Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Beach Lovin'

A few days ago we got back from our first beach vacation of the year (and Emma's first one ever!!).  We went down to North Topsail, NC and I'm happy to report that it was awesome!  I'll admit I was a tad nervous.  The last time we took a beach vacation Addy hated the beach, Mike and I were both sick as dogs, and I was approaching 9 months pregnant.  All less than ideal circumstances for a "vacation".  Last year we skipped the vacations all together to save us some hassle, but it was sad at the same time.  That was probably the first summer that I hadn't been on a beach vacation in over 20 years.  It made the summer kind of anticlimactic.  So this year, we decided to give it another try.  And we're so glad that we did!

On our way!

Addy and Emma both LOVED the beach!  That's right, Addy loved it!!  I was worried, because she is definitely our cautious child and she doesn't like loud noises (AKA: the ocean).  She even claimed that she was NOT going near the ocean once she saw it from afar that first day.  But Uncle Alex took her and Luca down to the beach, and whatever he did worked because by the time Mike and I got there she was running and jumping in the waves, laughing with such joy.  It was awesome to see!

Here she is!  Day one and our big girl is in the ocean!

And Emma; we never had any doubts that she'd love it!  Sand on the chin and all.

Addy and Luca playing together :)  I love how much these two love each other!

Emmy giggling and having a great time.  We had to keep a close eye on that girl.  She would just run full speed ahead into the ocean if we let her!

Oh and our arrival day was also our 6th wedding anniversary!  Happy anniversary to us!

And sweet Emma.  Give her a bucket, give her some sand, give her the ocean.... She loved it all!

She even snuggled up to the sand (with Mommy cringing in the background).

I'm serious, this girl was all smiles!

Emma and Santino.  They are a little bit too small to play "together" yet, but they're getting there.  And this is literally the only picture I have of the two of them together.  Getting two one year olds to sit still for a pic just was not happening.

Ah Tino.  We all got a laugh out of his shirt (The beach life for me), because it couldn't have been farther from the truth.  He reminded me a lot of Addy at that age.  He was just not into it, and would've been just as happy not to come down to the beach at all.  I did manage to snag this one picture of him smiling and pretending to have fun ;)

Here are some shots of Addy:

Addy and her best bud.  One of the cutest things all week was Luca saying, "Addy, I'm so happy to be your husband."  Insert melting heart here :)

The big kids watering their shell  tree that they created with Meemaw.  They were so very proud of that tree!

Seeing Addy splashing in the ocean and having fun was one of the best parts of my week!

I didn't get quite as many pictures of Addy as I did of Emma because of the logistics of what became our daily routine.  One of the reasons that I believe this vacation went as smoothly as it did was because of the relaxed routine that we all fell into.

Every morning the kiddos were up bright and early (around 6 AM. Blah).  Everyone would get their breakfast and hang out until around 9.  The little ones were tired by that point and we put them down for a nap.  (Yup, Emma reverted back to two naps a day at the beach.  Getting up in the 6:00 hour was throwing our late sleeper for a loop.)  Debbie would take the two older kids to the beach while Lauren and I would do a work out video or run.  (The guys often went golfing in the morning.)

Then by the time the little ones woke up from their first nap, Debbie and the big kids were ready for lunch.  So we would all eat lunch together and then put the big kids down for a nap.  While they were napping we brought the little kids to the beach for a bit.  Then we'd bring them back and put them for their second nap.  

Around 4:00 when everyone was awake we'd take all of the kids to the pool, which was right next to our house.  

While we were at the pool, Paul and Debbie often headed out for dinner.  We would then bring the kids back to the house and throw them all in the tub together for a bath.

After bath time we would get the kids dinner and either order something for ourselves, or Mike, Lauren, Alex, and I would go out after Paul and Debbie got back.  
Addy wanted no parts of her Daddy and Mommy getting a picture unless she was in it ;)

We'd have a Disney movie for the kids to watch before bed, and then bedtime for them.

The four rug rats :)

It was great because when we did go out for dinner on our last night, we noted that the kids hadn't been in the car AT ALL until that point.  No having everyone bathed and ready by 4:30 PM.  No packing the diaper bag.  No buckling in car seats.  No fear of tantrums in public.  Sure, they all had tantrums, but it was in the privacy of our home.  It made the week so much more relaxing and laid back.  We had a routine, but there was never any set time schedule that we had to follow.  We just played at the pool every afternoon until the kids got sick of it.  I'm telling you, with four toddlers, that is the way to vacation.  Eliminate as much stress as possible.

All in all it was a wonderful week.  We had awesome weather, where it was warm, but never so hot that you felt uncomfortable.  That alone probably helped the kids moods a lot.  It was about 80 degrees every day.  Plus, the ocean was actually warm!  We swam every day.  We were able to go to the beach every single day!  No rain during beach time.  One day was pretty windy, but other than that it was great!

And our place... It was amazing!  By far our favorite beach house to date.
This is the view from our deck :)
(Therefore, the house in the picture isn't ours, but ours looked very similar to that one.)

One of my favorite memories from that trip was on the last day.  The Marianis had already gone home because Lauren and Alex had a golf tournament on Saturday.  Therefore our girls were forced to play with each other at the beach.  And they had more fun together than I have ever seen them have.  Ever.  They were running and laughing and giggling for such a long time.  Mike and I kept looking at each other and smiling because it really was the sweetest thing to see.

Look at how they just sat right down next to each other.  My girls :)

Here's one video I managed to snag:

And we'll finish it off with a few family photos of the Marianis and the Hetricks. (I should have gotten one of Paul and Debbie too!)

A great week at the beach with family.  Life doesn't get much better than that!

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