What an adventure it was too! I totally expected to be gone for three hours tops round trip. I also expected to post some pictures and be like, yeah so we went to the beach. No biggie. Well that didn’t happen. We’re Westovers!
The best part of the whole adventure was that we found two beaches to play at for FREE! That was unexpected and awesome.
Heath was following Google Maps instructions to get to Natural Bridges State Beach which was taking us the long way. There were people walking or riding bikes all over the place and there were parking spots along the side of the road. So Heath pulled into an empty one and got out to explore.
He didn’t find any fee signs or fee boxes so we unloaded kids and toys and went for it.
Adventure Number One:
We soon found out it was a dog friendly beach. Ha ha. The steps down to the beach were steep. I think all beach steps are because that was how it was in San Diego. If you remember our first San Diego beach adventure I was four months pregnant and carrying a 2 year old sleeping deadweight Parker up the hundreds of steep stairs only to walk some more back to the hotel. Fun times!
Anyway, all of us had our heads down staring at our feet going down the stairs. I was aware of people behind Gwen and me. They were calling their unleashed dog trying to get it to stay close to them. The dog was ready to pass Gwen and me on the stairs in its excitement to get to the beach. So I called out to Parker who was several steps down from me.
Me: There’s a dog coming by you. You’re fine.
Gwen takes this particular moment to notice for the first time that a large Airedale looking dog was standing right next to her. As Parker sees the dog he gets visibly nervous and Gwen started screaming. She cried and was shaking the rest of the way down the steps to the beach! Two of the three kids were losing their minds with all the unleashed dogs. Heath found a piece of beach to put the towels out.
Gavin could not have been happier. Give that boy some sand with sand toys and he is a happy camper. His little sand castle lasted until a dog peed on it! If you’re not laughing at all of this you should be because I am!
Meanwhile Parker was afraid to step off the towels.
Gwen may worship Parker and therefore has an irrational fear of dogs because of him but she was brave enough to have fun at the beach.
Parker made sure the towels didn’t blow away in the wind. Wow Parker. Don’t hurt yourself making that sand castle.
For about an hour I turned and stood rotisserie style hoping for some more melanin in my skin. I have to say, I’m annoyed that for all the time I was outside in full sun I have nothing to show for it! Stupid sunscreen. If I skipped it I would have burned because apparently as an adult I burn easily when I never did before even with baby oil slathered on me! So I tried to be responsible and put sunscreen on and now I have nothing to show for my trip to the beach.
As soon as we got to the beach I was well aware of the fact that there was no restroom. I noticed not only because I’m a mom of small children with small bladders but because I had to go. But I have a bladder of steel. I can hold my Diet Coke if I have to. It’s a gift that I can be up to my eyeballs in desperation to go but I will make myself forget if going is inconvenient. I know, I pick really odd things to brag about.
After about an hour Parker announced that he needed to use the bathroom. I was hoping he could just go behind some rocks but there was no good cover for that. Plus, Heath said we shouldn’t let him do that. Something about how it’s illegal. I said, “He’s five!” My arguments never win and since Parker has not inherited my bladder of steel – Gavin has – we packed it all up.
Adventure Number Two:
Heath did some fancy driving and found a crowded rest stop. So crowded in fact that he dumped me and the boys before finding a parking spot. Seeing the glistening oasis of a restroom in the sun reminded me I had to go halfway into the drive to Santa Cruz. My mind was pretty excited to finally have the opportunity to go.
I ushered the boys into the women’s restroom so I could relieve myself as well. Gavin skipped off to the stall furthest back. The handicapped stall. His hand touched the door to open it and my eyes saw something on the floor. Completely taken off guard I breathed out something to the effect of Holy (ahem) Hannah. If you saw a snake slithering around on the bathroom floor right next to your firstborn you wouldn’t have G rated speech either!
Everything happened at once. Parker grabbed my hand tighter and started screaming Mommy! Gavin looked down, gasped, and gave me a helpless look like how do I get back to you? I’m not sure his feet touched the ground he ran so fast. Some lady walked into the restroom at the same time we all noticed the snake and I had finished saying, “I don’t need to go!”
We attempted nonchalance and probably failed as we walked around to the men’s side. I told the boys in my patented I’m freaked out so don’t make it worse voice, “Wait for each other and come out together. Hurry up.” They disappeared inside. Parker immediately walked out saying that there were “only two bathrooms. There’s a big man in one and Gavin is just in the other.”
The lady from the other side came up then and asked how many stalls there were. I told her two and that they were occupied. She said she would go at home and she speed walked to her car. The man walked out, then Gavin, and Parker walked in. Heath and Gwen walked over to us and the boys were tripping over their tongues trying to tell their dad about the scary snake in the bathroom. I announced again that I was good. I didn’t need to go.
It was maybe 4:00 and since we didn’t want to call it a day just yet we drove around for a few minutes until we found another free beach. No dogs. More space. A few less people.
As soon as we got off the steps Gwen ditched her flip flops! I carried them until we found the perfect spot close to the water. Everyone seemed more relaxed at this beach.
My flip flops came off and many more pictures were taken. Including my favorite pictures.
I am very bugged that Heath and I don’t have any good pictures together. We really don’t have hardly any pictures together at all. So I held out the camera and got this:
I haven’t stopped laughing about it yet. I’m so glad I could forget to fix the zoom on the camera so I could get a really great shot of Heath’s nose!
That’s a little better but I cut off his head. He’s too tall. I didn’t know where to hold the camera!
Adventure Number Three:
The kids were having fun playing in the sand and even walking to the water. Parker even walked to the water. I was so proud of him. After the ocean tried to swallow him up on Heath’s birthday about a year ago he has not been a fan of the beach much less the water.
I had to make a video of it since there are so many pictures and video. I will warn you, there is one part where you are more than welcome to laugh. It may seem scary at first but go ahead and crack up as if this was AFV. No naughty words were said from me and everyone was fine. But it is too funny that this same scenario keeps playing out every time we go to a beach.
Parker had a great reaction to it. I tried to put captions in the video of the classic things he said. That kid is too funny.
Twenty minutes before we got home Gwen finally gave up the fight and gave in to sleep.
Judging by the women at both beaches the rules have changed regarding bikinis. Apparently a woman does not need to have the perfect body in order to wear a two piece string bikini. Heath kept telling me I looked better than most of the women there. And I believed him. For a minute. At least until we got home and I put on my two piece tankini to shower the sand off Gwen before putting her in the tub.
I love that Gavin was the one who suggested the title of this post. He said, “You should blog about this Mom. You could be like Our Santa Cruz Adventure.” So there you have it. It was adventurous and so much fun. Great A1C followed by fun with my family. It really was one of the best days ever.