Friday, May 26, 2023

First day on the beach (May 20)

We just arrived home—safe and sound—from St. Augustine. It was a...week...a week full of wonder, a week full of woe. Mostly I think most of us had a good time most of the time. The rest of the time we took turns with that tummy bug I alluded to earlier. But I think every day at least some of us managed to hit the beach and have fun. And on the very last couple of days we all managed to get out and do things together. So all in all it was a wonderful time!

Here are a few pictures of our first little jaunt to the beach on Saturday (May 20) when we arrived. We unloaded the cars at the beach house (after convincing Alexander that we really had permission to be there) and then while Daddy went to get some groceries, the rest of us headed out the door and to the beach. 

Whereas last year we had to walk and walk and walk along the world's longest boardwalk to get to the beach from our "beachfront" condo, our beach house was literally 300 feet from the beach (about a 1 minute walk to the boardwalk, which was also rather short). The kids were confident enough that they would walk back and forth between the beach and the beach house alone or ahead of us to fetch things or use the bathroom or rinse their feet off or whatever (depending, of course, on which kids we were talking about and which adults were where).

I wouldn't want to stay there during a hurricane, but it was quite lovely for while we were there.

On Saturday (May 20), we were all feeling pretty great, so the beach was 100% happy for everyone. The kids all loved the waves. Even Alexander—who almost drowned in the pool at the beginning of May—was out in the ocean splashing and diving in the waves with confidence (he had much more confidence in his swimming skills than I did, so I was very grateful to have Grandpa and big sisters around to be with him since I was mostly on Phoebe duty).

Here's Miriam taking a quick turn with Phoebe:

Miriam was so excited to find a long-sleeved swimsuit for herself. We're pretty big on not getting sun cancer over here and find that we have a lot more fun when we're all covered up, rather than when we're worried about reapplying sunscreen or whatever. I mean, we still used sunscreen. Just not as much. 

Here's Rachel, Zoë, and Benjamin out in the water:

That neon yellow-green colour is amazing at the beach. I can't say enough about it. If you want to be able to spot your kids a mile away—that's your colour! I wish I could have found swim suits in that colour for all my kids. Alas...I could not.

But Benjamin and Alexander matched quite nicely with Grandpa!

The beach was very shell-y, which hurt to walk across (and hurt even more if you were getting tossed by waves and dragged across the sea bottom), but we found such good shells!

Here clearly Miriam is being my helper with Phoebe while my attention was on taking pictures:

Phoebe loved the waves. She was the happiest little beach baby—just squealing and joyful the whole time! She would not wear a hat, however.

Alexander did for a while:

Here's Grandpa with Phoebe:

Here's Phoebe running recklessly out to sea:

Again...those yellow-green shirts are just the best, visibility-wise:

Here's Alexander coming to tell me that he got salt water in his eyes:

He got salt water more places than just that...we're off to the urgent care tomorrow to see about one of his ears, which I'm sure is infected. He isn't running a fever, but even I can see that his ear canal is swollen and he cries whenever it's touched. In fact, that's how we found out it was hurting him in the first place. He's not a very fussy child, so it had been hurting him and he just was going to live with it...until someone touched it (pulling his swim shirt off or something) and he yelped in pain. 

So then I investigated and was like, "Dude! Why didn't you say anything!"

Anyway, that was yesterday, I think (my timeline for this entire trip is fuzzy due to the days I was so out of it with the stomach flu). I'm pretty sure it's just an outer ear infection, but we want to start getting it taken care of as soon as we can. We were hoping to go in when we got home, but arrived home a little too late. So first thing tomorrow morning it is. 

Our neighbours suggested waiting to grab an appointment at the pediatrician (we go to the same office), but it's Memorial Day weekend, so they'll be closed on Monday and waiting until Tuesday just seems like...not the best plan...because every time I look in his ear it seems to be a little more swollen. Poor guy. First thing tomorrow we'll get that looked at!

Back to the beach! 

As much as my little ones love the water, they also love the sand. And it's good to take breaks from the wild waters of the ocean (those waves are exhausting) so we did a lot of sand play as well.

Phoebe was a bit of a Disaster Baby and kept ruining everything. At one point in the trip she was crowned Queen Chaos of Disaster Castle in Calamity Kingdom. It was a whole thing the kids had going on... 

Here she is ruining Alexander's freshly-made sand castle:

Here he is showing her how to "be soft" to the sand castle by giving the remains a hug. He's quite a good-natured child, but I don't think this lesson went over well with Phoebe, who hugs a little more aggressively.

She's doing a pretty gentle job here:

Hey, look! It's Daddy! He showed up to the beach with pizza for everyone!

Here's Grandpa, Rachel, and Benjamin out at sea:

That's Grandpa standing in the breaking waves...waiting for all the little grandkid heads to pop back out of the water...

Do you recall hearing about the ginormous 5000-mile sargassum seaweed mass that formed out at sea and was heading toward the Florida coast? It's begun washing ashore.

Here's Phoebe playing in some...before we read that we were supposed to avoid touching it because stinging critters often live in it. She was fine.

Here's Miriam's reaction to picking up a crab:

It was too itty-bitty to pinch her, but she hated the feeling of it scuttling around on her hand.

Andrew thought her shrieks were hilarious. And so did Rachel, until Miriam started chasing her around with the crab...

Here's Phoebe sitting on a bit pile of sand (she loves sitting on things; she'll walk backwards carefully and lower herself down).

And look—a rare glimpse of Benjamin, who I was sure had morphed into a whale and headed off to Morocco or something. He spent so much time in the ocean this trip!

Here we are back at the water, rinsing off shoes for the walk home (before we remembered that sand was just going to get everywhere so there was no sense in rinsing off our shoes).

Here are my sweet little ones tucked in on the couch, reading stories together (there must have also been something on the television because I can see Alexander is distracted from the story a bit; Rachel and Miriam wanted to do a Pirates of the Caribbean marathon, and we managed to watch the first original three movies).

I have a whole list of things to write about on the whiteboard and plan to have the kids do some of that writing for me since I...still need to finish my stayed tuned for some guest posts from the younger kids in the coming days!

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