We spent this past weekend at the beach and it was so much fun. We're planning on making it an annual trip, only for an entire week, as opposed to just a long weekend. Originally we were supposed to go with some friends, but they had to cancel at the last minute. So it was just us and the in-laws, which was just perfect.
The boys both loved it. Nick was a little unsure of both the water and the sand at first. It took him a couple of days to warm up to both and get used to the feeling of the sand on his skin. Gabe, however, was ready to go and eager to experience both. Not to mention all the sights on the boardwalk.
We left Thursday morning, after I had spent a few hours at work. All six of us packed into my minivan. It took about four and a half hours to get to OC, which included a scenic tour of downtown D.C., and rural MD, thanks to the strange directions on my navigation system. At one point we stopped at a pretty nice playground in the middle of a very small suburban neighborhood, which allowed the boys a chance to get out and stretch their legs.
As soon as we arrived in OC and checked into our hotel, we unpacked the van, changed and headed out to the beach for a couple hours. We had two rooms in the Comfort Inn Boardwalk. The boardwalk location was really important to me, and it proved to be very beneficial to be so close to the beach. We could quickly get back an forth.
The weather was wonderful. Nick wanted to be held a lot, since it was a lot to take in, but Gabe was ready to just dive in, although he was unsure of being in the ocean without someone holding his hand or carrying him. It just was such a freeing and relaxing feeling to be there, at the beach. I mean the last time I was on a beach was my honeymoon in Hawaii.
We had dinner at one of the Dough Roller locations, before heading back to the hotel and getting the boys ready for bed. Gabe decided that he wanted to sleep with my MIL, which really wasn't surprising. Nick was more excited about getting a bath than he had been about the ocean. Poor thing, he had a hard time dealing with the change in his schedule, and he's getting three teeth in at once (that will make eight).
The next day we went to the beach early after grabbing breakfast. Our hotel had a complimentary continental breakfast, which was a nice feature. We stayed at the beach until about 9:30, so we could avoid the hottest hours, and get Nick a nap. Oscar spent most of his time in the water, while I alternated back and forth. Nick was a little curious about the water, but was mostly content to dig in the sand. Gabe wanted to do everything, and enjoyed being in the water and have the waves crash at his feet.
After Nick's nap we went strolling on the boardwalk to get lunch and to go to the Jolly Roger so that Gabe could ride the Ferris wheel. We also stopped at an arcade, where Gabe discovered the joys of getting tickets to turn in for prizes. I played a few enjoyable games of skeet ball, while we waited for the rides to open. It ended up being just Gabe and I on the Ferris wheel, which was nice. We get so little time together, just the two of us. There was also dessert. Gabe had a snow cone, Oscar and his parents had ice cream, and I had a funnel cake (mmmm... deep fried dough).
We went out to the beach for a couple hours Friday evening, before heading over the bridge to get dinner at Outback (Oscar's favorite restaurant) and pick up a couple things from the grocery store. The feel of the sand and the sea just put every one in such a good mood. Myself included. Even if I did have to worry about homework, since my class started last Tuesday.
On Saturday we spent the morning at the beach and then decided to take Nick strolling for his nap. One of the local photography studios caught us on the beach as we were getting ready to leave and took a few pictures of the boys, who were dressed in matching swim outfits and hats. It was very cute, so we went strolling to see where their studio was, and stopped at one of the random food stalls to get pizza.
We went out to the beach again that evening. I think Oscar spent two full hours almost consistently in the waves. And Nick was all about the beach now, and would just get up from his spot in the sand and take off towards the water whenever he felt like it. Luckily there were four adults paying attention, so usually someone caught him before he fell or got to the water. After we were done at the beach, we immediately went to pick up our pictures. I forgot to reapply sunscreen, so my shoulders and upper back are a little pink from the walk.
Oscar and I decided to steal away for a date after the boys went to bed, although Nick wasn't feeling well and didn't want to be put down. My MIL was able to calm him and decided to just keep him in her room and put him down on the comforter on the floor when he fell asleep. Oscar and I decided to go out to eat at a seafood buffet. It wasn't bad, but certainly not the best buffet we've ever had. However, it was nice to get away and just spend time alone together.
On Sunday, we did most of the packing before we had breakfast and went to the beach, so there wouldn't be much to worry about before checkout at 11 a.m. We didn't stay long, but it was enough for both the boys to splash in the water for a bit and dig in the sand. After we checked out we went strolling on the boardwalk to pick out a few gifts. Gabe wanted to get hermit crabs, and we wanted to get something for his friends that weren't able to come with us.
The drive back was rather uneventful, other than Gabe being cranky and refusing to rest. I had my first Starbucks of the weekend (of course I had coffee other days, it just was from Dunkin' Donuts). We also stopped at farmer's market to pick up some sweet white corn, which I am eagerly looking forward to devouring tonight.
I was so exhausted when we got home, and yet there was so much to do. We needed to unpack and start laundry and get ready for work today. My SIL offered to watch Gabe, so that we would have an easier time doing everything we needed to do, which was nice of her. Oscar picked up Ruby Tuesday's for dinner after he did the grocery shopping, while I watched Nick and took care of the laundry and uploading our pictures.
We also caught up on the two shows that we missed - Royal Pains and Burn Notice. Two very good original shows on USA. By the time we finally were ready to go to sleep, it was almost 10, however, that is when Nick woke up. And was up for most of the night. First, I believe, it was night terrors. Then it was his teeth really bothering him. Finally it was his stomach hurting him. By the time he finally slept for any length of time, it was 3:30 a.m. I am so exhausted today.
Still it was a great time. The warm sea breeze felt amazing. The water was gorgeous. And the joy of experiencing the beach through my children was worth every discomfort. Every experience becomes new again, because I get to see it through my children's eyes, and that is a wonderful thing.