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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Back to Reality

Coming home from vacation is always a little rough, despite our kids voting unanimously to stop at Beaver Tacos which we all decided is the highlight of driving home.  Jeremy however made it a lot easier by arranging a surprise for our 22nd anniversary as I walked through the door.  He had our neighbor put in wood flooring in our dining room while we were gone.  We had decided to go that route a month ago and I had been waiting for a quote.  Jeremy figured out along with our kids how to have it all done while we were gone.  It looks gorgeous and once everything is back together I will post photos.  I can't believe that all happened without me ever having a clue about it.  It was an amazing present.

We picked up Taylor from respite and Jasper between us and Taylor was just giddy.  Taylor did not do so well while we were gone but I think he would have done worse on the beach.  He just won't eat right now and is super thin.  But he seems happier this last week and we are just forcing calories in him.

We went over to Jason and Kelly's for dinner and to meet their new puppy on Sunday and brought back with us two cousins.  Robyn just couldn't bear the thought of being cousinless after being so blessed for a week in California.  And they were all good sports about me needing to do mammoth piles of laundry and grocery shopping.  While we were gone Robyn's fake mermaid tail arrived so we spent the evening at the pool trying it out.

I had spent a bunch of the drive to and from California studying for my math test and that is all I did most of the time this week.  It is ridiculous how much I needed to relearn.  But Thursday I finally passed my test so I could get into the math class I needed.  I think Robyn was as excited as I was when she realized I wouldn't be spending hours studying math during the day anymore!  And I of course had to stop on my way to home to get my celebratory brownie. 

Girls have had piano camp this week where they go in for an hour a day with a group of students to work on theory.  Spencer and I did his back to school shopping and doctors visit which mainly involved getting a planner and a mammoth mexican meat sandwich.

Allison had her last dance class and did a little recital at the end to show off all they have learned.  We had a ward pool party one night and one morning I was able to get up early to meet a friend for a long bike ride.  We are trying to soak up the last bit of summer.  The highlight for Robyn was that her friend Kelly was visiting from Connecticut and came down to spend two days with her.

On Friday night Jeremy and I celebrated our anniversary by going up to Sundance for a picnic and to see The Music Man.  Froze and had a great time up in the mountains together.  Hard to believe how far we have come in 22 years!

At the end of July we took Taylor to respite (which was a little stressful as we had a miscommunication and they weren't expecting him for a few days.  So everything was locked up with no staff there.  Thankfully a very nice worker there made it all work out!) and we headed off in the early morning to CA.  Jeremy and our kids are convinced its best to leave at 4 am and get there early.  I am not quite convinced yet.

We spent the next two days at Universal Studios and for one of those my sister-in-law Griselda and their four boys got to join us with my brother David joining in the afternoon.  Cousins make the lines so much better.  But our kids were all good sports at getting up at 5:30 both days so we could be there right as Harry Potter world opened.  It was totally worth it as you could walk onto all the big rides.  My kids were enchanted as was I.

Spencer and Robyn are the Harry Potter fanatics in our house despite Allison having read the books more than the rest of us combined.  They said sitting in HogsHead Tavern drinking frozen butterbeer at the end of a hot afternoon was like a dream come true.

We went to all the shows and decided WaterWorld although a dumb movie made for a super cool stunt show.

It was like 95 degrees so kids really appreciated any shade and misting fan we could find:

And Spencer really liked the Simpson humor.

Saturday morning we just spent the morning at Universal Studios and then battled the traffic to get to Newport and my family.

We had an amazing house this year that was right off of Balboa Pier.  The waves there were huge!  Uncle David taught Robyn how to dive through the waves which would land with a huge boom.  And our girls got their wish for us to get the crows nest room so they could sleep in a loft bed with a little port window to look out of.  Most days we would drive the two miles to Newport Pier where there was a long shallow area for kids to play and boogie board easily in.  The days would just slide by easily and quickly full of sunshine, visiting and relaxing.  Everyone was able to come although Christina was only able to be there for the beginning of the week.  I love my family and spending time with them and one of my favorite parts is watching my kids become friends with their cousins.  We had moments like this that just melted my heart:

We visited the Newport temple after church where Griselda pointed out to her boys that in CA even the temples are tan.

Robyn got sunburned the first long beach day, just in time for photos, and decided her souvenir was going to be a hat and was a sunblock fiend from that point on.  She had a sister and some cousins join her.

We got shakes at Ruby's, went for a family bike ride (whining all the way there, smiles all the way back), went paddle boarding, visited Balboa Island for the candy store, amazing houses and Balboa bars, played games on the sand, lots of boogie boarding, rode a Ferris wheel, nights spent around the fire talking, amazing sandcastles and naps and books.  Just so much fun that none of us wanted to leave.

My nephew Haefen only had a few days on the beach before a towel rack cut open his lip and he had to get stitches.  So he stuck to fishing and sandcastle duty for the rest of the week.

My Mom and Christina had arranged to make a quilt for Taylor with everyone's hand prints on it.

We celebrated my brother Daniel's birthday with sparklers and cake on the beach.  (and earlier some big people did the all you can eat tacos nearby)

And of course Jeremy did family photos doughnuts as bribes for smiles.

It is amazing how a week of being surrounded by people you love and admire, in a beautiful place full of fun things to do just can fly by and leave you wishing for more.  How can you not feel full of happiness and optimism when you can see sheer joy in kids faces?  It was an awesome vacation.