Back in September Dave and I headed to Carlsbad, California with almost all of the adults in Dave’s family.

With nine siblings sometimes that’s tricky to come by, but I love how Dave’s family does it: someone throws out a date and a place well in the future and everyone jumps on the bandwagon.  Nothing is forced, there are no guilt-trips involved, everyone just genuinely wants to be together so much that they jump through hoops to make it happen.  Sometimes, despite the hoop-jumping someone can’t make it which is what happened this time around with one of Dave’s sisters.  We all missed her desperately (she is the life of the party…along with her great husband, but then again, when I think of Dave’s family most of them are :).  But there was lots of love spilled out that direction even from our gathering spot on the coast.
Before I dive too far into this, I have to say that when I go on things like this with just Dave I leave my big camera at home. So excuse these iPhone pictures I took just to cement things in my memory.  Luckily I have a sister-in-law who is the best photographer who brought along her camera.  She took some pretty great pictures, so if you want to see the real beauty, check out her post on this trip over HERE. (Thanks Kara!)
True to form, there were lots of competitions as well as great conversation, and my appreciation and love for this family grew again (that doesn’t seem to ever stop).  
It all started out as we gathered on the beach after we checked in, one by one to the hotel.
Ryan had started a game of “guess that music” (he had collected all kinds of different songs from movies past, and we all had to guess which movie they were from).

That evening Dave’s oldest brother was in charge of dinner (there were three couples assigned to each dinner while we were there so that everyone had a chance to orchestrate a meal, they chose the place, paid for everyone, and initiated the topics and games for the evening).

Loved that discussion of the “leather mail pouch” they introduced with the idea that when we have things we would love help or advice on, as families or as individuals, we would “add it to the pouch” so we can all be more aware of each other’s needs and struggles so we can offer help and consolation more readily.

I’m not going to go into a whole lot of detail, but I want to remember how that felt to be surrounded by all those great people caring so much about one another.  And do be one of them.

We ate well on this trip.

If anyone is every close to Encinatas, California, you MUST go to this place and get a few tacos.

 Makes my mouth water to look at those pics…

…followed by a stop at VG Donut, which also did not disappoint.

That night, after beach and another great dinner, we did a little game where we sat across from someone and answered a specific question.  When time was up, one side of the group moved down a spot and started again with a new question with the next person.

 (Kind of like the “dating game” teenagers do at church activities in these parts.)

Good times.

I love how active Dave’s family is.  There was lots of exercising going on along with great bike rides up and down the coast.

On the last night we hung out on the beach for longer so we could watch the sunset.

Again, go to Kara’s blog for the real sunset pics (here).

But for here and now, here are Dave’s awesome parents, freshly returned from living six months in Africa serving and helping so much over there:

 How I love them.

…and the children they produced…who you can’t really see in this silhouette pic…

But you can tell that extra tall one is mine.  And how grateful I am for this family who raised him into who he is.

 That night I didn’t take pictures but it was one of my favorites.

We sat around and put Dave’s parents in the “Hot Seat” and each person in the room got to ask them one question.  It ranged from “what was your GPA in high school” to “what is your idea of a perfect day” to “favorite memory with your mother/father.”  We started with his Dad and everyone asked a question, then moved on to his mom.

Although I didn’t get pictures, I recorded it, and I think that will be something we’ll treasure for a long, long time.

Everyone headed off in their own directions on Sunday, but Dave and I had the chance to hit a church service where one of the best talks I’ve ever heard happened to be given.  It was all about Women and femininity in the gospel and I sat on the edge of my seat the whole time, it was SO well thought-out and beautifully presented.

Something to give me food-for-thought for a long time.

We also got to meet up with a friend’s niece and her family…which was extra special since she was heading out to Max’s very same mission in Taiwan the next week.

Grateful for rejuvenation like this for relationships as well as for my filling up my mind with ideas and thoughts that make me want to do better and to be better.

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  1. Wow! Love this. I have a large family too, and you're right…in order to make it happen, you just have to pick that random date in the future and hope everyone can make it happen! I like your activities. My sibs and I were at one point talking about doing a Napa trip…but with no parents. I ended up getting married, so my wedding was the family trip instead of Napa. But, my parents were DYING to be a part of the Napa trip! So I got a chuckle thinking of that and seeing that Dave's parents were on your trip. Maybe my parental units will get to come along after all if and when we ever get our sibs trip on the books!

  2. A friend forwarded me the link to this post. I was actually the guy who spoke on women and femininity that Sunday (I'' commenting from my wife's account). I just wanted to say thank you so much for your kind words. God bless you and yours.

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