Back to summer for just a second before this Friday comes to an end.
Because we had one last hurrah that ended off the summer so perfectly.
We went to California with some cousins and lived it up for a couple last days of summer freedom.
(I failed to take a picture before three of the teenagers had to leave, so just picture a few more of them in there.)
Dave has eight siblings but these two (brother and brother-in-law) are the ones he does business with and we have been trying to squeeze in a little get-away with them for a while.
California was the perfect spot.

 These cousins really like each other and I love watching all of them interact so much.

(there’s some good “interacting” going on up there…:)
So fun to have all these big kids together again.  Three of these boys below are returned missionaries now:

(Argentina, Chili and Brazil).  Makes me so happy to know that family time doesn’t end after the mission.  Ha!  They are such great kids.

 Us parents sure like to catch up as well.

 Love them.

 These three were cracking me up with their “freeze” game.

They call themselves “The Three Amigos” (I know because I get all their group texts on my phone since Claire seems to think my phone is hers…)

Grace has some pretty great cousin buddies too (not sure where Cambry was for that last pic. though…)

Lucy doesn’t have anyone her age but she is pretty pleased as punch to hang with the big kids and get some reading in.

You never know what kind of mood Lucy will be in at the beach.  Sometimes she doesn’t want to touch it with a ten-foot pole, and other times it’s like she’s trying to “become one” with it.

Meals were a little crazy with that crowd but thanks to my friend who grew up in the area’s recommendation, we found a pretty great place for breakfast (“Stacks”) that we had to go to twice.

For dinner one of the nights we cruised around Laguna to find a great spot…

 …and ended up finding the beach…

…where we watched the sun go down while eating take-out pizza.

Here’s Elle’s “group” of girls her age…missing one who lives in Utah (missed you McKenna!!)

We were all a little bit mesmerized by that gorgeous sky which got darker…

 …and darker…

 …and more beautiful by the minute.

The next day was body surfing day.  These boys couldn’t get enough of it.

 …While the girls enjoyed the beach.

It was another one of Lucy’s “at one” days with the sand.

These guys figured out some great ways to catch sand crabs and were at it for hours.

We stayed in Carlsbad for a night as well and fell in love with that spot.
Such a cute little town.
Greatest little taco shop right across the street from our hotel: 
It was a great little town with some kind of fun stuff around every corner.

Dave and I got to go out of a few walks to get the lay of the land and the parents got to sneak away to try out some dessert places too, which is always a good thing.

Lucy, true to form, got pretty into her art.  I had brought her the children’s story book my parents published in conjunction with Joy School way back when.  She was especially interested in the story that I illustrated way back when I was thirteen-years-old.

Interested enough that she copied a few of the pictures:

…although way better than I drew them in the first place (at least in my completely unbiased mother’s opinion 🙂

I loved this copy of hers on the right from one of the professional artist’s illustrations: 

I couldn’t resist snapping a picture of her walking through church to Primary before I confiscated the book she simply couldn’t put down.
…and once she finished that one she was on to the next.

Love that little reader.

At night we had some pretty fun games going on.

We have two different “name games” we play…this one doesn’t look overly exciting from those faces, but we love it.

These two loved it the most since they tied for first that round:
On our last night we took a little stroll along the beach.
Don’t worry, we brought the markers along too…wouldn’t want to have a sudden urge to draw while walking on the beach at sunset and not be able to whip out the markers…

 Some gymnastics were performed…

 Waves were chased…

And discussions were had.

Oh take me back!

The last morning Dave and I took a little morning bike ride…

And we soaked in some last minutes of beach time before we had to take off to get back for “Meet the Teacher” night back home.

Dave gave in to Max’s constant requests to rent surfboards and although the waves out there weren’t fabulous, those boys were pretty happy out there.

With sad farewells…to cousins and to summer…we bid goodbye and headed back to start real life once again back in the desert.

Thanks guys for such a great trip!  We love you!

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  1. Can you let us know the beaches you did? And maybe the hotels you were able to stay in? We are always looking for great places in CA to stay and great beaches to hit. I love that first one with the blue umbrellas. Where is that?
    Hotels and beach names would really help with our list of places to try. Thanks!

  2. I would like to know what name games you played with the group. Our family is growing and adding more cousins and I am looking for fun activities we can do together. Could you share? Thank you!

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