Monday, August 31, 2009
Holden Beach, Part Two
The second half our drive to the beach was a little more tortuous... so close, yet so far! I've really loved our GPS, but it randomly decides to take us on routes that no sane person would take. I mean, why would you choose the roads with car dealerships and 1,000 stoplights? Nonetheless, we took a more "urban" trip through North Carolina until reaching the oasis of Holden Beach.
Ayla enjoyed watching Annie on Gregory's cell phone, but possibly not as much as I did. I watched that movie for maybe 5 years straight during my childhood, so it is with selfish intentions that I've hooked Ayla onto that "Annie" drug. The best part is that she sings along, but only at the last word of each song. So we're listening to the intro, (she is watching in silence) "Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow...you're only a day a....." And then Ayla belts out, literally as loud as she can, "WAYYYYYYY!!!!!!" It's hilarious.
But this post isn't titled, Annie, Part Two.
We finally got to the beach and were united with the rest of Gregory's family (sans Matthew, unfortunately) - and we got to see a pregnant Rachel! Check out her blog, The Mama Experiment.
Unload the car, throw our bags into the bedroom and get in the water, damn it! Ayla had been yelling at us since the moment we crossed over the bridge to Holden Beach to "Stop, go to the beach!" She thought we had arrived and were proceeding to take her farther away. What cruel parents would drive to the beach and only look from the car!
Ayla, of course, is fearless in the ocean. She jumps right into the waves face first and would probably stay in all day. This was Jackson's third time at the beach - and he really didn't appreciate the water at first. Maybe he was tired from the drive (you know, since he refuses to sleep in a carseat) but he was completely overwhelmed by the crashing sounds of the waves. Lots of crying. Over the course of the week, he made peace with nature, but still only really liked to splash around in the low tide or watch it all from his lounge chair.
One of the nicest parts of the vacation is that we all take turns making dinner. Yes, the pressure is on for those two nights you have to feed 10 people... but getting to enjoy a tasty meal made by someone else when you have two small kids, it's almost better than sunbathing. Rachel and Raul made great meals - shrimp scampi and a simple, but exquisite shrimp boil. Gramps and Nano made a Greek feast of cous cous, hummus, cucumber salad, etc. and their best spaghetti sauce. Gregory and I made chicken & steak tacos and some tasty crab cakes with homemade french fries. (That's when the cooking for 10 people becomes a little stressful! - but you mastered it, Gregory).
The thing about vacation is that on the first day, you think to yourself, "Man, it's only Monday... I have a whole week off!" And then all of a sudden it's Friday and you are packing a sandy bathing suit back into the suitcase and wondering what happened.
But what did happen? We watched the finale of SYTYCD (for the second year in a row) and loved it. We tested out SYTYCD Canada and laughed our asses off - sorry Canada, but that was pathetic. It was like watching the dance-off between the worst dancers eliminated before U.S. choreography and then listening to clueless judges speak with either unintelligible accents (or fake Italian ones "Bravissimo!") and give them the highest praises! That country is afraid to admit mediocrity. "You sexy beast!"
We got Genevieve hooked on Greg the Bunny.
We drank margaritas, mojitos, dark and stormy's and the Red Hook beer sampler pack.
We dug holes in the sand, drew with chalk, jumped in the waves, put on lots of sunscreen, read books (finally got the time to read Eat, Pray, Love) and caught up with all that has happened in the last year. And it's always nice to get to know Raul (Rachel's husband) a little bit better!
This beach week was much more relaxing for me than last summer - how relaxing could it have been with a newborn? But, I had more realistic expectations for exactly how much time I was going to get to chill out on the beach AND everyone slept well. We put Jackson's pack-and-play in the bathroom off of our room (poor neglected child) and used a different bathroom out in the hallway. Ayla shared our king bed, which was more than enough room for all of us!
My kids have great relationships with the rest of the family - always asking Aunt Rachel and Uncle Raul to go swimming and Genevieve really kept Ayla happy by jumping in the waves! Nano took Ayla on an educational trip to the tidal pool (even though it was dried up) and Gramps really spoiled her with refrigerated binkies and fuzzy. Jackson treated them the same as any old stranger, with his strange scowl... he'll come around.
That's it for now, until Part three....