With this many kids we gave up - a long time ago - the fantasy of overseas vacations in our near future. Extended destinations that include air planes and resort stays. Mainly because it costs too much and the impractical circumstances (at least at this point in our lives anyway) always outweighs the practical. What we've come to settle on in exchange is short - one or two night daycations - Usually local - Usually on slim budget. And we tend to stick to the places where we know we're all welcome. 

Palm Springs has the Ace, and Ojai has the Rancho Inn. Quaint cabin decor tinged with just the right hipster vibe allure. And friendly gray haired ladies at the front desk handing you sticks of palo santo at check in, wearing good jewelry, bearing helpful tips about food delivery and all other kinds of random staples that are most attractive to the locals, who have lived here long before it became a boon of new age artists flooding the place over the last few years, driving up real estate and making news in the papers professing their current endeavors, claiming the sleepy town of Ojai as their own. As next residence of cultural enlightenment for those feeling rightfully worn out in L.A. 

What's nice too, is having friends who share your love of these casual (ill planned) overnighters, who aren't afraid of packing up a big van full of boys and road tripping it up the coast (in the face of rush hour traffic no less) for one night away to feign vacation in proper poolside setting. Morgan is one of them. Who, even at nine months pregnant, is never one to complain about the inconveniences or the unexpected circumstances that are bound to arise on such a trip. And they did. Per usual. 

We sat together at the loveliest on site bar while Hayes slept and the older boys ran around an open field on premise perfect for late afternoon picnics, morning wood decked powows, and late night pizza deliveries that arrive just in time to quell the excitement that comes with the surprise of raccoons tramping rampant around drought dying grass quarters of the hotel. 

24 hours together that included free slurpees on the 711 on the way up, and cartoons in a cramped but cozy hotel room after dark. Swimming, skating, fighting, laughing. Two exotic beers in tall cans. A dead battery upon checkout. All in a day's drive. Because the possibility of a week in Hawaii has a long way to wait. But they way I figure it is at least we know the best corners of California to keep us entertained here in the meantime.