Carlsbad: A History

Although I don't have the exact number, we have been going to Carlsbad every summer for at least ten years. I love this vacation, and we owe this great tradition to my cousin Kara's family. Her family began going to Carlsbad long before we did, and one year, in good Verwey fashion, they invited us. The neat thing about their family is they have four kids, just like mine, and we all line up in age. That first year, the six of us crammed into the two bedroom condo with the six of them. Twelve of us! We were literally pouring out the door. (Seriously, the girls slept outside on the balcony.) I'm not sure how many times we crashed their vacation, but finally, my parents were able to purchase a week in Carlsbad, too. Since then, the whole group has been growing. Now not a year goes by that at least half of all the Vander Kooi clan (and any friends we invite) make it to Carlsbad for a day or two.

This year, we ended up with our rooms next door and didn't know it until the first morning when my parents walked out to see my aunt having coffee on her balcony right beside them. The little ledge that separated the two balconies was (of course) nonexistent for a whole week.

Proof we are growing: Here's Kara's oldest son Kase climbing from his balcony to ours
Uncle John and Aunt Ann...the initiators of the great tradition
Mom and Dad...the providers of our wonderful trip
(Way to sport the Carlsbad attire, Dad!)
Gathered together for a big family meal, one of the many highlights of the week
Biding our time on the balcony
Kara, Jonothan, and Kase (Kody was already in bed)
Uncle Bill and Aunt Janet
Johnny and Katie
There are always many friends who come to visit us in Carlsbad. Although John couldn't make it to us, we were able to go to him and had a great dinner with the deGrassie's at BJ's.
Emily, Camille's good friend, was able to join us this time. You may have noticed that we are missing two of our family members. Carly and Chelsea are still in New York (and no doubt heart-broken to miss out) and were missed terribly. Emily kindly kept Camille company.
I suppose I will have to admit that although the weather was comfortable, it was definitely on the cool side all week. In fact, we only saw the sun once, and that was the last night. It came out to show itself for a sunset, then hid again.
But who needs the sun for fun?
This year, we braved the traffic and crowds and attended the opening day at the Del Mar horse races. What an experience! Hats, horses, and tons of people. Jonathon and Robby are in front of the winner's circle waiting for the race to begin. It should be noted that both of these boys were brought to Carlsbad with Kara and me before we were married, and soon after, they proposed. There must be something magical about Carlsbad!
Camille and Emily post for a photo. Notice the big hat lady behind them? That's just a tiny taste of all the hats!
Excited to win!
Kelly and Anna were able to make the short drive from their home to visit one morning. Anna had only been to the beach one other time, and this trip was significantly better than the last. Can I assume it was the company?
Other friends who visited...dolphins! (See them behind the surfers?)
It was once again a wonderful week filled with amazing food, lots of laughter, grand times, and wonderful rest. Until next year!


  1. The picture of Anna by herself is so great! Carlsbad is so fun! Thanks for always inviting us.


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