Will wonders never cease?
The boys absolutely could not WAIT to get out on the beach on Sunday morning. It was all I could do to get them to stop here and let me take a picture before they headed out into the ocean to jump waves.
I knew once they went out there, they might not come in for hours.
I didn't mention it yesterday, but Jake took off from the house on Saturday (while being loosely supervised by other adults on the back porch), crossed the dunes and was ALREADY IN THE OCEAN before I caught up to him. He was trying to get out to Grayson, Nathaniel and Nick, who wanted to get in some waves as soon as we unloaded our van on Saturday, but they were all out in water over Jake's head.
I ran like a bat outta to get to him before he got in too deep, yelling his name as I kicked my shoes off in the deep, shifting sand and tried to reach him. Luckily he stopped about hip-deep, but my heart had almost literally stopped. So, you know, nice to start our Vacation Week off with a heart attack.
Oh sorry. This is supposed to be a post about SUNDAY. I forgot.
Anyway, Jake basically saw no reason why he couldn't race in and out of the ocean at will, so we had to review the rules a few times. After last year's debacle with Nathaniel, I wasn't taking any chances. At all.
No matter how many kids were in the ocean at any given time, there were always several on the beach. (We have nine boys and four girls in the family, ages 11 years to 10 months.)
We're so fortunate that the kids love each other so much and enjoy each others' company as much as they do.
For the most part, they're really comfortable in the water, but more importantly, they play well both independently and in groups.
On a good year, these kids see each other twice, at either Thanksgiving or Christmas, and on this beach trip.
Before we left home, I asked my boys what they were most looking forward to, and they said, "Seeing our cousins!"
I know they love the beach and all the fun that comes with it, but most of all, they look forward to seeing one another.
I grew up feeling very close to several of my cousins, even though we lived in different states, and I'm so glad our kids will get to experience that bond, too.
I didn't get pictures of every child in the family that first day, but throughout the week I'll introduce you to all of them.
I'm sure long-time readers are surprised to see how much these cousins of ours have grown!
One of my favorite aspects of the week is getting to spend time with my sisters- and brothers-in-law, who live in North Carolina and South Carolina.
Grant and Debbie
We talk on the phone occasionally, and they read the blog, but there's just no substitute for getting to spend time with them in person. They're a good hang.
Grant and Gerry
Gerry's sister Melanie got to come down for a couple of nights and visit with us, and it's always so much fun to see her! You may remember her as our "theatre director" ... in previous years when we've vacationed over the 4th of July, she coordinated music revues featuring the kids.
Will and Melanie
But this year there was no musical revue, so we spent Sunday enjoying the relaxing locale, some of us more obviously than others, GARY.
There was never a shortage of open arms to hold Amelia while I snapped action shots ...
Kim and Amelia
And although she wasn't beaming 100 percent of the time, she did very well for her first day on the beach, ever.
Something that simply seemed to MAKE EVERYONE'S LIFE was when an icee cart came rolling down the beach. Nick even ran up to the house to get his wallet so he could buy some. The kids descended on the poor guy for free samples like ants on a honey trail.
They were hanging onto that cart like it contained the Secret of Life.
Shortly before lunch, Amelia conked out while Tiffany was holding her.
I mean, that girl was sleeping HARD. Sand particles on her face and all.
I guess it's easy to sleep like that when all you hear is the roar of the ocean and you have a cool breeze continuously blowing across your body, which is conveniently draped over a nice lady in a pink swimsuit.
I wouldn't know anything about what a long nap on the beach feels like, SINCE I HAVE TO MAINTAIN 110 PERCENT VIGILANCE AT ALL TIMES TO SAVE MY DAREDEVIL CHILDREN FROM THEMSELVES.
Finally, after about seven hours on the beach, we came in and showered everyone, and then Nick settled in at the corner table with Charlie and Mikey to do some drawing. (How much do I love that it was the boys who were being so crafty, and not the girls?)
Sunday was my night to cook (I'll share the menu and recipes soon), and then after we cleaned the kitchen and got everyone to bed, it was time for the adults to hang out and talk. I think most of them made it about an hour or two before calling it a night, given our long day.
But it was only Sunday, the very beginning of our week. It felt like we had all the time in the world at that point! But of course, the days always speed by way too quickly ...