Monday, July 25, 2016

The Beach

Two weeks.  Once VBS was finally over, the countdown began.  But I didn't actually say those two words out loud until yesterday.  Two weeks.  Our new school year begins August 8.  Two weeks of summer is all we have left.  Summer began almost three months ago, and now it's nearing the end.  So what better time than to share some beach pictures!

At the beginning of June, we spent a week at Mexico Beach with our friends.  I guess you could say it's our annual trip because this is the second year in a row we've vacationed with them, and we already talked about what we want to do next year.  But this year we stayed off the beaten path and had a very relaxing vacation.  It was exactly what I needed at the time.

We had a visitor on our first full day there, a visitor by the name of Colin.  Tropical Storm Colin.  We stayed inside, of course, and played games most of the day.  I taught the kids how to play Monopoly, and they are hooked.  The storm cleared out later in the afternoon, and we walked to the beach just to get everyone out of the house.  We didn't really have any intentions of getting in the water.  I know.  It's pretty silly to think you can take five kids under the age of 11 to the beach and them not get wet.

I have to admit I was a little concerned about Ellie on this trip.  She has never cared for the ocean.  Last year she wouldn't even get in the water.  She was content to play in the sand or go to the pool.  But this year there was no pool.  And I figured she'd get pretty tired of the sand after a couple of days, not to mention six days.  And considering she had just one week earlier finally been unwillingly forced off the steps of the pool and out into the water, I didn't at all expect her to really get in the ocean.  I just wanted her to put her toes in.  She did, and she kind of liked it.

She quickly began to realize that she might even have fun in the water. 

And then she went a little farther out.

And, even though the storm had stirred the waters, and the waves were tumbling in one after another, she went out a little deeper.

It didn't take long before she was wet from head to toe.  All in!  And she's loving it!

The older two were busy playing in the sand and looking for shells.

But when they realized Ellie was all in, they were all in, too.

The next four days we woke up, ate breakfast, went to the beach, came inside and ate lunch, went back to the beach, came inside to eat supper and went back to the beach again.  And repeat.  Every. day.  So I'm about to bore you with a bunch of beach pictures.

It was almost like we had the beach to ourselves.  The kids had the best time playing in the water, digging in the sand, building castles and looking for seashells.

We went out for ice cream a couple of times.  Or maybe three times.  Or four.  These two . . . I'm telling you, they are a mess!  Obviously literally here.  But figuratively, too.  They had the best time playing together.  O is exactly 14 days older than Ellie.  They are just the cutest things, and I had the best time watching them play together.  When O got blue ice cream, Ellie had to have blue ice cream, too.

I absolutely love sunsets at the beach.  This was my view the third night while sitting on our front porch.

And, the next day, we're at the beach again.  Mason had a lot of fun digging for these little hermit crabs.

I love watching my children play together.  They have their moments, but they have the sweetest relationships with each other.

Every once in a while (but not very often), Ellie stops talking.  It's during those times that I wonder what's going through her little head.  This was one of those times.

I love watching them play.

One night we went back out to the beach with bubbles that Mrs. E brought for the kids.  

These are my favorite pictures of Mason.  I took all of these pictures with my phone because I've just given up on my real camera.  So they aren't the greatest quality.  But I just love watching the joy all over his face.  He really is in his happy place here.

And then he started "surfing" and flipping backwards over the waves.  H and O got a real kick out of this.

When the sun starts going down, the little sand crabs start coming out.  A couple of nights we went out with a bucket and chased a few of them down.

I love this picture because it just captures how intense and how crazy Mason can be.  This was totally on accident.  I had no idea I'd gotten this until I looked back through my photos later that night.

We're usually six or so months behind on everything and that includes Pie Face.  It was all the rage around Christmas time.  We took it to the beach and played it for the first time. The kids got the biggest kick out of it and laughed so hard and so long.  We tried to play the game the "right" way, but they weren't too interested in that.  They just wanted to keep on turning the handle until they got whip cream in the face.

And then we're back at the beach again.  Ellie is ready!

We found lots of shells.  Good shells!  We even found a couple of sand dollars.

The oldest ones sure are growing up!

And Ellie decided she could just live there!

The kids love playing with Daddy.

And I really don't even have words for this one.

There was a couple fishing just down the beach from us.  We watched them reel one in and then realized it was a shark.  They were kind enough to let Mason take a picture with it.

And, on our last day, we . . . wait for it . . . spent the whole day at the beach.  Again!

My two guys.  Do you see it?  Do you realize that Mason is now at Seth's shoulders?  Not to mention he looks like an almost teenager.  How did that happen?  When did that happen?!

Mason, Hannah Kate and Ellie LOVED playing with our friends.  They just had the best time and played so well together the entire time.

We went out for ice cream (again) our last night.  Everyone was talking about how Ellie's ice cream matched her dress.

We got back a little too late for nice pictures on the beach, but I took a few anyway.

My friend E takes really awesome pictures.  So here are a few from her that I thought I'd share.  Of course, they put my phone pics to shame!

This is my favorite picture of Ellie and O.  She loves him so!  Every time she looks back at our pictures or we remember a story from our beach trip, she just starts giggling and gets all excited.  I can't even imagine what it would be like if we lived close enough for them to play together more often.

These pictures capture Hannah Kate so perfectly.  She's definitely the most serious one of the bunch.  But she has such a big personality that's reserved for only those closest to her.

Lately Mason has begun the habit of reminding me that he's my favorite son.  A truer statement has never been spoken!

And that was our beach trip.  Lots of water and sand and friends and fun!

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