Monday, May 22, 2017

Ventura Beach

We had a crazy, fun, last-minute weekend trip to Ventura in January. Some friends from church rented a huge beach house and needed lots of people to help fill it up. So on Thursday we made some quick arrangements and told them we could go! It's amazing how hard it is to get away sometimes. Spencer needed a sub to play the organ at church, I needed a sub for nursery, and Dave needed to cancel church meetings. But it was all worth it!!

We were literally right on the beach. In fact at high tide, the waves crashed against the sea wall behind the house. The fact that the kids got to hang out with their cousins made it extra fun!

How often do you get to eat breakfast at the beach?! We could not have asked for better weather! In fact it was rainy and cold the entire week before we went, but it cleared up and was sunny and warm the whole time we were there! 

There were 2 hot tubs - one upstairs and one downstairs. These kids practically lived in here!

 There was a playhouse and lots of sand, which kept these two entertained for hours.

The boys were happy they packed their hammocks! Several of the kids slept in them. There were also tons of couches throughout the house. 

Amazingly, they gave us one of the two master bedrooms, since we had the most kids. It was beautiful! And big!

 Our room opened onto a big balcony. Such fabulous views!

Our friends have been coming here for years, and they said the owners have added on and remodeled a bunch of times. It really is made for huge groups. I think it has like 10 rooms plus 2 kitchens and 2 big living areas. 

When the tide went out, we were able to hang out on the beach.

 The tunnel went through the sea wall to the other side of the house.

 I love sand pipers.

Chloe and Kate worked hard trying to plug up the hole in the sea wall. Then they'd laugh each time the water came out of the hole. 

 We enjoyed walking along the beach during low tide - this is the view looking back at the house.

Check out this crazy sea slug-looking thing.

 Then it got even weirder when it opened up its flaps! There were a bunch of these all over.

 A lovely place to watch the sunset!

Chloe loved playing with the girls! One is Kate, of course, and the other is our friend's nephew's daughter from Arizona. Super nice people! I was a little worried about staying with a bunch of people I didn't know, but it worked out just fine. 

You may have noticed that there hasn't been any pictures of the 3 oldest boys up to this point. That's because they all had things going on Saturday morning they couldn't get out of. Spencer and Tyler played in a band thing for a Martin Luther King Jr. presentation, and Dallin had a Boy Scout Pow Wow. Nathan brought them all down afterwards, and they got there late Saturday afternoon.  

Here's Kristen's family plus Kevin. 

Here's another one of those sea slug things. 

 These rocks were covered in moss, since they're usually underwater. 

 Our friend Brian taught our boys how to surf on Monday. They loved it!

Brennan got up on his first try!

We left Monday evening and got home late at night. It was a really fun weekend! My kids keep asking when we can go there again, but I don't know if we ever will. The only reason we were able to go was because it was a last minute cancellation. They're usually booked 2 years in advance. We were sure grateful we got to go!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Snow day

We drove up to Shaver Lake right after New Years to play in the snow. We did another day trip instead of renting a cabin to save money and because we didn't reserve anything early enough. It's hard to know ahead of time when they'll have snow. so we just gotta go when we know it's good. 

We spent the day at a snow play area, which worked out well. The downside was that it was crowded, but it was a big hill with enough space to spread out. 

I know I'm speaking the obvious here, but it was cold! Some years when we go there, we're all shedding coats and gloves. Not this time! It was windy and cold. Chloe loved sledding, but she got cold and spent a lot of time in the car. Luckily we scored a great parking spot and were able to be close to everyone.

 The boys didn't mind the cold. They played for hours and hours. 

 We didn't have any injuries this time, so that was a plus.

It wasn't the best snowman-making snow this year. Too powdery. So they found frozen chunks and stacked them on top of each other.

It was just tricky sticking the arms into the ice.

We packed back-up gloves, which came in handy ;) Brennan accidentally got his 1st pair wet in a little stream.

 There were big jumps and broken sleds all over. I went down once, but it was way too fast for me! 

The crowds left pretty early, but we were prepared to stay until dark. We packed the camping stove and made hot chocolate and soup. It was all so good!

It's a great soup recipe because all you do is dump cans and spices into a big pot and heat it up.

Plus the kids all love it!

It was a fun day in the snow!