California Part IV

Our trip was drawing to a close. We wanted to spend one more day at the beach. Oceanside is so close and nice, so we went there again.

Brooke found this bird that wouldn’t move. Turns out if these birds are on the beach, they’re usually injured, so someone alerted the lifeguards. They came and scooped him up and took him to a wildlife refuge center.  This is how you know you’ve had a successful day at the beach:The next day was Sunday. Elder Christofferson was coming to speak at a stake conference in my parents’ mission, so we went with them to go hear him speak. It was only 8:30 AM, but our week of fun had apparently exhausted Madison, so she used our drive as her nap time: We knew we’d need to get their early to get a seat, so after claiming a row we went outside to attempt family pictures again for the millionth time.  After church we went back to the house for puzzles and dinner prep: I wanted a picture with just me and my parents. My kids had other ideas:
Boom! Got one!The two missionaries from Madagascar joined us for dinner. We talked to them all about the plague and about life in Madagascar. As they told us about the plague, I could feel my hypochondria kicking in. Was I feeling feverish? Did my stomach hurt? Were my lymph glands swelling?

Of course I wasn’t coming down with the bubonic plague. It was all in my head. Or so I continued to tell myself that night as we played Qwirkle and I couldn’t seem to get warm even though I was wrapped up in a blanket.

“I’m completely fine,” I told myself as I rifled through the candy cupboard and nothing looked appealing.

“I’m not getting sick,” I tried to convince myself as I lay down to go to sleep and my stomach started churning.

Am I sick?” I wondered at 2:30 in the morning when I couldn’t sleep.

“I have the plague!” I thought at 3:30 AM when I ran to the bathroom…and then threw up.

After that I had a lot of time to think the rest of the night as I couldn’t go back to sleep. We were supposed to wake up bright and early to drive home. How could I drive for 12+ hours if I was dying of the Black Plague? But we couldn’t stay because chances are someone else would get sick and no way did I want kids barfing all over my parents’ beautiful mission home. Nor did I want to get my parents sick.

When it was time to get up and go, I actually felt okay. Maybe I wasn’t dying from the plague after all. Maybe we could make it home. We got all packed up. We said our good byes.

I grabbed some barf bags. We left.

An hour into our drive I received a text from my mom. We had forgotten something at their house. It would have been so fitting if we had forgotten Spencer’s shirts, but no! We had those three cheap shirts packed away safe and sound. Instead, the thing we forgot was our largest suitcase which contained all of my and Dallas’s clothes and shoes and trip supplies. How is it possible for two grown adults to be so horrible at keeping track of our stuff?!

We started to turn around to go back for the suitcase, but my parents forbade us from driving back and adding several more hours to our trip. They agreed to ship the suitcase to us. They are the best! Forever rescuing their children from their ineptitude.

It was at about this time that Dallas pulled off to the side of the road because I thought I was going to be sick again. False alarm.

I got back in the car and fell asleep. I woke up abruptly knowing that I was about to lose it, and this time for real. Dallas pulled over. I got out and was slapped in the face by a gust of wind. Wind! I had just enough presence of mind to quickly tie my hair back in a ponytail and position myself in such a way so that when I threw up the wind wouldn’t splash it back at me. I doubled over, retched, and watched my vomit take flight in the violent breeze. I felt sorry for the poor drivers and passengers who happened to pass us at just the right time to witness that picturesque scene.

Then I turned to the car and saw the horrified faces of my kids and husband and realized it was they who would likely be scarred for life by what they saw. Sorry, family. Not my finest moment.

The drive home was interminable. I just wanted to be able to hold still and lie down in a bed. The hours passed by so slowly. I never thought we’d make it. Finally, at long last, we arrived home. We unpacked the bare minimum and then I crashed in bed.

Miraculously, no one else got sick. How that is possible, I will never know. We were trapped in a car all day long breathing the same air and no one else got my germs. I am so grateful for that!

I knew I was feeling better when I felt like I had the energy to tackle cleaning up the car. Before:

And a very satisfying after:Look what arrived just as I was finishing the car – my suitcase!We had such a fun time on our trip! I’m so glad we were able to visit my parents. Hopefully we’ll be able to make it out at least one more time before they’re home!


  1. Love seeing pictures of kids playing on the beach and in the water. They are always so happy. What’s not to love about a huge sandbox???

    There were parts of this post that were fun to live over again, for instance, taking family photos. HA!! How come Madison is such a photogenic angel in the photos that didn’t really count???? Not so sure I enjoyed the reminder of your barfing all night and all the way home.

    On a positive note–the car sure looked good once you recovered and got the gumption to clean it.

  2. The barfing!! How could I forget the barfing?!? That story was the best. I’m so sorry you had to experience that. And I’m equally as sorry your children had to experience that. But the story is one for the books.

    Again, the pictures! I love your pictures always. So good. Caroline’s cartwheel, Madison’s facial expressions, Brooke’s photobombing, Spencer’s versatile shirts. It’s all so good.

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