One Does Not Simply Take Four Boys to the Beach

One does not simply “take little boys to the beach.”

When we first moved to California, I was so EXCITED!!!  I live within 10 minutes of beaches, swimming pools, hiking, an aquarium, glory, glory, glory!!!

Glory, glory, glory!

This is going to be FUN. We are going to take exciting field trips all the time, I thought. We are going to be pros at this. The boys will get to see how the beach is different every time you go.

We went to the store. We purchased wet suits. We had BIG plans.

adorable in wetsuits

adorable in wetsuits

And gradually reality began to settle in.

Bath tubs became clogged from sand, so we learned that sand does plunge right out. Problem solved.

Wet suits? Well, it takes us an hour to all get into them and all get back out of them when finished. Then you have to rinse and hang the things.

Someone really should be on hand to go into the waves with the boys, while someone handles the one-year-old.


Taking four boys to the beach is actually a two person job, and thus ended my dreams of weekly trips to the shore. After all, Alan really should go to class.

One does not simply take four little boys to the beach.

But there’s still the pool, right?

Well, the big pool is freezing, and the little pool only allows 5 people at a time. The pool has no lifeguard, and I can’t figure out how to hold two babies in the 4 foot pool at one time, so that’s when I realized that…..

The pool is also a two person job now.

Sigh. Neither does one simply “take four little boys to the pool.”

But there are still trails to hike……

Only the big boys like to run ahead and climb things. Meanwhile, the trail has to be either stroller friendly, or I have to wear JD in the baby carrier.

unhappy hiker

Can’t you just see Caleb’s joy? He wanted to hike further, but with the Ergo, I can only go so far.

Plus, it takes us about 2 hours to get ready to go anywhere as a family, so……

One does not simply “Go hiking with John David.”

I realized that hiking is pretty much a two parent job as well.

Well, I will just take them to the playground, I said. Only Joshua rarely wanted to do that, so it’s not much fun to drag him….One does not simply drag Joshua to the playground.

And that is how I ended up secluding myself in the walls of my big, beautiful, home near the sea.


My new goal for 2015:

Re join the world. We are making progress. Yes, it still takes us two hours to get ready to go anywhere. Thankfully, Alan’s course-load isn’t as bad as previous quarters, so he’s able to join us more.

coach with tiny helper

Assistant Coach, with Coach’s helper

Joshua has basketball practices, and they both have golf lessons, so at least we have to get out for that.

kids golf

Caleb, working hard at golf lessons.

This week I decided we were getting out or bust. No matter the obstacles. Nothing would stand in our way.

Was it JD’s nap time by the time we all got ready? Yes, it was. We forged on anyway.

On Thursday, we very excitedly headed out to the library, Point Lobos, and the McDonald’s drive thru. All four boys were thrilled. The library was PACKED. There were two second grade classes and a preschool hour filling the place up.

Did I let that stand in my way? (I hate crowded places. I use a jogging stroller, and I’m kind of introverted these days.)

Nope. We forged on. Joshua tends to pick a series, read every  book in it, and then be crushed when there are no more to read, so that happened. The library was completely out of Big Nate books.

And yet, Caleb and I went digging and found more books than we’d ever found before! Calvin and Hobbes! Ninjago! Garfield! Henry and Mudge! Peanuts! We even found a beautifully illustrated children’s edition of Beowulf, which was the most celebrated find of the day.   I was the one that found it. I was a little horrified. That is so not my kind of reading, but it is famous literature, and I knew they’d like it, so we are reading it anyway….

kids love beowulf

favorite books

I don’t understand boys’ literature at all.

I finally managed to pull them away from the library. They LOVE that place. There’s a rug in the floor that is blue, and there’s a giant stuffed sea otter. Daniel clutched that loved-by-a-billion-library-kids-before-him old sea otter, and hugged him, and hogged him, and oh, he was so happy. He and the sea otter kept jumping in the “water.” (blue rug)

The librarian kindly invited me to this page full of library events, all for different ages, all of which apply to at least one of my children. I politely said thank you and accepted the calendar. No need to tell her that gathering all four of them up and leaving the house, to go to a crowded place full of small children, is sort of a nightmare to me.

One day we will graduate from the jogging stroller, diapers, and pouring out Cheerios, and these things will sound more appealing to me.

Good-bye sweet library. Off to Point Lobos we went! There are several American Disability Act approved trails, so we used one of those. The thing is, the trail is only .8 miles, so that’s super short. However, it worked perfectly. Daniel was exhausted from being out late at Cubbies the night before, and the wind was ripping into us, eliciting aggravated grunts from John David.

hiking with mom

day out with mom

We hit McD’s on the way home, where, as usual, I failed to buy quite enough food. Man, it takes a lot of food to feed us!!!

We were home by 2:00, I think. Daniel ate his lunch, and then I put that grouchy, sleepy boy to bed.

Success. I’m calling that success. Yesterday we toured a local sports center, complete with child care and swimming for Joshua and Caleb, and we are thinking about joining it. Maybe we will finally “get out more.”

The manager gave us a tour. Of course, the boys couldn’t keep their hands off each other, not in a mean way. It’s just that boys are very physical.  Raising boys is a lot like raising lion cubs.  At one point, all three hunched over JD, making googly faces at him. They were all smiling, and JD was whacking them in the face, just as happy as he could be. They loved it!

Don’t worry. I don’t condone toddlers smacking others in their faces…

The manager remarked, “At least they get along.”  Yes, that’s true. What a blessing!

brothers, sticking together

brothers, sticking together

preschool best friends

best buds

There wasn’t anything ‘simple’ about this whole ‘getting out more’ thing. I feel accomplished and tired.

Have a great weekend, ya’ll! 🙂



  • Daddy-O

    “…boys are very physical. Raising boys is a lot like raising lion cubs.”
    A profound proverb from the front lines. ~Daddy-O

  • Yes April you will one day graduate from diapers, the jogging stroller, and pouring out Cheerios.
    I commend you so much for all the effort you make for your family. It will be worth it all.
    When I see my 20 year son, 6 foot 6 and a size 15 shoe, I often think “where did the time go”. And most days he tells me “he loves me”. It is like music to my ears.
    Keep up the great work! 🙂

  • Wow! They have Beowulf In comic form! I grew up in the wrong era. Do you feel like adopting a 58-year old who feels like being a kid again? At least, can I read Beowulf when your youngsters are finished with it? btw. You’re doing just great with them. 🙂

    • Well, it isn’t actually in comic book form. I can see where that was misleading…..almost all of their other books are! BUT it does have one big beautiful picture on almost every page. It is very well illustrated. The picture with the knight carrying the monster’s head is particularly…….um……yicky… What the boys really want to find is a colorful book form of the Cyclops. Was that in the Odyssey? They are most interested in learning more about that. I’ll never understand boys! I tuned out through all of those stories when I was in school.

      • I do believe you are correct, the story of the Cyclopes was in Homer’s Odyssey. I think all boys like that sort of thing, but I’m impressed at their knowledge of Beowulf, that certainly is not so commonly known among young boys. I myself first encountered that amazing story in First Year English Lit at University, where we were studying “early poetic development”. Anyway, as I think I’ve mentioned before, You’ve got some amazing children there, and you are doing a great job with them. So have a great day, and God Bless.

  • queenmommyjen

    It does take a lot of food to feed a family of 6! I always fail to buy enough too. can you imagine when they are all teens how much food they will consume?

  • We decided to get out more too and went to the YMCA last week. It was so fun! We went swimming and Avery was pooped when we got home! Love your pics!! Glad you guys had fun 🙂

  • McMom

    April, I laughed all the way through this post. You are hilarious. I can’t “simply” take 1 to the grocery store. I haven’t tried 2 alone yet anywhere. I CERTAINLY can’t imagine 4! Good for you for figuring out how to make an outing happen, I’m super impressed!

    • How did I miss this comment? Thank you! I love being called hilarious. 🙂 No, one does not simply take a baby or a 2 year old to the grocery store either. So glad I could give you a laugh!

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