06 July 2018

Beach Trip 2018

We might not ever go on vacation again...at least until Josie is over the age of 8, that gives us 6 years before our next vacation. What a relief to know we can just stay at home and never leave. Seems like each time we go on vacation someone ends up at the instacare, this time the ER. Good gracious. I had a hankering to introduce the kids to the beach. They grew up thinking Lake Bridgeport, NE was the ocean and beach. After our first few moments on a real beach the kids all agreed the two spots are vastly different. I found a cute little hotel in Laguna Beach for a really good deal, as long as we did not book over a weekend. Our room slept 6, so we only had to sneak in the baby. Actually, the extra bed was terrible so the boys took turns sleeping on the floor thanks to a more comfortable sleeping pad.

We spent Monday doing laundry and packing clothes. The kids were quite excited to pack up their own backpacks again. Just the thought of packing two swim suits was quite exciting, ya know, one for the beach and one for the pool! The littler kids and I spent the morning running errands to the bank, Walmart (juice/snacks), and Costco (muffins). I planned to buy breakfast and lunch items to bring in a cooler. Just covering lunch with sandwiches lowered our cost exponentially. Cha-ching. Evelyn chattered non-stop about packing her clothes, whether Justin was going, if he wanted her to pack his bag, etc. I watched Everett rub his face along the carpet for the entire length of the hallway. A while later he came to me complaining that his nose was burning. I asked him why he rubbed his face along the carpet, apparently it was fun...until he gave himself carpet burn. The next day revealed a nice strip of skin was rubbed off. Now he knows what a carpet burn is! Around 5:30 pm Phillip came whining up to me that his right ear was hurting again. I rushed him to a minute clinic still open until 7, we barely got into the clinic before it stopped accepting walk-ins. Per inspection, his ear is indeed red and the ear drum bulging. He got another round of antibiotics with a promise that he will see his pediatrician again and possibly an ENT specialist. Looks like another round of tubes could be in his future. We found a $12 boogie board at the CVS while getting his prescription!

We headed out around 9 am leaving the hot Arizona sun behind us. It stayed HOT until a few miles from the beach. Our drive was not so long, about 6 hours to Laguna Beach. We checked in then walked down to the beach, a mere four blocks away. We did not change clothes, intending to just check out the beach and put our feet in the sand. What was I thinking? Kids, water, sand? As the beach loomed larger the kid's eyes became larger as well. Amelia had the hugest grin ever! Soon our little feet were in the soft beach sand. Not long after that the kids were magically in the surf, covered with sand, and wet as wet can be. Justin and I laughed off their exuberance and enjoyed the moment. Josie wanted to swim more than anything, she finally got to swim before realizing the water was salty and quite disgusting to ingest! After her first douse in the water she really did not get wet again without persuasion. We walked back up to our hotel a sandy, wet mess. We found an outdoor spigot to rinse some of the sand off. You know how sand works it's way into everything, and I mean everything. The kids were all freezing in the 72 degree balmy weather. We drove around in search of family friendly dining. We finally settled on Greek fare at the Damasq Cafe, an small diner serving shawarma and kabobs. Mia had a bad headache and her hip was hurting so she was grumpy. We settled down to eat one several barstools outside the diner. Dinner was so delicious. The kids even devoured their food. Towards the end of our meal Josie decided to play acrobat and flipped herself off backwards off the barstool onto the curb with the right side of her forehead. I was helping the boys and Justin was not paying attention when she took her dive. I snatched her up and immediately noticed her right eye was not responding, it rolled around without any coordination to her left eye. I could tell her eye was also starting to swell quickly. After reporting this to Justin we hurriedly packed up the kids and headed to the nearest instacare. The kids said some powerful prayers for Josie while Justin drove. Justin quickly gave Josie a priesthood blessing before I ran into the instacare office. The instacare immediately pointed us to the nearest ER at Hoag hospital. As we drove Josie tossed her dinner. Carseat barf is the the worst, it's impossible to clean all the mess off the nooks and crannies. Bonus, our van smelled like reject Greek food the rest of our trip. Justin dropped me off with Josie at the front ER door. I checked in and was told the wait was an hour. Props to Josie for starting to fall asleep and lose consciousness. She started throwing up again all over myself and the floor. I made a fuss which cut short our wait to less than a few minutes. Justin walked in with the kids when she started throwing up even more. Soon we were ushered into a room for monitoring. She was dosed with a anti-nausea medication to calm her stomach. The kids waited patiently in the room on the floor and in chairs watching Disney Jr. I placed a text and phone call to my Uncle Shawn and Aunt Sandi asking for help if they were available. Most gratefully they showed up and took the older 4 kids off on an adventure to the Huntington Beach Pier for french fries at Ruby's Diner then off to their home for TV time. Shawn and Justin gave Josie another blessing with consecrated oil before Shawn took the kids. She was blessed to make a full recovery with no future impact on her health. We waited and waited for an open slot for a CT scan. Josie was not happy when her bed was moved without me in it for the CT scan. I held her chin and neck still during the scan. She was crying before the scan started but stopped crying during the scan. She was mesmerized by the rainbow lights of the scanner! The tech said Josie did 100% better than the 25 year old he scanned just before her! Her first scan was clear so no need to redo the scan more than once. A while later the Dr came in to report that the scan revealed no bone damage or brain swelling. Soon after we were released with instructions to wake her up several times that night, use wet tea bags to reduce swelling, and pain relief for headaches. Shawn and Sandi met us at the ER door to drop off the kids. The kids were quite excited to show us all the paper cars their french fries were served in! We made it to our room after 11 pm. Needless to say we were all a bit tired and worn out after that exciting evening. No one stirred until well after 9:30 the next morning.

I am not a very excitable person, the stress paid off with mental weariness, we all spent the morning resting until 11 am. The kids amused themselves with muffins and TV until we all caught up with the program. We hopped in the van excited for our beach day. I should say, we tried to hop in the van because nothing was responding. Dag-nabit. One of the van dome lights was left on, completely draining the battery. Instead of heading the the beach Justin went in search of an AutoZone to test the battery and possibly replace it. That consumed 90 minutes of driving inland. Finally we headed back to Laguna Beach for some beach fun. Parking was crazy around the city beach, we parked a good mile away and hoofed it back to the beach with all our beach stuff. The customary sand toys, towels, sunscreen, snacks, *camera*, and such. The surf was a bit crazy most of the time. Heaven! Sitting on the beach playing with sand with Josie! Squealing and running away from the waves with Evelyn. Watching Everett's cold Frankenstein moves when he finally rested out of the water. Amelia and Phillip riding the waves with our cheap boogie board. Sand filling every crevice, the rest filled with salt water. Eating cookies after salt water is about the best thing ever. Josie was quite crabby and intent on staying inside the shade tent instead of near the water. Her poor eye was swollen shut and colored purple and blue. We got to explore the tidal rocks in search of small ocean creatures. Our lovely 4 hours went by way too fast. We headed back to the shower area around dinner time. Evelyn showered off the sand then went back and encrusted herself with sand again. That child was covered with sand. Justin offered to Sherpa the large bag of towels and toys back up the to van a few blocks away. Poor guy earned some chafing on his thighs for his efforts. The rest of us were grateful not to walk the distance with a crowd of whiners. We enjoyed dinner at a roadside hamburger joint (Husky Burgers)...with tables and chairs outside. Back at the hotel we all went swimming in the pool to rinse off more sand and salt. Evelyn soiled her swim suit bottoms, she was incredulous I made her wear a swim diaper, she was ready to skinny dip. Phillip's swim trunks were full of algae and sea weed! The amount of stuff he left on the bathroom floor was more than impressive. The kids prepared a swim show as a game for the evening. Amelia, Evelyn, Josie, and I walked down to the beach just to admire high tide coming in and the moon reflected on the water. The stroller decided to come apart right then, grrr! It only needed to last another few months!

Next morning we were all in the pool again before 9:30 am. Amelia and Phillip somehow both scraped their faces on the pool walls, Mia had a scrape on her upper lip and Phillip on his forehead. Guess that game of Marco Polo was more involved than imagined. I enjoyed a lovely muffin outside in the cool morning air, surrounded with fragrant ocean air and gorgeous plants. We ate some sandwiches for lunch in our hotel room before heading out to Huntington State Beach for the day. Once again the surf was quite high and strong for the day. We had a bit of cloud cover off and on all afternoon. Josie's eye was not as swollen by Thursday, she could open her eye and see out of it. The color was even more vibrant and slowly bleeding to color under her eye as well. I got more than a few mean stares from folks thinking she was abused or neglected. Justin agreed to watch Josie for a bit so I could actually swim in the water. I grabbed the Boogie board and went for a ride. The third wave I rode was quite strong, the board collapsed under the pressure and sent me roiling! The current ripped off my swim bottoms! Gratefully, my quick toes grabbed my shorts before the errant garments got ripped completely away. Getting my shorts back on was another dance with the waves. I had to move close enough to shore so the waves did not crash over me, but not close enough to reveal my naked half. I finally got my shorts back on inside out and backwards...but on my body. Went back out to swim the waves with Mia only to have my shorts yanked down again! Yikes! Guess my shorts were a bit too loose. Justin was quite sad he missed the spectacle and quite keen to repeat the event with the kids on shore. The wind caught up our shade umbrella at one point. Amelia, Phillip, and Everett all became quite proficient at body surfing before our day was over! Evelyn got "washing machined," she is still telling us all about that a week later. Getting washing machined was more like she got saltwater in her face, but to a toddler her face full probably felt like a washing machine experience. I love asking her about getting washing machined, her eyes light up and she tells me all about it. She did not really get wet again afterwards, content to play in the sand. She was quite delighted with making herself sand mermaid tails. The kids were happy to get nachos, shakes, and a hot dog to share for a treat. Beach food is quite crunchy. We cleaned up around 5:30 in order to meet Shawn and Sandi for dinner. They reserved a table at Ruby's Diner much to the kid's delight, this time for a meal. Walking down the pier brought back many fun memories of other walks I've had down that pier. We watched the sun go down while we ate some delicious food and enjoyed time my with Uncle. Sandi was so patient with our talkative Everett. Phillip assembled paper cars for all the kids, the cars hold french fries. After dinner we walked slowly down the pier admiring the fishermen and surfers. I wonder if the fishermen have ever caught a surfer?! All the kids wanted to get a souvenir so Shawn led us to a popular gift shop. After much hemming and hawing the kids placed their chosen items on the counter: a key chain for Mia, a Maui fish hook necklace for Phillip, a shark puppet for Everett, unicorn slime for Evelyn, and nothing for Josie. Evelyn attached herself to Sandi, holding her hand the entire time. We drove back to our hotel with a group of very tired children.

The last morning dawned gray and misty. I planned to visit the beach down the road before we checked out but the kids were not very keen on that idea. We cleaned up and packed the van then left. Justin drove us down the Pacific highway to San Diego. He had in his mind to go visit Old San Diego. Google maps took us to downtown San Diego instead, which was very cool but not the right place. Justin was equating Old San Diego with Mexican food for lunch. I was quite confused not realizing the place he was looking for was a quaint tourist trap focused on the first settlers of the city. He finally found the correct location. We spilled out of the van and indeed smelled delicious Mexican food hovering over the area. Lunch was served at an authentically decorated affair, the food delicious as the smells. Everett ate so much he could barely walk after lunch. He did start walking after some prodding and once we spied a candy store in the distance. The kids went bonkers in the candy store, especially when they were allowed to choose one candy per kid. Kids in a candy store...how quaint. Josie was so excited to score a large pink lollipop, 'licious! I spied a luchadore face mask with a rooster comb on the crown. Yep! It came home with us! Our love of Nacho Libre is legendary, so the mask came home too. Our last stop was to the Mormon Battalion museum. Courtenay's brother acted as one of the characters in the filmed narrative! We really enjoyed the interactive exhibits and the various rooms. Everett was enlisted as a child soldier, uniformed up as a soldier for us all to see. The gun was almost twice his height. We left the balmy weather behind about 30 miles away from the coast. Bam! Back to temps hovering in the 100s. Our drive home paralleled the US/Mexican border, Justin spied the border fence several times. The desert scenery reminded him of his years spent at 29 Palms military base, dusty, hot, shimmering desert. We stopped at a fast food joint with a play area so the kids could run off some energy. The air conditioning was not working so the play area was hotter than Hades 3rd circle. We hobbled back into our garage around 10:30 that night. I was worried about Josie going back to sleep since she slept a good hour right before we got home. Gratefully, she did sleep.

Sometimes I have genius ideas, coming home on a Friday night was genius. We all got to rest and sleep in on Saturday. Justin was a slave driver, making us all unpack before the sun drove the temperatures above 105. I focused on laundry and cleaning out Josie car seat. The van still has a mild funk from that experience. We did not do much else except unpack and clean up from the beach. I am reading Harry Potter out loud to the kids. Amelia decided to read the first book again after I started reading it. By Sunday evening she finished reading the 2nd and 3rd books. She's rejected reading the books after the first one because she was horrified after learning Voldemort was drinking a unicorn's blood to gain power (that was 3 years ago). That kid is hooked line and sinker now! Poor Phillip spent the entire day on the couch with a headache and tummy ache. He looked miserable all day. He did not eat much Friday either, earning some flack from us about ordering food then wasting it. He was not permitted to eat his candy shop treat until the next day for wasting food. Now I feel bad, looks like he really was sick and not faking it. Justin gave him some nice snuggles while they watched TV. He was back to his normal self come Sunday morning. For singing time this Sunday we spent our time singing Patriotic songs from the hymnal! I thought we had quite a good time marching and singing to the tunes. Everett came home enamored with My Country Tis of Thee. During Senior Primary I was left 45 minutes to fill with my 20 minute lesson. Gah, drives me nuts how often they use me to crutch along the time they should fill with a longer lesson. "Hey! Sister Call...wink...I'll just give you 45 minutes with 15 kids, half of whom have lost interest in Primary and singing, good luck!"