Friday, July 12, 2013

SoBeth 2013

Last week was our annual family beach vacation in South Bethany Beach, Delaware!

We've been looking forward to this week for many, many months now.  And I was just keeping my fingers crossed that we could make it through the whole week without going in to labor ... and comfortably at that!  We did.  And while I wouldn't have expected to have a baby early, I actually didn't feel too bad for being at the tail end of my fourth pregnancy.  I think all that sand, sun and salt water did wonders for my "prankles" (as Hubby as lovingly dubbed them) and other aches and pains.

But before we could hit up the beach, we had one important stop to make ... in Pittsburgh.  Jon's cousin Pete and his fabulous fiancee Hannah got married that Saturday and, instead of attempting the trip AND the wedding with three kids, and then rushing to the beach.  We so graciously offered our minivan full of children and vacation goods to Uncle Micah to drive.  So, on Saturday morning we waved goodbye to Uncle Micah, Mr. Michael and our three offspring (closely followed by Marmie and Poppa to assist with all those potty-breaks), and then Jon and I high-tailed it up to Pennsylvania (after enjoying a long, leisurely, child-free breakfast out).  The wedding was lovely and reception just perfect.  We're so happy for these two and the great things God has in store for them!

Photo Credit: Aunt Roz

We left the reception early so we could make it home at a decent hour (1:00am) and then be up again to leave the following morning.  Traveling without kids is so much more efficient, we were able to pull in to the beach house soon after some of the gang was just waking up.  Uncle Micah and Mr. Michael survived the trip.  The kids had a great night of sleep.  And we were ready to enjoy a long, relaxing (as much as you can while still parenting three small children) week away from it all!

Unfortunately for us, the weather wasn't it's prime.  It rained (off and on) the first four days of our trip.  But thankfully there were no thunderstorms, so we could still stick it out on the beach and enjoy the sun in between clouds.  It also meant some of the quietest, least-crowded days we've seen there in our 20-some years of vacationing.  And, thanks to the frequent cloud cover, I was able to obtain a lovely beach glow without any terrible sunburn ... for once.

This year we tried out a different house.  And since our family is growing in more ways than one this summer, we also included Uncle Jared's fiancee and future in-laws.  Kylee's parents, sister, and brother came for the second half of the week.  And we got to enjoy our friends Abi, Phil, "Lil" Rae, and Urijah as well!  It was a great crowd!  And when we weren't discussing wedding plans, bridesmaid attire, or RSVP counts, we had a great time getting to know Jared's new family even better.  We knew we liked Kylee, but I must say I'm quite impressed with my little brother's ability to pick out some fantastic in-laws as well.   We all meshed together quite nicely!

Photo Credit: Uncle Micah
This vacation was very low-key.  We did go out crabbing one night, and sadly didn't catch any keepers.  Just a fun night with the boys, topped off with some frozen yogurt.

The gang also went to the Rehoboth Boardwalk another time but Julia was down with some sort of beach fever.  So she and I spent the evening at home cuddled in bed.

Leave it to my kids to catch colds at the beach!

The rest of the week we spent on the sand ... or preparing to be on the sand.  Gosh, it's a lot of work to get three kids dressed, lathered and out the door each morning.  But once we reached our oceanfront plot we could let them go and entertain themselves.  The first day there we dug a hole.  And it soon became our hole.  And since nobody else wanted to sit in a hole, we had no trouble maintaining the same spot on the beach all that week.

The hole was so deep the lifeguard came over to laud Jon's work ... and ask us not to dig any further for safety reasons.
Jude's favorite activity was being pulled on the boogie board (or booger board as he called it).  He did NOT like being dragged through water.  But he did enjoy zinging up and down the mounds of sand.

Poor Jack is entirely too heavy for such goings-on.  But he is certainly master of the waves.  He spent the majority of his time down at the water jumping the waves and thoroughly enjoying being tossed and thrown underwater.  A little too much, if you ask me.  There were a few times I had to race in after him to make sure he wasn't getting sucked back under.  Which is a lot of work when you're 36 weeks pregnant.  And then he'd get mad that I was interfering with his game.

We found a squirt gun in the dunes...

I've been regretting that find all week long.

Jude is laughing ... for once.

Photo Credit: Uncle Micah.
Julia absolutely did NOT like the water.  Didn't even want to get her toes wet.  She'd put the death grip on my shoulder as soon as I started to walk on wet sand.  She preferred to crawl all over the beach chairs and show off one of her eight swimsuits.

We decided to give the Bethany Beach 4th of July parade a try this year.  We never go because it's smack dab in the middle of beach time, and we kind of covet our sunny afternoons.  But I just love a good parade and we didn't get to go to any others this year.  Poppa dropped us off in town, and then drove back to get his bike while we magically found a great spot on the corner.  Julia was still a little out of it. And it also didn't help that it was mega-hot and almost nap time.  Or that Mama didn't bring enough drinks, or snacks, or anything else to keep them busy until the parade started 45 minutes later.  But we managed.  And got some candy in the process.

Significantly overwhelmed.
And that evening, per tradition, we trekked back out to the beach for oceanfront fireworks.  Not-so-funny story from this particular evening.  I was upstairs getting ready and Jon told me "we're all going down to the beach to fish and kite before the fireworks" so when I came back downstairs to an extremely quiet house, I figured he had taken all the kids.  And when I walked down to the beach myself a few minutes later, I didn't think anything of Uncle Micah holding Julia's hand.  Until I found out that by "we" Jon had meant just he and the boys.  And that Uncle Micah found Julia hanging out with some stranger on the dunes.  And the stranger asked Uncle Micah if the little girl was with him.  Thankfully, Uncle Micah said yes.  So from what we can figure out, Julia walked out the door, down the street, onto the beach, all by herself.  And with Baby Stella, Baby Stella's bottle, and her 4th of July Mardi Gras beads and lei from the parade.  I don't think she realized the seriousness of the situation.  We're just incredible thankful that that's all there was to the story.

I think it's ironic that my daughter had never had a bottle herself, yet knows exactly what to do with one when you have a baby.  She's a born mother.
The fireworks were fabulous but before they began we enjoyed an evening of kiting, kayaking, fishing (Jon didn't catch anything but the guys next to us got a shark!), light sticks, and (thanks to Miss Abi) some festive, edible, something-to-keep-the-kids-busy snacks.

The littlest were starting to get sleepy ...

Not exactly sure what's going on here ... Uncle Micah??

As always, vacation was a nice break from our hectic summer schedule.  We were thankfully able to squeeze the trip in before starting the countdown to Baby, and now our calendar is free and clear as we anticipate our newest arrival!  And I must say, the change of pace was oh, so good for us.  Things have been getting sloppy around here.  June was a bit of a blur.  But now that we're home and recharged our routine is starting to come back together.  I've actually been cooking again, and keeping up with the dishes and laundry.  And somehow that makes me feel very normal and together and, as a result, simply happy.  The pre-baby to-do list is another story altogether.  It got so extensive I had to re-write it and break it down in to sections.  Which is why I'm looking forward to this weekend, fueled by residual Vitamin D and plenty of doses of salty sea air, it's time to get ready for a baby!

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