A Day at the Beach: Abalone Cove

We’ve really enjoyed going to the beaches here in California. The views are gorgeous and the water is so fun.  I’d take the kids every day if the aftermath of sand in every crevice of the van, house and little bodies wasn’t such a chore to clean up afterward.  So I try to make it out about once a week and this was our trip last Friday.

Here on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, most of the beaches require a hike down. So I wore Shoo-Shee Muffins and had the boys pick a buddy to take care of. There was a little grumbling and fear of the rattlesnake warning sign and how big the waves were, but we all made it and settled down to have a great time.

Favorite highlights:

– Everyone squinting or closing their eyes in pictures and Joo-Jee physically holding his eyes open! (They’ve had such a hard time with pictures in the sun here!) :)

– Joo-Jee throwing handfuls of mud at the waves.

– The group of “mudmen” Potatoes made, imitating Calvin and Hobbes’ snowmen. :)

– Shoo-Shee getting in on the sand action.

– Potatoes lounging in his sand chair.

– Bubbers and Boots digging furiously.

– Joo-Jee digging furiously because his brothers were also digging furiously.

– Watching the kids enjoy the water.

– How relaxing it is to hear the ocean.

– And actually feeling that relaxation while I’m there with my kids. (It’s taken me a lot of trips to the beach this summer to feel more comfortable with my kids playing in the ocean.)

– The *gigantic* grasshopper Boots caught and let his brothers take turns holding. (We don’t have grasshoppers or crickets where we live in Washington.)

– Being grateful I could physically and emotionally handle an outing like this by myself with five kids.

– Baths when we got home! I’m so grateful that Heavenly Father made our bodies washable.

Aquarium of the Pacific

Charming’s office in Long Beach is near the Aquarium of the Pacific, so this week I took our lives in my hands and braved the *insane* bridge that connects the PV Peninsula to Long Beach.

(The roads here are very narrow and poorly maintained. There are rarely signs for construction road closures, so your lane just disappears on you and people don’t usually like to let you in. Combine that with a massive set of freeways, tons of semi-trucks and *chronic* speeding everywhere and my stress levels shoot through the roof.)

Once I got our huge van parked, I took a moment to breathe and get my heart rate down to 200. Then it was time to meet up with Charming and enjoy the gorgeous Aquarium of the Pacific!

Our favorites:

— The super cool wave fountain out front. The kids could have chased that wave around all day long!

— Getting a cute family picture! I love it when places offer to take our picture!!

— Petting a gazillion creatures!!! Rays, sharks, jellyfish and I don’t know what else!

— Feeding the beautiful lorikeets!!

— How Shoo-Shee Muffins jerked her entire body back in mid-air when I bent her down to pet one of the creatures.

— Watching the kids get cute and shy around the costumed penguin. :):) (I can’t wait to see them with characters at Disneyland!)

— How much we *all* love aquariums.

— Deciding that we really need to get a home aquarium. Because fish are beautiful and silent. Which makes them the perfect pets ever.

Looking for peacocks…

I felt a little down this afternoon, missing pretty, green Washington, our home and friends, cool weather, our backyard and park, and so on…

So I decided I needed a pick-me-up and suggested a family walk to find the peacocks we hear every morning and night. (They like to hang out on a street nearby.) A walk always lifts my spirits and it worked it’s magic again…
Charming gave us our second Spanish lesson in preparation for our trip to Mexico in a few weeks.
He quizzed each of us on our lesson from yesterday.

“How do you say hello and introduce yourself?”

Hola, amigo. Me llamo Heidi.

“That’s right!”

Then he started on new material.

“Now, tell people where you’re from.”

Soy de America.

“Now, for something very important the kids need to know… Where is the bathroom?”

?Dónde está el baño?

Then we started making requests…
How do I ask, “Where is the peacock?”

“?Dónde está el pavo real?”

Where is the real turkey?

There it is!!!!

How do I say: Peacock Indian Chief!

And: Peacock Indian Chief Jedi Master!

Man, alive, can you imagine having a tail full of these feathers?

And how do you say: I love your cute smile!

Watch out! A peacock feather sword fight!

Awww… Joo-Jee saw me admiring these pretty blue flowers and immediately picked some for me. Thank you, sweetie!

Right after that, a woman came out of her house and called down to us from her porch.

“You have such a beautiful family! I’ve just loved watching you from my window as you walked by. I just had to tell you how adorable you are.”

Then she pointed at the stroller.

“Is that a boy, too?”

We told her no, it was a girl, and she cheered for us. Then she talked about having six boys and then a girl (though we didn’t catch if it was her or someone she knew) and that it was possible! :)

Then she waved goodbye and said, “You have the sweetest family!”

It just warmed my heart that she would be so kind.

It also struck me that while she sat in a gorgeous, probably multi-million home with an incredible view of San Pedro Bay below, when she looked out her window, she thought WE were beautiful and wanted to watch us. She loved our family and our kids.

That said something to my little heart that had already started to lift.

All the way home Shoo-Shee gave me the cutest little smiles every time I looked at her.

And I had to agree with the kind woman as I watched all of us.

God has given us an adorable family. I’m so glad we’re all together. And I’d rather watch my kids than anything else on Earth.

And it’s good that we’re here. With wonderful people that remind me that what really matters is hearing my kids tell Dad all about their day and giggle and play with him. That’s why we all made this trek. So Dad could have his dream job and we could still be all together.

Thank you, kind woman!

Cherry blossoms

A couple of days ago, I wondered when the cherry blossoms would bloom at my Alma mater. When I found out they were right at that very moment, I asked my husband if he was game for an early morning visit yesterday and he was! We took the boys down and enjoyed a perfectly lovely visit to one of the most romantic places I know. Now I just need to figure out how to include it in my novel.


093 good

162 good

223 good

181 good

258 and 259