If you live with a zest for adventure, you probably are like me and you made a Summer Bucket List. This last weekend we checked off one of the things on our list, beach day.
The problem with bucket list items is that they are hyper exciting, but we have a large family and a highly limited budget. So when we say beach day many people we know chimed in with suggestions Cozumel, Hawaii, Myrtle Beach, Nantucket, Clearwater Beach, California, Martha’s Vineyard, and Key West. I took a deep breath and kindly let people know that those types of locations were not in the budget. So…we went to Galveston.
You may be thinking, “Ew, Galveston.” But it is family friendly, budget conscious, and can I just tell you that kids do not care about the blue-ness or clearness of the water. They. Had. A. Blast.
The kids were in suspense until we actually loaded the car, but were ecstatic when they found out we were going to the beach. And even though it was on my bucket list, can I just say that me and the ocean are not friends. I mean, hello, “Don’t go in the shark’s house!” (if you haven’t seen this YouTube video, you are missing out) But for real, there are just so many things in the ocean that can hurt you. Case and point, the husband and I both caught bit or snagged or something by some unknown substance (thank you, muddy water – maybe clearness does matter?) and ended up with a lovely red rash – me on my legs and him on his toes. Yay.
But I knew the kids would love it, so I persevered!
We left the house by 8am loaded up with all the food and beach toys that we could muster (thank you, Five Below). The kids did so so good on the drive which was a sheer miracle. We listened to kids’ music part of the time and…actually let me stop a minute to talk to you about kids’ music. Why is it so bad? Why is it that in order for the music to be kid-friendly it has to be sung by kids and played on a preschool xylophone? Bleh. We have one album that is made for kids, does not make me feel like my brain is dissolving, and has more than 3 songs on it (because for some reason the good music ones only have 3 songs on them, it’s all the artists could muster apparently). It’s a Doorposts album by Dave and Jess Ray. Check it out.
Anyway, we listened to music, we played with cars, and I read them the first chapter of the illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (because I win at being a mom). We change some of the words to make it more toddler-friendly, but they love it.
And a little bit we survived on sheer beach-driven adrenaline.
This tent SAVED us. Some friends with older kids, like high school aged, have been cleaning out their garage and they gave us this amazing structure along with some other things. It bequeathed to us the most amazing of gifts on beach day – shade.
In fact, our youngest, who liked the waves only in tiny spurts when he was solidly clinging to my body but also laughing maniacally, camped out under this tent and played in the sand most of the day.
The younger two were a little nervous and not at all sure if they even wanted to get into the water, but the oldest ran into it with abandon. What I wish I could show you is the sheer joy that each of their faces had as they ran into the waves and enjoyed the sensation, but it was a moment to be treasured rather than documented. The oldest spent almost an entire day in the water. She ran in it, jumped in it, swam, kicked, tossed it around in buckets, and begged her dad over and over to carry her out into the deep water. He, of course, obliged. I don’t think she could have made him more happy.
The middle kiddo was cling wrap to my body all day, but for once I embraced it. I said to both my little clingers, let’s play. And we did. We built innumerable sand castle and domes, we played tag, we went on a walk to see what the rest of the beach looked like, and we saw what patterns we could make in the sand with the different shovels we brought. And they felt loved, so so loved.
I think I so often want them to grow up to be independent, think I’m doing what’s best for them, surviving, and trying to make space for myself that I don’t take enough time to let them cling. I don’t think this is a common philosophy because they do need to learn not to cling sometimes, and I do need to make space for myself (and my sanity) sometimes, but I also need to just enjoy where they are at sometimes. So they clung, and I loved them, and they loved it. Lesson learned, mommy.
I will be honest that I wanted to tap out about 1pm because I’d had enough of the beach, but the husband convinced me to stick it out until 4. We then headed over to a great restaurant, Gypsy Joynt, and had some delicous, exhaustion food.
So it sounds like the perfect day!? Well, there was one snag, and it wasn’t my rather intense fear of the ocean that I was perpetually telling to chill out. It was… drum roll please… sunscreen. We brought two tubes of sunscreen and while the first tube did its job with admiration, the second one turned out to be expired. So the youngest, who was in the shade all day, is fine and I only have a little on my legs, the husband is a lobster and the two other kiddos are rocking some redness as well. They look like the world’s saddest raccoons. And the oldest has the top of her hands to contend with. Not only does this make me feel extra extra intense about throwing out old sunscreen, but it makes me want to buy a different brand each year so that if someone were to come upon and old bottle, they would know it was not the current brand. Goodness.
The good news is that the littles didn’t burn badly and have been such good sports about aloe vera. We have done some potent aloe (no fragrance, no additives), and apple cider vinegar which has gone smashingly. No one was even complaining of pain by Monday. Beautiful! Thank you internet for the apple cider vinegar tip! We are usually so cautious that these sunburns really caught me off guard. Now I know way more about sunburns, but hope to never repeat this same mistake at least. Learn from me, oh internet reader!
Other than that snafu, it really was such a beautiful day and I hope to continue making equally wonderful memories with the rest of the summer.
See You Outside!