Thursday, July 31, 2014

salt in the air, sand in our hair ☼

and car...garage, washing machine, shower, etc.

So let me just start this (photo overloaded) post by saying how much the beach has saved my irritable, pregnant self this last month. It has been a hot month. Actually, not just hot - humid and hot. The weather plus being in my last month of pregnancy has me in kind of a semi-permanent edgy mood. Literally I have zero patience if the kids start fighting with each other or whine know do anything that I don't want them to do. The other day we were driving to the beach and I was noticing how tense I was for no reason at all. They weren't doing anything to provoke me, I was just sweaty and irritable. The minute our feet hit the sand, I relaxed. The kids started playing with each other, I cooled down in the water, and we enjoyed a perfect summer day. We always have a pretty aggressive beach schedule in the summer, but this summer our beach days have reached a whole new level! I love coming home and looking at the pictures, reminiscing of what a great day it was. I'd hate to think what our days would look like if we were stuck at home!

I'm starting this post with our most recent activity, which was yesterday: Our annual Laguna Beach trolley ride! Near the end of June, Jaimie, Jen, and I went to dinner with calendars in hand. We mapped out days for lots of fun summer activities - making sure to squeeze all of them in before baby arrived, and/or Declan started school. It was a bit of a crunch but we fit them all in during the month of July - just to be on the safe side. The final adventure was our Laguna Beach trolly ride. In all honesty when we put it on the calendar I wasn't sure I'd make it. But we did! It was kind of a risk yesterday - Laguna is about a 30 minute drive from our house and then once we are there, we take a 20 minute trolly ride into the heart of the town. But, I was feeling fine and my wonderful friends schemed a plan A and a plan B in case I went into labor. ☺ So off we went on one of our absolute favorite summer adventures!
Our little group, excited and waiting for that trolly!
Time to board!
Goofiness happening all around!

We got off the trolly and immediately hit the waves. We were careful not to stay too long at the beach - catching the trolly heading back has proven to be a little more difficult in the past so we didn't want to press our luck.
Another fantastic beach day with our friends! I mean seriously look at that smiling face. You can't beat it.

In a little deep Lex?
What a sight to see! We're no strangers to spotting the majestic dolphins in the surf, but it was an unusual pod this day. Instead of passing by, they stayed in the same place most of the time we were there, playing in the water - very close to shore. I was mesmerized as the group got closer and closer to the man floating on his back. It seemed that neither animal or human was aware of the other.
Finally the guy turned around. I know dolphins are safe but being this close in the wild would have freaked me out!
Anyway, back to our normal playing in the waves activities.
so. much. fun!!!!

Pure childhood joy!

♥ these boys

Sweet Kylie - one hot sun baby!
Micah and Kylie's friends Kinley and Casen met us down there. Group shot time (minus 6 month old Trevor of course)!
Madeline, Kinley, Casen, Alex, Kylie, Declan, Micah, Lexi, Gracie Jo

And jump!
Time to make our usual stop at Johnny Rockets for some shakes before getting back on the trolly! It helps distract the kiddos from the long wait at the trolly stop
Waiting for our treats
The ride home started out as our smoothest yet - we didn't have to wait too long before getting on the trolly and it wasn't very crowded! Unfortunately the driver didn't hear us when we yelled next stop and so we tacked on a 30 minute unnecessary detour at the end. But all in all, it was a smooth sailing, trolly riding kind of day!
I know one thing is for sure - this kid was absolutely in heaven.
The girls were adorable in the back on the way home - they kept pretending to be pregnant and calling each other "Mommy"

One last little note - while waiting for the trolly, Declan was sitting on the bench and Mr social struck up a conversation with what looked to be a 60ish year old Asian woman. They were deep in conversation for quite awhile and when the trolly pulled up, he took her hand and sat down right next to her on the trolly! Again, conversing for most of the ride. It really was something to watch. I only wish I could have heard more of what he was saying to her.I'm sure most of it had to do with trains.

Rewind to last week!  We are so lucky to have cool friends who want to share their fun beach toys! We met Stacie, Lola, Ellie, Stacie's brother Mark, and his sons Liam and Aidan at Mission Bay again for another wonderful day of kayaking and paddle boarding! The kids absolutely love these days! They truly are special and one of my favorite memories so far of this summer.

Ellie and Declan getting right to work

Lola and Lexi involved in their own project
Love this little beach bunny.
Aidan acting as a motor boat for Declan and Liam
Time to ride!

Quite the little group!

Future surf divas
Liam and Lexi bring new meaning to words "mud bath"

And if we didn't get enough boarding on Tuesday, we had another chance on Thursday with the Jones crew. We had quite the group at  Baby Beach testing out the paddle boards. Jen, Alex, and Gracie Jo came up and brought their auntie Jayde and cousin Cooper (who also brought a board) and my friend Casey and her one year old son Brody also joined us. It was such a fun day!

Lexi and Kylie, getting straight to work on a sand contraption.
I took another turn out on the board ☺
it was so fun because we let the kids explore on the boards on their own
the boys

All this boarding inspired some boogie board action from Lex

passing boards = high fives

Group pic (minus Kylie and Trevor)
Alex, Gracie, Cooper, Declan, Brody, Lexi, and Micah
Brody loved his first trip to baby beach!
The best part of the day for me was watching Jayde teach Declan how to balance on the board!!! ♥
So proud!! Love this kids sense of spirit and adventure.
That night we headed to the Boo Hoo Crew Botanical Gardens concert with our cousins for some singing, dancing, and a picnic dinner!You can never go wrong with these fun kiddo concerts.

It was a cowboy/cowgirl kind of night! Yeehaw!!
Ryan and Aunt Kris
Quinn and Lily getting their groove on
Quinn and Declan showing Ryan how to move his feet!
The bubbles are the best part of these concerts. Ella mesmerized.
In for the catch!

Well, the bubbles and the awesome hats!
On Friday night Aunt Jen arranged an impromptu beach bbq at Tamarack.  Hello! Just my kind of summer fun! What a great evening it was - a perfect way to end our week!

 Time to get those boards out!
cousin Emma rocking in the waves
a cousin game of catch football with Uncle Mike and Zack throwing the ball

the game continued into the water
Emma, Quinn, and Lily - buried in the sand!
Making sure to squeeze in some father/daughter quality wave time

And up on the shoulders he goes!
Uncle Len, hard at work at the bbq
Really, what else are uncles for?
Declan has been absolutely obsessed with fishing lately, begging us to go. It's on the list...just hasn't happened yet. You can imagine his delight when Uncle Len busted out his fishing pole! Declan was all about that situation...
And finally, a beach day at South Ponto with Holly and Ben. This is the day I used as an example at the beginning of this post. Hot, and tense driving there (really for no reason at all) and then we pull up and everything melts away. The three of us got there a little early and went straight to the water.

Love how much these two play with one another in the water this summer.

What in the world? ☺
And our friends arrive! It was fun hanging out with Holly (also pregnant) comparing pregnant stories and such. Plus, Ben always cracks my kids up. On this particular day he was not about wearing a bathing suit. Hey, I get it.

I should have included this little tidbit a few posts back, but completely forgot (still not in the iPhone routine). My parents built me the coolest wood doll house when I was a kid. That and my American Girl doll are my two biggest toy memories from childhood. It just so happened that the timing worked to pass them along to my cousin Jordyn when I grew out of them. And now she passed them back to Lexi when they visited a few weeks ago. The kids are absolutely enthralled with the dollhouse...quite frankly so am I. We had a great time going through the boxes and arranging all the lifelike pieces. I'm such a sucker for sentimental things like this.

And to end this, we're coming down to the wire folks!! It 
wasn't long ago that this chain was touching the floor!

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