The beach will always be magic to me. We went from one magic place to another on our trip to California and I'm so grateful the beach was last. The three days we spent in Oceanside were slow and easy. We woke up when we wanted to, ate giant bowls of cereal, the girls played with their little princess figurines for an hour or two and then we packed a picnic and headed to the beach. I think the beach brings out the best in kids. Lou was in her element digging in the sand for hours and doing what she loves best...collecting. Minnie is my little fish and would romp around in the waves as they lapped up onto the sand. With a bucket and shovel the girls were set for hours and it was heaven just snuggling with William under the beach umbrella, watching my girls do what they loved.
We stayed in a cute little condo just about a half block from the beach. Unfortunately the tide right next to the condo was incredibly high the entire time we were there, so we had to walk a ways in either direction to get to a decent beach. Once we were there, we plopped ourselves down for a good few hours so it was always worth the walk. The heat was a bit much when we were at Disneyland, but I was so grateful for such warm weather in November once we hit the beach. The temperatures had cooled quite a bit in Salt Lake before we left so it was a nice last little taste of summer before winter hit Utah for good. The one strange thing about it all was how early the sun would set. It was literally dark there by 5:00, and the first day we walked home from the beach by the light of street lamps. Sitting on the beach and watching the sun set was a dream.
Robert's friend Jordan and his family happened to be staying at his wife's family's place in Oceanside the same time we were there and one night we met up with them for dinner at Ruby's at the end of the pier. We were somewhat of a scene with our 6 wild little kids, but it was still so nice to be able to visit with them. It's funny because we live about 5 minutes away from each other but yet we end up actually hanging out with them when we are on vacation. We decided to meet up with them the next day at the beach close to their beach house and it was even nicer than where we'd gone the day before. It was much quieter and Minnie and Lou played so well with their cute kids. There were also lots more shells to be found on this quieter beach so Lou, Will and I took a little walk up and down the beach to collect some and toss them in Lou's bucket.
The last night we headed to the pier at sunset and the girls loved watching the surfers and the waves from above. I did too. Having Julia was nice because we kind of had our own personal photographer to take family pictures. Sadly, though, I feel like I didn't get her in as many pictures as I would have liked. I cannot say enough times how nice it was to have her with us. She helped me cook dinner, did dishes, held William when I needed both my hands, and just made my life easier. If you can't tell, I am a major proponent of bringing sisters on your family vacations.
It was hard to come back to real life, especially when it involved a 10 plus hour drive. We had our tires rotated before we left on the trip and the car was so shaky on the way down. On the way back we decided to have them fixed at some podunk little place in California and decided to eat lunch at the Pizza Palace next door. It was the only option. I would have chosen something else if I could have. You would have too if you'd seen the exterior of this place. I was terribly skeptical, but it turned out to be quite a decent pit stop. Julia got the girls some arcade tokens and they won themselves some fake tattoos and a few Tootsie Rolls and the pizza wasn't half bad either. Bless that Pizza Palace. And bless personal DVD players that kept our kids quiet for the majority of the drive. And bless sisters who sit in the back seat with your kids and situate said DVD players when the discs need changing.
I am just dreaming of a warm beach right now looking at these pictures as I sit in my chilly house with a few inches of snow laying on the ground and icicles hanging from my roof. But I do have a newly decorated, delicious smelling Christmas tree to my left, giant chocolate chip cookies in my kitchen waiting to be devoured and Christmas coming in just a few weeks to look forward to. I guess I'll survive.