We took it pretty easy on Wednesday. We had an incredible time at Disneyland on Tuesday and we kept the kids out WAY too late… and we paid for it the next day. They were all pretty grouchy and there was lots of fighting and whining, but we had some great times in between the grumpiness.
We got a late start, but we headed out to Seal Beach. We decided to leave the camera in the car and just enjoy the beach. It was a little chilly, but it didn’t take long for the kids to get in the water. Once they got cold, we laid on towels and soaked up some sun. They spent some time climbing on the lifeguard tower and Max and Ava had a grand time practicing their Ninjago spinjitzu in the sand.
After our beach adventure, we spent some time visiting with Josh’s grandparents. Then we met up with Josh’s parents and godparents. The kids loved chasing the chickens around before we went out for dinner.
On Thursday, we packed up and drove up to Idyllwild to visit our friends the Kaisers. The drive was beautiful, but I had to close my eyes a few times because windy mountain roads make me anxious. We finally made it up to the Kaisers house and the kids spent the afternoon playing Legos and running around in the yard.
We packed a picnic dinner and headed out to the Kaisers’ secret tree swing up in the mountains. Our car couldn’t make the drive up the bumpy trails, so we all piled into the Kaisers’ car. The kids were all piled in the back of car, shrieking and giggling every time we hit a bump. I think the drive up there was half the fun.
Once we got up to the tree swing, we stuffed our faces with sandwiches while the kids took turns on the tree swing. Josh and Nate built a teepee with tree branches. We didn’t last long up there because there were biting bugs that were practically swarming us! We had a great time though, bugs or no bugs.
On Friday, it was actually National Donut Day. We had plans to drive up to Joshua Tree National Park with the Kaisers. We stopped at the Donut Factory in Banning on the way down the mountain and the donuts were much better than the ones we had the first time we thought it was National Donut Day 🙂
One of the best things about staying with friends when we travel is that they always know the best places to go. The Kaisers did not disappoint us! Once we got to Joshua Tree, our first stop was Noah’s Art Museum. It’s basically a big desert area filled with sculptures made from found objects. There were bicycles and toilets and tons of random things. It was SO hot… 108 degrees I think. The kids were literally melting and even though it was such an incredible sight, we only lasted about 20 minutes.
After the art museum, we stopped at Pie for the People for lunch. In retrospect, donuts plus pizza plus desert heat was maybe not the best decision we’ve ever made, but the pizza was great! Once we finished lunch, we made our way to Joshua Tree National Park.
The park is huge, but once again, being with locals made all the difference! Nate and Jaclyn knew the perfect spot to stop and take the kids for a hike. We drove straight to the Hidden Valley trail area. We climbed up some giant rocks that I never would have let the kids climb if we weren’t with friends who knew it was safe. I did my best to not freak out about the kids falling off the edge.
It was SO hot, but the rocks surprisingly were not hot to the touch. We climbed almost to the top of some giant rocks, hung out for a couple minutes and then made our way back down. Lia actually said she wanted to climb another rock, which was very out of character for her. She is usually the first one to be done when we’re doing something like that. We made Max and Ava hang out while Josh and Lia climbed another giant rock. And then we headed back as all the kids were whining and red in the face.
We made it out with no injuries until Lia went to say goodbye to our friends and slipped on the gravel. She went face first onto the concrete and it was not pretty. When I grabbed her, she had a giant bruise and road rash all down the side of her face. She was lucky though because she fell hard and I was sure we were going to be heading straight to the emergency room. Luckily, she didn’t end up with a giant bruise.
After that trauma, we loaded up the kids and headed straight for Oceanside. Once we arrived at our friends the Christenson’s house, the kids ran around like crazy and burned off some energy. We had two more head injuries… Lia hit her forehead on the bathroom counter and Ava ran full speed right into the counter. She ended up with a cut and a black eye. I made them all go straight to bed after that for fear that we WOULD end up in the ER.
kids playing with chickensfun in idyllwildfun rope swing in idyllwildhuge rope swing in idyllwildfamily picnic in idyllwildkids having fun outdoorsnational donut daynoah's art sculptures in joshua treekids hiking in joshua treekids hiking in hidden valleykids climing rocks in joshua tree national parkfamily fun in joshua tree national forestjoshua tree national forest with kids
 

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