Saturday, August 22, 2015

Until Next Year!

We made it through the night fairly unscathed.

Marc and I were excited to get up early and head to the beach.

I guess our stressed parenting bodies decided we needed more rest so we didn't get as early a start as we would have liked. Plus, if you add in the meltdowns by Sister, we weren't exactly getting there quickly, but 10:30 am would have to do.

The only problem with getting to Torrey Pines beach at 10:30 on a Friday is that there are no available free parking spaces left and when you have told your overly-sensitive-to-change daughter that you are parking alongside the road and you end up going to a parking lot you end up with, yet another, fall apart.

This one lasted all the way to the parking lot, at the fee area, through the parking lot and included acting like she was going to dart into oncoming traffic while we were unpacking everything all while yelling that there was going to be an earthquake!!!

Marc and I weren't necessarily patient at this point. More numb. Sometimes you just have to get that way in order to survive the constant barrage of insults and screaming.

All of this while happy-go-lucky Baby is skipping and dancing around the parking lot worrying us into a frenzy that she was going to get lost, or worse, hurt. You can't really get mad at her because she is just so happy to be alive at this point that all you can do is try to run close by her in a way that herds her near enough to the car that you can unload everything and everyone safely... all this while listening to Sister's incessant insults.

For a moment I had a thought in my head how funny this would be in a sitcom. I'm telling you that Adam Sandler could make an amazing comedy from my life... just sayin'.

After gathering our beach necessities and our wits about us, we walked up the slight hill of the parking lot to the horizon of the beach site and Sister was thrilled to pieces when she saw the sand again.

We found an open spot and set up our old tent that now looks and works like a canopy. It went smoothly.

Baby was happy in her little rock corner piling sand, Sister was out in the shallow waves with Brother and Marc and I were breathing a sigh of relief that all was well. We even spent time tossing the frisbee while trying to get each other further and further into the waves by "overthrowing" it.

It was such a blissful time seeing the kids giggling and smiling and having a great time.

Sister was covering her entire body with sand, Brother and I drew pictures in the sand and we all searched for shells. It was a postcard vacation at this point.

This was how the sand looked! It was so cool how the black sand would mix in with the tan.
Brother and I had fun making patterns for the waves make better.

Baby stayed busy making sand piles almost the whole time.

Brother loved dragging around the seaweed

One of the few times Baby actually got into the water

She reminded us of those birds that run from the waves on the shore lines...
she was so little and so quick-footed it gave us a good laugh

All was great...

and then the beach patrol showed up...

in front of our tent...

Marc and I were out in the ocean playing frisbee when I noticed the truck with police lights pulling along the beach only to stop in front of Brother sitting happily in the opening of our tent, now looking slightly panicked.

I didn't hesitate to run through the waves (and trust me, this was no Baywatch beauty run) and got within earshot of the patrolman talking to our sand neighbors, "Is this yours?" as he pointed toward Brother. I came up quickly and asked, "Excuse me sir, is there a problem?"

He informed me that we weren't allowed to have a tent on the beach and that we needed to take it down. I apologized to him and said we were just using it for shade and we didn't realize it wasn't OK to set it up all this while simultaneously in my head I am praying that this incident will not affect our postcard vacation moment.

Poor Brother was a little distraught and kept saying, "I didn't do it!" and "What happened?" He was a little shaken by the officialness of the cop car showing up and a cop talking to his mom.

While Marc and I were putting the tent down Sister was anxiously pacing back and forth with the sticky sand still clinging onto her entire body. I was hoping that Marc and I could take care of the tent situation calm enough that we wouldn't ruffle any feathers.

It took a few minutes for Sister's feathers to show signs of ruffling, but I could see it coming, I just didn't know how it would manifest itself yet.

Once Marc and I had everything set legally on the beach there were a few moments of calm and I was optimistic.

Sister wandered over by the wall of rocks that Baby was playing in, seemed to be scoping out a spot to sit down and then she proceeded to tug at the top of her pants! Thank goodness I had been watching the whole thing because I realized she was going to try to go potty on the rocks and I was able to run over to her before her pants were pulled to a "point of embarrassment."

I thought that because of her seeming urgency to go, that she had to go right that second. I did the quick Sherlock Holmes scan of the scenario and decided that it would be best to just have her pee in the ocean... salt is a disinfectant... right. I was so happy because she only got a tiny bit mad at me but then obliged to walk over with me to the water. She'd been playing in the waves up to her waist so I didn't think it would be a problem to have her pee discreetly, but she saw it a different way and as soon as her ankles were covered she began to tug at her pants, "No!" I quietly screamed.

I tried to explain and she was starting to get frustrated with me. Marc came over and assessed the situation and requested I take her to the bathroom.

The bathroom was at at least 100 yards away—60 to the steps and 40 to the bathrooms. With Sister in a tizzy that can seem like a mile... or more.

I was trying to be calm hoping that Sister would follow suit, but she was sure to make a scene by weaving through the crowd stomping on peoples towels, kicking sand, and screaming, "I'm just gonna go here!" as she would tug at the top of her pants while I dodged at her repeatedly to make sure she was not going to show her assets to the beach-goers! The yelling got louder the closer we came to the steps.

When we finally got to the steps Brother ran up behind me and said he needed to go to the bathroom too. I assumed that Marc had sent him and resumed to calmly talk Sister through the nightmare we were both in. So with Brother in tow we proceeded to the bathroom all with Sister still yelling at me.

I found an empty stall for her and as she was going potty she continued to yell in the echoey stall and was gaining more and more attention.

Brother was no where to be seen so I walked by a few stalls randomly calling his name till he replied and I realized which stall he was in. I walked back the 6 feet I had walked to be reprimanded by Sister for not standing at her door.

California is in a drought. I guess. So I think we were lucky to have flushing toilets, but there was no running water to wash hands or shower off sand. Neither of these situations sat well with Sister and she started another tirade. She stomp-ran with accompanying flailing arms from the bathroom across the street to the start of the stairs all while yelling at me as loud as possible.

I was telling her to stay by me because we were needing to wait for Brother, but she wasn't having that, "Just leave him! Who cares! Just leave! I want to go! There's a tsunami! Oh great, Mom! Now there's a tsunami! I told you there was going to be a tsunami!" All that was being yelled from across the road as I waited for Brother to exit.

I kept walking over to Brother's stall and knocking on the door encouraging him strongly to hurry up.

I know this whole situation was comical because the guy waiting for a stall was stifling his laughter as I'm yelling at Brother to hurry faster and family groups would giggle or whisper laugh as Sister was predicting a tsunami to her incompetent mother who was somewhere across the world, they were probably guessing because of her noise level.

I walked over to Sister to try to see if I could calm her down all while trying to watch closely Brother's stall door to make sure nothing scary would happen. During these moments I was picturing Marc down at the beach just enjoying the sound of the waves and the feel of the sunshine while Baby sat and built sand piles.

I don't quite remember how it all happened, but the three of us ended up back at our beach spot and Marc, looking exasperated, asked, "So Brother was with you?" Apparently Brother had not told Marc he was leaving and Marc had been in a panic about where he was and was trying to stay optimistic that he was with me.

We tried to stay a few more minutes, but it was inevitable.

We were done.


They were done.

OK, really, she was done.

Anyway, to make this transition point shorter I will just say that it was rough not being able to wash all the sand off, but we were thrilled that the hotel had a pool where we could rinse it all off.

Not to mention, this is what the kids had been wanting to do the whole time: swim in the hotel pool.

We were the only ones with kids at this fancy shmancy pool and Marc and I were trying to keep our kids on the calm side so as not to upset our sunbathers. Inside I really just wanted to get buckets of water and throw it on them every time they gave our kids the stink eye! Here's my soapbox moment: If you are at a pool... swim! If you don't want to get wet, move away from the pool's edge. Oh, and don't bring a magazine into a pool through the middle of children thinking that you or your magazine won't get wet! Argh! OK, rant over, but I think it gives you somewhat of an idea of the pool experience at first. Luckily we must have started a trend because more kids came to the pool and then the splashing and screaming became the norm and the sunbathers were now out of their element.

When the kids were all done swimming we all went to the hotel room to get showered, dressed and dry. This all went fairly smoothly.

I had talked Marc into going out on his own for a while so that the kids could have a sensory break in the room so they could regroup for dinner. He obliged and our pillow fight began!

It was so much fun! All four of us were laughing, Baby especially. Feathers were escaping, beds sheets were thrown and our all done hair was now staticky and standing on end. It was perfect. The kids needed it, and so did I. We just let it all out.

Baby especially loved covering Brother and Sister with all the pillows... I'm glad I got a picture.
See Brother's long legs and green feet?

Once we were all pillowed out, we sat and watched a little TV until Marc got back.

We went got Taco Bell for the kids and then brought it to the restaurant that Marc and I wanted to eat at because we have learned that if the kids aren't eating, we aren't eating. Anyway, the restaurant we chose wasn't very good and was too expensive, and the kids didn't last as long as we had hoped, but, at least, we all ate.

After dinner we went back to the beach and enjoyed watching the sunset over the ocean. It just never gets old. Ever.

That's Baby's sillouette

After the sunset was completely gone we drove a short distance to see the San Diego LDS Temple. It is so beautiful and it was so fun to see it all lit up at night.

Sister wasn't happy about our detour (are you surprised?), but Baby kept calling it a castle and couldn't stop being giddy about it. I told her it was a temple and then she kept saying "temple" and then giggling and pointing and smiling. She loved it! I'm pretty sure that was her special moment.

The next morning we were off for a 8 hour drive to St.. George to stay with friends, but, first we HAD to say goodbye to the beach. We found a different area of the beach because of parking and it was on top of a cliffside with Amtrak tracks below and a beautiful view. Brother was happy to see the train tracks below and though that the was heaven to see train tracks and the beach at the same time!

Oh! And do you remember how terrified Baby was to go down the elevator? She clung to Marc for dear life, EVERY time. Well on our very last time down she indicated she wanted to do it herself! Marc took a picture to commemorate the miraculous moment!

The traffic on the way out of San Diego was better this time, but Sister was the same—worried, whiny, upset and overwhelmed.

Marc saved the day at lunch time though when we stopped at this really cool spot that looked like a train station in Barstow. This is where Brother had his greatest vacation moment.

He turned to Marc and said, "This is the best part for me, Dad."
I only lost Brother once while ordering food at the McDonald's inside the train depot and Marc had to stay with Baby in the gift shop admiring My Little Ponies and Thomas the Train, but we finally all sat down to eat. Happy meals are always a good thing. Baby couldn't have been happier with her little book she got in hers and actually kept her busy for the last 3 hours to St. George!

I wish Batman would have been that entertaining for Sister... but we made it. We were in St. George! We didn't want to burden out friends to prepare a dinner for us so we stopped at Del Taco before getting there.

That was a mistake. On so many levels. I won't be brave enough to eat there any time soon.

It all started with throwing them off by asking for 4 of the 7 tacos to NOT have cheese or tomatoes and 3 of the tacos to have cheese and lettuce only... rocket science for some I suppose... So our order took a LOT longer than planned and our kids aren't exactly known for their patience. We finally get our order and I gather the kids together to eat and in an exasperated mess I sit down to eat my salad with avocado ant notice a blond hair wrapped around and wriggling out of my avacado...


I think I have taught myself so much patience with my kids that I don't know how to demand things so I just quietly went to the front and told them there was a hair and 15 minutes later! they got me another one!! I had to wait for all the customers who had come in after me! I should have shoved it all in their faces and demanded my money back because my kids didn't eat any of it anyway, because they had waited so long that they were too overstimulated to eat! Aaahh!! Comedy! I tell you! My life is a comedy!

I can't tell you what a relief it was to meet up with our friends in St. George and hop into their pool with the kids and them.

It was so relaxing and a great unwind to the previous drive.

The kids were in happy as clams and would have swam all night if we had let them. Sister was especially excited because they had a life jacket they convinced her to wear and she was loving the freedom of moving about the pool all on her own.

Our accommodations with our friends were so wonderful, they treated us like family and the kids were so happy and comfortable there. We realized, again, that our kids don't really care of we go on vacation... we want them to have experiences, but they are happy with the easy stuff. We thought maybe our next family vacation will be in St. George and we shouldn't try so hard to give our kids these experiences because it is so hard on them and on us.

We were reminded Sunday night when we stopped at my mom and dad's house to pick up Ranger that maybe, just maybe these experiences are worth the hard times, because Brother and Sister could NOT stop telling everyone how awesome San Diego was, and the beach, and the hotel, and the trains, and the DVD player in the car, and the food, and ... well, just all of it! They loved it! It's hard when they're in the middle of it, but they do love it.

So we'll keep doing family vacations!

I'm just glad we have till next year to do another one (wink).

Days 226 - 228 of 365 Days of Up

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