Thursday, July 25, 2013

Family fun time

Wow, what a great week in Southern California. We were so glad to get to spend time with family and everyone made time in their busy schedules for us. We stayed two nights with Aunt Marlene. She taught Jillian and Suzy how to knit. Jillian was so excited, she's been wanting to learn. We went to Laguna Beach and found a great little cove for the kids to play in. Since the waves were high, we thought we'd leave the kids in their clothes so there would be no arguing about "how far in was too far" and they could just play in the sand. This lasted maybe 15 seconds because the first wave (when they were in only to their ankles) splashed up all over their shorts. Veronica was the only one to stay dry, and she really tried not to get wet. A nice lady shared buckets and shovels with the girls, and they immediately set to work building "West Coast Fort Becks" ie a giant wall of sand to block the waves. They had a blast and we had a blast watching them. toward the end, Suzy decided to play her "run screaming from the waves game" that she has played since she was two. that girl loves to run. After a couple minutes though, there came a wave that Suzy could not outrun. It scooped her up and she tumbled head over heals sideways, ending up in a seated  upright position with her feet in front of her floating as if on a board as the wave rolled in. Poor thing looked like a wet cat and we had to yell at her to stand up so she didn't just ride the wave on out again. That wave also took out the West Coast Fort Becks level to the ground and finally got veronica wet. we decided it was time to head back. we stripped the children down to their underwear at the van and brushed them off as best we could before we put hoodies on them to drive them home. Suzy had a solid layer of sand everywhere. we lifted her shirt and she looked like she was covered in fur. her pockets were loaded down with sand. She was blessed to escape with only one scrape on her arm. We went back to Aunt Marlene's and showered and then went off to have dinner with GG Marge and GG Art. We enjoyed a wonderful evening visiting on their back patio and watching their hummingbird "Red" fend off all the other hummingbirds from GG Marge's gourmet feeders.

 The next morning we had a delicious breakfast with Aunt Marlene and then packed up for Uncle Marlin and Aunt Patti's house. Since the beach was not cooperating, we called cousin Cassidy and went swimming in their pool for a couple hours. It's a fun pool and it's salt water, not chlorine, so the kids eyes weren't hurting. I hope this idea takes off in Ohio. Then we dried off and headed to Marlin and Patti's. They were so sweet and offered us a date night out, so we happily took them up on it. Aunt Marlene had given us a great coupon so we decided to use it and go to a local italian place for dinner. Marino's was delicious and the service was awesome. We then followed some of Cassidy's advice and headed to Belmont Shore. We parked our hoopdie minivan (which i had to ask mike how to spell it by the way, so that means we definitely aren't cool enough to use that word- especially because Mike wasn't sure how to spell it) and strolled with all the hip and happening crowd.   We ended up at Sweet Jill's to pick up a couple treats to share with Marlin and Patti as a thank you. We were going to get ice cream, but were still too full from dinner. We got home and realized that our poor "slightly warm" Jillian had turned into a shivering but hot sicky girl that evening. Her fever lasted all the next day, so she and I stayed home from church. Danelle still brought her kids over for lunch in the afternoon, so we kept Jillian upstairs for most of the time which was a bummer because Eli loves rocks as much as Jillian. The rest of the kiddos played happily for the afternoon, and then the rest of the crew went over to see Danelle's house and tree house while Jillian and I stayed at the house and prayed her fever would go away for Disneyland the next morning. Sadly her fever did not break, but she was very understanding  (and we certainly are praying that nobody else takes it on cruises or off to college or anything else with them). She had to miss out on Disneyland, but was comforted by a whole day of screens and a promise to go to Kings Island when we get home. Mike gets the World's Greatest #1 SuperDad award for taking the other 3 girls to a busy crowded Disneyland by himself for most of the day.  Cousin Sheri did come help make the day a bit more girlie by bringing awesome tiaras and glow necklaces for the kids after the evening parade. And Aunt Patti gave me the chance to run up to Starbucks for a little time out of the house after sitting with fever kid for a couple days.

 Thankfully Jillian's fever broke during the night before our last full day in California, so she was able to swim in the pool at Uncle Larry and Aunt Lori's house and then go to the beach one last time and then swim in the pool some more. In a very exciting turn of events, Veronica learned to swim in their pool. We took a girl who didn't know how to come up for air and are bringing home a girl who can almost tread water and can certainly jump in one side of the pool and make her way to the other side of the pool by herself. We are also bringing home slightly pinker children than we left with. There is no amount of sunscreen that can completely hide the ohio-ness of our fair skin, so we are glad that we reapplied the 50 as often as we did and guess that when you get to the point where 50 times longer than zero is still zero minutes till you burn, then it's time to come in. The girls had a great time with their cousins Cassidy and Crystal. Veronica decided to be a mini-me for Crystal and Alyssa has declared she is never going to take out the braid that Cassidy put in her hair.

Our last day in Cali we headed to downtown LA to see the Hollywood sign and drive down Hollywood Boulevard. We also drove through Beverly Hills where I accidentally sang the song about Bel Air instead of one about Beverly Hills. We then saw some Beverly Hills Cops and drove down Rodeo Drive and talked a lot about stuff that our kids couldn't give two hoots about, bless their hearts. We did tell them that some of the clothes in those stores probably cost more than our van and that impressed them a little :)

So after driving in LA traffic we decided to hit the road and head to Phoenix. It's very very hot in Phoenix. The great news is that our AC works really well on the highway, so we didn't even notice how hot it was till we stopped for gas. Then it was very hard to convince the children to get out of the car. We drove through some neat desert and enjoyed seeing all the giant cactus. The kids took turns reading out of the "States" book as we had missed reading about California and Oregon and caught up to Arizona. We got to Aunt Meribeth and Uncle Dave's house around 7:30 and enjoyed visiting for a couple hours. We saw this beautiful sunset on the way.

Uncle Dave had several appointments the next day, so we decided to hang out at our hotel and swim the next morning. Then we headed over and visited with cousin Elizabeth and cousin Andy till they got home. We got to meet Elizabeth's son Logan. He is such a cutie. I wish i had a picture of his belly button, it's just like a cabbage patch doll's belly button.

We were so glad to have a chance to sit down and visit with them, and we were especially glad that Uncle Dave was home from the hospital and we were all healthy enough to get to see him. We had a delicious Italian dinner with a baked ziti that will probably make baked ziti part of our dinner rotation from now on.We finally said goodbye and headed back to our hotel, which we are loving with it's super great price and little kitchen to cook in. If these were all over the country, we wouldn't be camping. and the fun part of it is, that it looks like this...
which totally reminds us of National Lampoon's Vacation hee hee.