We make the trip down to California at least once a year. It is always a hard trip. First you have the daunting drive down and back. 40 hours in the car. Packed full of kids and all their stuff, massive amounts of snacks designed to keeps mouths busy and a big oaf of a dog. Then when we get there we are totally wasted and the kids are bursting with pent up energy. During our short stay (usually 4 or 5 days) we have 5 families to try and spend a day with. Best case scenario that is a family a day some of which require even more driving. Then we try and squeeze in a way too short visit with dear friends. Way too much. We end up spending the vacation with way too much time wasted in the car and it is all segmented into little bits here and there. We rarely get any quality time and hardly ever get the chance to do something that will give our kids an opportunity to really bond with their cousins and Grandparents and make some solid memories. I try not to complain to Dave about the quality of our California trips because I know what I want I forfeited when I strong armed Dave into staying put in Washington. But sometimes a girl wants her cake and to eat it too. RIGHT!
So last time when we got back from our trip I told Dave that things needed to change. We needed more "meaningful" time with his family. We needed opportunities to really be together and enjoy our stay. He was grumpy and I really don't think he understood.
A few months later we heard that the Cali part of the family (not Washington, Idaho or Hawaii) would be getting together to camp at lake Webb and go water skiing. They would be at the lake for 1 1/2 days. Everyone together having fun and making memories. I knew we had to be there. That was exactly what I had told Dave I wished we could be part of. It was a crazy idea. So much driving for such a small stay. But beggars can't be choosers and we needed this! We still had Grandma Wilcox with us (from coming to see Chase be ordained) and she agreed to drive down with me. And then we would fly Dave in the night before the ski trip. He was limited by h
ow much time he could be away from work. We left to camp and hang out at the lake the next morning.
Our day at the lake with family was wonderful. What a blessing it is to be with so many wonderful people. We played in the water, roasted smores, surprised Grandma with Liz's homemade peach pie in the middle of a camping trip, played laser tag and told stories late into the night. At one point I went looking for Kate and Sara and found them with the younger batch of cousins hiding in a tent playing pet shops by light of the lantern. How darling is that?
It was such a wonderful evening and I went to bed knowing already that it was all worth it.
The next morning the water activities really began. Grandpa had so many fun new toys that everyone was eager to play with. The kids really loved riding on these. Grandpa spent most of his day pulling it behind his boat. It was tons of fun and I even had to get in on the actio
n. the kids got wasted several times. No one ever flew sky high but there was some close calls and a bit of head bashing.
Kate and Sara were in Heaven playing in the shallows with their cousins Carina and Claire. Those two little angles were so good to my girls. Carina and Claire are super close. I was a little worried that they would have a hard time including my girls who sadly, they don't know very well. It melted my heart to see the opposite. They openly invited Kate to play every game. They were mermaids, sea horses, sweet girls playing ring around the roses and so many other fun things.
Sara enjoyed every single moment. She was showered with attention from Grandma, her Aunts and cousins. I am sure she felt like a queen bee!
After lunch though the heat started to get to the poor Washington Wilcoxs. I think we were suffering from heat stroke, seriously. We had come from high 60's and were baking in temperatures over 110. After about 3:00 my kids had all migrated to the canopy that had been set up for shade. Chase and Emily never went back.
All of their cousins were out on the boat watching the very popular BATTLE OF THE DADS! Grandpa was toeing two donuts and the Dads were fighting to be king by knocking each other off. It was good fun. I was cracking up listing to the kids cheer for their Dads. Uncle Brent was the DOMINATOR. Willie's form was always really great but he almost always ended up like this...
After watching the Dad's battle each other for an hour I came back onto the beach and saw my kids - half melted puddles on the grass. Chase was miserable and grumpy and Emily was starting to fall apart emotionally about who knows what. So I told Dave that we had to get out of Cali. We really needed that air conditioned car!!!! He begged for one last chance out on the water to do his thing.
Then we were off like a bat out of _ _ _ _. Seriously, the heat was life threatening by that point. We took a group shot with everyone and then started our long drive back home. Dave had to be back to work the next day.
So our quick as lightening trip to California was painful but SO SO SO VERY WORTH IT!