Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Extended Beach Stay

(In case you just want to see pics, look to the right under PICTURES for the link to all of my beach pics)

So, we've been home for about 3 weeks now, but I am finally getting around to posting pics and writing about our extended stay at the beach. As most of you know, Scott is still in the National Guard and he trained for an entire month down at Eglin AFB in Florida. The kids and I joined him about 4 days into his training and stuck around for 3 weeks, playing at the beach.

We got in really late that Saturday, so there was no time for the beach, but we went as soon as possible the next morning since the kids had been anxiously awaiting it. Lydia took her first steps on the beach that day and the kids ventured out into the water despite the fact we had asked them not to get their clothes wet (what were we thinking??).

Our accomodations were up and down there. We were originally told we would be able to get off post housing, so we booked a great condo in Destin. However, when Scott arrived, they wouldn't give him the non-availability statement we needed and they put him in a single occupancy room. We stayed there for a week (some of us less willingly than others :) The room had one bed, a sink, a shower, toilet, and a small fridge and microwave. The kids didn't seem to mind much except for the fact they had to be quiet all the time, couldn't stomp on the ground, and pretty much could do nothing but sit still or we would freak out that someone would complain about them being there. We did our best to stay out of the hotel that week and made it a point to visit the beach every day. The kids enjoyed Postl Point which is a small beach area on post that is right on the intercoastal waterway. It was great because they were able to venture into the water without too many waves and I was able to keep an eye on all three of them easily. We were able to develop a great system that first week that helped to keep us all sane. Pretty much we would get up, put sunscreen on and head to the beach. About 12:30 we would pack up the toys and head to the outside shower where we would rinse off all the toys (and shoes, that was Catherine's favorite part) and then put them in the van. We would then grab our backpack with soap and clean clothes and head to the indoor showers near the beach. We would all shower off and I would redress the children in dry clothes and load them in the van. We'd drive back to the hotel, eat lunch and I would attempt to put all three down for a nap. Usually on those days, Scott would get off about 2:00 and then head to the gym. When he'd return, the kids would wake up and we would all head our to do something as a family. Sometimes we would go to the beach, sometimes we went for a walk or into town for dinner. Then back to the hotel and everyone went to bed.

The second week was a bit different. We were fortunate to get moved into family lodging which was more like a one bedroom apartment and had a pull out couch as well as a full kitchen. We were also closer to Postl Point although we didn't go as often that week. Harbin did a Vacation Bible School at the local First Baptist church and dropping him and picking him up seemed to fill our mornings. The girls and I would drop him off and then head to something- usually the library or the park next to the library. We actually found one of the best parks I have ever been to and even took Harbin back one day after VBS to see it. This park not only had 8-10 different playsets, it also had kid music playing and a BUBBLE MACHINE (for those of you with no children or children over 5, you may not understand the excitement over this machine--- the rest of you are gasping awe of such a wonderful creation!). This bubble machine was incredible- you pushed the button and it blew bubbles around the park for about 5 minutes!!! When they stopped, just push the button again!!!! AMAZING!!!

Anyways, Father's Day fell the weekend we moved to the "new hotel" as the kids called it and we had a great time celbrating with Scott. The kids gave him Mountain Dew flip-flops and we took him to see Dale Earnhart Jr's show car down at the Destin Harbour. We cooked out for Father's Day down near the beach and had a great time just spending it as a family.

The third week we moved back to the old hotel (new room) and made do. It was a bit easier on me and the kids this time since we were certain other people were "sneaking kids" in their rooms too. We didn't expect such quietness and perfection out of them this time and that made life much easier.

Harbin enjoyed his Boomerang Express VBS week and had all of us singing the songs by the end. The Sunday before the VBS we had attended the church service which was run by kids that week and was their intro for the VBS. The kids were on stage singing and I guess Harbin thought that was what it was all about because the first day home from camp I asked him if he had a good time. He answered "no, they didn't let me sing on stage". I asked him if he wanted to not go anymore and just stay home with me and the girls and he quickly replied with an emphatic "NO". I guess he was having a good time, but next year maybe I should enroll him in Chorus Camp or something!!

Lydia celebrated her first birthday down there in Florida. We didn't do much, but the kids did try to make her feel special. They picked her out a few presents (things they really wanted of course) and we took her to Red Lobster for dinner. She enjoyed getting to eat- as usual, and loved her birthday cake. The kids let her open her presents and she even got to touch one of the lobsters from the tank.

The trip was great fun and I even managed to squeeze in a little homeschooling while down there. We talked a lot about hermit crabs since we kept finding them and discussed how they move from one "home" to another just like we are trying to do. Harbin was fascinated by all of the fish swimming around and quickly learned that large groups of fish were called a "school of fish". Later in the week we were driving and he said "hey there's a school of birds" which of course made my job as "teacher" even easier when I was able to then explain to him that different animals have different "group names".

I really enjoyed getting to see my girls play together when we were at the beach. Harbin would often venture to find friends to play with and it really seemed to allow me to see how close together my girls are in age. With Lydia walking now, she can be mnore involved in what the big kids are doing. Harbin would run off (not far) with a friend and the girls would play with sand toys together carrying them from the water back to whatever they were doing in the sand. It was neat to see this, since so often Harbin and Catherine are joined at the hip.

All in all our trip was great. We got to spend a lot more time with Scott than we thought we would and the kids adored the time at the beach. It was fun to drive by old places and tell Harbin about his first time at a restaurant or show him the hospital where he was born. We drove past our old base house, however, there is nothing there but sand now. They have demolished most of the older housing on the base and our house was one of them.

Well, it's late and I am exhausted. I have a lot more blogging to do over the next few days to catch up on all the happenings over the last two weeks. Be sure to check back soon as I hope to be caught on summer happenings before Scott goes back to work on August 3rd.

Until then...
the mom.

No comments: