We lucked out and got to spend the 4th of July in Coronado in California.
Our friends have been going for years and have some serious connections to make that trip work.

I think our kids quite honestly thought we had died and gone straight to Heaven.

And to be honest, so did Dave and I.

As we crossed over the bridge to Coronado Island you could almost cut through the excitement filling up our car. The kids thanked us like 45 times before we even got there.
We got to hang out with great friends, spend time with the kids, and enjoy some serious beauty away from the ominous heat of the desert.
Our friends are master sandcastle builders.


They have the technique down-pat. It involves a pit stop at Home Depot before the beach, all kinds of wood and tools and serious man-power, but boy howdy is it ever worth it.

Here are four of the steps:
And the finished product:
It was a total group effort that took all day and was enjoyed by tons of other beach-dwellers (they all came to take pictures).

It was fun to watch everyone helping out.
The boys were the masterminds behind the structure:And the girls carved out most of the detail (mostly the big girls…the moms…but I didn’t get many pictures of that).
Claire was obviously pleased as punch to be involved:

In case the pictures don’t make it obvious, we couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces the whole time.
Lucy loved jumping over the waves.
We loved walking around the quaint little town.

And of course, no trip to the beach is complete without me coercing my kids to the beach at sunset for some pictures:

Some sweet random lady offered to capture us together (Lu wasn’t the least bit interested and Max was long gone by then):
…and Grace and Claire wanted to practice taking their own little photos of each other too:

By the end of our sunset beauty-light time Lucy had pretty much had it:
…and needed to be calmed down by her Dad.
At night we were all so loud in the hallways with so many kids running around (there were ten families in all):

…until the security guards had had enough with all our commotion and offered to let us take over one of the conference rooms.And that worked out pretty much perfect.
Some of the girls had a contest to see how many bracelets they could collect.

These cute girls wanted their own photo shoot:

These are our friends (Brian & Nicole) behind the good deals and vip treatment:
They just had a new baby (their #6!!) who I cannot believe I didn’t’ get more pictures of but these two were so cute with her. I had so much fun with Nicole who is a photographer I idolize (check out her photos and blog here).

On the actual 4th of July we all gathered together and walked over to a nearby park for the fireworks.(after some group pictures, of course…)

The girls:
The boys:
The group:

Brian & Nicole brought all kinds of glow stuff for the kids.
…who were obviously enamored by it and had so much fun making glowing outfits.The day we checked out, some kids, (we parents would have no idea who), decided it would be a great idea to empty some shampoo into the hot tub.

It was really naughty, and I’m sure not a fun fix-up job, but I must say that it was probably a highlight of the trip for every kid involved.

Can you tell?
It was such a fun trip we won’t soon forget. Thank you, thank you, dear friends, especially Brian & Nicole!

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  1. I absolutely love Coronado! I went there for my senior trip after high school. My dream is to own a house there so my kids can just bike through the streets and hang out at the beach. My oldest wants to go into the Navy… I am hoping that if he does, he will be stationed in Coronado so I can have an excuse to come visit!

  2. Love the photos, looks like you all had a great time – I'm shivering through winter so the sun and sand photos were especially welcome!

  3. I know Coronado well, it's my old stompin ground. If you walk west on the beach to the end you run into the Naval air station. They have armed guards standing on the beach so that no one crosses over. The sand castle is awesome.

  4. What a blast! Love the kids who did the bubbles in the hot tub. That happened on our honeymoon-didnt' think you were allowed to have that much fun! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Yay! I was sitting on the computer last night reading through blogs and felt like I wasn't "fulfilled", if that makes sense. Then I realized why I wasn't, and it was because there wasn't a recent post on your blog. Seriously! When I saw this new post I felt fulfilled again. Yeah, I guess you could say I'm a fan, and love reading about you guys. 🙂

  6. What an awesome group! You guys have so much fun! WE went on our honeymoon to Coronado so I'll always have a special love for it. We took our girls back a couple years ago. This post is giving me a hankering to visit again, soon. Such a beautiful little town, I would live there in a heartbeat!

  7. So glad you guys came this year! We had so much fun! Hope you are enjoying Bear Lake! I am trying to gear up for the heat again which is coming to soon for me!!

  8. Glad you guys had such a fun time! Whenever people come to visit it's a MUST that we take them to Hotel Del. My husband is stationed at North Island so we're always out there. The view never gets old!!

    I'm sure you guys loved the cooler temperatures, it was a bit too chill of us who live here though ha.

    That firework show was awesome, we were just a ways down from you guys on base enjoying the show ourselves. It made for a great view of downtown San Diego.

  9. I found your blog from somewhere, maybe the guest post about being a mother, but I love enjoy reading it for some reason. Maybe it is because your Lucy reminds me of my Macy. Macy was looking at Lucy's picture and said with some confusion, "Is that me?" to which her brother replied that "It has to be Macy!" They look similar and sound like they have similar personalities 🙂 I feel like your blog is an accurate depiction of what motherhood is all about, the joy and the struggle 🙂 Hope you don't find it weird that a random stranger is reading your blog 🙂 It kind of is, and if it makes you feel better, I don't seem to find the time very frequently 🙂

  10. Hi. I have been reading your blog for awhile. I actually saw you at Joann store one night but was afraid to say hello. (I felt like a stalker LOL). Can you please share with me if you have time what manual settings to you use for your beautiful outdoor pictures on your Canon camera. If you don't have time I understand. My email is cposvar@gmail.com LOVE your blog! : )

  11. I couldn't help but notice the book your husband was reading to Lucy. We have a whole grundle of those same books… I'm assuming they are from your England days… Love them!

    Great photos and what a fantastic trip!

  12. I saw Nicole's post and I was telling her how jealous i am of all that sun!! We were in oceanside and it was frigid and cloudy the whole time! note to self… next 4th… coronado island!! your pictures are fantastic and you look so pretty standing there next to dave in your purple dress 🙂 !!

  13. I was just looking at the pictures on Nichole's blog.. I love to see the different pictures you guys use. I love the hot tub! Oh my word did you guys get in trouble! How fun for the kids! Looks like a great trip!

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