Flat Liliana’s California Adventure

We were excited when we found out that Flat Liliana would be traveling 1,942 miles in a mail truck all the way from Dubuque, Iowa, to visit us in Ventura, California. Our very first visitor!

Flat Lili's Mail Truck Ride

Who is Flat Liliana? Flat Liliana is part of a second grade class project, based on a popular series of books (Flat Stanley) written by Jeff Brown.  A miniature paper doll version of our young friend Liliana was created, and sent to different host families across the country in search for an educational and unique adventure. A summary of the adventure is written by the host family and sent back to the classroom, along with pictures.  Our version continues below.

Flat Liliana Arrives   Good Morning Flat Lili!

Our home is not typical. We live on the water in a 37 foot sailboat, and enjoy having visitors to show them what living on a boat is really like. The first thing we did was give Flat Liliana a quick tour of the boat. We showed her where she would be sleeping and where she could stow her luggage. Except, Flat Liliana traveled very light and didn’t bring any luggage!

After the tour, we reminded Flat Liliana that the boat is our home and it has limited space, so it is very important to put things back where they belong after using them. On a boat it’s important to share duties. We made Flat Liliana the Cleanup Captain during her visit. Once a day, the Cleanup Captain is responsible for organizing a 10 minute cleanup. The Cleanup Captain must yell “10 minute cleanup” and get the timer ready. For the next 10 minutes, everyone including the Cleanup Captain uses the time to cleanup the boat. Flat Liliana was very excited to be the Cleanup Captain during her stay.

Flat Liliana was very interested in the library of books we keep on board our boat. The library includes lots of information about sailing, boat maintenance, medicine, weather, fishing, cooking, how to speak French and more! Flat Liliana was most interested in learning another language. She told us she already knew how to speak Spanish, so she spent some time learning some French.

Next, we took Flat Liliana on a walking tour around the harbor.  Our first stop was the beach right across the street. Flat Liliana wanted to pick up a souvenir at each stop she made so she could tell her family and friends about her trip when she returned. At the beach she found a pretty rock and put it in her pocket.

Flat Liliana Goes To The Beach   Flat Liliana visits Channel Islands Visitor Center

Across the street Flat Liliana visited the Channel Islands National Park Visitor’s Center. She learned about the eight islands located off the coast of California. Four of the Northern islands are located directly across from the Ventura Harbor. The islands are home to many types of marine life, including sea lions, dolphins and whales.

Next we headed to the Ventura Harbor Village where Flat Liliana was able to ride the carousel, and play a few arcade games. Then she picked out a T-shirt as another souvenir.

Flat Liliana Knows Her Engine Mechanics   Flat Liliana Eats At In & Out Burger

After the walking tour, we had to check something on the boats engine and Flat Liliana wanted to help. She put on her headlamp and got to work. Since Flat Liliana was very good at engine maintenance, we decided to treat Flat Liliana to some food at In & Out Burger, a popular fast food restaurant in California. After lunch, we stopped for some of Flat Liliana’s favorite ice cream and headed to Grant Park. The park offers the best views of Ventura and the Pacific Ocean.

“This is beautiful!” said Flat Liliana.

Flat Liliana at Grant Park   Another View of the Pacific

Flat Liliana wanted to go sailing, so we headed back to the boat.

Back at the boat, we put on our life jackets. Flat Liliana saw lots of sea lions playing around the harbor. Once the boat was out on the Pacific Ocean, we turned off the engine and let the wind passing through the sails, move us around the water.

“This is amazing!” Flat Liliana said.

We let Flat Liliana take a turn at driving the boat.  Flat Liliana steered us on a very straight course.

Back at the dock, there was just one last place Flat Liliana wanted to visit. We headed to downtown Ventura and explored all the little shops. Liliana wanted to stop at the San Buenaventura Mission. The mission was founded in 1782 by a Franciscan priest who made the journey to the New World as a missionary to the native peoples of the land. Currently the mission serves as an active Catholic parish, and is known as Mission by the Sea.

Flat Liliana In The Garden   Flat Liliana Visits The Mission By The Sea

Flat Liliana was having such a good time, she forgot how long she had been away from her family. She decided that she should probably head back to tell them all about her trip.

“Thank you, I had a wonderful time in California!” she said.

We told Flat Liliana that she was welcome to visit anytime. We wished her farewell (bon voyage), and made sure she got packed up safely for her trip back home. We upgraded her to a larger box for shipping, to give her a little more space to stretch her legs. After all, it is a very long trip.


  • Cute story,this has to be Roberto and Katies daughter, right.


    • Thanks, minus the typing errors, which have been fixed by the way if you visit the regular site. My apologies to the readers who got email updates. The blog was supposed to be scheduled to allow for revisions but apparently I had the wrong time zone assigned in my settings. It’s my first blog. Yes, this is Roberto and Katie’s daughter.

  • Great story! Great pictures too! I believe Lindsey participated in the Flat Stanley project in grade school.

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