After school got out, we got the opportunity to join up with these girls in California a couple days after they got there:
Loved getting to spend some time with them and have more windows into the pre-senior-year thing for them.
We had a little home-family-church (complete with ice cream) before they left on Sunday. Dave led a great discussion talking about testimonies. Claire was squirming and embarrassed at first but then she settled in and I think she was actually pretty pleased about that little situation.
Then it was down to just the four of us for a day or two.
We had dinner with Dave’s cousin and her family who were there at the same time:
And enjoyed all the beauty Newport has to offer.
We also got together with Dave’s cousin from the other side and his family who live close-by. We never get to see them and it was SO great to get caught up!
And then the family party began with Max & Abby’s arrival:
We were so excited we got to celebrate Max’s birthday together. We didn’t have many supplies there, but nothing a ream of construction paper can’t handle:)
To celebrate, we got our favorite acai bowls:
Played pickleball, hung on the beach, talked to our missionary:
Ate at our Taiwanese favorite (in honor of his mission): Din Tai Fung:
And I think he felt thoroughly celebrated.
Later that night, as the best bday gift of the day, these two arrived:
And we were pretty dang happy to be all together.
These guys always make up funny things to do.
And Crystal Cove is so beautiful!
We had to do our traditional tinfoil beach dinners:
And lots of games:
It had been chilly the first day, so this blue sky was SO welcome. I basked in it and cherished every moment of it.
Then came game night where Lucy lost. The agreed-upon consequence was that the loser had to jump in the bay. Oh that girl was all-in with her trash talking and proclaiming the loser really did have to jump in that water. But she lost that gusto pretty speedy quick when Dave read out the scores and she realized she was the lowest! But that girl put on her swimsuit and a giant smile and we all walked out together for the big dare.
And that girl jumped right in. (With her family so very sweetly cheering her on.)
It was such a fun memory we won’t soon forget.
Oh togetherness is such a very good thing, even when it’s just for a couple days, and especially when you all live far apart and life gets crazy. I was thankful every single moment, my heart almost hurt with gratitude.
We all split up after that…Elle and Lar first on a long and delayed layover flight to arrive back to their little apartment in Miami at 2:00am, Claire, Lu, Dave and I later that evening to get ready for 5:30am volleyball workshops for Claire, and Max and Abby finally got home the next day after a six hour delay (allegiant) to get back to to their little apartment.
But I think we’d all agree that time was golden, even filled up partially with worries. I am the luckiest to call them all mine, as well as that golden girl of ours in Texas who calls us “y’all” and who we missed so much!