Epic Summer Road Trip – Driving to Tucson

There are some days when you’re traveling that are just rough… especially when you’re road tripping. Friday was one of them. We woke up in the morning and celebrated Lia’s fourth birthday. It’s hard to believe our baby is four years old. She was excited to wear the birthday hat and open her presents. We spent a little bit of time playing with the bubble gun with Uncle Kerry and then headed out.

We were trying to make it from Vegas to Tucson in one day. It’s a LONG drive. Anytime we try to drive for a long long time in one day, it usually ends (or begins) disastrously. So we decided to stop at the Hoover Dam on our way out of Nevada. Kerry and Cesalee followed us out there as we thought we might have an enjoyable time. By the time we got there, it was HOT. Wait… that’s an understatement. It was MELTING HOT. We walked up the bridge overlooking the dam and the kids were red in the face and crying before we even got up there. (sidenote: turns out kids overheat FIVE times faster than adults… Google it.)

So, it was a short trip to the Hoover Dam. And it was a LONG drive to Tucson. It was SO hot, we pretty much didn’t get out of the car, though we did pull off the highway to check out Santa Claus, Arizona. As we drove from Phoenix toward Tucson, Josh saw a sign for the Casa Grande Ruins. Thinking maybe we could end the day on a high note, we took a thirty minute detour, racing sunset to try to get there. We beat the sun, but it didn’t matter. Apparently the park closes at 5 pm (boo!). Since we couldn’t get in, we just took some pictures by the cacti out front and Josh saw a roadrunner (the rest of us missed it sadly).

We eventually made it to Tucson and had mini cupcakes to celebrate Lia’s birthday even though it was SUPER late and right before bedtime. The kids LOVED watching the Olympics as they wound down for bed.

birthday girl opening presentskids playing with bubble gunfamily trip to the hoover dam road triproad trip with kids playing in the carcasa grande ruins arizonakids with cactuses in the desert


Epic Summer Road Trip – Oceanside

We woke up Tuesday morning, left Corona, and made the short drive down to Oceanside to our friends Gary and Courtney’s house. We took it easy that day and headed to the pool. It wasn’t awesome beach weather, so we just went swimming. The water was a tad chilly, but the kids swam a bit. They preferred the hot tub though.

The next day, we planned a surfing excursion. Back in February, Josh visited and Gary taught him how to surf. He was excited to go again on this trip and for me and the kids to try it out. Our friends live about 10 minutes from the beach, but I just loved watching Gary stand on the picnic table in his backyard, looking West, trying to decipher the beach weather. He predicted the perfect day and he was right!

We got down to the beach and the kids started playing in the sand right away. Max took his turn on the surfboard first. As usual, it took a little bit of convincing, but he came around. He was able to stand up on the first try. He only did it once… I’m certain because he didn’t like that you fall off. Ava went next and she LOVED it. Typical Ava… she’s our fearless one. She too stood up right away and she did a few runs.

It was my turn next and the water was FREEZING! Well, to be fair, it was the warmest I’ve ever felt the Pacific Ocean be, but it was still cold. I really wanted to try surfing though. Note my terrified-looking face on the paddling-out photo… I’m not scared at all… I’m cold! I was giving Gary one heck of a bad time about the water being so cold, but after a few minutes, I got used to it.

I stood up on the first try too! (In case you’re wondering if I ALWAYS make that lame-I’m-really-excited-face when I do something fun like that, yes, I do… I’ve gotta work on that 😉 I was super excited because everyone says surfing takes a lot of upper body strength and I didn’t think I’d be able to do it. Turns out, the upper body strength comes into play when you’re paddling out against the waves. Josh was walking with me and I was paddling as hard as I could. I was actually moving backwards (and yes, he was totally laughing at me), so I made him pull me out farther so I could ride some of the medium waves.

It was easier riding the baby waves. I did okay on the medium waves, but I fell off pretty quickly each time. Overall, it was SO fun and I can’t wait to go surfing again! (P.S. thanks Gary for being such an awesome teacher!)

After our beach excursion, we had a quieter afternoon at the house. We drove down to the pier and walked along it, checking out the surfers, the seagulls, and all the people fishing. (We forgot to bring the camera… imagine that!) We finished off with some before-dinner frozen yogurt and all the kids were in seventh heaven. We headed back to the house and finished out our night with a backyard barbecue with more friends and (my favorite) s’mores.

Thursday morning, we packed up and headed to Donut Fair. Our friends came with us and we all stuffed our faces with some seriously amazing donuts! And then we got on the road. It was HOT driving through the desert toward Vegas (the thermostat in the car said 106 degrees!). We only got out once for just a minute and then we decided to just keep driving.

Once we got to Vegas, we spent the afternoon with my little brother Kerry and his fiance Cesalee. We were all pretty wiped out. It’s been a long trip. Josh had a shoot in the evening, Kerry had to work, and Cesalee and I took the kids swimming.

family swimmingkids playing in the backyard with friendspreparing for surfingfamily surf trip oceanside californiagirl and her mom learning to surfsurfing and playing at the beach pacific ocean oceanside californiafun in the backyardkids playing backyard barbecue fire pitmaking smores in the backyarddonuts in oceanside californiahot hot drive through the desert

Epic Summer Road Trip – Corona {part two}

While we stayed in Corona,we went to the beach EVERY DAY. I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome that was!! We’re big fans of the beach (who isn’t?!), so we figured we would go as much as possible. On Saturday, we had a picnic with Josh’s grandparents, a few aunts and uncles, and his cousin from Germany. And then, we went to the beach!

The next day, we met up with our friend Allison (her blog is All for the Boys) and our kids spent a couple hours playing in the tidepools at Corona del Mar. They climbed all over the rocks, and found tons of hermit crabs, snails, anemones, and even a big crab.

Corona del Mar is probably my new favorite place to go to the beach. It was surrounded by giant rocks on three sides, so it wasn’t windy at all! We actually got warm sitting in the sun and the water wasn’t terribly freezing. (Note: the tidepool area is located off Poppy Ave and is WAY less busy than the main beach area.)

family reunion picnicvacation to california to see grandparentsfamily vacation at the beach seal beach californiakids playing in the backyarddaddy monster tag in the backyardkids tidepooling at corona del marfamily vacation road trip to the beachkids climbing on rocks and catching hermit crabs at corona del mar california