I think it was the most enjoyable day at the beach in the history of sand. Especially in light of the fact that our first venture to the beach had ended as an epic fail, since we never found the beach. Turns out, beaches don’t have addresses and you can’t just drive west. We eventually ran out of time and sunshine, and ultimately abandoned the mission in lieu of dinner.

Only the Lott family would say this: “You know, maybe next time we should have an address or directions or a destination in hand before we leave the house. Let’s keep this in mind in the coming days.”

A couple of days later, armed with a bit of research, we found Carlsbad. Or Carl’s Back, depending on whom you ask.

The boys splashed in the water, and I gave myself extra points for letting them swim in their clothes, brand new for this vacation. This evened out my deducted points for leaving the swimming bag – and the towels, suits and sunscreen therein – in the car, several blocks away.

Eh, we’ll mix it up and use their swimsuits as the dry option to change into later.

As each of us seven adults alternated between playing with the boys and watching from the sandy sidelines a few feet away, we commented on the bliss of the breeze. It was the first time I was at the ocean without buckets of sweat and feigned enjoyment propelled by the pressure of creating a memorable vacation. This day was different and genuinely beautiful.

Did you know you can get a sunburn on a cloudy, breezy, blissful day? You can.

My shins. Oh, my shins. My ankles, knees, and lower thighs too, but oh, my shins.

I’ll spare you the details of the ensuing couple of days, because surely you’ve had the experience. And perhaps, like me, you’ve wondered if you’ll ever acquire the necessary wisdom to grow out of the tendency.

Oh, my great day. I’m too old for this, and I won’t let it happen again.

(I say that every time.)

Fast forward two days, and you’ll find us on the sands of Coronado Beach, yet another beautiful expanse. I’ll tell you what, these Pacificans know what they’re doing.

Again, I hadn’t brought their swimsuits. Because apparently I’m an idiot. (In my defense, our day began with a goal of the San Diego Zoo. But we realized after we drove there and had lunch outside the park, that the place shuts down at 5:00. Something about rest for the animals. Perhaps another thing we should add to the list of facts to gather before leaving the house.)

Swimsuits or no, I did lather us all in sunscreen; in fact, I didn’t even rub it in. We were just layered in thick, white cream. It’s a good look. Subtle.

In their sand play, the boys decided to bury their Crocs and flip flops. Which is an excellent idea, until it’s time to go and you can’t remember where they’re buried. Thus ensued a scrambling excavation of sand, like puppies digging for a bone.

Naturally, they couldn’t find them on their own. I had to get involved. Keep in mind, I had just layered myself in a thick cream of sunblock, my shins are “baked not fried,” and there I was, kneeling alongside my sons, hurling sand in every direction, subjecting my manicure to serious damage, and exfoliating tender layers of skin that I had really wanted to hold on to for just a bit longer.

We dug and dug, dug and dug, in this expanse of sand without solid landmarks to tell where we had been and where we should go. And that’s pretty much the closest I’d like to come to an Amazing Race Detour.

We found the shoes. I earned a dollar for being the first to find the buried treasure.

Today’s destination: La Jolla. I think I’ll go ahead and forget their swimsuits.

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