The thing I love most about the ocean is its tendency to jump out and greet you, long before you can see it.
It allows you a series of hints to its whereabouts -- sensory bread crumbs, if you will.
The taste of salt on your tongue.
The methodical crashing of the waves.
The songs of the seabirds.
The scented breeze that gives you the best kind of goosebumps.
On our trips to the coast growing up, my mother would offer salt water taffy to the kid who could correctly identify each clue first (the most brilliant and effectual version of "the quiet game" in the history of mankind).
We tried playing this game with Lola as we walked down the hill to Crystal Cove, but all we got was a quizzical eyebrow raise and an emphatic, "The ocean is stinky like James."
The moment our feet hit the sand, Reece set out to catch a crab (his beach ritual -- though he has yet to catch one), Lola began collecting shells and James tried to jump out of my dad's hands into the water.
All was right with the world... for about four minutes.
Then a wave came a little too close, which caused all of us to squeal, which caused Lola to be terrified, which prompted her to beg us to take her home.
But in situations like this one, all you need is an Ariel rock, a Nana and some seagulls to make things right.
James determined the mood was perfect for a romantic and passionate kiss... with his mother.
Something that I found quite adorable until he tried to bite my lower lip off.
Blood was shed, people.
I love this place.
And not just because Ryan, Seth, Marissa and Summer lived here.