A Busy Weekend: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk & Backyard Party

We knew heading into last weekend that it was going to be a full one. No switching off for morning naps or a break; a sort of all-hands-on-deck kind of weekend. I was looking forward to it, but in a way, also looking forward to getting a break Monday when they napped on a regular schedule and Jessica came (which didn't really end up happening anyway!).

My cousin was planning a beach party down in Santa Cruz and while most of the family politely declined, I thought it would be a fun day. I somehow convinced Dave to do it, I think by telling him my brother and his family were coming, which in the end, they didn't. The boys were so excited to be going to the 'hot beach'. We had talked about it all day Friday, W was begging to go 'right now' by 6pm that night. I told him it would be dark and he said, 'I find a light and turn it on'. Sounds like a plan.

Much of the day turned out great -- we were out the door by 8:15 and the boys were great in the car. We left early enough to avoid everyone heading to the beach on what would be a perfect, but very hot, beach day. We made it to the Boardwalk just as it was opening at 10am, before for lines to get tickets formed. The boys had so much fun on all the rides -- there's TONS of stuff for their age that they can ride on by themselves and a few things that they could still go on as long as we were with them. We ended up spending 2 hours doing all the rides we could and headed back to the car for the boys to eat their packed lunch while I tried to run and pick something up at a restaurant nearby that Megan had recommended. The place was only a few blocks away, but once I got there, there was a long line and when I asked, it sounded like it would be a minimum of 20 minutes before I got food (and that seemed optimistic). I've done this to Dave numerous times before, 'just let me run in...' and I knew a hot day when they were getting restless was not the one to do it. So I jogged next door and picked up several slices of pizza, which still took some time to get. Back in the car, we only had about a mile and a half to drive, and luckily it was going the opposite direction of the gridlock traffic. We were just going to the next beach over to meet our family. Parking was difficult, the boys were getting cranky as it was now 1 o'clock, William's naptime, and we had had a big morning. We loaded up the wagon and made our way to the beach. Finally I called my cousin, who had luckily just emailed me his phone number.  Turns out they were down quite a ways, in fact, it probably would've been better to stay in our spot at the Boardwalk and walk from there, but obviously we didn't know that at the time.

By this point it is so hot, like 100 degrees, we're schlepping all this stuff, carrying the boys as the sand is way too hot for them to walk on. We finally get to my family, say hello and quickly head down to the water to cool off. The boys had an absolute blast jumping in the waves, though it was a pretty strong current so we each had to be in charge of one. We played for just about an hour when we knew they'd quickly hit a wall so back we trekked. And the showers were turned off due to the drought. Dave is sweaty, sandy and hot, and by this point has reached his breaking point. We make it back to the car and thankfully I had researched 'what to pack for the beach' so we had an empty laundry detergent bottle filled up with water to rinse the boys off and got them changed into clean clothes. William had fallen asleep in the wagon he was so tired. Once we got in the car, both boys were wide awake but eventually fell asleep for an hour before we got home. The lost hour between leaving the Boardwalk and getting to the beach is what made the difference for us, but overall, I thought the day went really well and most importantly, the boys had so much fun. When asked what their favorite part was, G said, 'I pull the lever on the helicopter and go high in the sky!' and W said, with tons of animation, 'I love it when a big wave splash in my face!'.

Lesson learned:
  • When attending a party or meeting friends, find out exactly what part of the beach/where to meet before getting there. That way you can be strategic about parking, or at least attempt to be.
  • Forget about going to the good place, just go for convenience when it comes to food and you know you have limited time. I should've assumed it would take too long to even go just a few blocks to this other place, but we should've just eaten a hot dog at the Boardwalk.
Beach packing list:
(obviously some of this is not necessary for a morning at Crissy Field beach versus all day at a hot beach)
  • Sunshade
  • Little beach chairs
  • Wagon and hanging bag for extra storage
  • Sand toys - buckets, shovels, excavators
  • Beach blanket
  • Lunch/snacks and lots of water
  • Towels
  • Swim suits, rashguards
  • Extra clothes
  • Sunglasses
  • Books, toys for long car ride
  • Hats
  • Extra sunscreen (including for Mom and Dad)
  • Baby powder to remove excess sand
  • Empty detergent bottle filled with water 

Even after getting home, there wasn't much break before prepping for Sunday. We were hosting a party at our house for the Music Director Search Committee that Dave has been on at church for the past 6 months. They announced and introduced the new Music Director that Sunday at church and we were hosting a welcome picnic for the search team and their families, the pastors, some of the choir and obviously the new Music Director, about 25 people in total Dave and I debated -- well, I did, Dave did not -- just making the food ourselves or getting it catered. We definitely made the right call by having Tacolicious cater it. Super affordable, great food and everything was ready to go. Of course there's still prep for hosting a party so Dave was with the boys all morning until church while I baked desserts, cleaned up and got other stuff ready. Everything turned out great but when my mom finally arrived at 4:30 on Sunday night to take the boys out for us (since of course they didn't nap during, or after the party that ran 12:30-3), we couldn't have been more grateful. It was the first break I had to catch up on stuff, but most importantly, sit down and relax for a few minutes.

Such a great weekend, I'm glad we made the trip to Santa Cruz and look forward to taking them again. And I'm so thankful that we have such a great space for hosting parties, plus we lucked out and got an 80 degree day in the city (many would say too hot). This coming weekend I'm away on a girls trip and then Dave takes his turn the next week so we'll both get a break at some point. Can't wait for Vegas!

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