Summer memories are slipping and fading faster than I can hold onto them.  Let’s go back there for a minute on this Thursday evening…how did this week/day pass so fast??  Things are humming along over here.  Has everyone joined us back in school by now or do we still have some smart people who are waiting until after Labor Day?  Kudos to you if you’re one of those.  
But I do have to say that there is something renewing and rejuvenating about a new start.  
A clean slate.  
And we are still on the sparkly-new side of the school year where it’s exciting, and we have two girls who come home from each day just glowing.  Oh I know it won’t last forever.  The gloomy “I hate school” days will rear their heads inevitably before too long, but I’m hanging on to this while it lasts!  Claire is on her last day of volleyball tryouts as I write, and Lucy is so on task with all her homework and practicing, and the two of us already have a school-year-visit-to-Wisconsin under our belts which she’s almost caught up with in school from.  Now if we could just figure out our devotional schedule.  It’s tricky because the school start times are so different and Lucy does so much better when we aren’t dragging her out of bed so early.
Ok but back to this post, let’s go back to Newport Beach for a minute.  Because I can almost feel the cool ocean breeze in this picture below, and that feels kind of good when it’s currently 115 here in the desert.
Wish I could transport myself back there just for five minutes.
We were able to spend some good time in Newport this summer.  It was almost magical because being there feels like I’m finally getting my dad’s “speed of going slow” business he always tried to make us join him in growing up.  The world is so busy these days.  It’s too fast.  So when you find a spot that will help you slow down it feels good to stay there for a minute.

A LOT of people from the desert head out of the heat to California in the summer, so it was fun to reconnect with friends as well as just be.

A family.

Even if it’s a little teeny one.

We crammed a LOT into our days there, so buckle up if you want to come along while I lasso a few of the moments I loved.

Dave’s sister and her family stayed close-by for a few of the days we were there and it was been so nice to have just our two families here…plus two boys they had staying with them from Denmark (where Ryan served his mission).  They are awesome kids.

Cousins are the best.

…especially spunky ones like Lyla up there…

Loved biking, watching the sunset on the boardwalk playing “what are the odds” (all different dares), eating acai bowls, riding the ferris wheel, working on a giant puzzle on our kitchen table.

Here’s the “what are the odds” night:

This was our view:

Here’s me and Ava on one of our “dares” below:)


It felt so, so good to go to church after being too far away from any churches in Africa.  I missed that!  The Danish boys loved it and were so amazed at the numbers of members piled into that chapel.  They ended up not having a young women class so we had our own sitting out on the patio with Grace leading the lesson and everyone else commenting and it was way better than any other lesson I think:)

Love this mural at that church there in Newport:

Ava, Claire’s cousin, is into volleyball too so we did a little of that:

Took a little “hike” on the wedge…that’s a good uncle who brings that smile out in Lucy:

A little cruise on the bay…

The girls and I stayed up past midnight because we couldn’t stop on a puzzle we had been working on and were so pleased with ourselves when we nestled the last piece into it’s spot.

A little paddle-boarding yoga:

Loved catching up with the Tanners there too:

Good that we could find such a picturesque spot to document our night with these guys…

We got crepes with some other friends and played cards up on the top deck of the place they were rending, string lights above, crashing of ocean waves below.

Dave’s cousin Kara and her family for a visit and a few cards:

Wimbledon lovers:

Perhaps one of my favorite things there was that every morning we worked for hours on our “expectations.”  I am kind of in love with that situation we had going on over there.  (I’m not sure the girls were so in love, but I think they endured it well and we were pretty productive!)  We read (listened to), for sometimes for almost an hour, the Book of Mormon to get through our 22 pages each day. The girls wrote in their journals with a journal prompt each morning.  They looked up current events.  They memorized our “quote-of-the-week.”  We read for an hour, each deep into our own books.  We exercised, running along the boardwalk together or running the stairs.

Although we did most of our reading in the morning, this reading was at night, complete with mud masks:

Claire and I accidentally matched for our run one day:

Lu working hard on her “stuff:”

Lu listened to FIVE books this summer.  She was so enthralled with this series she was reading and I loved it.

Had to drag her out to catch the sunset with me though, since all that listening needs a break here and there!

Couldn’t get her to look at the camera with me though…

We rode around on our tandem bike like nobody’s business:

I guess it’s now a tradition to always do these tinfoil dinners on the beach when we’re there:

Don’t let those smiles fool you, it was a little bit of a crazy night!  I thought we had it all down-pat since we’ve done it so many times, but nope.  There’s always a complication.

This time was particularly frustrating since I got the wrong kind of charcoal briquets and they would not start for the life of us, even with all the lighter fluid our “neighbors” let us borrow!

See my friend Julie up there who happened to be in town and joined us?  She was a good sport to put up with us and the two of us went on a mad search to find charcoal that would work and were successful 🙂  Hallelujah!

Loved having her over to play cards with us for a little when we were done with dinner, all smokey and sticky from our s’mores.

Grace and Claire met up with sweet Graci who’s family overlapped with ours:

Julie and her sister joined me for paddle-boarding one morning:

Slow family beach time…I just kind of like this picture showing the shadows from an afternoon well spent:

My favorite thing about Newport is this:

Oh and also this:

Snuck in a visit our last day.

And then did this (complete with Thai food) as the sun set on our time there:

If your fingers are tired from scrolling just remember I did warn you a lot happened in that spot we love so much!

Long live Newport.

Similar Posts


    1. I think the stars just aligned to make it that way. We can drive there without too much hassle, it's so much cooler than it is here, it's a beach and we love the beach but there's also the bay which is actually in close contention with the beach in our book! We happened to have the opportunity to buy a share of a condo there so it all just kind of fell into place and we are so grateful!

  1. Where do you stay in Newport? I wish we had thought to go to California to cool off when I lived in Phoenix. We always went up to Flagstaff, Sedona, Prescott, Payson or Showlow. Love all the stuff their is to do there in Newport!
    Jamie Noto

    1. We stay close to the Balboa Pier. Yes those other places in the mountains are great as well. Nice to have places to go when it's an oven here!

  2. I loved your pictures of Newport! I served my mission in Orange county and New Port was part of my area for the last 9 months of my mission. I was also there during the temple open house so it is a very special place for me and my family.

  3. I love the "expectations"! This might be somewhere else on the blog, but how do you decide the journal prompts, are they related to current events or more about personally reflection! Also (sorry I love reading lists!), do you have a list of books you want your children to read each summer, do you let them pick, or is it a mix of both!! thank you!!

    1. I just googled journal prompts or questions or something, I can't remember, but I gave the girls new topics each day. They were varying from what your perfect day would look like to one thing you think could change in your family…stuff like that. And I love the list thing because I love lists too 🙂 I have done a mix of both letting kids pick and picking them myself. Lucy read the whole "Selection" series this summer because Claire was reading the first one and got her hooked, and I assigned Grace a book ("Rebecca") because she couldn't think of a good one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *