Our trip was fun, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t necessarily the trip we needed as a family. Did the cold play into it? Absolutely. Last year with the warm weather we did so many more things! But last year’s trip definitely was like this elusive thing I was chasing this year. We had SO much fun, bonded so much as a family unit, there was no way we’d get that magic two years in a row, and that’s always tough.
We needed more time alone as a family. This was my fault, I should have been more proactive about it. I thought it would just happen, that we wouldn’t all want to do the same things every day. But with the weather the way it was, there just weren’t that many options. Still, I should have made that a priority.
The girls weren’t nearly as well behaved this year as they were last year. I think that was due to not getting alone time with me. During the trip I thought I was battling lack of sleep, but looking back now I don’t think that was it. I realized it late in the game, and grabbed some time with just Delaney, but they needed more. I even thought having the weekend at home together would suffice, but we just annoyed the shit out of each other for two more days.
Vacation re-entry was disastrous. Everyone’s mood was off. The girls wanted to stick like glue to me, and as an introvert, all I wanted was time by myself. Daycare drop offs were fine, but bedtime was meltdown city. It was horrible, and not getting that time to myself at night made my mood even worse. Oddly enough, Delaney articulated her issues quite clearly. We were being too serious. And she was right. I was so in my mode of getting things done, that we weren’t having any fun. We’ve since made adjustments and things are much, much better.
I thought I had gotten more family pictures but alas, no. Oh well. It’s always difficult trying to get pictures with us together because I feel like a giant. And I hate when I have good hair and the picture falls flat!
Same outfits, different pose. Still not fabulous.
This was the last night of our trip. The lighting was perfect just outside my parents condo, and the ledge put us all at the same height. They were terrified they were going to fall off though, so all I could do was put my arms in front of them to hang on which looks silly. Also, someone should have told me my hair was flat. That’s what I get for letting it air dry.
And sunset family picture fail.
This time, Caden in the shade changing her shoes. With a snotty nose.
I have a thing for close ups with the big blue sky in the background. Love this silly kid!
Sunset, Caden showing me a shell she found on the beach. I love this shirt on her, perfect colors for her.
This kid is such a fish. She was in and out of the water all day, splashing and jumping.
After one of our beach walks we came to the edge of the sand to put everyone’s shoes back on. It was perfectly shady so I snapped a few pictures. I should probably crop this a bit to get the other distracting things out, but oh well.
I swear we tried on swimsuits just before we left, but once down there two of them were suspiciously small on Delaney, so she was basically left with this Ariel suit. It’s her favorite suit so it wasn’t a hardship!
I love this picture because it is just so out trip. Her sunglasses on, big grin, with her hair in her face.
Another sunset picture. She was drawing things in the sand. What you don’t see here is her sister literally running circles around here, but I love that this is a moment of peace.
This year I made a concerted effort to get a lot of pictures with both girls in the same shot. So often I end up with a bunch of pictures of each of them, but none together. I love these! They show their relationship so well.
Most of the time they had hats and/or sunglasses on while we were at the beach, so I love that you can see their eyes.
Against my better judgment I let the girls pick out these dresses. I’m not entirely sure why I was against them, I thought they wouldn’t fit well or something. But, they are gorgeous! Very summery, very twirly, perfect for them.
They picked these hats out at Old Navy. My girls are hat girls, especially Caden, so I knew fun hats would be perfect beach accessories. I die every time I see a picture of their hats. So adorable!
They were so goofy when we were trying to light their lanterns. I love this shot. Pure sister love joy. (Contemplating printing this one out for their room.)
Thrilled to be here aren’t they?
Things warmed up here on Tuesday, which is when we hit the beach, but beyond that the winds and the chill have stuck around. Wednesday was very windy. So windy we never even made it in the pool. I was determined to hit both the beach and the pool on our last day, even if that meant a chilly morning beach walk.
Delaney was not thrilled. She demanded a short walk, but once we got going we all realized a short walk was in our best interest. The breeze was brisk!
We found a dead crab and a dead fish though, so at least we had some interesting treasures on the walk.
We headed indoors after this for some coffee and ice cream. The wind died down and the sun warmed up and we were able to hang at the pool for the rest of the day and bask in the sun (with spf 70 on so we wouldn’t burn). This possibly wasn’t the warm weather vacation we were hoping for, but we did have a blast, and our weather was miles better than the huge snowstorm we had back in MN.
Sandcastle building is an essential part of the beach experience. I’ve learned the hard way that in order to build a decent sandcastle you have to have the right tools. We bought two pails with shovels at Public, along with two perfect molds.
Their castle came complete with shell topped towers and a moat!
My dad laid out the design, but Caden was a tireless worker. She kept at it all day long. They mostly finished this in 30 minutes or so, but she kept adding and enhancing the rest of the day.
Caden worked so hard on the moat. She was constantly trying to get it deeper and get it to hold water.
The plan was to stay at the beach for two hours, and then head back in for a nap. But, the day was absolutely beautiful. The sun was out, it was warm but not so warm anyone was melting. We were having such a great time, and I knew it was probably our only gorgeous day, so I just couldn’t justify making the girls leave.
It was worth it. I definitely paid the price, but we had an amazing day, and built an amazing sandcastle!
When discussing what cool things we could do in Florida for the girls birthday, my cousin Alyssa mentioned lighting lanterns on the beach. Since Delaney really wanted to be on the beach at nighttime (request #2 right after picnic lunch on the beach), floating lanterns would be perfect. Plus, Tangled right? I love that scene at the end. So pretty.
I ordered these ‘sky lanterns’ off Amazon because they got great reviews. But, the beach is windy this time of year and they were proving very difficult to light. My dad wanted us to bail and light them by the pool, but Amanda persevered and finally got one to light. Delaney made her wish as we held on to it, waiting for the heat to lift the lantern. (The directions were in Chinese, so we weren’t entirely clear on the process.)
But it wasn’t going anywhere, so finally we just released it into the night, hoping it would find a gust of wind and go. It skipped a bit on the sand, as I chased it hoping for the best.
And then it took off. It just floated into the sky. By this time a group of about 15 other people were watching us and everyone cheered. Delaney was Thrilled! It was by far the coolest thing I’ve seen. We didn’t think it would go anywhere, but it floated! Off into the sky!
And then it was Caden’s turn. We learned from the first lantern and lit this one behind a cabana where there was less wind.
As it caught fire Caden made her wish, hanging on to the edge ready to release it. We waited and waited for the heat to make it rise, thinking again that it just wasn’t going to happen. We finally released it and once again, it skipped across the sand. Amanda and I chased it, finally catching the edge to give it a boost.
And up it went. Again, an unforgettable moment. Wishes and dreams really do come true.
Being out of commission for a day means there is a lot of this, one of the girls running to me. She started out running towards the ocean with Grampy, but couldn’t bear to be too far from me.
Last year my parents went on a beach walk every morning, ending at our hotel room as we were eating breakfast. We did beach walks, but moreso in the afternoons I think?
This year we’ve been heading out in the mornings. It’s cold, but bundled up it’s not so bad.
My girls are water girls though, so even the chill doesn’t keep them out of the ocean. Caden was practically hip deep! But thrilled to be there.
Pool pictures are fine, but everyone looks a little green and they are never what I want them to be. So I was super happy to get to the beach and be able to capture the ocean, sand and sky. Even in bright sunlight, I’ll take it!
The girls have quite the collection of sea shells already. They have grand plans for shell crafts, we’ll see what we can actually pull together. (I’m thinking sea shells on a picture frame?)
Today is supposed to be 77 and we’re rejoicing! Please let it be warm enough that we can spend the day at the beach!
First off, it’s cold down here. Even when the sun is out, there is a brisk breeze. And so, we have done morning beach walks, but are spending most of our time at the pool since it’s sheltered from the wind.
I thought it might take a bit for the girls to get their swimming groove back, but it hasn’t at all. They jumped in and swam like it hasn’t been 9 months since they’ve seen a pool.
Their swimming and diving skills are growing by leaps and bounds down here. Delaney can swim underwater for 10 seconds or so. She would swim towards my dad, turn around, then push off of him, and swim back to the steps. Caden figured out how to point her head down and kick hard to get to the bottom of the pool where her dive toys are.
Despite the chill, we’ve made the best of things. Of course to throw one more wrinkle into things, I got food poisoning Saturday evening. We were out to dinner and I realized “Oh no, I’m going to be sick.” I spent the next nine hours throwing up. The girls were scared, they’d never seen me sick like that before. But, at least I was around family and friends who could pitch in so I could be sick in relative peace and get whatever sleep I could. Delaney was so nervous that I would be sick on her birthday. I felt amazingly well Sunday morning, and ate slowly and carefully. I needed a few naps to get through the day, but I made it.