We got up the morning of day four and had a slow and leisurely breakfast in our hotel. We hopped into the hotel pool and lazed in the jacuzzi. Then we packed up, checked out, got the car out of valet,  and headed to the beach. I have done many photo shoots in and around Mission Beach, and have always wanted to spend the day with my family there. So that is where we went.

Let me preface this by saying that Jeff and I both DESPISE crowds.

Can you guess where this is heading?

We got to the beach and it was packed. Sardines packed. Subway in rush hour packed. Fourth of July holiday packed. Kill me now packed. Blankets and people and towels and tourists and kids and surfers and grandmas covering every single inch of sand. To top it off, it was high tide, so there wasn’t a whole lot of sand to go around. Jeff was grumbling, but I could tell he was ready to take one for the team, and I was determined to be okay with it, so we managed to squeeze into a spot that was daringly close to where the water was reaching. It was the only spot for miles. He said we were going to get wet. I said we would be fine. We settled in for the day.

We sunblocked everyone up, and the kids raced into the water, only to turn around and look at us in shock. It was FREEZING. They were so disappointed. We realized that the only people in the water had on full wetsuits. We heard someone say, “The water has dropped ten degrees since yesterday!” They came back onto shore and we told them to figure something out. To entertain themselves some other way.

That is when the water rushed up and nailed us. I threw dagger eyes at Jeff behind my sunglasses. “Don’t you dare say a thing, mister. NOT ONE THING!”, is what they were saying to him. He didn’t. We scuttled and grabbed our stuff and managed to scoot back just enough to be out of the water’s wrath.

The kids made friends with some other kids near us, and everyone was happy. Mckenna took cover under our blanket, which is a typical Mckenna move at the beach. Jeff and I listened to music and let the sun warm our skin. The boys ventured a bit into the water. Anna searched for sand crabs and shells. We started getting hungry and decided to go grab some burgers. We ate and walked around and people watched. We went back to our spot and Jeff managed to convince Mckenna and the boys to go into the water with him. They will suffer in the freezing water as long as they can play with Dad. He is their favorite toy. They played for awhile and Anna and I cuddled.

By that time we were done with the sun and the sticky sunblock skin and the hoards of people.

I waved to my people in the water and gave them the sign it was time to go. We gathered our stuff and walked back to the car and stopped at my favorite Mexican drive thru, the one I always stop at after a photo shoot, the one that I don’t know what it is called or what street it is on but I can always find, and then we headed back to home.



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  1. ooooh, you said favorite mexican spot + my mind (and heart) lept to juanita’s on the 101 in encinitas. the best rolled taquitos in CA. i’ve never found a replacement for the hole-in-the-wall mexican joints of my beloved north county SD.

    loving these glimpses of your summer!

  2. What beautiful pictures of your family. Love that you got “down” at their level. Love the close of of Anna with all the sand on her legs. These all looked like special family memories to treasure.

  3. Omigosh, Tara! I have been on travel and am catching up with the posts in my reader. I wish you had told me you were going to be here…. I live not 10 STEPS from that Dan Burger kiosk. Seriously… you guys were partying in my front yard! :)

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