Since we are such a busy family, Ericlee and I made a goal this year to plan one weekend a month to "get a way" - even if it's only for a day - for some family time. We've been planning our October getaway to California's Central Coast with our friends, the Schultzes, for a while now. We started our weekend on Thursday. Jen and I piled the four girls in the Schultz family van and headed for Arroyo Grande. Ericlee and Chris followed on Thursday evening after their duties at Fresno Christian were complete.
Meilani is an only child (so far) and she LOVES being with her Schultz sisters. Of course there were moments when four girls in a beach house was a little overwhelming. We had a few time outs here and there. But overall the girls enjoyed each other's company. On Thursday night we piled them all in the master bedroom luxury bath tub for a play fest. Kamryn and Addy were up for posing but Meilani girl would have none of it.
We spent all day Friday at the house (owned by Ericlee's grandparents, Leo & Karla Karlyn). The kids played games, helped me bake and explored the loft. The daddies got to relax and lounge. Unfortunately, Jen came down with the flu so she had to stay in bed - but what better place to relax than at the Coast? Friday night we headed to Cambria to watch Fresno Christian's football team play against Coast Union High.
We actually had to get out the beanies and winter coats for the brisk coastal weather. Jen and Tessa sport homemade beanies here. Meilani had on so many layers she was like a marshmallow man. Of course, that didn't stop her from running down on the field on multiple occasions. She was a big fan, yelling "Go, go, GO!" at the boys in their gear.
The JV team won; the Varsity team lost. Win or lose - it was still a great time under the Friday night lights at the Coast. We munched on savory tri-tip sandwiches and warm pumpkin-banana muffins we made earlier in the day. We also indulged Daddy's company. Usually he has to be a chaperone for this all-school trip but this year he got to be with the family.
Saturday we let Jen rest at home and Ericlee, Chris and I took the girls to the beach. We headed to Grover beach for some fun in the sand and surf. The weather was cool enough for jackets and pants but we had blue skies and no wind. We love watching the personalities of the four girls. Kamryn and Meilani are high-energy chicas while Addison (pictured here with me) likes to stay close to the home base. Tessa stayed by her daddy's side for our beach excursion.
While Kamryn jumped the waves, Meilani girl tried out her sand-throwing skills. She even took a few licks of sand just to try it out. Yucky! We do value that she's a kids who loves trying new foods. She had to suffer through the mouth full of sand though. Daddy distracted her with a little wrestling and throwing her up into the air - both favorite pasttimes.
UP and away!
Then back down to safety of Daddy's arms.
Saturday afternoon the Schultzes had to return to Fresno, but this gave us some time to ourselves Saturday evening and Sunday. We headed out on Saturday for our planned 12-mile training run (as we continue to get ready for the Half Marathon in two weeks) but then the rain started to fall. We took a detour and stopped at the Avila Barn, a wonderful fruit stand, toy and kitchen store and pumpkin patch - complete with corn maze and farm animals to view.
Inside the Avila Barn we found fresh fruits and veggies for our dinner, a room full of interesting learning toys and puzzles and another room full of samples. The samples included everything from homemade taffy to kettle popcorn, from peach salsa to dried papayas. Yummy!
The Avila Barn turned out to be a great diversion from the rain. Daddy played with Meilani in the toy section for a while. Meilani loved all the stuffed farm animals and sparkly gadgets. She also went back for several samples of the peach salsa with organic blue corn tortilla chips. "More, more."
Meilani's favorite part was the corn maze. They had a small one for toddlers but we decided to take her in the adult maze and see what she could do. We let her run down the tunnels and we followed. Meilani was in the lead and - believe it or not - the kid found her way out of the maze. Then we headed back to the beach house to warm our toes and to make a pasta dinner with our fresh veggies from the market stand.
Sunday was a much warmer and brighter morning so we headed to the Bob Jones Trail in Avila for that 12-mile training run. I was admittedly nervous about the long run and the then the 3-hour drive home but the beauty of our surroundings made it worth it. We went on a tour of the senses as the trail took us through the woods and out to the ocean. We smelled maple and fresh herbs in the forest. We feasted on the colors - fiery orange, burnt sienna and ruby red leaves. We heard birds chirping and dogs barking. We tasted the salty sea air as we came out on the trail to Avila Beach. We listened to the waves crashing on the shore. We weaved our way through the dreamy fog and out into the sun, which warmed our backs and cast sparkles on a glassy inlet where ducks swam. We ran our 12 miles but it was much more than a run. Sunday morning we found calm in God's natural sanctuary.