Let’s back up a bit…
Jim and Dyana invited our family to spend a long Easter weekend with them in Catalina. Carl and I were totally excited. So were the boys. Well, once I assured them that “Easter the Bunny” would still come and leave them something fun while we were away.
We picked up Dyana and her kids and headed towards Long Beach for the ferry. Jim was going to meet us there after work.
Carl and I grossly underestimated how long it would take us to get to the ferry with traffic and we started to panic as the departure time got closer and closer. We were still 20 minutes out when Jim called us from the dock wondering where we were. I was sick to my stomach thinking we’d miss the boat and ruin the trip for everyone since this was the last ferry of the night. Sure enough despite Carl’s sweet “Fast and the Furious” driving maneuvers, we missed the boat by 7 minutes. We actually saw it sailing away as we drove up to the dock. Dyana’s kids were pretty calm about it (I don’t think they’d realized we’d just missed the last boat for the night) but Crew and Jax began to sob. Huge tears started rolling down their little cheeks as they cried, “We’ll never get to go to Catalina! Now we just have to go HOME!”. Carl and I felt horrible for messing up the plans after we’d been so graciously invited on this trip. But I’ve gotta hand it to Jim and Dyana for their “roll with it” attitudes. Jim suggested we get a hotel room close to the dock and cram into it for the night, then hop on the first boat in the morning at 6am. We’d still get there early and not waste any of the day to play. How could we turn down an idea like that? So we hit up Chile’s for dinner. Thankfully the restaurant was pretty quiet for a Thursday night and the hostess gave us the patio dining area all to ourselves.
It was covered and heated so we let the six boys eat and go hot wild and play ipad while Carl, Jim, Dyana and I sat back and talked.
I love their boys. Skyler is 12, Jayden is 8, and Ryder is 6. So Skyler was the perfect “big brother” for Milo, Jayden was buddies with Jax (it must be a middle child thing) and Ryder and Crew were best of pals. Milo actually loved all of it being able to run wild with all the big boys. We waited until it was late and then checked into our hotel room. We filtered in a few at a time to keep from arousing suspicion, then did our best to settle all the kids down for the night. (From L to R: Jayden, Skyler, Ryder, Crew, Milo and bashful Jax)
All things considered, the kids did REALLY well. It took me three rounds of “Twinkle Twinkle” and “I am Like a Star”, but even Milo drifted off to sleep on the floor too. I couldn’t tell if Dyana and Jim were snickering at my singing or from Milo’s rambling before he fell asleep. Either way, we were all asleep before too long.
The next morning we were up before the sun to get to the pier for the 6am ferry. We didn’t want to waste any daylight! We boarded the ferry, no problem. But I tend to get motion sick and I wondered how the boys would do without eating much for breakfast. I tried to get my kids to eat some bread I’d packed but they weren’t too interested (big surprise). Crew and Jax played ipods, Milo drove his cars back and forth on the window seal and I focused on the horizon. I was well rewarded with several sightings of dolphins. So cool.
I thought we were doing ok even though the water was a little rough until Skyler came down from the upper deck of the boat to tell me Jax had puked. Ick. Thankfully there weren’t that many people on board so we did our best to clean it up with some baby wipes and then just moved to another side of the boat. I was all too happy to see the island as we slowed down to dock. I don’t know how much longer I could have kept my stomach in check. The house we were staying in was just a few blocks up from the ferry so we walked. My kids were starting to wear out from such an early start and little to eat. They began to whine about the walk taking forever…until they saw this.
Yep, most people in Catalina don’t own cars. They own carts. Check out our sweet ride! Our kids thought it was the coolest thing ever.
We unpacked our stuff and situated everyone in the house and then took a stroll down to the beach. I thought the weather would be cold and overcast but it was quickly turning into a beautiful day. Dyana and I went for a walk through the shops and came back to find all the guys enjoying the first of countless ice cream cones we would consume. Who needs breakfast when you have ice cream?!
This picture of Milo cracks me up. It reminds me of those pictures foreign tourists take – why is it they don’t ever smile?
A look at the pier. I actually bought a little watercolor print of this scene to remember our trip. Have I told you how much I love the color turquoise?
Me: in all my brassy, bombshelled glory. Hint: big sunglasses are perfect for hiding day old makeup and sleepy eyes!
Milo LOVED the golf carts. Everytime I thought he was following me I’d turn around to find him trying to boost the neighbor’s ride. Caught you redhanded, buddy!
The first day there we spent the day at the beach. The tide was out so the kids all played in the freezing cold water while Dyana and I soaked up the sun and poured over magazines she’d brought along. I tell ya, Dyana knows how to vacation!
Even Jax splashed and floated around in the water. It was like a cold (and very salty) swimming pool to him.
Milo was typical of himself. He played and smiled, played and jabbered, and played some more until he passed out during his second ice cream cone. Both he and Jax took a good long 2 hour nap right there on the sand. I don’t know why but those two have always loved to nap on the beach.
Later we walked back to the house and put a movie on for the kids. Dyana and Jim assigned Skyler to babysitting duty while they took us on a golf cart tour of the island. Carl spotted these prickly pear, nutty looking things on the side of the road. How on earth does he notice this stuff? We never did figure out what they were but they were on climbing vines all over the island.
Checking out the scenery. That’s the Casino to the right in the background. By this point the weather was wonderful!
And apparently no Easter weekend is complete on Catalina without a reenactment of Christ’s crucifixion… in español!
Jim and Dyana always take their boys out for pizza the first night on the island. So we had a pizza party before everyone crashed for the night. I don’t know about anyone else but I slept like a baby. And thanks to all the friends around, my kids were occupied the next morning allowing me some sleep in time. That NEVER happens!
Our whole trip was totally chill. Beach, ice cream, movies, it was all about the R&R. This picture is one of the few I was able to catch of Crew. He was constantly on the move unless the tv was on, which wasn’t too often. There was just too much to see and do. (My little brother Kolby used to sit this exact same way on the couch while we watched cartoons.)
There were two old mopeds stashed behind the house. Carl and Jim were determined to get them working.
In the meantime, we checked out the pier…
…and later went for a hike. I told Jax to strike a pose. This is karate stance. (We’d just seen the new Karate Kid movie a few days prior.)
Jax insisted on taking my picture too. “Strike a pose, MOM!” Sorry, this was all I could come up with on such short notice. But isn’t the ocean beautiful in the background? I couldn’t believe it was raining and freezing cold back at home.
Milo twisted his ankle the night before and had a hard time walking the next few days, but that didn’t stop him from trying to keep up with Skyler. He was so into him the entire trip, and Skyler was good to play big brother.
After the hike Jim offered to take us to Pebbley Beach on the other side of the island. The boys had already gone once so I was excited to see what all the hype was about. And pebbley it was! If ever there was a place to throw rocks, this was it.
And there were tons of these little guys crawling under the rocks. I’d never actually held a hermit crab before. They’ve got quite a pinch!
We went to the Casino that night to see Rio. This was the coolest movie theater I’ve ever been to. Lots of whimsical murals painted on the walls, velvet seats, cheap popcorn…
…and an organist playing Phantom of the Opera and a great intro leading up the the movie. And the movie was so, so cute. We love Angry Birds that much more now.
We spent our last morning on the island fishing so the older boys could earn their merit badges for Scouts. Dyana showed us all how it was done, baiting the line and all. Crew caught one right away. His very first fish!
And mine too!
Dyana helped Jax, who was a little unsure of it all. She grew up doing this here with her own family. I could tell she really, really loves Catalina and wanted us to love it just as much. She was so fun.
And whaddaya know. Jax caught one! Look at that smile!
Look at those fish lips. Ew.
Back at the house Carl finally got one of the mopeds to work. He buzzed around town on it, putting air in the tires and filling it with gas. You better believe Milo wanted a ride as soon as Carl motored back home.
I’m not sure what’s better in this picture: Milo trying his best to reach the handlebars for the ride or Jax using the tennis racket as a machine gun on the golf cart.
Next it was Jax’s turn for a ride. He thought the horn sounded like a fart. He kept honking it while laughing hysterically and saying, “Excuse me!” Typical Jax.
Carl came back from his ride to tell me there were some old picture frames outside the church with “Free” signs. You better believe I snagged one up for myself! I have big plans for this baby.
It was almost time to go, but not before having one more amazing hamburger (I’d been craving them like mad since Ragnar) and of course an ice cream cone. So many flavors to choose from.
We had to get a family picture by the pier before heading off to the ferry. I wish I would have thought to take my sunglasses off. Grrr. Oh well. I really felt like I’d been on vacation instead of just a “relocation”. Sometimes traveling with our kids is so exhausting but not this trip. I really felt like I had a chance to unwind, be lazy, and enjoy good times with family and friends. The only down side to the trip was the barf fest before and after the island. On the way back Milo was like and erupting volcano. It was almost comical as others get sick as a result of watching me catch Milo’s puke in our half empty bread bag. Hey, that’s life with kids people! Note to self: put all video games away during the ferry ride. Maybe then we’ll have less open water drama.
A hundred thanks to Jim and Dyana for inviting us along for this trip. We had lots of late night laughs, took tons of pictures, ate lots of ice cream, watched the boys run wild and free and everyone left with a smile. Even the drive back home was spent laughing and playing our new favorite car game “I’m going to Grandma’s House”. And Easter the Bunny had a basket of treats waiting for us on the kitchen counter when we walked in the door. Icing on the cake. *wink* It’s trips like this that make me want to stop and pinch myself. I’m so lucky to have such an awesome little family and I’ll always remember this fun little weekend. I leave you with a picture of us, angry birds style.