Beachy Memories

If your kids are like mine, they are always trying to keep every little rock, bucket of sand, broken shell and sea tumbled piece of trash that they find on the beach. Or in a creek. Or just walking down the road. Sure you can bring it home in the name of preserving your sanity, but then what do you do with it?!

I let everyone collect all the shells and sand that they want and then sometime things “blow” out of the car on the way home. What are you gonna do? With a paired down set of shells, rocks and sand, we create little jars. They are cheap at Michael’s and we try to get the same size each time – or at least the same style. Then we fill them, label them and put them on a shelf. Easy to dust and no beach memories on the floor!

And if glass scares you, grab a plastic jar instead and hot glue the lid on for a toddler / hands on friendly version.

Easy way to control the amount of crap that comes home and keep it in one place is to use a drink cup with lid. If you’re extra fancy, remember to pack some ziplock bags

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Our sand dollars were purple and hairy. We put them in a bleach bath over night and voila! White and smooth.

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Ta da! A sweet little mess free collection of our vacation!

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Also works with creek rocks:

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Sunset on the Beach

The last night in San Diego, the light was amazing. It was an overcast day, but still a little sunny…it was strange but in a good way. It made for some spectacular pictures:

No filter, no special settings.

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This is my favorite. Do you see the sun in the very top of the frame?IMG_7806

The Beach

We always have a ball at the beach and this year was no exception. Each year keeps getting better as the kids get older and they’re able to do new things.

Both of them are crazy for the water. They like to run into it, swim, dive, fall over, run from it and repeat. As Baylor and I were holding hands and jumping over the waves that rolled our way, I asked her if she wanted to try boogie boarding (body boarding? I don’t know what the kids are calling it these days). I love to go out on the boogie board. As kids, we spent hours sitting, watching, waiting, riding and paddling back out. We learning which waves were the good ones, when to catch them and how to ride all the way to the sand. Being on a board in the cold, salty water on a hot day are some of my most favorite childhood memories.

“Should we go get the boogie board and give it a try?”

“No. We should wait for daddy.”

“No because there’s a chance daddy won’t let us do it so let’s go get it now.”

A few whiny minutes later, I convinced her to lay out on the board between waves. As she began to protest, I shoved her and the board into a breaking wave and then watched in awe as she rode it all the way to the shore. When the board stopped, she waited a second before jumping up. She turned and looked at me with the biggest, toothless smile and screamed “LET’S DO IT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!”. Which we did. For the next 2 hours and then for hours more the next day.

Ahhhh. Such a gorgeous day!

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She may have my eyes and hair, but she has her daddy’s walk
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Getting brave….

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Loving every moment!

(She also lost another tooth. What is it about vacation and losing teeth with this kid?!)

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Someone else wanted in on the action

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Auggie! Let’s build a sand castle! Let me take your picture while you work. Auggie. Auggie! Over here!

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Auggs! Auggie! Just one picture!

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Ok I lied. One picture where you don’t look so pissed off.

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Ok thank you! As you were.

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Sharks? SHARKS?!

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Phew. Just a pod of dolphins.

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Break Time

Whew. It’s been a long couple of weeks. Auggie boy has decided to drop that whole sleeping through the night thing and wake up multiple times a night and then for good by about 5am. I’m barely sane with a full night’s rest. Give me multiple nights of no more than a few hour of consecutive sleep AND no end in sight? Holy moly. It’s not pretty. Picture me and another mom standing outside of the preschool, barely holding back tears as we carefully and in great detail describe all the things we’ve been doing to get our 23 month olds to sleep longer and later. Teeth? Reflux? Growth spurt? Backout shades? Humidifier? Sound machine? Temperature? And couple the crabby exhausted toddler with a sassy five year old who knows how to push her momma’s buttons and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a major mommy meltdown. And melt I did.

I’ve come to learn as an adult, that I’m not great at taking a break. I’m really good at digging in when the going gets tough, which is not exactly a good thing.

I remember about a week after Auggie was born, Peter announced that Grandma was coming to watch the kids and we were going out. Going out?! Going OUT?? Who’s going out? Us?? Where? How?? But he insisted. We drove to the mall, walked around a little, sat and ate cupcakes, talked without being interrupted. It was maybe two hours, but it was a break that I so desperately needed but didn’t know it.

Which is why it was so good we planned our annual trip to San Diego months ago. Reservations were booked. Dog boarding set up. We were going despite the fact that it was one of the busiest weeks ever. End of the month billing for me, closing time for Peter, Parent’s Night at school, back to school meetings, and on and on. The beauty of San Diego though is that you don’t need much and anything you forget is easily replaced. That said, our crew still takes a lot of gear…as I surveyed the living room that was piled high with the beach wagon, sand toys, umbrellas, suitcases, wine, snacks, pack n play, both joggers and a bunch of other crap that I can’t even remember, I decided if we didn’t have it, we’d figure it out.

We piled into the truck and we were off! And despite the fact that Auggie still didn’t sleep well until the LAST NIGHT of vacation, it was the break we all needed but didn’t know it. Auggie has decided to start sleeping better. Baylor has decided not to try to push mommy to the point of needing a straight jacket. Grandma took Auggie for a day and gave me *gasp* 6 whole hours to myself (which I spent working…but at least it was without distraction!). We’re going to survive. Thank goodness for the beach.

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California Love

This past weekend marked our 30th something pilgrimage to Coronado, CA. It was as lovely as ever, always a family affair and always so much fun.

This guy capital L LOVED the ocean. We could not keep him out of it. Wave to the face? No biggie. Freezing cold? Not a problem.

IMG_5632 IMG_5627 IMG_5617Our view from the beach

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The only place this guy looks small

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Baylor is equally crazy for the ocean and sand castles. I love the urgency on her face to get the water to her sand castle.

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Mason looking a little afraid. Rightly so.IMG_5559

We ran into her buddy Tessa – you would have thought they hadn’t seen each other in years…

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If this isn’t the perfect “big sister little brother” picture

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Auntie Ali, Uncle Gary and Mason looking crabby

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The Noni

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PW took nap shift one afternoon which left me alone. On the beach. With trashy magazines. And boat drinks. HEAVEN.

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The view from our room. Noni goes to great lengths to get joined rooms, beach side, with patios. It is worth every ounce of effort!

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The Del at night

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Spying on the spectacular beach wedding

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This wedding was spectacular. They had chandeliers hanging from the structure and table skirts that looked like beautiful seaweed. It was stunning.IMG_5588

Amazing sunsetIMG_5587After a full day running on the beach, playing in the waves THEN hitting the pool, Baylor rolled over and asked what I was looking at on my phone. I turned to answer her and found this:

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So here’s to the end of summer, another great vacation and many many more!

What I Learned on Vacation

We spent the holiday weekend in Coronado, CA. We’ve take a trip there, long or short, every year since I can remember. It’s our happy place and it’s so much fun to get to share it with Baylor.

We met my mom, sister Ali and her husband Gary (or Jerry as he was known for most of the trip) and my step sister Nancy and her kiddos Blaise and Madi. It was a big group with high expectations for doing as little as possible. Which we did quite well.

Our first day on the beach, we pulled our wagon full of toys, boards, towels and snacks to the perfect piece of sandy paradise. We ran out into the water, caught a few waves, threw the football and then settled in for some gossip magazine reading. I kept waiting for B to run over to me and demand a new activity, snack or some other form of entertainment, but it never came. I watched her and Madi contently dig in the sand. They dug, poured, washed, filled and held the sand. All while silently enjoying each other’s company.

It occurred to me that not only does Bay really love Madi, but the reason she was so content to just play was because it was just play. No one was asking her what color the shovel was. Or how many buckets had sand in them or if the water was hot or cold. There was no overt learning going on, it was just quiet play. I realized that had I been sitting there, I would have been making it a teaching moment – and not that that is a bad thing, but sometimes we just need to sit and dig.

So the next day we did just that. No talking. No fuss, just patted sand castles into place and washed them away with a watering can. All while just enjoying the sound of the waves.  Lesson learned: less talk and more play.