Nov 24, 2015

Beach 2015: Tuesday

Okay, now I have to get serious.

After being sick last week and not posting, I'm in serious jeopardy of missing my One Beach Post A Week And We'll Be Done By Christmas goal.


Okay. Errbody calm down.

Tuesday at the beach dawned beautiful and dorsal-free. As we had come to expect.

A few of the braver souls on the beach ventured out into the ocean that morning, but for the most part, all up and down the shore, everyone stayed put on the sand or in the shallows.

To protect my husband from the wrath of my sister, I will neither confirm nor deny that a couple of those dots out there are Grayson and any number of our boys.

My lips are sealed.

One thing the kids all loved was taking lunch out to the pool.

By the by, have you ever allowed 13 children to take paper plates full of food out to a pool deck, trusting them to hold onto said plates IN THE TRADEWINDS and clean up after themselves, which they don't even do at home?

It did not go well.

Tuesday evening before supper, we took time to run out and get the cousins' annual photo in front of the ocean.

Amelia was having NONE OF IT.

We'd all wondered if it would be Gideon we'd be chasing around, trying to get to cooperate for the photos.

NOPE. It was the girl. Who was, according to her, "feewing shy."

Jake tried to help me out.

It didn't work. She was stoic.

Steadfast in her refusal to participate in any way, shape or form.


Meanwhile, on the OTHER end of the lineup ...

Man down!

The kids do love the beach at dusk.

Still couldn't get The Princess to cooperate.

I thought maybe if we got her together with all the other "As," they'd bring her out of her shell.


Let me just tell you, I've never been tempted to go blonde. (I mean, copper doesn't count, right?) But I am soooo envious of Amelia's natural color and highlights.

My hair was blonde until about 4th grade, which I assume is where she got it ... and I hope hers lasts longer than mine did!

After supper that evening, Amelia talked Abby into "reading" her Frozen coloring book to her. Again.

I mean, if you've never read a coloring book, I can't tell you how exciting it all is.

You can get really carried away.

It's just all sorts of a good time.

Reading with Abby just proves that you don't have to have amazing illustrations or flowery prose to impress kids. Abby can make even a plain old coloring book lots of fun.

I loved watching these cousins hang out together and can't wait to be with them again later this week.*

*For Thanksgiving. Which I promise to recap here before Easter.

Nov 23, 2015


I'm so sorry I disappeared on you without a word last week, Internet.

It was purely unintentional.

You might have noticed if you follow me on Twitter or if you check my sidebar occasionally for Twitter updates that I spent three days last week on Hilton Head Island with two of my closest friends, Cough and Fever.

Well, I was there with real people, too. But have you ever been to an island and stayed in a beachfront condo and not even SEEN the beach? I can now say I have done that.

We arrived Saturday and departed Tuesday, and I never saw nor set foot on the sand. I DID, however, eat some AMAZING cinnamon roll bread pudding. Uh huh. You read that right.

Cinnamon. Roll. Bread. Pudding.

I also learned how to play Farkle! Because you can do that sitting down and expending almost zero energy. I tell you what, I was a JOY to be with last week. A JOY.

I hope not to be quite as absent around these parts this week. I missed you guys.

Nov 12, 2015

Seasonal reminders from Grass Stains

We just had our family pictures taken last weekend for our Christmas cards, which reminded me that I haven't posted my annual Seasonal Reminders for you. So. 

Hopefully you've already had your pictures taken and perhaps you've even ordered your cards! If so, you're ahead of me.

If you haven't, and if it's been more than a year since you've had a good head shot taken, have your photographer snap a couple of you and your spouse individually on the day you shoot. They'll probably be better than your latest selfie, and you'll be surprised how convenient it is to have one handy at all times.

Also about this time every year, I'm supposed to remind you that it's time to order your 2015 Christmas ornaments before Pottery Barn runs out of them. When you order this kind, you have to order it with the personalization "2015."

(If you're new here, I order a photo frame Christmas ornament for each of my kids every Fall with the year engraved on it. My Christmas tree is chock full of them. It's my favorite tradition and our kids love to hang their own ornaments on the tree every year.)

This year Pottery Barn has that rectangular one that I always order, plus a red enamel one, a white enamel one, and a gold one, all of which come engraved with "2015."

I am not affiliated with Pottery Barn in any way and don't get anything in return for mentioning them every year. CLEARLY I'M DOING IT WRONG.

But speaking of affiliates, if you haven't set your home page to MY Affiliate home page, this would be an EXCELLENT time to do that.

I know my posting schedule has gone to he** in a handbasket this year, so thanks to those of you who've stuck around. It's been a busy, busy year, but I'm trying to keep up. If you would like to support my blog at no cost to you, you could change your Amazon bookmark to (copy and paste it): 

That is my personal Amazon Affiliate home page link. It would be a "passive" way to support my work here, because a small portion of your eligible purchases would be paid to me as a commission each time you make a purchase there.

Thanks for considering it.

Nov 10, 2015

Beach 2015: Monday

As I go back through these pictures from Beach Week 2015, it brings back how weird it felt at the time to be AT the beach, being limited TO the beach. In other words, staying largely out of the ocean for the entire week.

For comparison, I looked back at Monday 2014, Monday 2012, Monday 2011 and Monday 2010, and everyone was having a BLAST in the ocean. (On Monday 2013, the guys next to us caught a shark and we made everyone get out of the water.) (And we were in the ocean all day on Monday 2009, but apparently I was "trying not to fill up my memory card," so I didn't take as many pictures that day.)

The kids really did make the best of it, though. This was Jonah's first trip back to the beach with us in years, and having him, Gideon, Matt and Patrice with us was a real joy.

COLEMAN. I mean. He is entirely too much.

The ocean restrictions were perhaps a leeeetle on the tame side for Amelia, but if we're being honest, she probably loved them. They kept all the Big Kids closer to shore and WITH HER AT ALL TIMES.

Which is exactly where a princess wants her subjects.

If any of the kids eventually choose engineering or architecture as a career, Ima give this Beach Week partial credit. The number of hours they spent perfecting their sand creations was beyond. BEYOND.


Gideon is always very busy. And his Granddaddy (our kids' Uncle Gerry) is his favorite partner-in-crime.

Jonah was amazing in the ocean! He was so excited about it, and his enthusiasm was contagious.

It's hard to tell that his enthusiasm carried over to Gideon in these pictures, but Giddy loved "flying" over the ocean in Grant's arms.

Giddy can get stoic when he feels like it.

For example, when a camera is pointed in his direction.

So can Amelia, which is why I took this SWEET SWEET PICTURE of her taking a walk with her daddy down the beach omg.

Two peas in a pod, Ali and Anna Kate ... if you're new to the blog and/or these beach trips, all of the "girl cousins" have names that begin with the letter A. Abby, Anna Kate, Ali and Amelia.

I love these ladies! This might have been Kim's day to cook, because I have no idea why she wouldn't have been in this picture, otherwise. (Also, I didn't have a selfie stick back then, WHICH IS A CRYING SHAME because even though they are The Absolute Worst and are So Totally Embarrassing to use in public, they DO let you take pictures that include everyone.)

Every day just before lunch, we'd head up to the pool for a quick dip. Monday was the first day Amelia got up the nerve to jump in off the side. AND DID SHE EVER. She specifically asked me to include these for your viewing pleasure. (There were more. So many, many more. She wanted me to include them ALL. I am sparing your eyeballs.)

While we were out there watching Amelia jump, Gideon got all the Big Kids out of the water and lined them up on the side of the pool. And then ...

He's a mischief-maker, that one. He did it over and over again, and it was adorable.

Have I mentioned how much fun it was to have Jonah and Gideon there? The family felt complete.

Again, not sure if you've ever been to the beach in the middle of the summer -- this was July 4th week! -- when no one was in the water, but it's a little eerie. I really hope sharks aren't in the news again next summer.

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