What's a vacation without the beach, right? I used to be one of those girls that could wake up and head to the beach at 7 o'clock and stay until sunset. Being a mom changes your schedule. Not only do we have to break for lunch and nap time, but I am considerably more hot natured post-pregnancy and need some air conditioning in my life! Since we have to drive to the beach, there is no "running up to the room" to fix a quick snack... we take it all with us.
The Gulf State Beach Pavilion is our favorite beach in the state. It is beautiful and the facilities are so nice. I can remember for several years after Hurricane Ivan that we toughed it out with no real shade or restrooms and it is so nice to have a beautiful pavilion back. There are showers and restrooms, plenty of picnic tables and a snack shop for when you're craving frozen Snickers bars.
Our first day at the beach, Ella was pretty much off the map. She and Molly stayed in the water and played with sand toys until we drug them to the car. Ella was too excited to complain. Sophie, on the other hand, didn't know quite what to make of the sandy beach. As soon as her feet hit the ground she drew them up and started fussing. We commented that we had never seen her sit as still as she did on her blanket, because she refused to get near the edge!
Her fear of the sand didn't last long at all. Before we knew it she was rolling around to coat herself and then crawling up in your nice clean chair. Or taking a dip in the surf, walking through sand and insisting on sitting in your lap. We had a hard time wrapping our minds around how different she was the second day.
Of course there was the mandatory sand burial. I could NOT believe Ella allowed this to happen.
Sophie quickly learned how to navigate the beaches and ran all over the place. Especially towards her daddy.
She loved the water so much that you couldn't take your eyes off of her. She would prance right out into the waves without a second thought and didn't care at all when she got knocked down. She loved walking along the shore, but we laughed that she would only seem to go East. When the time came to turn around, she got really disoriented and would turn around and go back the other way. Eventually we learned that she would walk one way and have to be carried back. It was like along with the waves, the pull of the tide was too strong for her to resist.
There were MANY picnics on the beach. If it wasn't our breakfast and snacks, it was lunch. Sophie learned to eat on the fly and didn't even complain when her Lunchable came up sandy.
She loved playing in the sand and with the toys; especially when that blue bucket was full of ocean water. She scooped sand into it and washed her hands, filled the water full of toys and then poured it out. She loved shoveling sand from one bucket to the next and was rarely without a shovel or rake in her hands.
Lest you think Ella was MIA on this vacation, I did manage a few shots of her at the beach. The one on the left might be my favorite picture of her from the week. She was so hard to pin down, this one. She rarely stayed close by, opting instead to spend lots of time in the water and walking the shore with the "big girls".
She did spend one late afternoon playing with me and learning to write messages in the sand.
Our very last day spent on the beach was going to be a long one. We packed a picnic lunch, a pacifier and a change of clothes thinking we would stay until the girls had a meltdown. Well, that started about 15 minutes in. Ella was MISERABLE because Molly left earlier in the morning and nothing we did made her happy. She begged to go home and we managed to ignore her for about five hours. She finally convinced us that she needed a nap and couldn't do that on the beach. Any bets on how long she begged to skip that nap once we returned to our campsite? That's manipulation at its' finest, my friends, but she lost that battle to her mom.
Sophie, however, proved that naps on the beach are the best. As soon as I rinsed her off in the shower and put a dry diaper on her, it was mere moments before she was sleeping in my lap. I'm with her... there is absolutely nothing better than laying in the sand with your eyes closed.