Monday, June 17, 2013

Beach Trip Tips!

Last time my mom was visiting we decided to embark on a day trip to the beach with both girls while Mike was away for the weekend.  And let me tell you, an excursion like that takes days of planning!  Any trip where you are gone all day with an infant and a toddler is nerve wracking, but a trip to the beach, where you are outside, with no other place to go, and you are two hours from home.... let's just say my anxiety level was high.

But I really wanted to go, knowing that this will be the first year that I can ever remember not taking a week long beach vacation.  Mike and I decided that it's just too much hassle with the girls at this age.  Everyone naps at different times, Addy didn't even like the beach last year, and we are to the age where sleeping in the same room with them is miserable for everyone involved.  No one sleeps very well, and a whole week of that just did not seem like a vacation to us.  So no beach vacation, but I wanted to at least get a glimpse of them at the beach.  I wanted to see if Addy liked it any better this year, and I wanted Emma to experience the beach for the first time this summer.

So I brought up the idea with my mom, and she was on board!  We knew it might be logistically difficult, but with lots of planning ahead and preparing for the worst, we nailed it!

Let's see.  First and foremost, bring lots and lots of snacks.  Addy is a complete snack fiend, so as long as she is eating she is typically pretty happy.  Now is that how we get through a normal day?  Of course not.  But being away from home, I was ready to use whatever means necessary to keep her happy.  We had so much food it was ridiculous.  PBJ as the main course.  Then lots of fruit, and crackers, and granola bars, and water.

Next bring toys.  Toys they don't usually play with, so it seems really new and fun.  Addy loves her sand toys, and she had lots of fun digging around and playing with buckets of ocean water.  She is still pretty scared of the ocean itself, so she wanted no parts of going in or even near the ocean.  But she had fun in the sand.  And at low tide, when there were little pools of water around, she had a blast running and jumping in all of those puddles.

I managed to snag one little video of the festivities.  Don't mind Addy's nip slip that she had going on all day in that bathing suit ;)

Next, when going to the beach with small children, bring an umbrella and lots of sunscreen.  Little kids especially need time out of the sun, so an umbrella is essential for us these days.  And I dropped the ball on the sunscreen.  I reapplied on Addy since she was in the sun a lot, but I never reapplied on Emma since she was mostly under the umbrella.  Well that was a bad call, because little Emma got some sunburn on her arms.  Bad Mommy.  Her porcelain skin wasn't used to any sun, so she needed frequent sunscreen whether she was under the umbrella or not.  Live and learn.

And as far as sunscreen, get the tear-free kids spray sunscreen.  Spray is so much easier for reapplication once the kiddos are a sandy mess.  And I am told that stick sunscreen is easiest for the face, so I'm going to get that for next time.  Since we were going to be out for a lot of the day, I used the cream sunscreen on them first (because I'm afraid of missing spots with the spray).  But I did that before we even set foot in the sand, because cream + sand = disaster.  And Addy is now terrified of sunscreen because she always seems to get it in her eyes.  She (for some unknown reason) immediately rubs her eyes after I put sunscreen on her.  Then she freaks out about it hurting.  I couldn't figure out how to remedy that, because she needs sunscreen on both her hands and her face, but how do I keep it out of her eyes?  Well that tear free spray has been wonderful for that.  I spray some on my hands and wipe it on her face and she seems fine with that.  (But, like I said, I'm going to get the stick kind soon.)

My mom bought us one of those carts with the big wheels that you pull through the sand, and it was a godsend.  Now that we have an infant and a toddler, a day at the beach requires a lot of crap.  So you pile the sand toys, and the towels, and the umbrella, and the cooler, etc etc in that.  Then you hang the beach chairs on it and pull all of your stuff at once.  Much better than making multiple trips to the car and back.

Of course, as with any excursion with little ones, bring plenty of diapers, wipes, and extra clothes.  The rule that I use when out for the day is to bring one diaper for every hour that I plan to be out.  Do I ever use that many?  No.  But it's better to be safe than sorry.  So I had about 5 swim diapers for each girl and about 5 regular diapers.  (We were gone for almost 10 hours!)  Then I brought an extra bathing suit for each, just in case.  And two outfits for each girl.  Yup, like I said, lots of planning and lots of crap to bring.

I brought two wide brimmed beach hats for each girl as well.  They wore them for most of the time until the end of the day.  Addy doesn't usually like wearing sunglasses, and she is used to hats because for so long she had no hair, and I forced her to wear a hat whenever we were outside.  Emma doesn't seem to mind hats either, which is good.  Gotta protect those little baby noggins from the sun's rays, and putting sunscreen on heads with hair is not something that I'm into.  Easier to throw a hat on them.  Protects the face that way too.

As far as the car ride, we decided to leave early (around 6:45 AM I think).  So we woke the girls (something I try to do as infrequently as possible), changed diapers, I nursed Emma, and off we went.  The girls rode there in their pj's and we stopped at a Dunkin Donuts drive through for breakfast.  We had the portable DVD player to entertain Addy.  Complete with headphones so that mom and I didn't have to listen to whatever kiddie movie was playing.  Those DVD players are a godsend for long car trips with little ones.  Otherwise it is non-stop talking/whining/crying the entire time.  (Our trips to PA are worlds better now that Addy is old enough to pay attention to a whole movie.)

So we were at the beach by 9, meaning that it was easy to find a parking space very close to the beach.  The later you arrive, the harder it is to find parking, and the idea of carting both girls and all of their crap to the beach from some parking space in Timbucktoo was not appealing at all.  So we were able to park in the lot right near the bathrooms, which was essential for us since we were going to be there all day.

For the end of the day, I always bring a big Ziploc bag filled with ice and a few washcloths (a tip from a friend of mine).  Throughout the day the ice melts and then you use the cold water and washcloth to do a quick little wash of your face and arms, etc before getting in the car to go home.  It's amazing how much better you feel with the salt, sunscreen, and sand off of just your face for a 2 hour car ride home.  We actually didn't really need it this time because we never got in the ocean so we didn't have that caked on salt feeling.  It was a perfect day where the temp was not too hot, so we never felt the need to get in the water to cool off.  Good thing, because Addy is terrified of the ocean ;)

Another tip that Tina told me about the other day, is to use baby powder to get sand off of little ones after a day at the beach.  I haven't tried it yet, but apparently it works wonders.  You know how sand just seems to end up everywhere on them?  And no matter how much you try to brush it off with a towel, it never seems to work.  Well, if you cover them in baby powder, I'm told that the sand just wipes away with one easy stroke!  And then you have the added bonus of the car smelling nice and fresh for the ride home.  I'm definitely going to try this one!

So with all of this planning, how did the girls do?  Excellent.  Truly, we couldn't have asked for it to go any smoother.  Addy was stellar, and she was the one I had big worries about.  Visions of tantrums on the beach  were dancing through my head.  But she did not have one single meltdown.  Amazing.  She did fine despite waking up early and not taking a nap.  But let me tell you, once we got in the car to head home, she passed out!

Emma, on the other hand, I had no worries about.  I just assumed she'd roll with whatever (as she typically does).  I thought we could just toss her on the beach blanket under the umbrella and she'd nap with no problem.  Well, I was wrong there.  Emma is at the age where she doesn't just sleep wherever anymore.  She's still way better than Addy ever was, but sleeping on the beach with all of that noise was not easy for her.  She fought it hard.  Mom had to walk her up and down the beach for a long time to get her to fall asleep.  And even once she did, she slept for maybe 20-30 minutes.  Despite how short her nap was, it seemed to do the trick.  She was happy as a clam when she woke up and was fine for the rest of the day.

Give this girl a spoon to chew on and she's a happy lady :)

And I had to try to snag a photo with my ladies....never an easy task.

This picture cracks me up!  Emmy is a disheveled mess!  Her hair looks like a toupee, belly's hanging out, no bathing suit bottoms.  Can you tell this was the end of the day?  

And then here is us trying to get that pic, not realizing the camera was on video mode :)

When mom and I got the girls to bed that night we immediately grabbed our wine glasses and headed for the hot tub.  Much deserved after a very busy day :)
Check out my random patches of sunburn.  Why does that always happen to me?  I always think I am being so careful with sunscreen.  Sheesh!

All in all, a day trip to the beach with an infant and a toddler is not easy, and it's certainly not at all relaxing, but it was a lot of fun for all of us!   Would I ever tackle it alone?  Hhhhell no!  Having mom there with me was essential.  Even with two of us, it was busy, busy, busy the whole time.  It was funny because before we left, mom asked if I was bringing a book.  Ha!  Yeah right.  We didn't even really need beach chairs because we barely sat down!  But the girls had such a great time, and in turn, so did we :)

1 comment:

  1. Great recap of our beach day! It was crazy but fun, and you know I'll never turn down an offer to go to the beach! What great pictures!