My family has been vacationing at the same beach for over twenty years. It's become a sacred week we look forward to all year. We start our countdown sometime after Christmas and talk for months about which house we are going to stay in, which side of the isle we are on, and all of the other fun details. All extended family is invited but every year is different in who is able to join us. I love this beach. I love what it means to my family. I love that my sisters and I explored every inch of it growing up and I have loved watching my kids do the same for the last three years.
This summer we had family come from Wisconsin, Idaho, Georgia and North Carolina to celebrate my cousin Tim's son, Tyler, turning 16. So many wonderful things happened this year we had a lot to celebrate. My cousin, Rhiannon, and her husband, Travis, are pregnant! Mollie and Drew got engaged days before the trip and Mandie, Tim and Creighton are now living in Asheville, N.C. We are so happy that we will get to see them more often. We felt especially blessed that my grandparents were well enough to make it this year. Like I said, a LOT to celebrate and so much to be thankful for and over 30 people to celebrate with.
We had a blast and Patrick and Madelyn enjoyed every moment. It was awesome to have so many kids around! Patrick and Jack (my cousin Dan's son) are about a year apart and they were inseparable the whole week. It was so much fun to watch them goof around and just be boys. Besides riding the waves Patrick's favorite thing at the beach this year was a dump truck that Papa had found. He played with that thing every. single. day. He also enjoyed sliding down the slide into the pool and jumping off the diving board. Most of the time Patrick is sweet to his little sister but this year they really had fun playing together, not just around each other. They chased each other, buried each other in the sand, splashed and swam and danced like the sillies they are during Aunt Mollie's Zumba "class". On our last morning there, after everyone had left, we were on the beach and the kids were playing in the sand. Out of nowhere Patrick cocks his head to the side and asks, "Mad, do you love me?" Madelyn's face lights up with a huge smile as she promptly pours a shovel of sand on his foot, giggles, then runs away. I think that's a yes.
Madelyn was all over the place, as per usual. She loved the freedom of running forever down the beach after the birds, or following the waves crashing or just running away from us. If she knew what the word freedom meant I believe she would have yelled it while jubilantly running head first into the ocean. She would do that as well. Sprint into the ocean, I mean, when she thought no one was looking. We let her go one time, just to see what she would do, kind of thinking if she got knocked over maybe she'll be more careful next time. She got pummeled by a wave, stood up with a mouth full of salt water, looked at us with a huge grin on her face and lunged back toward the surf. Not exactly the lesson we were trying to teach. Dumb parents (we've only been doing this for three years, as you can see, we are still learning!).
It's easy to see why Patrick and Maddy couldn't get enough of Creighton the cutie!
Patch and Jack, two little goofballs
Daddy and Patrick playing in the sand
Happy 16th Tyler!
We had an amazing week making memories I will never forget. Thank you to everyone who came, everyone who coordinated this wonderful trip, and to all of my family. I love you!
Here's a video Toby put together with some of the highlights from the week. Enjoy!
And here's a slide show with plenty more pictures. You can also see the whole gallery here. I know I'm biased, but there are a TON of cute pictures of all the kids :)