San Diego Part 2: Change of Venue

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Our real motivation for heading out to San Diego was to visit some nearby relatives in Mission Viejo. With the weekend upon us, it was time to finally meet some kiddos we hadn’t been introduced to quite yet.

We made our way up the 101 (not that 101, a different one) to enjoy a little bit of ocean view on the way north, which resulted in us making a brief stop so the boys could see something.

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Someday when they’re older we may come back and try it out ourselves.


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Somehow we managed not to see this giant thing on the way into the parking lot. Remedied that quickly.

We made our way back to a major highway and worked our way through the traffic until we finally arrived at Nan and Papa’s hotel.

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We coldn’t get the kids to stop playing on this couch in the lobby.

Once we were tired of wrangling them and had a better idea of a plan, we headed over to my Uncle Bob’s house. A quick tour and realization that the kids were going to destroy a bunch of priceless antiques later, and we decided to go to the park instead.

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Much better.


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Max fell back into his routine of yelling, “HIGHER!” very quickly.


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Thankfully there was some kind of party going on nearby, and all were welcome.


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Then he found a sucker to push him, so it was right back to the swings.


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Owen, meanwhile, showed us how much he wants to start playing soccer later this year.


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Okay, Pelé, we get it.


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Max asked for this. I don’t know.

For some reason, Max decided he was going to do something weird with the ball they were kicking around. Apparently it wasn’t entertaining enough to just kick it, so he was very carefully messing with his shoe beforehand.

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When he kicked the ball, this would happen.

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If you look closely, you can see the flying shoe.

Gotta make your own fun, I guess. This all continued for a bit longer, since we’d had lunch and were just enjoying the nice weather.

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Owen showed off some completely new volleyball skills.


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Max and mommy posed for a photo.


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We wrangled everyone into position for an obligatory one of these.


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Which of course led to one of these.


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Plus a half-decent family photo.


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Plus a bonus shot of the Larkin men.


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I think they were getting bored waiting for us to finish picture time.

Play time in the park was fun, but not nearly enough to completely exhaust all of the children. It was thus determined that we would change them into some swimsuits and shuttle them over to a neighborhood water park.

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It’s almost like they’re waiting for something.


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AAAAAH WATER EVERYWHERE RUUUUUUUUUN!

This kept the older kids entertained, but Owen is a bit more shy about having a thousand gallons of water poured on his head. We could only get him to wade in around the edges a bit, so I had to hand over the camera and take matters into my own hands.

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He was really nervous about me trying to drag him under the big bucket, but I kept him clear.


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I was rewarded with an attempted drowning.


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Collyn was happy to hang out with Bob. Max…well, I guess he found a ride from Chandler.


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He alternates between being crazy and athletic and totally laid back.


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Kyle stuck with her brother and sister by the giant bucket for the most part. I can’t imagine why.

We were all fully drenched and worn out, so naturally we decided to head back to the hotel and get some sleep. Or, you know, order pizza and let the kids run around for another couple of hours.

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This afforded me the opportunity to line everyone up for a group shot (now with 50% more new relatives).

For quite some time, we’ve been hearing about Cruz. He’s the eldest of the grandkids in the Uncle Bob family tree, just a few months shy of Max. The defining characteristic we’d heard about was that he was pretty tall for his age. Max shares this trait, and managed to surprise my cousin by edging him out in the height category.

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By just a few inches or so.

With the sun long gone and the kids up way past their bedtime, we turned in and prepared ourselves for another fun day with the family. Somewhere along the line, we’d decided it would be a good idea to get back out to the beach.

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The kids spotted something silly on the way down.

We climbed a set of far-too-many stairs, and stepped out onto the nice, cool sand. We set up camp four or five times as the tide advanced relentlessly, and the kids got right down to business.

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Sand castle business.


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Brady preferred to act in a supervisory role.


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I’m not sure where you sign up for this life, but please let me know if you find out.

After a while, I couldn’t resist the temptation to head out into the surf for a bit of fun with my cousin and uncle. When I returned, my eldest son made a request.

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Who am I to resist?


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I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him so excited or happy.


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Look at that face.


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Meanwhile, back on the beach…

Owen, it turned out, wasn’t really interested in sitting in the sand or going in the water, so he decided the Brady approach was for him. While all this was going on, Papa had been chosen to go retrieve a meal for everyone. The restaurant kept him delayed for a while, but he eventually returned to a very grateful crowd. Once fed, I abandoned my wife and kids and ran immediately back into the water.

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Gotta spend some time with my dad on Father’s Day, you know.


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Christy gave me a thumbs up to let me know she got the photo. I think Mike heard something behind us.


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Pretty sure I accidentally hit Papa in the back of the head.


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We played a bit longer, but inevitably returned to the sand.

We returned to our hotel room to hose off all the sand and let the kids rest a bit. We needed to make sure they wouldn’t be too tired for a little dinner get-together.

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They seemed okay.


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Brady didn’t mind having us around.


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This pretty much sums up the evening.

There was lots of barbecue, lots of playing, and a lot of good conversation with people we don’t get to see often enough. It was a perfect end to a great visit with my family.

My parents were at the end of their trip, but for us it wasn’t quite over yet. We’ll return next time with the final chapter, which involved a trip back to where we started.

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