How could you go wrong with a vacation that involves this?
Especially when your husband's work week takes a dive from 70 or 80 hours to let's-watch-this-sunset-together instead. Perfect.
Of course, now he might be pushing 90 hours as he makes up for those days spent relaxing on the beach, but let's not think about that. It's better to remember those serene moments when seawater was lapping at our toes and the babies were wailing as they gobbled yet another mouthful of sand-enhanced ritz crackers.
Um, scratch that last one.
Let's just say two 18-month-old sand eaters plus one expansive beach does not equal vacation bliss for Mom. Or for the babies, whose diapers were officially rendered Grade A sandpaper. But, we learned our lesson after one day and swapped baby duty from thereon out so that the little ones (and their mother) didn't become complete sand crabs. Grandma even pitched in on two afternoons, keeping watch on the baby monitor while Matthew and Leah snoozed so that David and I could actually enjoy the ocean together.
We rode the waves on boogie boards, sunned ourselves on our comfy beach chairs, and covered our bodies in so much grit that I won't be surprised to find my hearing problems at 80 are caused by the sand that will undoubtedly still be in my ear canals then.
For a break from the beach we explored Old Town San Diego and went to the Mormon Battalion Museum.
We saw the seals in La Jolla, David took Michael to a Padres Game with all the uncles and boy cousins, and our family ventured to Sea World where we learned that we are one with the whales, or that we are whales, or something like that. I'm not sure if that was the message I was supposed to get, but spending a few days on the beach with your supermodel-thin sisters-in-law will do that to you. Besides, I liked feeling as if Shamu and I could relate to each other.
Mid-day at Sea World Michael had a sleep deprivation induced meltdown that David tried to remedy by offering him a treat.
"I don't want a treat!" Michael wailed.
"You don't want a treat?" David asked, somewhat bewildered.
"No. I've had too much junk," Michael said.
Luckily, he didn't get the memo about ice cream being considered a junk food and was happily soothed by an ice cream bar in the shape of a killer whale.
Later that day, after we informed Michael (through gritted teeth) that we were not done having fun and could not go home yet, he asked for a "pet that doesn't move" and that he could take home "right now." David, Mr. Anti-Stuffed Animal in his pre-parenting days, forgot that he had sworn off the lovable little creatures in the name of less clutter, and was actively pushing for all of the kids to choose their own sea animal.
By "choose" I mean David, lacking only horns and a pitchfork, cooed convincingly from behind Michael's shoulder, "Michael, you really want a shark. You want a shark, don't you? The shark is sooo cool, Michael. You should get a shark."
So Michael "chose" a shark, which subsequently took a swim through the rosemary bushes outside of our beach house and came out smelling like Today's Special at the local Italian restaurant. Matthew cuddled a killer whale, and Leah got her very own "doggie", a soft gray dolphin. She can add it to the giraffe David bought her at Lagoon, and the stuffed elephant he just couldn't resist when he saw it was covered in tags -- the perfect gift for a little girl who likes to twist the silky washing instructions around her fingers as she sucks her thumb.
Okay, I admit it. They are pretty impossible to resist.
Now we are home, David is lost at work until September 15th, and I have enough sand waiting in my laundry pile to build my very own sandcastle on the patio. But as long as there's no sand in my underwear, I'm not complaining.
Michael, grab your bucket and sand shovel.
Last one to the patio is a rotten egg.