the beach is a place of calm and rest. will and i have taken many trips to the beach just to hear the waves crash on the ocean and walk hand in hand down the shore. it's our ultimate get away.
we knew from the time we got started packing (which was the night before we left) that this trip was going to be a little different. the list of items we'd need to even make it to the beach was ever growing. we needed an entire back of the suv for the pack and play, the bumbo, the jumperoo, dax's swim gear (with float), and dax's food, bottles, clothing etc. little people need lots of things!
vacations pre-child were a time for relaxing and stress-free vegging out. but, vacations with children are a wee bit different because the child-care never ceases. someone has to get up when he cries, change him, feed him, stroll him around the pool area to keep him entertained, and just look out for his overall level of fun and excitement. will and i took turns on handling all of the parental duties, but at points throughout the day we'd just look at each other with exhaustion.
but then there's the fun you never had before. sure, we previously enjoyed sitting in our matching beach chairs, holding hands, and doing nothing - but watching dax on the beach being mesmerized by the crashing waves was something we'll never forget. watching him flap his arms up and down in excitement by the sheer awesomeness of what was before him is something too impressive to explain. seeing will hold him and just look out into the ocean was pure joy and happiness. remembering all of the childhood vacations i went on growing up and how he'll experience those same fond memories is something we're so proud to be able to give him.
this trip ended up in an exploded family vacation. when it was originally planned we'd been told that my parents would be in one condo a block north and so we searched for a nearby rental. i wanted something with pools (including an indoor) so we'd be able to enjoy the trip even if there was bad weather or a hurricane. my aunt and uncle would be staying a block north of my parents. a week before the trip the vacationers had blossomed into my mom, my dad, my granny, my aunt, my uncle, my cousins, their spouses, their child, one of my sisters, and her husband! and it seems that because i'd picked that hotel with the plethora of pools that we were about to be descended upon.
some highlights from the trip:
we drove all day in the rain to get to the beach. of course i did not want it to be raining, but honestly a rainy day at the beach was better than a sunny day at home, so we'd take what we could get - after all we were on vacation. after an hour long trip to the grocery store, a check in at the rental office to get keys, and a million trips by the husband to get everything in our room, we'd finally made it to our final destination. it was such a good feeling to get in the room, settled in, and let dax stretch out. the weather started to clear up and things were looking a lot more like a trip to the beach should shake out. we decided we better get that baby in the pool! dax was a trooper and he loved being in the water in his float. will and i both got in the pool with him and watched him kick his feet, by now the family was making their way to the pool to see dax swim. they all love him so much it's impossible for them not to be by his side when he's in the same town!
we learned something big about dax this trip. he loves people watching and he especially loves littles. anytime we'd hear a child out by the pool or playing on the beach he'd stop whatever he was doing to seek them out. his sonar was working and he'd nearly do flips to locate them so he could watch, grin, and giggle. he'd clap his hands when he saw something he really liked. he had the best time watching a family built like ours splish and splash in the pool.
one afternoon we had mom and dad babysit while will and i went to take a walk on the beach. we weren't gone for more than thirty minutes, but when we came back to the pool we'd left them sitting by we thought things looked a little out of sorts. we jokingly asked them what was going on and they had a story to tell. see, when we left dax was sleeping in his stroller, but apparently shortly after we walked away he woke up. at that time my dad picked him up out of his stroller and a gust of wind happened to blow by sending the stroller rolling at a quick pace toward the lazy river. my dad hollered for my mom to get the stroller - the last of which they'd recalled i'd put my iphone in the stroller's back pocket - but, my mom's not such a fast mover and for her to lunge faster than the pace of the wind was impossible and before they knew it the stroller was floating down the river. some of the details of what happened after this point were a little blurry, but we do know that mom attempted to get the stroller out of the river and it was actually saved by an innocent bystander who witnessed this event. the stroller was dried out, the iphone was in my possession, and dax was no worse for the wear.
it was great to have so much family together in one place. one night we had everyone all together for dinner, another night we had lots of family over for shrimp cocktail watching the sunset, and another day we had everyone over at the pool. one night a small group of us went out to get raw oysters at a local place. we had the best time joking around and eating 45 cent oysters. it was great to be able to just spend time together catching up when people are spread all the way from richmond va to chicago il.
we ate some great food. no beach trip is complete without good seafood, so it was on our menu just about every night. granny always takes everyone to one giant seafood buffet where we stuff ourselves to the gills with fried oysters, shrimp, crab legs, and mussels. one night we skipped the seafood and ate hamburgers for dad, but every other night had some sort of seafood component. our favorite meal was when will and i went out on a "mini-date" and had an appetizer sampler consisting of ceviche, a firecracker roll, shea crab soup, and a fried green tomato-shrimp tower. another foodie highlight was a divine salad starter at a restaurant in calabash, nc. we drove 25 minutes each way - two times - to feast on this salad with a honey drenched croissant! yumm!
dax is fun. sure, we knew this before, but it was totally reconfirmed on this trip. he was always hamming it up for the camera or attempting to make someone smile. his infectious grin is hard to resist and he had everyone in stitches one night when will and i went out for dinner. we saw some cell phone pics of him hanging out with great granny covey and he just had her rolling. they love spending time together and can hardly believe one another in the amount of silliness they share. it was good to have him spending time with her and we're thankful he was always there to pull out the funnies.
we hope we'll be able to take him on another trip next summer/fall - and who knows where we'll end up!