Beach Trip - 2016

We're settling back in after our annual trip to the beach.

We are so thankful that we get to use this time-share condo of my parents every year.  We stay in the exact same unit every year.  The kiddos always have so much fun counting: This was E and N's 10th year going, D's 9th year, LK's 7th year, G's 5th year, and A's 2nd year.

This place holds such precious memories through the years.  Birthdays, adoption days, every Father's Day for the past 10 years...and this is where we were when we first got the call about Abigail two years ago!

Everyone else in all the other 23 units is there every year also.  It is neat seeing all the same faces and seeing how everyone's children have grown and changed.  Our kiddos had a big time playing soccer/catch/hide-and-seek/find-the-snake (3-4ft long!  But thankfully it was not poisonous).  Their favorite buddies this year: Brent, Joel, Caleb, Molly, Page, Peyton, JB, and Abigail (a precious girl who was also adopted from China).

Last year at the beach it was us, my parents, and my brother and his family.  But Jeff recently changed jobs so they couldn't come this year - phooey.  We were so glad to have Lao Lao and Papa there, though.  The kiddos were back and forth (and back and forth) between our condo and theirs all the time...day and night.  At home, we live only about 5 miles apart...but the kiddos wish we lived this close all the time!

This is the view from our balcony:

But this is what my view usually looks like:

I spend all of rest-time out here every day (1.5 hr)...and when I wake up before everyone else I sneak out here to do my quiet time.  

Gabriel is old enough now to remember our annual beach trip and how much fun it is...and he was so looking forward to this trip this year.  He made big plans to bring his "mighty machines"...and he remembered and packed them himself:

He was just a little pleased with himself:

(It seems like 100 years ago that he took his first trip here...but it was just four years ago.)

LK still is not crazy about the beach.  The pool?  Yes.  Playing with the other kids in "the field"?  Definitely.  But not out on the sand and in the waves.  Not her cup of tea.  But she does a (pretty ) good job of not complaining, and waiting patiently until it is time to go back up to the pool.  This is the only solo shot I got of her on the (dreaded) beach:

The other three "bigs" still love getting out in the ocean!

We were just glad we were finally able to get out in the water.  The first few days we were at the beach there were horrible rip currents.  The alerts (which you KNOW Noah stayed on top of) actually labeled them "life threatening."  So, yeah...we stayed in real shallow the first few days.  

The last few days, thankfully, were clear and the kiddos had a ball!

Papa and the kiddos on the lookout for waves coming in. 

And the big kids totally inspired Abigail.  She had to get out there also:

Thankfully Daddy was happy to help her:

I put 35 box braids in A's hair (with three pink/clear beads on the bottom of each) and hoped they would last the whole week. (In fact, I banked on it so much that I did not bring any of her hair stuff to re-do her hair.  Brave?  Stupid?  Yes.)  When we were out on the beach, I had her wear a hat to keep sand out...and the style held up really well.  Win!

But the majority of our time on the beach was spent digging in the sand:

I should have gotten pics of some of the glorious, big creations that all 8 of us dug.

One thing Jas and I dug together?  A mini pool for the two youngest:

I saw this on Pinterest and FB right before our trip.  I just bought a shower liner, and we had to dig a little, and haul a little bit of water.  Totally worth it...they enjoyed it!

We also made our annual trek to the bowling alley down the road...the kiddos look so forward to this!  It is so funny:  We don't ever go bowling the rest of the year...but this is now a non-negotiable part of our beach trip.

Abigail bowled her first game ever, with a little bit of human - and non-human - help:
Look at her little size 10 Toddler bowling shoes!!

Our other bowling partners-in-crime: My parents and Aunt Sheila and her friend, Bill:

Jas came back to beat me by one point in the last frame.  I wish I took a picture of the scoreboard!

Not until I was downloading pictures did I realize that this is the only picture we have of all 8 of us.  boo-hiss

Another boo-hiss: We only took pictures with our phones this year (it is a pain to drag the DSLR around on the beach, and I always get sand in it.)  But the pictures are so much better with a DSLR.  I just need to suck it up and drag....more carefully.

Elisabeth left the beach a couple days early this year (I'll write more on that later...suffice it to say that I do NOT like my babies growing up!)....so she missed our trip to Toys 'R Us (my "deprived" kiddos have only been in one of these a few times, and think they are the greatest!)...and to wings for lunch:

The other off-beach thing we did together was to see Finding Dory.  (We hardly ever go see movies at home - maybe once a year - but this has become an annual tradition also.)

This was A's first time in a movie theater.  She and G and did sooo good sitting and watching the movie.    And it is so cute to now hear Abigail spotting "Dowy" everywhere!

We hated to leave at the end of the week...and yet, we were so glad to get back home.  Funny how that works.

Bye-bye, Beach...until next year!

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