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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.


The Skeehan Family said...

Feeling very nostalgic right now and knew you would have this up. has filled my canteen just to see these pictures and remember the magic that is the beach with this family. love you so!!