You may disagree with me but I live in the greatest state in the US. We have so much at our fingertips – everything from the beach, to the greatest theme parks known to man, state parks that we can visit year-round, hockey (it’s really great in August & September), some of the greatest college football teams (go Gators!), awesome fishing, unparalleled vacation destinations, and boats – lots of boats. And these are just some of my favorites.
So when I planned our second adventure, it was an easy decision. The beach is my place of peace…and after the year I’ve had so far, I think it’s fair to say that I definitely need some! My little redhead had never been and my two boys are my beach babies, especially my #2 baby boy. He could stand all day and let the waves hit him and never tire of it. His next wish is to learn to surf. I won some brownie points for choosing the beach as our next adventure. And lucky for me, as I would come to realize, my mom was able to join us too.
I was so excited to take Finleigh to the beach for the first time. In my fantasy (and that’s a huge keyword), she would love to feel the sand on her feet and would run to the ocean, giggling the whole time, chasing her big brothers and sitting for hours where the water crashed on the sand. The reality was something totally different.
So the reality…she hated every second of being at the beach and I decided that there probably won’t be anymore beach trips for this kid until at least next summer. I couldn’t get the kiddos out of the door as quickly as I wanted that day so by the time we got to the beach she was ready for her nap but I persisted, crossing my fingers that she could make it. I lucked out and found a parking spot that was close to the beach entrance, everyone grabbed a handful of stuff, and headed down to the sand. The sand was hot so the kids complained, I wanted to walk to an area that was a little further down and the kids complained, and then it was like wrangling bulls to try to get them to stand still so I could spray them with sunscreen.
When I was a kid, I experienced sun poisoning so frequently that I gave up trying to avoid it, so you can imagine my fear with a red-headed Irish daughter. I sprayed her body and covered her face with the newest sunscreen that is supposed to dry fast. Well…when you put any kind of lotion on a sweaty little girl that doesn’t stand still it’s a guarantee that it’s not going to soak in. Then when she gets mad at you for trying to hold her down, she cries, rubs her eyes and then gets sunscreen in her eyes and mouth and nose and then more in her eyes. And that was the recipe for disaster. I couldn’t do anything but laugh.
I took her down to the water, thinking that it would be a great distraction, and she screamed bloody murder even more. So we went back and finally my mom was able to calm her down and get her to fall asleep laying on her. My mom is a champ because my little red-head is a hot-box to begin with and then add the fact that she was super sweaty and covered in sand and sunscreen, and she let her lay on her for about 45 minutes.
Thankfully, my boys are great at entertaining themselves and they played, ate lunch and played some more. And then when they couldn’t find anything else to do, they asked to head home and with the little red-head getting red and more irritated we decided to pack it up and head out. That was an adventure in itself. The sand was hot, my #2 boy didn’t want to put his flip flops on because he didn’t want sand to get on them, and my little red-head just decided to stop walking.
We finally got into the car, got snacks for everyone, pulled out and the kids got quiet (aka slept or played on technology). And then I got my peace. I was frustrated because I had the perfect day planned out in my head and it ended up happening nothing like I thought.
I was disappointed because I thought the boys didn’t enjoy the trip…but I was wrong. My oldest looked at me before we even left and said, “Mom, that was a nice day” and my little man has asked to go back this week. So the lesson that I needed to learn was that while I was so busy trying to make it peaceful and stressing myself out, my boys made the best of the situation and enjoyed the moment, the adventure; they looked at the glass half full.
How did I do it?
#1: Get them excited! Excitement is contagious – if you are excited, they will get excited.
#2: Materials: I printed each of the flyers above and then slid them into sheet protectors and hung them on our fridge. The boys are quick to get the redhead her juice in the morning so they read it before I was even awake and started to get excited right away.
During our time together, I took pictures and then printed them onto a third page, in a collage form. Our next adventure will repeat this process – print out a description of the adventure, print out a collage of pictures from the adventure. Then add it to a notebook/folder so that when the year is over we can go through and relive some wonderful memories.
Moral to the story:
Live in the moment, the actual moment that’s happening, not the one you think should be happening because as much as excitement is contagious, being a downer will affect the kids or others around you.