Saturday, August 10, 2013

Beach. Love.

Hey, good people. It's been a minute since I've been here. I didn't intend to take that long a break, but life kinda gets in the way every once in a while.

This week I attended a teacher conference downtown.  I'm not sure what I was thinking when I voluntarily registered for this conference (since technically this would have been my last week off), but I was so glad that I went.  I left refreshed, and it jump-started the "teacher" side of my brain. Which was needed, I guess, since I report to work MONDAY (and students come back the following Monday).  I love my job, but my goodness, I'm sad that the summer break is over.  

Luckily we were able to end it on a fun note:

We recently spent seven days at the beach with my in-laws.  

Not only did my mom go again this year, but so did my grandma.  My in-laws always invite them both, but Grandma had never taken them up on the offer.

I was so tickled that this year she actually said YES.

It was such a great trip, and I don't think anyone was ready to come home.  I'm here today to finally recap the moments. Unfortunately the trip happened almost two weeks ago -- which means my brain has not retained all the things I would have blogged about immediately upon returning.  I'm just gonna throw it all out there (at least what I can remember at this very moment):

For starters, this little fish had a good time. 

She met a friend the first couple of days.

And they played and played.

M's favorite part about the trip was definitely the pool.  She was over the beach pretty quickly, and wanted to spend ALL her time at the pool.  I've loved seeing her little swimmer confidence grow.  (Watch her "dive" and swim across.  Proud of her.)

Poolin' with grandmothers.

It was SUCH a relaxing trip.  Every morning after breakfast, we'd go out to the beach for hours. Then we'd do the pool for a while before going in for dinner.  We only went out to dinner once (as a family).  I really appreciated that. There's nothing like trying to take a kid who's been out at the beach and pool all day to a restaurant to have dinner where you're likely to wait an hour or so before you're even seated. Not pretty. The exhaustion turns them into little monsters

So we cooked, and it was GOOD.  Particularly the turnip greens and pork chops dinner my grandma and mother-in-law made (complete with cornbread and skillet potatoes).  Yes, y'all. Yeeeeesssss.

What also made it relaxing (for me) is that M is a little older.  I wasn't AS obsessed with her schedule and what she ate.

(YES, I am that mama who doesn't want her child eating a lot of sugar or staying up late.  I don't know about yours, but my child is CUH-RAZY when she doesn't get enough sleep or eats too much sugar. And I try to avoid the crazy-ness most days.)

I still tried to be sure she got in bed at a decent time since naps were non-existent on this trip, but I relaxed about the pancakes and syrup, biscuits and jelly, and daily ice cream truck treats (sometimes TWO ice creams).

My sweet girl enjoyed her sugar-filled trip, and I enjoyed watching her enjoy it.  I couldn't let her get away with staying up late too, though.  SLEEP DEPRIVATION + LOTS OF SUGAR = a recipe for disaster (with my kid, anyway).  Plus when you get home to reality, you have to spend a week correcting all the damage.  Noooo, thanks.

The ice cream man grew so used to seeing this eager little girl every day that he invited her in the truck for a fun pic.  She was skeptical (thank goodness), so my mom went in with her.
On another note, I got a chance to go on a couple of dates with this guy:

We went out to dinner twice, and took walks together on the beach.  It was reminiscent of a beach trip we took 11 years ago with just the two of us.  We'd been dating for about five months and were still getting to know each other.  Apparently that trip was the first time he realized I was "crazy" (his words).  Yet he married me and has called me crazy a million times since that beach trip all those years ago.  Guess he likes crazy. :)

One day we walked out a couple of miles and found a secluded little area. We just sat down, talked, and watched the water and fish together for a while.  It was one of my favorite little moments from the trip.

On an evening walk, we let the sun beat us home.  And you know what that brings...CRABS to the shore.  I was so afraid I'd step on one that I quickly became an expert in spotting them in the dark. DK joked that I was really good at finding them.  Fear gives you superpowers, I guess.

Speaking of FEAR and WILDLIFE, I didn't "go out" in the water at all this trip.  There have been a couple of shark sightings this summer in this same area, and I wasn't trying to be shark food. My husband made fun of me, of course, but I knew how close those sharks had been getting this year.  Exhibit A (a Facebook post from a local weatherman):

Um, no.  Ol' buddy is closer to shore than those vacationers out there. He only needs to tell me ONCE that the ocean is HIS playground.

And if that's not enough to scare you, check out this video, taken just a few days after we'd left the area:

HELLZ NAW.  (I don't use profanity on my blog, but I can't think of two better words for this. Sorry.)  Do you see how close he is to shore?? Dude is WALKING ON THE BEACH filming this. 

And while we're on the subject of wildlife, snakes decided to hang out in the beach house neighborhood that week, too.  Between the seven of us, we saw THREE snakes during our week there.  

"Snake 1" was a dead baby snake on the side of the road.  Of course I'm curious and walked up and took a pic.  But then my mama said "The mama snake is probably not far away," and I got my little inquisitive butt back. (I'll spare you the pic I took.)

"Snake 2" was spotted the next day, I believe. He was slithering across the road as DK, my sister-in-law, and M were taking the golf cart to the beach.  (I'm glad they were in the golf cart because my poor SIL is more than terrified of snakes.  She probably would have fainted on the spot had they been walking.)

"Snake 3" decided to make her appearance for my grandma.  Grandma was taking something out to the trash can one evening and opened the gate to find one slithering away.  Eeeeeeek! 

That kind of messed up my morning runs.  I can deal with seeing one snake -- especially if it's dead.  But THREE?  Nah.  At that point, I felt like going out for runs was the equivalent of going to look for snakes.  Not my cup of tea, so I settled for long walks on the beach for exercise. 

{{I'll spare you the pic of the big copperhead found on the beach a few days ago -- AFTER our trip, thankfully.  What is REALLY going on??}}

Anyhoo, here are some more random pics.

Hours and hours of direct sunlight was a little harsh on my grandma, so she was content sitting under the tent.  She had an iPad playing solitaire the whole time, so she was GOOD.

My sister-in-law doesn't like snakes, but apparently sharks are not a problem - ha! I don't think she took me seriously either when I insisted I wouldn't go out there because of sharks.

We went to the outlets and were surprised to see that they'd recently added a Disney store. M chose stuffed animals (of course) - Dumbo and Nemo.


More little tidbits from the trip:

  • My mother-in-law cooked breakfast every morning.  We're not used to a hot breakfast every morning in this house (with the exception of M's morning oatmeal), so getting one every day that week was a treat.
  • I learned on the drive down that my grandmother had never been to Florida. She hasn't traveled much in her life, and has only recently done so in the last few years with her senior citizens group (they recently went to NYC).  I had no idea she'd never visited Florida, but I was glad we were able to experience it with her.  I also loved that M got to spend a whole week with her great-grandmother. I'm not sure that would have ever happened otherwise.
  • M slept with my sister-in-law most nights, which meant her daddy and I could have a room to ourselves for a few nights.  Lovely.   
  • We got great tans.  I know some folks don't care for tans, but I happen to like being a different complexion a few months out of the year.  DK, M, and I are a few shades darker right now, and I love it!
  • The weather was pretty good to us, despite the incredibly rainy summer it's been. We got one rainy day, and a shower here and there a couple of other days. We got plenty of sunshine!  It hasn't been super hot or humid for some reason this summer, so our time on the beach was pleasantly warm and breezy.
  • My father-in-law got up early every morning (before any of us woke up) and took all the chairs and tent out to the beach.  We had an awesome spot every day thanks to him! :)
  • The "old people" (my mom, in-laws, and grandma) stayed up late playing cards some nights.  (We young folks went to bed before them!)  It was funny hearing them talk junk about their card games the next morning at breakfast.
  • My hurrrr!  I was kinda worried about how I was gonna maintain my mane while on this trip, but it went pretty smoothly.  I had a crazy hair day or two, but I love how natural hair is so rebellious.  It's kinda fun.  I also had my first true wash-and-go that week (very little after-wash grooming).  I got a wake-up call of how much hair is on my head once it all dried. I didn't go longer than a day with that wash-and-go look because there was just so much HAIR.  I eventually twisted that stuff up to gain a little control. But it was cool to see that I can just do that when time doesn't allow much else.  Have I told you how much I love my hair? :-)
So all in all, we had a GREAT time. I missed two important photos I usually take. (It's one pic with my mom and MIL facing the beach that I get every year and DIDN'T this year! I also never got a picture of my little family of three together.  How does that even happen??)

Anyhoo, I'm just glad I captured the pictures I DID take because I know 10 and 20 years from now -- and beyond -- we'll treasure every one.


Love y'all, too, and hope you have a good week.  I officially have one more day of summer left. I'll be spending it cleaning and organizing, which I did very little of this summer.  But that's a post for another day...

Be back soon!  Goodnight!


PS - Please excuse errors or anything crazy I've said in this post. My brain is in a million other places right now -- like the fact that I go to work a day after tomorrow - yikes!  Thanks! :)

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