5 MORE things I learned while camping at the beach

1) Cousins make everything better.

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My cousin lives in the San Diego area and we have always been close. I think that is because until I was seven, I was an only child. So my cousins filled all those roles that were not filled by siblings. Now it continues with our kids, as all of our siblings didn’t get on the “having kids” thing until a bit later so our kids don’t have first cousins their own ages. That’s ok…first, second…who cares! Cousins are somehow better than friends, because they are family but not so close as siblings to be obnoxious. We got to hang out with her and her boys for two days and I wish it could have been longer.

2) Hoodies + overcast + beach = magic.

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The first night we got there it was cold (well…65) so we just went for a walk. Overcast and chilly did not stop Little Man from jumping in the waves or the girls from getting really sandy. That’s ok. It’s moments like this where I could almost see myself living somewhere like Oregon or Washington. But then I snap out of it and realize that I like the sun more than I like rain. Oh and I don’t care where you are or what the circumstances, under a flight of stairs (any stairs, indoor or outdoor) ranks as some of the coolest places to just play. The kids played for a solid 30 minutes under the stairs leading back up to the campsite and only left because we dragged them away.

3) Digging to China is fun no matter how old you are.

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Husband Guy just started digging. Then Layna got in on it and Garyn joined her. And yes Layna did fall into the hole face first. And no I didn’t take a picture before fishing her out. After the bridge collapsed Naomi had fun curled up in the hole because she was a bobcat and bobcats are shy and like to stay in their dens.

4) Mornings are fun. Meant both sarcastically and seriously.

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For the most part my kids are good at waking up (Layna is the best). However, Naomi is evil incarnate if you try to wake her up from a nap. For the most part, the fancy breakfasts that I never make at home were enough to make them stop being cranky. Hooray for camp food!

5) Most places love their locals, so there is a lot of super cool things to do, off the tourist trod paths.

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The San Diego Temple (from the Mormon Church) is one of the most gorgeous buildings ever. It reminds me of a classic gothic (can I say that?) cathedral, but with very clean lines and beautifully simple gardens. The highlight of our time there was the snail we found on a flower. Guess we are a few years away from architectural appreciation. We also went the San Diego Botanic Gardens. One of those places I would never have known about had a local (my cousin) not told me about it. We also went to the closest YMCA to actually swim (you can go to any YMCA twice for free!), and explored about 3 different parks. I’m sure some day my kids and I will be able to handle five straight days of beach bumming, but not this trip. Luckily, if you act like a local you don’t have to pay like a tourist (I’m willing to sell that line to any ad company, anywhere…call me). My kids wouldn’t remember Disneyland anyways, so we will save that until snails and streams and weird flowers don’t cut it anymore.

So glad we went and so glad to be home. I’m still digging myself out of laundry (it’s clean and that’s the important thing right?) and have yet to feel settled again (waiting for nesting to kick in and make me a neurotic cleaning machine). It was great though and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of watching my son watch the ocean, or my daughters digging in the sand making up stories, or my husband getting better at body surfing.

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