We lucked out and got to spend the 4th of July in Coronado in California.
Our friends have been going for years and have some serious connections to make that trip work.
I think our kids quite honestly thought we had died and gone straight to Heaven.
And to be honest, so did Dave and I.
As we crossed over the bridge to Coronado Island you could almost cut through the excitement filling up our car. The kids thanked us like 45 times before we even got there.
We got to hang out with great friends, spend time with the kids, and enjoy some serious beauty away from the ominous heat of the desert.
Our friends are master sandcastle builders.
They have the technique down-pat. It involves a pit stop at Home Depot before the beach, all kinds of wood and tools and serious man-power, but boy howdy is it ever worth it.
Here are four of the steps:
And the finished product:
It was a total group effort that took all day and was enjoyed by tons of other beach-dwellers (they all came to take pictures).
It was fun to watch everyone helping out.
The boys were the masterminds behind the structure:And the girls carved out most of the detail (mostly the big girls...the moms...but I didn't get many pictures of that).
Claire was obviously pleased as punch to be involved:
In case the pictures don't make it obvious, we couldn't wipe the smiles off our faces the whole time.
Lucy loved jumping over the waves.
We loved walking around the quaint little town.
And of course, no trip to the beach is complete without me coercing my kids to the beach at sunset for some pictures:
Some sweet random lady offered to capture us together (Lu wasn't the least bit interested and Max was long gone by then):
...and Grace and Claire wanted to practice taking their own little photos of each other too:
By the end of our sunset beauty-light time Lucy had pretty much had it:
...and needed to be calmed down by her Dad.
At night we were all so loud in the hallways with so many kids running around (there were ten families in all):
...until the security guards had had enough with all our commotion and offered to let us take over one of the conference rooms.And that worked out pretty much perfect.
Some of the girls had a contest to see how many bracelets they could collect.
These cute girls wanted their own photo shoot:
These are our friends (Brian & Nicole) behind the good deals and vip treatment:
They just had a new baby (their #6!!) who I cannot believe I didn't' get more pictures of but these two were so cute with her. I had so much fun with Nicole who is a photographer I idolize (check out her photos and blog here).
On the actual 4th of July we all gathered together and walked over to a nearby park for the fireworks.(after some group pictures, of course...)
Brian & Nicole brought all kinds of glow stuff for the kids.
...who were obviously enamored by it and had so much fun making glowing outfits.The day we checked out, some kids, (we parents would have no idea who), decided it would be a great idea to empty some shampoo into the hot tub.
It was really naughty, and I'm sure not a fun fix-up job, but I must say that it was probably a highlight of the trip for every kid involved.
Can you tell?
It was such a fun trip we won't soon forget. Thank you, thank you, dear friends, especially Brian & Nicole!