Well, I wrote about our last trip of summer, but we actually had one more that I haven’t covered yet. It was definitely a highlight before we started this whole school business, so I wanted to be sure to get it in.
Grandma Jennie and I took off the Tuesday before school started (8/14), and we were going to do a Team Hokama+Grandma trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but it was going to be too expensive but still wanted to something special and a little different. So we opted for a day at the beach and rented a minivan, Grandma packed a picnic lunch, and we headed out to (I think) Seacliff State Beach near Aptos.
Having Grandma in the car with us certainly kept the kids entertained—the built-in DVD player didn’t hurt either—and we made pretty good time, arriving just before lunchtime, to a foggy, but not-too-cold beach. The girls went straight to work running up and down the beach, getting into the water, and playing in the sand. They could barely sit still long enough to eat, but the fact that Grandma had made and packed a peach pie with plenty of whipping cream was a pretty strong attraction at the blanket eating area.
After a couple hours, Aliya fell asleep and napped for a little while under a makeshift shelter (since we forgot our umbrella), while Maia and Keana laid in the warmer sand, stalking seagulls. Keana and Maia also played for a little while with another boy about their age, but mostly were entertained by each other, Mama, Papa, and Grandma. One of best things though was a visit from a pod of dolphins (see video below) that must have been fishing just a few meters off the shore. They stuck around for a while, going back and forth, and sometimes flipped their tails and fins out of the water, playfully, for our enjoyment. That was the first time I had seen dolphins around that part of the coast, even after living in Santa Cruz for 7 years, so it was pretty special for all of us.
I was also impressed when both girls wanted to be buried in the sand, and Jennie and Sarah had fun making them into mummies, mermaids, and even sea horses. Keana doesn’t usually mind rolling around in the sand and waves at the beach, but Maia really doesn’t like getting sandy, so I think it was actually a pretty huge step for her.
By the time 5 o’clock rolled around, we were all pretty tired and hungry and ready for some less sandy scenery. We found a nearby bbq joint called Sid’s Smokehouse and had a great dinner together to top of a great day at the beach. The ride home wasn’t as quiet as you’d think, all three of them staying awake, still vibrating from the exciting day with Grandma at their favorite of all places: the beach.