It’s weird how much changes in a year.
Weird how one year everyone is all together and the next everyone is all over creation. Next year will be even crazier since Max will most likely be on a mission for our church.
But let’s not think about that right now, let’s talk about California. Because despite the rampant traffic, it is a pretty gorgeous place. Especially when you get to stay with family who live right on the beach.
I couldn’t get over the amazing vegetation that grows there like weeds. It was a feast for the eyes.
Dave’s cousin lives in San Clemente. What a gorgeous spot.
Aside from going to Disneyland (last post), we hung on that beach (above), took Elle to Newport one day to meet up with friends:
…met up with other friends who happened to also be in town we haven’t seen forever randomly along the beach:
(should have taken pictures of the other two families too…love you Checks and Suzukis!)
And met up with my brother and his family for dinner.
Oh man we love these guys. It was especially fun to get our hands on little Shelby who is doing so well despite some serious heart issues.
(More about Shelby over HERE.)
These cute little boys sure had fun with Dave:
(or maybe I should change that around and say he had fun with them?? ha!)
The next day we took our cousin’s cute son Ollie on a little adventure to visit Salt Creek Beach by Dana Point which was so beautiful.
Is there anything better than kids on a beach? Really? We chased after those waves for a long long time.
Collected shells and rocks galore:
Found a little collection of ladybugs:
Explored the tide pools:
And lugged a bunch of our treasures back home.
That afternoon we said our goodbyes to Dave’s cousin’s awesome family who took such great care of us. I think it’s safe to say Sam is the best hostess in the history of hostessing, and next we headed to the big volleyball tournament began.
So fun to see Max again and watch he and his team play after missing their first two games last week while I was sick.
The team did well and got placed in the “Gold Division” for the next day.
Lucy was the best cheerleader of them all and kept track of every single point which was awesome but I sure had a headache after sitting next to her and all her yelling!
All back together except for one…
…who joined us the next morning after her red-eye flight from Hawaii with stars in her eyes about the best week of her life.
Seriously, what a lucky girl she is. At first when she and her cousin proposed this plan which included missing spring break with us I said “no way.” We don’t have much time as a whole family together left and we NEED her! But as we talked more details and I could see the strength of those desires Dave and I decided it would be the trip of a lifetime for her and she’d learn so much.
And boy was it ever a wing-dinger of a trip. She is still telling us details four days later. Love it and all she learned (I’m going to have her do a guest post all about it and how they raised the money to make this happen, etc. soon).
But we still missed her like crazy and boy it was good to have everyone back together at the tournament on Saturday.
These boys played their little hearts out against all the California and some Hawaii teams (“Best of the West” tournament).
(I love seeing Dave with Max…Dave’s looking shrimpy these days:)
Finally reunited and it felt so good!
So these boys ended up taking third out of those thirty-two teams. So proud of them!
These boys are like the brothers Max never had and it makes me teary-eyed to think about how much good volleyball has influenced Max’s life. I know it sounds cheesy, but he has gained so much from this sport and these friends.
Max and the setter made the “All Tournament Team” which was quite a great honor.
Love this family of mine!
That night we left Max with the team (they were flying back together), dropped off Dave to meet my brothers for a “Brothers” thing they were doing in Palm Springs, and headed to spend the night with these girls of mine:
(I just marvel at how different they are sometimes…and how much I love each of them)
…over at their cousin’s house (the ones we went to dinner with a few nights before).
(Lots of funny stories behind getting that darn picture up there including a stinky diaper, but I’m so glad I have it!)
We hung out with Kristi and my sister Charity who was visiting there too at the same time (all our husbands were together in Palm Springs).
And then we headed on home…
…with a quick stop-over to surprise these great men who were gathered close to our route home:
Oh man I love these brothers of mine…all so different and unique and GOOD in their own ways.
…and love that great dad of mine too…
and this darling girl who drove a lot of the way back home:
That was a LOT of driving and ground we covered, but so grateful for a week away from school to take it all in.
Spring Break is the best for a little breather.