Thursday, July 16, 2009

Beachy Keen

"We went to the beach...just Grandma and me."

So begins the Mercer Mayer book, Just Grandma and Me. Since 2001 (minus a year in the mountains), we have joined my Mom and Dad, and my sisters and their families, on a beach vacation to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I have never loved the beach more.


This year, I marveled at how big all the kids are (and how did
that happen!?). Back when they were all in the single digits, we wondered if they would ever put a toe in the ocean.


Now, we have the "Surf Club" (as CJ profiles on her blog). Indeed, for CJ, the board isn't attached to her wrist so much as she is attached to the board!



That is, until the wind seizes the board from the sand.



RJ2 spent lots of time in the water, with me running behind her in case she forgot to watch for a wave. (Yes, I did manage to find time to sew up my SPF40 waders to wear with my rash guard. SO COMFY!) She made the lovely discovery that sand doesn't only feel good between the toes when you're running away from mom, but it makes an excellent canvas for drawing people.


She cooled everybody down with a squirt bottle. And it's a good thing I can still catch up with her, because not everybody she tried to squirt was in the family. (My niece is about to get an earshot here!)


RJ2 also shared a few lines from Just Grandma and Me with a young woman in a lounge chair and felt it necessary to act out the lines "then I covered her up [with sand] and tickled her toes" on the gal, who giggled sweetly with her girlfriends. ("C'mon, RJ2--let's go!!")

My hubby worked his magic with the sand as well.


There were other moments in the sand.


The path to the Jockeys Ridge dunes begins with a beautiful boardwalk through some dense greenery. It's the place to catch your last cool breath before you head out into the "desert." Unfortunately, within a step of this photo, RJ2 started her version of basketball sprinting drills--back to the start, forward to the dunes, back toward the start, forward toward the dunes. In the excitement (i.e., panic), I lost the string to her Super Grover kite. I'm sure the yellow-rumped warblers who call the green thickets their home will make good use of it in a nest someday.

We did make it to the dunes.


And we needed to take in the moment, apparently.



The kids flew their kites, which is the real reason they come to Jockeys Ridge. As my Dad said, when asked how the trip was, "Kites go up. Kites come down." And tired kids, parents and grandparents go refuel at Five Guys.


The girls found the strength to pose for a picture together before we left, but didn't have the energy to smile.


OK...time to go, then.



A bunch of the kids went on their annual fishing and crabbing excursion to the inlet by the Currituck Lighthouse. Lots of nibbling, but nothing that stayed on the line for long.

The rest of us went on a new side trip to the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve. I had read an article in Family Fun--complete with boardwalk picture through the woods. It was awesome!



I had told RJ2 that the boardwalk would end at a beach, so she decided she needed her bathing suit. I was wrong about the beach at the end. The walk ended with deck seating into the inlet, but she forgot about the beach by the time we got there. (Plus, my sister brought snacks!)

We saw great wildlife.



There is an offshoot from the boardwalk trail that leads deeper into the woods, through pine trees, white oaks and other coniferous trees. The little ones weren't up for going another hour into the woods, so we gave it up for next year. (I'll be back! And I think we'll have some crab fisherpeople joining us.)


We were in a new beach house, for us, this year, and the backyard proved to be an outstanding volleyball court. With 19, you can form two teams and still have some people available to blow giant bubbles over you.



Grandma brings (...mails....) sweet surprises--like homemade whoopie pies from a bakery in Maine! (Raspberry cream is amazing!)


Kids actually sleep sometimes.


And everyone has a good time!

(Thanks again, Mom and Dad.)

"We had a good time at the beach. Just Grandma and me."

8 comments:

Leslie said...

And to think that I'll be there tomorrow! I love the dog in the middle of your very last photo!

On Purpose said...

Can I join your family?

Edie said...

Oh how fun!! I love, love, love it! The waves, the smell of the ocean, the wildlife (no sweaty hippos :)), lots of fun and love, and laughter!

Thanks for sharing!

Chatty Kelly said...

What a wonderful blog this was. I feel like I was almost there, except no sunburn or sand in my shorts. All in all, a great trip!

My ADHD Me said...

It looks like SO much fun! We've missed our annual trip to SC for the past 2 years and that is a shame but your blog made me feel good remembering all the fun.

Also, the crabbing remeinded me of the summers I spent with my grandmother and grandfather and those were some WONDERFUL times.

Thanks for the memories.....Bob Hope

Tracy said...

I love the beach...we live so far away from it we seldom get to visit it though.

Came over from Cindy's blog...just doing a little blog hopping today.
Have a great day!

Bonita said...

That looks like a heavenly vacation! Will you adopt me?

My kids and I used to love to read Mercer Mayer books and I remember that one about the beach.

Whoopie pies? That's a favorite with my husband's New England family. His mom makes them homemade, but I've considered ordering them from that place in Maine. So yummy. TOO yummy!

What beautiful memories you made with your family!

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