!! It looks like a blast!

  7. 1.8.20
    Elaine Welte said:

    The Rose Bowl is definitely a bucket list bowl for our family!!! I was so excited for y'all that Tab got to officiate it, and also, how did he never officiate a Texas game this year?!

  8. 1.8.20
    Ronda Petrin said:

    I have seen your family in a lot of Shay's posts for years, and I was looking for a new blog to follow, Football = Love in my world! So cool to me that your husband is an official. I wish either I could be involved in football somehow or be married to someone who is!

    (I'm divorced just so people don't think I'm trying to trade in a husband – lol)

    Looking forward to reading more.

  9. 1.8.20
    Jill said:

    I had commented on one of your Instagram posts and you responded, which had me so tickled. I'm from LA, have lived here my whole life and love seeing your sweet family have a great time here. So cool you had such an awesome vacation, and so cool you got THE ROSE BOWL!

  10. 1.8.20
    Unknown said:

    These pictures are finominal. They brought back so many great memories of 24 years ago. I am SO PROUND of this BEAUTIFUL FAMILY. And yes, I may be a little prejudice but anyone can see it❤!!!

  11. 2.12.20
    Joanne said:

    Those zoo lights look so fun! Glad the lost luggage was on the next plane… and you weren't waiting days for it.