Bugs or no, I am a beach girl. I love the water, the sea shells, the sounds, the smells, the sand, and the sun. At the beach, I can wake up and walk in the morning. My hair naturally lightens. My skin clears. I loosen up.
Pools help, too. Actually, in our scheme of beach days, pools are an absolute necessity. Our perfect schedule: Beach first thing in the morning. Move to pool late morning for snacks. I go up to make sandwiches around noon. Eat lunch around the pool and drip dry, then head upstairs for naps. Late afternoon swim, movies after an early dinner, and everyone to bed at a reasonable hour.
We built different sand castles each day. Here is the octopus.
Will and I snorkeled, used a net, or just reached down and grabbed up sand dollars and shells to decorate whatever creation Paul and Kate supervised on the beach. (The big guy above has round shells on the ends of his long arms and sand dollar eyes.)
We took days off, too, to give us all a little break from the sun. One morning we drove to Destin. After missing out on a fishing boat trip (it filled up before we arrived), we went to play in the water fountains in Destin Commons, took our first-ever build-a-bear experience (Will’s dog has stars on him, has a surfboard and is named “Fred”, Kate’s dog has a t-shirt and is named “Boy.”) Then we walked over to the movie theatre and saw “Up.” The kids hugged their dogs, wore the 3D glasses, and took in all the movie without incident.
(This particular trip wasn’t without sacrifice… after we missed the boat, we had a little parking lot fender-bender. Guy flying into the lot didn’t stop at the stop sign and Paul backed into him. No damage to our car; his passenger door bent in. We exchanged insurance information and Paul reported the incident immediately… we’ll see what happens next.)
Will and Kate were great play partners, particularly in public.
I had no idea there was a National Flip Flop Day.
I found at least 30 hermit crabs. They were all over the sandbar, in every single shell I picked up, no matter how large or how small. I took a few to shore for the kids to look at.
And also because this shell was the COOLEST SHELL EVER. Paul called it Goth Crab, which was very appropriate. The shell was actually darker (the umbrella is red and casts a red reflection on everything) — actually a black color — with spikes along the edge. Seriously cool. I secretly hoped this guy would hop in another shell or Paul would let us take him home. (Both were equally unlikely.)
Isn’t that shell cool?
We let them run around in here for about 20 minutes before setting them free.
Here is the big fish. Originally the idea was the have a HUGE mouth and put Kate inside. Instead, Will and I found pointed sand dollar pieces to use as teeth on the bottom of the mouth (hard to see due to their color, but they are there!) The boogie board became the fin, gills defined the sides. He reminded us of the piranha fish in the Amazon.
Another off-beach day was at the Pensacola Air Museum. Initially we were meeting my Mom here to bring her back to the beach with us. She didn’t show, but we enjoyed the museum so much we returned on the way back to New Orleans on Sunday (with me limping along). During our first visit we watched the 3D Grand Canyon IMAX movie, River at Risk, which we heartily recommend. Both kids were awesome.
And they loved the overwhelming museum and the amazing exhibits.
The ocean was calm for the majority of our trip — so calm that we found it impossible to sneak out to go sailing (something we’ve been trying to do now for over a decade). Well, technically we were thinking of going on our last afternoon after having an early dinner. But we made the mistake of splitting a frozen adult beverage and were a little too fuzzy to sail afterward.
It was so clear that seeing all sorts of fish was incredibly easy. Just beautiful.
Will was determined to catch a fish. I caught a jellyfish for him that he took to the beach and studied with several beach-friends, but managed to only catch fish when Will wasn’t around and I wasn’t trying.
The fish nibbled our feet. It tickled.
We made drip castles, with steep walls in the front so that the water had to slowly work under and around the fort before taking it out.
I found another full sand dollar and a huge side of a shell. Neither were found with the snorkel, though… my new friend is the net for shelling! (This makes me want to spend more time snorkeling there in the future — maybe out farther once Will is a little bigger and a bit stronger swimmer!)
Paul brought a shovel and dug wide holes in the shade for the kids to play.
They built castles and put chairs in their holes.
We didn’t sail, we didn’t kayak, we didn’t walk the Pier… but we swam, snorkeled, shelled, walked, flew kites, crabbed, watched movies, and had a wonderful time!