Monday, July 9, 2012

A California Trip, Summer-Style

Our reason for a 4th of July trip to Redlands, California was two-fold: 1) Any excuse to go to California is a good one and 2) The Chatfield sisters being spread across the globe is eminent.

My sister Julie (and her husband Corbin and their baby Theo) is leaving Utah in two weeks to move to Ithaca, NY for Corbin's graduate studies. My sisters Shelley (and her husband Rick and her 3.5-year-old son Jett) and Kellie are moving to Buenos Aires later this summer. Pretty soon, the only Californian will be my sister Carlie and the only (temporarily) Utahan will be me.

And we'll miss each other terribly.

So, we all gathered at my parents' house in Redlands to spend some quality time together.

The kids were superstar road trippers; although, Jacko passed down his habit of barfing to Lu, who threw up twice in the first half of the trip. We drove down on Saturday morning, arriving in Redlands just in time for Lucy to fall off a chair and give herself a nasty gash (and give me an "I'm so tired after driving all day" meltdown).

We went to church the next day and enjoyed one another's company. On Monday, we packed up a picnic and headed to the Redlands Dog Park to be voyeurs; the hill by the gated dog area is perfect for checking out all of the cute doggies from afar. There is also a duck pond and a playground at the park, both of which we used to their full extent. This dog park experience was the one thing Jacko wanted to do while we were in California—yes, it's that fun.

Much of the down time was spent outside in the backyard; the kids played on the swings, drew with sidewalk chalk, or fought the ivy covering the fence with croquet mallets. We also ate our meals outside, which was a fun change of pace (even with the bugs!). The boys went on a walk with Uncle Rick to "clean the cactus"; the neighbors have a large cactus, and for some reason, the boys left the house with several sponges. You do the math.

The Chatfield girls made another Sisters movie, which will probably end up on the blog someday. This filming was much more low-key than the others, but when it's 85 degrees in the house (no A/C, just a swamp cooler), it's best to keep stress at arm's length.

On the 4th of July, we took family pictures at JC Penney, then relaxed together. I was in charge of dinner, so I tasked my dad with grilling in the backyard.

After dinner, we all headed to the fields of Clement Middle School (where my dad had his first teaching job); there is a perfect view of the University of Redlands fireworks there, as well as tons of room to run! Jacko flew his first kite, the kids had a blast setting off tiny fireworks, and I enjoyed texting with Caleb (who had to stay in Utah to work).

The next day, we visited Corona Del Mar beach; it was overcast and cool, which was perfect (and deceptive, says the girl who got crazy sunburned). Lucy wasn't keen on adventuring, so she stayed close and rolled around in the sand. Jacko believes that the beach is solely for making sand castles, so he set down to business immediately. He also coerced Jett into taking a walk on the beach to pick up trash. Jacko is a man of action.

Our trip was not all sunshine and rainbows. I had my fair share of crying jags; Lucy honestly hurt herself every other hour, Jacko never took a nap, the stress of dealing with both of my kids sans Caleb was overwhelming. But my family is lovely and helped out with my kids a ton—they even let me sleep when Jacko tricked me and got up from our nap after twenty minutes!

We didn't want to leave, though we missed Caleb, and saying goodbye to my soon-to-be-far-away family was excruciating.

But here we are back in Utah. The adjustment has been tough, but real life also means getting to sleep in your own bed. So, there's that.

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