For as long as I can remember I have been a huge beach lover. Keeping with what used to be a rather "extreme" personality trait (the extreme nature has learned to find the beauty in moderation after parenthood took hold!!), I would stay on the beach from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. when my family or friends would beg me off the beach to go to dinner. Yes I have been burned many times and I used to consider it a "badge" of the beach...crazy and oh so naive idea of a young girl obsessed with being tan. (If you happen to still be said "young girl" reading this blog...BELIEVE what the wiser voices in your life tell you- you will regret damaging your skin via sun! Don't do it- straw hats are too cute now...very chic to have healthy skin...skin cancer scares are as horrific as your wiser voices tell you!!!!)
My family and I just returned from a week at the beach with my parents. One thought kept running through my mind..."oh my how times have changed." Rather than packing my sun "amplifying" oil with 0 SPF, I packed 50 SPF for my face and 30 SPF for the rest. For our girls, I packed 55 SPF! I also went on a mad dash last week for the biggest tent I could find so that all of us could sit in the shade!!!! Instead of my normal 12 hour daily homage to the sun, I made sure that we played on the beach from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and from 3:30 until 6 p.m...no more of that 11-2 sun for me. My beach bag was also very different this year: Goldfish, juice boxes, Nemo snacks, kite and sand-castle-making-tools rather than radios, fruity beverages and cell phone. I saw a lot more dolphins, crabs, sea shells and sea gulls than I used to!
Josh and I talked with my parents and each other about how sweet it was to experience the beach through our girls' eyes this year. It was as if we too experienced seeing kites, playing in the sand, making sand castles, looking for sea shells and crab hunting at night for the first time. Years ago I would have been so annoyed if my beach neighbor would have been throwing food for the birds...not this year. We were searching for any cracker we could find just to hear Ansley yell "Great job bird...eat your goldfish!" I might have annoyed our beach neighbors (we had fewer at the end of the week than we had at the beginning!) but they were patient to allow us to make those memories with Ansley and Emme. True enough, this trip was my favorite beach trip of my life...and another first...no sunburns in this house tonight!!!
We have a second beach trip planned next month with Josh's family and we are already talking about what fun we will have all over again- we can't wait!!! Here are a few sweet memories captured on camera from this trip:
A favorite first for the girls was their discovery of a 1/2 head-stand!!! Emme discovered it first and taught her older sister!! No matter how many times I see them do this I crack up laughing.
While on this beach vacation, my parents celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary! WOW! Each year on their anniversary, my mom puts on her wedding gown before going to dinner with my dad...isn't that sweet?! (No- she never wears it in public- it is just a fun and sweet tradition at home which has now been shared with the entire world wide web.) Mom jokes that her dress is the most worn dress in the history of wedding gowns- I think she is correct! Having been a bride and now having brought forth almost 3 children into this world this tradition is more amazing and admirable to me than ever before!!!! Ansley and Emma Kate thought their MeMe looked so "bootifull" (Ansley for beautiful). When Meme walked out to the beach with her wedding gown on Ansley ran to her and said "Meme you have a bride dress...you look so pretty!" How special to share this tradition with our children. Thanks be to God for blessing my parents with 39 years together- what an encouragement they have been to so many- especially me.