Of course, the second thing that was different this year from years past was that Patrick was there. And holy crap does he love the beach. Patrick has been to the beach once before and we were hoping he'd still enjoy it as much as he did that time. We were not let down. He loved every part of it. The sand, the wind, the water, the birds ...especially the birds. If he grows up to be a bird watcher after this trip, I can't say we'll be surprised. Every time a bird flew by he had to stop everything he was doing, point, say/yell "bird" and make sure everyone else was aware of the bird's presence. We took Cheerios out one day and threw them in the air to attract the birds and I thought Patrick might explode with excitement. We had about a dozen birds no more than ten feet above our heads (13 feet above Patrick's - for all you detail oriented readers).
Patrick also had some great bonding time with Angie's side of the family. It was awesome to have his Aunt Mandie in from Idaho who keeps up with him mostly through emails, phone calls and this site. And Aunt Mandie knows how to make friends quick - she brought Patrick's birthday present with her. She and her husband Tim got him a fire truck that he can ride on or push that plays more songs and makes more sounds than I know what to do with. It even has a spinning red light on the front. Patrick must have thought this was a "beach toy" because when he saw it back at our house he squealed with surprised delight and has been playing with it ever since.
Patrick also became very close with his Meme and Papa. Papa taught him how to wash windows and every morning they'd go out on the deck and wash all the salt off the windows so we had a clear view of the ocean from inside. To me, it doesn't sound all that fun, but to Patrick it was a new game he got to share with his Papa. His Papa Joe also let him fly his first kite. Patrick picked out the clown fish kite in keeping with the beach theme and got to take it for a spin on the beach. He later found the Tigger kite and although it was too windy to fly, it had to be put up in the living room so Patrick could growl at it every time he walked by.
There's a ton more to write about but - like Patrick having his first crush (he misses you Betsy :) ), sliding down the sand slide, going for a wagon ride to the pier, learning where the moon is, etc. - but, as usual, I've probably gone on too long already. I'll let the pictures and their captions tell the rest of the week. Here are a few more of our favorites followed by the slideshow of all of them (or, you can click here to see them all at once).
Looking at us and signing for "more waves"
Unaware of impending doom
Big kiss for Meme
Gettin' a free ride from Matt