The weather cleared, and we've been taking full advantage of it. After days of cool rain, house-bound and busy with house-clearing tasks, the dry sunny days have been awesome.
Friday morning we marked time until lunch, and then the beach car was finally ready. I made the pizza dough in the morning so we wouldn't have to leave the beach early. The beach was glorious, huge waves that the kids loved to jump in -- even DS2, who fearlessly wandered farther and farther from the shore, since the shallows go on forever. We didn't leave till 5, and the pizza that night was as good as ever.
Saturday we beached early with leftover pizza for lunch, and had another day of wave-jumping. My brother and his wife came with us -- DD loved sitting squeezed between them in the front seat of the beach car -- and we all had a great time watching the kids. DD complained about the seaweed and her kind uncle carried her out to the clear area by the sand bar. She clung to him for an hour, jumping in the waves.
When we straggled home past 4PM, my brother and his family from PA had arrived after an 11 hour drive. The kids immediately went to Hyperville, and they haven't appreciably left it since.
Sunday, DS1 and I went to the 7:30AM Mass and on the way home bought doughnuts for everyone. The day was perfect, and we knew the beach would be crowded, so we all hustled and we made it to the beach by 10AM, a miracle which no doubt will never be recreated. It was the first blue-sky beach day all summer, and the water was calm. We knew exactly where to pitch our camp, just past the peak of the high tide line, and we found our perfect spot.
It was a glorious day. The kids buried each other in the sand:
The magic words of the day: Today is a good day to find hermit crabs. The junior marine biologists then established several habitats for their critters. This is Hulk, the biggest, and meanest of the crabs; he had to be isolated because he kept trying to eat the others:
Hermit crabs were good for over an hour.
My two brothers delivered pizza to us for lunch, and we were the envy of the entire, considerably crowded, beach -- and then a little while later my sister arrived with her youngest and our nephew. All in all we spent 6 hours on the beach, and the only time anyone grumped over anything was when the moms insisted on re-applying sunscreen.
Yesterday we were all wiped out from the long day in the sun, but the kids still had a lot of energy. In the morning, the guys took off quahoging and my two sisters-in-law went shopping. The kids were mostly left to their own devices, but before lunch I loaded up all five of them and took them to the farm stand to by some sweet corn for dinner. After lunch, they were agitating to go somewhere, and all of us were wiped out and didn't really feel like doing anything, but I knew that wouldn't fly. My brother's kids had never been to the fresh water pond, and while I detest it, I volunteered to take them just so they could see it and get it out of their systems. ("You're a brave woman," our neighbor J commented as I pulled out -- five kids and one me at the beach? No problem.)
I suffered. Really, there's no way to be cool at that pond unless you are in the water. The kids, of course, had a blast. The found the large-ish fish and tried to catch them. They didn't mind the small swimming area because it wasn't crowded. They didn't notice the too-hot sand because they were never on it. They sprinted up the hill for a treat when the ice cream man came, and then they sauntered back down with their drippy sweets.
After snack and a quick dip to wash off all the sticky stuff, we went over to the playground.
Last night we let all the kids sleep together downstairs. They kept each other awake past midnight, when we threatened them with having to sleep in their regular beds if they didn't go to sleep right now. Now, just before 9, they're finally staggering awake.
Today we'll take it easy, and probably skip the beach as we're all tuckered out. Maybe not, maybe we'll go for just a couple of hours -- I don't know. It already feels like we've packed an entire vacation with the cousins into just a couple of days.
The kids don't know it, of course, but these are the days.