It's been about 75 years since last we spoke, and I left you all with a promise of beach pictures and then failed to deliver. I'm sorry. Kind of. I do have to go out and live through these adventures before I can write about them, and this particular trip was really tiring. In a good way, but still. Plus, right after the beach, we had a visit with the famous Cousin Joey, the soon-to-be famous Cousin Sophia, and that was tiring too. In a good way, but still. And the sheer monstrous magnitude of pictures from these two events is so overwhelmingly humongously humongous that I have been afraid to apply my already dangerously depleted energy to the task of sorting and posting them. So there.
How was the beach, you ask?
It was lovely. We escaped the smoky, broiling hot hell that the Sacramento Valley was offering, and we went where it was lovely, and cool, and salty. Look! We're wearing long sleeves in some of the pictures!
Since it is usually Ian or I taking pictures, we have very few photos of all four of us. We attempted to take advantage of having extra camera operators on hand to get a family photo. Sadly, we waited until the end of a beach trip at the end of a long day, and Max was more interested in going home to bed than in flashing his trademark winsome yet mischievous grin at the camera, and Maggie's hood had been trying to eat her entire face for the whole trip and she was not impressed and I was quietly wondering if I had applied enough sunscreen to my face (answer -- nope, I had not. My nose turned a girlish and most becoming pink the next day.) So, once again, we captured a family moment on film, but not perhaps the moment we were going for. Only Ian looks truly content in this picture, and that is because -- I don't know? The hat? The fact that he did apply enough sunscreen? The delighted inner glow that a life with Chelsa constantly provides? Hmm.
Max, who I have always described as a fairly cautious child, got in touch with his inner fearless explorer on this trip. On a related note, I made an interesting personal discovery: I like it when Max is cautious. Gramps aided and abetted rock-climbing, ocean diving, and cliff-scaling activities, and I spent a lot of time cringing and deliberately not looking. Max emerged unscathed. I am sure that my newly developed ulcer will subside in time.
Max also built several delightful sandcastles.
Or, more specifically, Max built 50% of several delightful sandcastles, and then stepped on them, crushed every trace of them, and salted the earth where they had been. He has inner rage issues, apparently. Maybe an overprotective mother who won't let him scale slippery cliffs? Hmm.
Maggie sampled the sand of several beaches during our trip. Her opinion: gritty, salty, and not at all desirable. And yet, she kept trying to eat it. It's like how my mum always asks me for a sip of my lemonade, even though she hates lemonade, and then makes a face when she takes the sip. Those who refuse to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, Ladies.
Why did we come home, again?
Unlike her brother, Maggie never even offered me the illusion that she was cautious. She was not overly fond of the water, but she took on the sand, the rocks, the seals, and any and every form of seaweed. I am pretty sure I saw her take down a deer with her bare hands. She is a fearless little amazon.
Nope, this sand doesn't taste good, either.
Max saw an older boy skipping rocks one afternoon, and took up the hobby. He did not quite grasp the refined art of rock skipping in the time allowed him, but he did invent a new sport: rock plopping. It is certain to become a nation-wide craze.
Inner thoughts of everyone in this picture:
Gramps: Ta-da! This is going to be the greatest sand castle ever!
Max: This sand castle is looking good. It needs something, though, a little tweaking ... a flag? A decorative rock fence? Oh, I know! It needs a STOMPING! Pillaging commencing in five ... four ... three ... two ...
Chelsa: Max is standing on my hand. Ow. Plus, I'm pretty sure he's planning to stomp this castle. I hope Granny takes this picture quickly.
I drove up to the beach with my parents and the kids on Monday. Ian had to work, so he wasn't able to come up until Wednesday night. Another personal discovery (this trip was chock-full of them. Isn't it nice when we grow as people?): Ian and I are not meant to travel separately. Every night that we were apart, Ian called us sounding drunk and depressed, and I worried myself into eye-rolling fits over him driving by himself on the twisty turny roads late at night. See, Max? It's not just you that I hover over. I'm an equal opportunity hoverer. Anyway, we missed him, and while it is nice to get reacquainted with the fact that you prefer having your spouse around to being alone, even after almost nine years of marriage, it is not as nice as having your spouse around and just assuming that you prefer it to being alone. So, for the next trip, what have we learned? Travel together, don't eat sand, and bring a stylish yet sturdy leash for Max and Gramps.