Don’t Eat Mexican Food Before a Whale Watch and Other Things I Learned in San Diego Last Week

The above picture shows our family (minus my firstborn, who hadn’t arrived yet) at the Mormon Battalion Historic site in San Diego, CA. We went there recently as part of a Shumway family reunion.

One of the best things about living at the end of the earth, aka southeastern AZ, is that we are only seven hours from San Diego! Seven hours! That means seven hours from the beach! A day’s drive! Woo-hoo! We are going to go there more often! We are also only 5 hours from a beach in Mexico. So we have two beaches closeby. I have never lived this close to one! Anyway, we are back from the grand exodus the Shumway family, including Grammi, and 8 out of the 9 siblings, made to that beautiful wonderland. Here’s what I learned from our trip to our San Diego family reunion last week:

1. Don’t ever eat Mexican food before a whale watching trip. Especially if it’s cold Mexican food. We had this totally yummy Mexican food on Monday night, provided by a caterer. Enchiladas, tortillas, pulled chicken, pulled beef, pico de gallo, fresh cilantro. Yum, yum, yum, it was so good! There was so much that we used the leftovers for lunch the next day. I didn’t want to microwave my portion because I don’t believe in microwaves. So it was cold Mexican food. Even bigger mistake. We ate that right before the whale watching trip. The trip involved getting on a boat three hours into the Pacific Ocean. Three hours is a big mistake as well. Let’s just say I am glad the body has mechanisms that work. 18% of the group of us (40 to 50 people in the total group) used that mechanism. I thought I would be OK since we had a similar trip with my side of the family 5 years ago and didn’t get sick. I think this time the boat ride was a lot choppier, and I had eaten the Mexican food! 

2. Go to the Mormon Battalion site when you are in San Diego, and make sure you give yourself enough time to take the tour. We didn’t have an hour to devout to the tour and I wish we had. It was a wonderful place and I wish we could have watched the movie.

3. Wherever you go in the world, there is bound to be a Shumway there or someone who knows a Shumway. Our tour guide at the Battalion site was one of my husband’s Shumway cousins.

4. Make sure you take your 18 year old son with you on any road trip to San Diego. We picked ours up in Mesa as he has been living away from us because of all of his “homeschooling away from home” activities. He is so full of funny sayings and memorable lines from movies. It made the road trip a lot more enjoyable. Take him on the whale watching trip too. He came up with the perfect line, “Those are the shrieking eels!” as we approached some sea life while on the boat (from Princess Bride). He also had me laughing so hard when we were in our “kabin” that I had to beg him to have mercy and back off in the humor department, or another physiological event would have happened! Any of you moms out there who have had 3+ kids know what I mean! (Dh would be reminding me here to increase my daily Kegel reps!)

5. Flights from Provo to Mesa are cheaper than those from Salt Lake to San Diego.

6. Go to church when you are out of town. You will be blessed with a new perspective. We always make it a point to do so. We arrived in San Diego Saturday night. As is our tradition, we did not take Sunday off from church but attended a local congregation. The speakers in the sacrament meeting were the cutest couple. He was a new naval officer, and she was a graduate of BYU-I. They told the story of how they met and then how Jesus Christ gives us freedom. The sister shared many quotes from LDS Church leaders. I especially liked this one, which deserves its own number in this list. I’ve copied and pasted it below.

7. “That which is received of him [the Holy Ghost] has a more powerful effect upon the soul than anything else received in any other way. A millennium of experience through sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, and all the powers of the universe combined cannot approach the sublime and complete experience of one brief moment under the influence of the Holy Ghost.” from Elder Keith B. McMullin, “Ye May Know,” General Conference, April 1996

Wow, that is such an amazing quote!

8. Being able to use Google during church on my phone is so handy. Also, searching with Google often gives me a desired quote faster than searching the Gospel Library app. The sister in sacrament meeting shared the above quote and both my daughter and I were impressed by it and wrote down what we could as paraphrases. Then I spent some of the rest of the block of meetings searching for the quote on my phone. Then we saw the same sister in Relief Society and asked her where the quote came from and she couldn’t remember, if it was Elder Busche, or someone else (she had quoted at least three leaders), and she said her notes were jumbled. So I just kept looking and was able to find it. I love it! Here’s the rest of the paragraph it comes from:

The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead, sent forth by God to reveal all needful things. He teaches and testifies with divine power and clarity. His witness may go unheard or unheeded, forsaken or denied, but it is never misunderstood. “The Holy Ghost is a revelator” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith,sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 328). That which is received of him has a more powerful effect upon the soul than anything else received in any other way. A millennium of experience through sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, and all the powers of the universe combined cannot approach the sublime and complete experience of one brief moment under the influence of the Holy Ghost.

How did I miss this General Conference talk when it first came out? The date, April 1996, explains it all! I was an exhausted mom of 2 babies, ages 6 months and 2, and was probably either chasing a toddler, changing a diaper, or sleeping while nursing in the chair in front of the TV! I find it fascinating that Elder McMillan declares that the Holy Ghost’s witness may go “unheard or unheeded, forsaken or denied, but it is never misunderstood.” The Holy Ghost is real! One moment under its influence can’t compare to a millennium of sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, or all the powers of the universe!

9. When you go to a KOA Kampground, get a “Kamping Kabin.” The deluxe version. I remember going “kamping” to KOAs as a kid. This was nothing like it. It was great to have real beds, a fridge, electricity, and indoor plumbing.

10. When you have your 20 year old daughter fly in to see you for 2 1/2 days at a family reunion, take advantage of every moment to talk to her. I could have spent the whole time just visiting with her. She is so much fun to talk to and I wish she still lived at home. She has been away to college for about 2 years now. For the summer she is doing an internship as a software programmer for a GPS maker. So it was fun to talk to her about her latest programming projects and how the C language works. 

11. When you need to buy crutches for the same daughter because she tore her meniscus just 2 days before her plane departure, because she fell 10 feet off a rock-climbing wall, and got the diagnosis, the day before the plane trip, 1000 miles away from you, get them at Walmart or a thrift store. We bought a pair on our way through Phoenix at Walgreen’s for $47.99. When we got back, dh found a pair at the thrift store for $6.99. Ouch!

12. If you are ever in charge of your ward’s sacrament meeting program, do like the Imperial Beach LDS ward and put the list of Sunday School classes and Primary classes on the back with the corresponding ages and classroom numbers. With our big family, it made it so easy to figure out where to go! Also, if your child is resisting going to Primary, go with him to the class part and that might make it easier for him to go to the group time (sharing time) part alone.

13. When you go to the beach, take along baby powder. My wise sister-in-law did this. It makes getting the sand off your hands a lot easier. This never would have occurred to me in a million years. That’s why it is great to have sisters-in-law.

13. When you go to the beach, apply sunscreen more than twice if you are going to be out all day. We all got sunburned, because we just did it once. You would think I would know by now! On the other hand, I have learned not to freak out with sunburns, there’s a lot you can do to heal the skin, prevent any peeling, and help it fade into a tan.

14, Take the cousins and the aunts and uncles and go to the temple! We have done this when we have reunions for decades, and it is so worth it! We went to the beautiful San Diego temple. It always feels so wonderful to attend the temple, and then to have your husband, three sons, one daughter, two sis-in-laws, two brother-in-laws, nieces, nephews, and mother-in-law come with you makes it even more so.

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