Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Beach Day Trips with Toddlers

I’m not really a beach person.  My skin is super fair so I burn immediately no matter what I do about sunscreen.  And sand, let's be honest, is the most annoying thing ever.  The beaches in Texas are less than impressive.  So yea, I don't feel bad saying that the beach just isn’t my favorite place.  I don’t hate it, it’s just that I’m not one to suggest “hey let’s go to the beach”.  Even though we only live about 45 minutes from the beach, we rarely go there.  Beach Day Trips with Toddlers- Life with the Hawleys
However, despite the fact that I’m not a beach person, I do appreciate the greatness of the ocean and what a remarkable creation it is.  Of course I was looking forward to the first time our kids saw the vast sea (even if you could also see oil rigs from the beach).  When Dutch was one, I wanted to take him to the beach, but every day we planned to go it always ended up being a rainy day.  So when the next summer rolled around, Dutch was 1 and Ellis was a few months old, I had matching suits all ready for the babies to go see the beach for the first time.  It took us until August (2016) to actually get to the beach (because .....well, kids); it was our first vacation in 4 years so we knew it had to be a great day (a vacation can be a day long right?).  I was a bit nervous about the day: you know kids have so much gear plus all of the beach gear, and what if we packed up the car & drive there only to find out that the kids hate the beach?  It was just a bunch of unknowns.  We decided that we were just going to go for the morning.  After the kids woke up, we planned to have breakfast, hop in the car, & go.  We would play on the beach, have lunch there, & then drive home for naps.  We figured that we could manage a morning.  And y’all let me just tell you: it was a bazillion times better than I could have ever imagined!DSC_0030DSC_0409DSC_0422
The day was a bit overcast so the beach was completely empty; we missed all traffic and we had miles of beach all to ourselves.  We saw dolphins swimming up the shore, fed the birds our leftover tortillas from home, and took the kids to Buccees (a landmark of the gas station variety around here lol).  Around noon the thunderclouds rolled in and the rain started, so we decided that that would be the perfect time for lunch.  We had delicious lunch with lots of seafood, and then the rain stopped so we went back across the street to the beach.  I nursed Ellis on the beach and then we hopped back into the car and headed home for naps.  It was just one of those easy simple days just playing and being together.  Even though I forgot my baby wrap and diaper bag (come on mom, get it together), it was just such a pleasant day.  It was an easy day; toddlers really don't need that much for a single day trip.  Not too much to pack or preparation required. To manage the sand, if you pack nothing else (i.e. I may have forgotten my diaper bag but I packed this and we were fine lol) pack baby powder.  After playing on the beach apply baby powder to your legs to rub the sand off before getting back into the car.DSC_0450DSC_0472DSC_0572
We, as parents, realized after our August trip to the beach that we are getting more and more mobile and able to do quick day trips like this to the beach to build memories for our kids.  So even though I’m not a beach person, we were both really looking to go again. At the beginning of October (2016) , we loaded everyone back into the car and headed back to the beach.  We went to a different stretch of beach this time, and again were the only ones there.  It was a sunny day this time, but I think since public schools were in session, and Texans were starting to think it was getting cold, no one was at the beach.  Dutch flew his kite, and rode piggy back into the water with daddy, while Ellis took a nap on the beach in my arms, we went on a family walk and looked for sea shells.  Easy and simple. It was a great opportunity to talk about how mighty and powerful our God is to create something so peaceful yet powerful.DSC_0055DSC_0041DSC_0065DSC_0097
It was just so easy and comfortable.  We had a blast.  Beach trips with toddlers really aren't bad at all. Exhausting? For sure, but everything is exhausting with toddlers, no matter where you are.  I think my tune is starting to change about the beach.  Don’t get me wrong, our beaches are still hideous, but I adore watching my kids explore the greatness of the beach with jumbo eyes.  As my kids get more independent & more exploratory, I imagine there will be many future beach trips in store for us especially if they continue to be this fun and easy. And I'm okay with that :-)
xoxo Darby

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