Beach Vacation - Part 29:09 AM
Our week at the beach continues...
A house filled with my parents, 6 siblings, 5 spouses and 10 grandchildren.
As you might imagine, there are moments when it is extremely chaotic. Squeals, screams, cries, arguments, laughter, tickle-fests, sippy cups everywhere, "low-chairs" for babies, beach towels, life jackets, floaties, rafts, plastic buckets, bottles and bottles and bottles of sunscreen of every factor imaginable and in typical Dennis fashion - a book for every person and a place for every person to sit and read. And although it can be chaotic, it has also been extremely enjoyable. And yes, very relaxing.
Which is one thing I do really enjoy about our vacations. We all are comfortable hiding away with a good book, knowing that others feel equally comfortable doing the same thing.
Because there are so many of us, coordinating meals on a trip like this could be extremely difficult. Or expensive if we were to eat out every night.
Our solution for this has been for each family to sign up for preparing a large meal for everyone one night of the week. There is a list on the fridge reminding everyone of who will be cooking that night.
It has been a little challenging for Kyle and I with our nutritarian life-style because most meals (except ours) involve meat. But there have been plenty of salads and occasionally we'll make a little exception and eat a bit of chicken. But overall, we've been sticking to our plan!
There are 2 refrigerators and everyone has been responsible for providing breakfast, lunches and snacks for their own families. And even amid chips and sodas, we've stuck to our fruits and veggies! Although I did eat a few Doritos the other day.
One of the most precious things is watching the babies interact. Here, Morgan (Chad and Melissa's baby) watches Dorien. Baby D is fascinated with those smaller than himself and loves to lie down on the floor in front of Morgan and grin and chatter to him. Morgan seems to equally enjoy it.
Morgan is 5 months old and Dorien is almost 15 months.
Although there is a beach nearby and a pool below, we have individually and collectively been very good about monitoring the whereabouts of our children. The kids can't be near the pool without a life jacket or other floatation device, and there happens to be 2 balconies which are fantastic for letting the kids play on. And they frequently end up there with a stack of books. And they love for Brooklyn to read to them.
Which she sweetly does. Her reading skills amaze me, as does her patience and gentleness with her younger siblings and cousins. It's funny because Avery, Merrick and Sawyer (each born within a few months of each other) have some interesting dynamics and alternately play really well together/fight really hard with each other. But when you throw Brooklyn and August into the mix, it settles them down. The younger ones follow B & A eagerly!
Josh and Lauren preparing a meal for everyone. They made PW's Sloppy Joes, baked beans with garlic bread and salad.
Here's the sandy path to our beach as viewed from the first balcony. This is a sight I could get used to seeing every day. The steady pounding of the surf on the beach is hypnotic and the ever-changing hues of the ocean make me itch for my paintbrush!
August enjoying the afternoon sun and breezes on the balcony.
Yep, reading a book...and getting hugged by my son...pretty perfect.
Time well spent.
Dorien gazes out the window to the pool below.
Anna reads to the cousins on the balcony while dinner is being prepared.
Another view of the beach from our house.
Footsteps in the sand. I'm not sure there's anything more lovely.
Occasionally you have to mediate some disputes among the littles.
Lauren, Josh and Gage. Did I mention that Lauren is pregnant with number 3? Due mid-December. Yeah!
Dad! Come follow me!!!
My sand fortress.
Although not all the children have enjoyed the beach, the ocean, the sand and the saltwater - my children have loved it! We spend lots of time each day floating over waves and playing in the sand!
Brooklyn gazes off into the sunset...I actually have a picture of here in this exact same position from a few years ago in Sanibel. I dread comparing just how much she's changed in those few years.
From baby to little girl!
I can hear the woosh of the water just looking at this image.
Tio Mikey and August
A beach sunset
You can't stage stuff like this. I peered over the couch to see what August was up to and found his arm wrapped around Sawyer's neck while he managed to play games on Kyle's iphone. Avery snuggled up as close as she could get to August as well. And Sawyer's tiny topknot cracks me up!
Our kitchen/bar area
What a day in the sun will do for you.
Snack-time! Although my two bigger kids are way too big for those chairs, because their small frames will fit, they love to sit there.
My food night was Tuesday night and I made a huge pot of vegetable soup, a big kale/green salad, bruschetta and home-made chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches for dessert. It was well received.
Meredith and Beth curl up on a couch and just relax with their books.
Gage, Dorien and Tag working on their Cheerios. There is nothing sweeter than watching these 3 hang out. It's hilarious. Right now, Dorien is the only one walking and he pretty much watches the other two with skepticism. He's very independent, except when he sees me. Then he runs over and grabs my leg.
A storm blowing in down the beach.
More pictures to follow....because we're still here until Sunday!