Back in April after our short trip to Laguna, Cari and I picked out the week of June 15th as a good time for a longer return trip. (Four days, two of which are full-day driving days, is just not enough time!) We planned that the boys and I would come down on Monday and Bruce would fly down Friday night, knowing he’d never be able to take any time off work. As we got closer to the date, and Bruce’s work schedule got crazier and crazier, we realized he may not be able to come at all, but we remained hopeful. At any rate, after returning on Sunday the 14th from Big Basin, I hurriedly did a bunch of laundry and packed up the three of us so we could leave bright and early Monday morning on our long journey. As usual, there was a traffic snafu — repaving on the 5, but it didn’t cost us too much time.
We were happy to arrive while it was still light out and everyone was still awake! The next day, we got started with beach time. It was cloudy but no one cared.
Ezra buried himself for the first of many times.
So did Chapin.
Finn and Ruby outlasted Ezra and Chapin by a couple of hours, spending the whole afternoon in the water.
When we finally did get everyone back up to the house, we had a nice dinner and three of the four kids crashed quickly. Ezra, the lone holdout, finally found his happy place … with Chester.
The next morning (Wednesday) we had a visit from Jamma who was coincidentally in SoCal for some paperwork issues. The boys (and I) had a grand time catching up with her, and playing Life.
In the afternoon, everyone but Ezra wanted to go kayaking. So, Ezra and I headed off to Jiffy Lube and Target to take care of some pressing matters, and everyone else kayaked in Dana Point for several hours. I think they got the better end of the deal, but for the life of me I couldn’t talk Ezra into going. It turned out OK — a little mother/son bonding time over errands. When we were done I took him down to the beach and caught this lovely shot of him running along the shoreline.
On Thursday we went to Discovery Cube and learned about science for a few hours. Here are the kids on the Dino Quest, which unfortunately turned out to be a bust when no one could find anything on the scavenger hunt-like list. And it was HOT!
Well, Finn and Chapin found one thing on their list.
We headed back inside for wind tunnels, hockey displays (sadly, Ducks only), and much more.
Once we were done with the museum, we drove up to Altadena for a barbecue that Jerri had thrown together so we could visit with some of our besties. The kids swam forever and jumped on the trampoline, while the adults chatted and enjoyed great food and drink. I had such a good time that I have only one photo — Finn and Lucy in the pool.
We left Altadena pretty late and had an emergency stop in Pomona at 10:00 for Finn to use the bathroom. By this time, my ankle, which I had twisted the previous day, was pretty swollen and painful and I was just looking forward to getting back home to Laguna. We eventually did.
On Friday we took our traditional trip to Balboa for lunch, arcade and bike riding, but this time we had the bonus of taking the ferry over. My kids, who’d never done this before, thought it was the coolest thing ever.
After lunch and the arcade, we rode bikes to The Wedge and the kids made up a skit about s’mores.
It involved lots of jumping.
Here’s a video.
In the evening we were joined for dinner and craziness by the Bondsmith clan. Ezra and Jenner were very happy to see each other. We were also joined by Rob and Cari’s friend Mike and his two girls.
And they wanted to be alone for their bonding so they didn’t sit with the rest of the kids for dinner.
During the week it had become abundantly clear that Bruce was not going to be able to join us, so Cari made version 2 of Paperplate Bruce. His arms were a little higher than the version 1, and since he was preparing for a field test, she nicknamed him Optimistic Paperplate Bruce (OPB).
We also did a little stargazing from the deck, and thanks to Jerri the night before, we knew that Venus and Jupiter were very close. Here’s a shot showing from top to bottom, Jupiter, Venus, and the Moon.
On Saturday morning, Mike took the kids down to the beach and sent up these two photos.
The kids had breakfast and then served the adults, restaurant style, while I monitored my phone for the play-by-play from Bruce about this field test. When we learned it was successful, we took this shot with newly-renamed Celebratory Paperplate Bruce (CPB).
Later we managed to squeeze in a trip to the candy store before Cari and I took Ruby and Ezra to Pasadena. Ruby went to play rehearsal and I dropped Ezra off at Jack’s for a play date. Cari and I had our own play date — over ham and butter sandwiches at Little Flower — before picking up the kids and heading back to Laguna.
After another wonderful dinner (including CPB) …
… the last bit of excitement for the day was “stackers” for dessert — creations of brownies, ice cream, fruit, and other delectables, smushed into shapes, rendering them magical to kids and adults.
Ezra went a little crazy with the whipped cream. Who can blame him?
Sunday was Father’s Day, so the dads got breakfast and CPB got a crown.
And then we had to say our goodbyes. I was a little worried about the drive home and wanted to get an early start to beat some of the traffic. The plan worked, but it’s still a good eight hours from start to finish, which is painful, but as always, well worth it.