This summer we spent a big chunk of time in California.
When you live in the desert you’ll do anything to try to beat the heat, and California is the perfect spot to do that.
It is not, however, a great spot to beat the traffic.  This was our map over and over again:

But we braved it all and it was so worth it.

After two years away from Coronado for the 4th of July (kind of a family tradition of ours that was disrupted by South Carolina two years ago and Max’s Nationals volley ball tournament last year), we re-joined those friends there and lived it up for another 4th.

But we caught up with Dave’s cousin and his wife first, who live close-by…and also our other friends who happened to be in town from Texas:

How I love those great couples.  The ones on the left used to live right around the corner from us here in the desert (and Annie grew up with Dave).  They have one boy and three girls just the same ages as all of ours (they opted for a dog at the end of their string of girls rather than a Lucy 🙂  Now our boys are away on missions and our girls are getting older!  Elle and their daughter were at BYU this past summer and it was so fun to have them back together.  And Claire and their daughter Claire were born on the exact same day.  Pretty great bonding with those two.
Then there’s Sam and Chris, Dave’s cousin and his wife who we adore as well.  We stayed with them last time we were in town and love their awesome kids as well.
The morning after we met them for dinner Sam and I took a great beach walk…
…where we solved all the world’s problems.
Man I love that girl!

Then it was off to Coronado.

Elle came to join us from BYU summer school and this is how Lucy felt about that little fact:

It was good to be back in our old stomping grounds.

One thing I love most about this group is that our kids adore each other so much.

They all get along so great.

So it’s so great to catch up when we can.

Lots of great examples surrounding our kids and we are all so dang lucky.

Claire felt honored they let her join right in with their beach soccer games…

This crew couldn’t get enough of the elevator lobby area:

We had church on the beach…

…and the spirit was so strong that Lucy bore her testimony about it in “real” church the next Fast Sunday.

On the 4th of July the moms all went on a great little exercise excursion then a couple of us cruised the main street and caught some of the greatest decked-out 4th of July houses:

…and part of the big parade:

Then we hung on the beach all day:

That evening we did our traditional pictures in the same spot they’ve been done for years:


How I adore all these great teenagers.

And these great women:

When we first started going to Coronado our kids were all so young.  Now we have three married couples and one who got engaged while we were there.  How cool is that?

But also sad because how the heck did that happen so dang fast??

We went to our traditional camp-out-to-watch-fireworks spot and had our traditional pizza:

The kids did their traditional games (they come up with the most random things to do and I love it).

…while the little kids were mesmerized by all the glowing bracelets they could make.

Gorgeous fireworks spread through the sky from three different places we could see as the patriotic music blasted.

…and in the middle of it all my brother and his family came and met us since they were at a family reunion close-by.

Oh boy, so great to see them!

Ice cream in the lobby:

And these three who all came down from BYU summer school for the occasion:

(I think that’s BYU in sign language that they’re doing??)
Sometimes I do think it takes a village to raise your children.

I’m so grateful for this one.

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