Call me crazy but there was no way I could sleep in on Sunday morning-- despite having traveled over 1,100 miles the days before. I woke up early and stepped outside to smell that salty air. It's the most distinct smell-- you forget what it even smells like until you step outside and inhale it. For me, it takes me back to the Caribbean-- to Punta Cana with Mason, to Jamaica with our wedding guests, to Puerto Vallarta with Kelly at Flynn's wedding. Each of those trips has been magical, and this one was no different.
The view from our main deck. Notice how empty and peaceful the beach looks before the crowds arrive for the week.
Our walkway down to the beach.
A tide pool and giant cloud that hung in the humid air for hours.
Testing out the water for the first time bright and early on Sunday morning.
The families we stayed with were college friends of Mason. One family lives in Dubuque, and the other lives in Birmingham. Both families have three kids-- whose ages stair-step from 3 to 11. I was a little worried that it would take Charlie the entire week to warm up to his new friends, but they all were inseparable by the end of the first day.
The boys took a beach break to watch some Scooby-Doo in our room. I told them they could lie on our bed and watch it-- and when I came back in, I found them like this. Snuggled IN the bed, laughing and giggling at Shaggy and his silly gang. No wonder a pound of sand poured out of our sheets that night when we crawled into bed.
The days sort of morphed into each other and looking back, it's hard to tell one day from the next. This is probably because we quickly settled into a daily routine...of sorts. It went something like this:
5:45-6:00 I wake up. I was always the first one up-- that early morning muggy air and ocean breeze just called my name. I would sit outside on the deck or walk along the beach with the other early birds. One morning, Charlie woke up early and walked along the beach, too. It was so fun to have him with me-- he jumped on and off the sand ledge and ran around. I could have watched him all day.
Other mornings, it was just me and this baby. Pretty special time too. One lady came up to me and said, "Isn't it neat to think that you're hearing the same sounds as your baby?" Ah, very cool.
7:00-8:00 Take tents down to the beach to claim "Our Spot". Thanks to Mason's friend who brought the giant purple tents, we had plenty of shade to rest under and set up camp for all of our belongings.
The view of our walkway and the tons of chairs/toys/boards/etc. we hauled down to the beach every morning.
Mason and his buddy, Kris
Early morning beach look
View from the house-- love those purple tents! Go Duhawks! (Go Panthers!)
8:00-9:00: Kids wake up, eat breakfast, watch Disney Jr. (a treat for Charlie since we canceled our extra channels), play ipads.
Get ready for the beach: Basically this involved suiting up and lathering our bodies with sunscreen. I think we all used Broad Spectrum 50, which seemed to do the trick because nobody in our family received even the tiniest burn.
Head down to the beach: Usually we had to trick Charlie into this because he insisted it was too bright and sunny for him. But once he was actually on the sand and had his friend Jack in sight, he was good to go.
Play in the water & on the sand: Had I not been pregnant, I would have spent every second in the ocean. And while I spent my fair share of time jumping over waves with Charlie, I was jealous of Mason being able to do much more than me. Gravity was not my friend when it came to hanging on to Charlie and bending over the waves, and it didn't take long to tire me out. But, I tried to enjoy as much ocean/ wave time as possible.
The other ladies on our trip. Sneaky Miss Beth didn't let me take any other pictures though!
A thrilling game of "Chase Daddy!"
The kids had a blast digging sand holes and filling them with water. One day we had four or five of these surrounding our camp.
Miss Kate said hers was a nest.
Charlie said his was a castle
An afternoon walk on the beach to check out a sea-turtle nest
Our camp, complete with all our goods!
Little Miss Kate
Miss Karen showing her volleyball skills with the beach ball
Charlie and Daddy way far away!
It was supposed to be a cute shot of the college buddies with their kiddos... but someone ran away screaming, "I don't want to take a picture!" (Later he told me, "Mom, I don't need my picture taken. I already know what I look like!")
Doritos? Cheetos? Yes, Please!
Scoop little ones, scoop!
Usually we spent this time inside as the beach was HOT and very crowded. It was good rest/relaxation/down time. The kids usually played games with each other or made crafts or played ipad games. The daddies usually watched the World Cup-- especially if the US was playing.
Late Afternoon- 6:30/7:00
More beach time. I wish this time of day would have lasted forever. The public beach crowd had died down and the sun was not nearly as hot. The kids ran in the sand and flew kites and kicked soccer balls. They tossed toys into the waves and caught tiny fish and hermit crabs with little nets. We soaked up every drop of beach time before heading in for supper.
Beach Hair! Don't Care!
Oh.My.God. This picture is all I need in the world.
Most nights, we ate as a large group. We took turns cooking dinner (although I still feel guilty for not cleaning the kitchen enough. Next time, when I can stand for more than an hour, I will definitely be a better helper!) and then enjoyed ice cream before bed. (Bryer's Peach Ice Cream with fresh Florida peaches on top....GLORIOUS!)
This was the latest anyone stayed up-- and I think we were mostly in bed by 10:00. After spending all day in the sun and waves we had little energy to do much else.
(to be continued...again)