Since we have a baby coming in about eight weeks I can't really take off a whole bunch of time as I'm saving all of my leave for maternity leave, but we wanted to take the kids to the beach for an end-of-summer vacation. My cousin's engagement party happened to fall on a Saturday evening and was being held near a beach so we decided to extend the weekend into a mini-vacation. The kids were beyond excited about spending time away at the beach, but I was still a bit wary about how crowded the beach can get and keeping an eye on them all. Turns out it was easier than expected.
We took off early on Friday and arrived before lunch. Our room wasn't yet ready, so we made some sandwiches, packed up our lunch and stuff for the beach and walked over. The kids could barely contain their excitement and started digging in the sand the minute we dropped our stuff. We rented a beach cabana every day so we could have some shade and a place to stow away our stuff.
The first beach day we spent as much time on the beach as we could and left when the kids started to look tired. After checking in to our room, we got everyone showered and dressed and then headed over to The Beach Pub for dinner. I had a pound of crab, but I should have gotten the flounder again. Don't get me wrong, the crab was good and definitely satisfied a craving I was having, but the flounder was so delicious last time. Like melt in your mouth delicious. Tom got some sort of platter and shared a scallop with me and I almost took the rest of them from him. And the hush puppies that came with the meal? They should be served with every meal everywhere. Enough said.
After dinner we walked the boardwalk with the kids and saw the statue of Neptune and took a few boardwalk pics.
On the walk back to the hotel we stopped at Dairy Queen and got ice cream. It was about that point that Lexi started falling apart in a major way. Sheer exhaustion got the better of her. So we went up to our room, got everyone ready and put them all to bed. We had initially planned to read or watch TV or something once the kids were asleep, but we both wound up falling asleep with them. Good thing, too, because Tommy was up at the butt crack of dawn.
I swear he got up early every day just to see the tractor comb the beach for trash. He also loved watching the people running and biking on the boardwalk and the garbage trucks. Once the rest of the family woke up we headed down for a quick breakfast before getting ready for the beach for the day.
Our set up on Saturday was similar to the day before, but in addition to renting a cabana we decided to also rent a lounge chair so we could have a clean space for the kids to sit off of the sand while they ate lunch. This was our set up for the day. We also put out another towel about 10 feet in front of this set up and dumped the rest of the sand toys with it. Kind of our way of extending our beach space and line-of-sight to the water.
Tommy and Lexi spent most of their time playing in the sand and running back and forth to the water. Stasa alternated happily searched for shells and body surfing the waves.
Eventually we were all in the water playing in the waves. Tommy reached up to be held and snuggled right into my body. The kid was done. I took him up to our spot, wrapped him in a towel and lay down with him. He quickly passed out and stayed asleep for a couple of hours in the cabana.
This one was a beach bum, too.
Although that didn't last too long. She stayed still long enough to warm up and then was up and playing in the sand and water with Stasa.
We only stayed until about 3:00 on Saturday since we had to get ready for the engagement party and wanted to give the kids some time to cool off and relax out of the sun. Even then we managed to get in a solid six or so hours on the beach. The girls passed out in the car on the way to the party - the sun and surf took a toll on them. I remember as a kid coming home from my grandmother's, Garu's, house having spent the whole day on the beach and riding the waves and just crashing on the sofa still in my swimsuit. Those summer days are still some of my favorite memories and seeing the kids play like that brings back all the good feelings from those days.
The kids were okay at the party - now don't get me wrong the party was great, but the kids must have been bored. We stayed a couple of hours and left a little after bedtime for the kids. Unfortunately we had to wake them all up when we got back to the hotel so we could get them up to the room and ready for bed. Fortunately they fell back asleep pretty fast and Tom and I were able to hang out on the balcony to people watch and chat.
You'd think that taking a beach vacation would be relaxing, but when you're traveling with a 2 year old who enjoys waking up every day at the crack of dawn.
At least him being up early helped us all take full advantage of the day. Bright side, right? So once again we went down to breakfast after everyone was up and had a chance to actually wake up. After that it was back to the room to pack our lunch and things for the day. Since this would be our last real day on the beach we wanted to spend as much time as possible in the sand and surf. And again we rented a cabana and beach lounge and the kids immediately dropped their stuff and started playing. We lucked out with the weather - it was absolutely gorgeous every day and this day was no exception.
We spent nearly eight hours on the beach that day. Tom and I were spent, but I bet the kids would have happily played for a few more hours. We packed up, got back to our room and got the kids cleaned up so we could head out for dinner. We debated driving someplace, but I really didn't want to get in the car with the kids for fear of them falling asleep and being grumps during dinner. We walked up and down Atlantic and settled on a Tex Mex place and then walked the boardwalk some more before calling it a night. As we were getting ready for bed we were on the fence about spending another day on the beach or just getting on the road early.
Of course the llama was up and at 'em before the sunrise again.
This morning though his incessant chatter woke everyone up early and after thinking about it we chose to get some breakfast, pack up and get on the road. I'm glad we made that choice because traffic wound up not being too bad and we got home early afternoon with enough time to rest and get everything cleaned up from our trip, including washing all of the sand and grit on the car. And hey, we even got a couple of hours of peace in the car on the ride home.