Family time at Christmas


This Christmas, we are hoping that our kids remember all the gifts we got them, all the fancy wrapping paper, all the cookies we let them eat, all the toys they got and didn’t need…..and hopefully they forget about “family time” on Christmas day.

Family time at Christmas

Yesterday, Christmas eve was perfect. We enjoyed a beautiful San Diego 70+ degree day, went to the 4:00 Children’s Mass at church, followed by a delicious dinner at Sbicca in Del Mar with some friends who have kids the same age as our girls….it was a wonderful evening enjoyed by all. Followed by present opening at home, a fire in the fireplace (heat unnecessary, but ambiance lovely), and hot cocoa.  We sent the girls to bed feeling pretty good about ourselves.

This morning we also felt pretty good.

We were allowed to sleep in til 6:45. Allowed to make coffee before the opening of stockings, and we had controlled chaos as we watched them open Santa’s loot. We kept the pace slow, took breaks and made the whole event last for over an hour and a half.

Breakfast, leisurely playing with all the new toys, and more coffee and Christmas carols followed into the late morning/early afternoon.

Tom and I are patting ourselves on the back, thinking how great we’ve done this Christmas.

The only thing missing? Some exercise, some outdoor exposure (another 75 degree day), and some family time to strengthen the Kelley bond.


The first thing we think of is a hike. And the first place we think of is Torrey Pines state park which has tons of trails, beautiful views overlooking the ocean and beaches, and is conveniently only 2 miles from our house.  As we get the kids giddy about getting out of the house, we start thinking about our choice.

First of all, on holidays and weekends they jack up the price to park from $12 to $20. I’m ok with that, since we really need to get into the park and drive to the top of the hill before we start our hike. Otherwise the girls would be spent before we even reached the trails. But we see the off road (free) parking is already filled, with cars hovering along the side of the road waiting for someone to leave. Not a good sign.

Then we reminisce about the time we came here, paid $20 to park, and couldn’t find a spot at the top of the hill.  Instead of driving back down, waiting for someone to leave, or just going home, we forged our own parking spot on a little stretch of dirt off the side of the road.

Oops. That hike ending up costing $105.  $20 to park, and an $85 ticket to teach us never to be inventive with our parking spots again.

As we are thinking about these things, we suggest just a walk on the beach instead of a hike.

Immediate whining, complaining, yelling, protesting, and outright ugliness ensued.

So I said just try it, maybe we’ll get lucky with a spot at the top.

Funny thing though…..there are cones and some sort of blockade in the road that is the way in to the parking lot/guard stand.

But not to worry, the van in front of us thinks fast, pulls up to the exit road leaving from the parking lot, and makes some sharp turns to maneuver back into the entrance lane.

Well, great thinking man!! Tom follows suit!! I never bat an eye. Of COURSE this is a good idea!

We get to the guard/pay station, and there’s a lot of commotion with the driver of the van, and the young girl manning the guard station.

Hmmm, problem? What in the world could be wrong?

Seconds later, there is a truck behind us. A truck with a row of lights on the top of his cab. And the truck seems very, very close. Weird….

And then instantly a man is peering into Tom’s window. He’s some sort of cop/wildlife guy/nature enforcer/man with a badge shaped like a star. So I’m worried, but not sure how worried to be.

He asks why we are where we are, when the entrance was blocked. He says he saw us go through the exit, and that’s illegal, and he could write us a ticket. Tom says he was not thinking about it, just followed the guy in front of him.

Nature cop hated that response, and told us so. I thought to myself that whatever this ticket is going to cost us, we should have just bought the county park pass that gives us free entrance to all the parks….we will have paid for it by now through our donations to this one single parking lot!!

But I guess he felt the Christmas spirit, and he allowed us to turn around and get out of there. No ticket. But no parking. So no hike.

Feeling deflated, I felt like going back home. Tom felt determined, and refused to go home. He was driving fast and headed toward La Jolla. There’s a trail we like down there, but before we reached it, he saw the Torrey Pines Glider port. He remembers our girls went there with the nanny once. They had great stories and awesome pictures of gliders, so we all felt pretty good about the backup plan.

We parked (for free!), and got out and walked around. There is a cafe, a wide open area where gliders, parachuters, and anything else that flies can take off, but that was kind of it. Short visit.

Then suddenly, I saw a line of people walking down the hill. A hiking trail!! Unbelievable luck after such a crappy start!

We headed towards the trail. It was a little steep at first, and Tom was unsure, but the girls looked like goats running down the rocky steep path so we pushed on.

(wondering if any San Diego readers know where this story is headed?)

Feeling great about ourselves again. Saying hello and Merry Christmas to everyone on the trail. Laughing with the girls and watching them enjoy themselves.

Great hike, great outing, great family time on Christmas day!   (Tom and I are great parents)

Finally, we reach the end of the trail and arrive at the beach. Again, beautiful day, sun is out, what is not to love?

We head towards the water.

Tom: “That guy is naked. ”

Ok. Don’t  love that.

But I refuse to believe it. He is far away, the sun is kind of shining in our eyes, he’s probably wearing a skin toned swim suit. Maybe a speedo even.

But Tom is insistent. And it’s not only that guy, he continues to point out.  It’s the guy over there in the Rasta-like knit cap. And that guy down in the water with the black backpack. And that guy with the huge belly.

Well, well, well…..after living here for 10 years, talking it about it, reading about it, and never being able to find the elusive Blacks Beach, which is the only nude beach in town, and can only be accessed via a walking trail off the beaten path….we did it.

We found the one and only nude beach.

With our two young girls.

On Christmas day.

Let me reiterate something I already said……Tom and I are great parents.


(Imagine me taking a loooooong pause here. I really don’t even know how to continue actually. But I will try. )

I am realizing Tom is right. Naked men are all around us. And I am wondering if there is any way we can keep the girls from noticing.

I anticipate the first guy that is going to walk past us, and distract the girls by telling them to look out in the water and see if they can see any dolphins.


No contact.

The next guy comes out of nowhere and suddenly my girls are laughing and POINTING!!

Harper yells “I see his front butt!”

Parents. Of. The. Year.

We ask them to stop pointing.

They are screaming with sheer glee, shouting about him being naked, and asking us why! And they are STILL POINTING!!

Finally, it’s too much. We just cave and tell them it’s a nude beach. Sorry. Didn’t mean to take you here. Please try not to look at anyone and please don’t point and scream.

And then really? Some foreign guy with an accent actually walks up to us and asks us if the nude beach continues down to the south!!?? Come on buddy. Not cool.

I asked why there aren’t any hot naked guys around? And Tom asked why there are no naked girls.

Of course, nude beach is filled with the ugliest nudes possible.

We know our time here is done. It’s time to head back, whether or not any of us are ready to start the trek back up. It’s time.

But just a few steps into our hike back up, Harper steps off the path onto a flat little plateau, surveys the beach one more time, and looks at me and says:

“I just saw three nude dudes.”

I stare at her with my mouth hanging open.

Why did she have to say that to me?

She just looks at me, shrugs, and starts walking again.


So again, I hope that this Christmas, they can remember the toys


Christmas 2013December 25, 201369

the desserts I let them eat on the rug in front of the tree


Christmas 2013December 24, 201313

the hot chocolate I made them and let them drink on the rug


Christmas 2013December 24, 201310

and I hope they remember none of the family time.



Merry Christmas to all nudes everywhere!



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  • Amy SweigartI just love you!!! Fantastic!!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Bedwell LoweI am so happy that I took the time to read this—simply fantastic in every way. What a classic story you will have to tell…about “front butts”. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Melissa BausermanHilarious. Mark just asked if I was okay after my laughter disturbed him. We are also big fans of the phrase “front butts.”ReplyCancel

  • Megan BrooksOh my dear nieces! Love it! And once again, Kim, your story telling is phenomenal. Love you all!ReplyCancel

  • Jaime JohnsonOh my goodness!!! Best Christmas story ever!!! ReplyCancel

  • Linda Nagle LuttrellWell, you certainly had a Christmas you won’t ever forget!? Maybe your girls will forget? Such a great story!!ReplyCancel

  • Kat CamplinThat is hilarious and I can picture Tom freaking out LOL Great story and Beautiful girls!!!! ReplyCancel

  • Tom EsserLove this story! Memories for a lifetime (but, let’s hope the girls forget them before the first day of school when the teachers ask the kids to share what they did over Christmas break.).ReplyCancel

  • Angela Kayomg that was hilarious!! that could totally be a tv sitcom. Beautiful pictures and yes you ARE great parents.ReplyCancel

  • Rebeccahhow adorable!!!ReplyCancel

  • RobinWhat sweet girls, looks like they had a fun Christmas!ReplyCancel

  • ShilanSo cute!! <3ReplyCancel

  • katieIn 20 years you will look back on this Christmas and laugh yourself silly. What a phenomenally hilarious Christmas! And those girls are gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • MeganAww your girls are adorable 🙂 I remember being that age and obsessed with American Girl dolls! Looks like ya’ll had a great xmas 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Emily SupiotCute! Great memories!ReplyCancel

  • AnalieseBeautiful memories captured.ReplyCancel

  • Priscilla Davisgreat storytelling!ReplyCancel

  • heatherbeautiful girls! Merry Christmas!ReplyCancel

  • carrieomg, that was THE funniest thing i’ve read in a long time!!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • SummerOmg, that was hilarious. That is definitely a Christmas that you all will remember.ReplyCancel

  • emilyI love it!ReplyCancel

  • Heidi Kapustwell written and thanks for the good laugh!ReplyCancel

  • LisaBeautiful! Great memoriesReplyCancel

  • La Jolla Cove-the Caves - Kim Kelley Photography[…] Ok, ok, not really a hike. I know that conjures up bad memories…and for me some PTSD. (don’t know what I’m talking about?  See this post ) […]ReplyCancel

  • Hiking misadventures | Kim Kelley Photography[…] the Christmas day family hike, that landed us almost in jail when we illegally entered the park and rec lot that was closed. […]ReplyCancel

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