We got back from St. Augustine Beach, Florida at 6:30, after 10 hours of driving. The girls are bathed and in bed, the car's unloaded, and I'm putting my swollen feet up, drinking a glass of ice water, and can't wait to blog about our fabulous week. I even have a Yankee Candle tart called "Beach Walk" burning right now to enhance the mood. It doesn't smell anything like the beach, but it smells better than what the house smelled like when we first walked in -- kind of stale, with the thermostat on toasty vacation setting.
There will be LOTS of pictures in this post. I don't get together nearly enough with my family (the last time was last June), so when we are together, we take many pictures of each other. I think this is the first time we've ever gotten all the kids together and gone on a vacation, too. If we'd had Tim and Roman there, that would have been everybody. So we didn't even wait until the last night to take obligatory family beach pictures. We did them our second night and our last night. No one was in as happy of a mood on the last night, but they still turned out good.
Just like I did last June, I loaded up my mom-mobile and drove with the girls all by myself. OnStar took me some weird route to get to 95, but once on 95, the trip flew by. Google said the drive would take 9 hours and 36 minutes. We did it in 10, and that included 3 stops, one of which was a 40-minute-long picnic at a South Carolina rest area. It was not a fun picnic. It was very hot, the flies were hovering, and the girls didn't eat. I decided that was it for picnics. The girls were as good as always, perfectly content with their movies and snacks.
We stayed in a big house a few steps away from the beach. I told Tim that even he would like it if we could have our own "apartment" the way Scotty and Faith and their kids did. (Tim does not like being in close quarters with extended family, even if they are his own. He really likes his space.) Delaney and Annie shared a room right next to the room I shared with my sister Grace on the third floor.
Here's what a typical day there consisted of, for me: get up, eat, have fun at the beach, eat, have a nap, eat again, spend time with family, sleep, get up and do it all again. That simple and that wonderful. We went out to eat dinner about half the days we were there, and I went shopping once with my mom, dad and sisters. But I was just as happy to not be going anywhere.
|Delaney, Annalise and Aspen|
|Me, Anna and Faith|
The girls loved the ocean. Even Annie was charging at the waves on day 1, causing my dad to worry. He said she'd stop running into the water like that once she got it in her face a couple times. Sure enough, she was a little more cautious after getting a face-full of ocean water. But she still liked it. She wallowed in the wet sand like a little piggy, and laughed as she ran into the water and back out. Delaney was constantly busy, playing with her cousins, digging in the sand, trying to keep her balance on a body board when the waves came, just always doing something. She was tireless for the most part. She actually napped one day, completely surprising me with her request to come with me to nap on my bed. I said, "OK, but only quiet little girls are allowed on my bed for naptime." She played with a toy for a few minutes and conked out. It takes a lot to wear her out! They both tanned a little right through the 50 SPF.
|Annie and Papaw, who's trying to keep her from falling on her face in the ocean|
|Love this one Faith took|
|Grandy having fun with Delaney and Annie|
The water was warm, and my siblings and I spent a lot of time in it. I almost had a disaster happen while I was out there on the first full day there. I decided I'd try what Scotty had done, and catch a wave and ride it to shore. But the last time I had ever tried that, I was probably 16, and definitely not wearing a $200 pair of sunglasses on my face. I tried to catch a wave, and that didn't work out for me well at all. When I finally came up out of the water, I thought, 'Why is the sun so bright? Oh crap!' I started shrieking, "My sunglasses! Oh no, my sunglasses!" Both Scotty and my brother-in-law Robert started looking for them. But what were the chances I was ever going to see them again? They came off in the ocean! Then Robert said to me, "What are they worth to you?" I said, "$200!" Then to my utter disbelief, he handed me the sunglasses. I was very effusive in my thanks, and I was a lot more careful with my sunglasses from then on. I only just got them from Tim this past Christmas. They've got to at least last a couple years.
We celebrated the girls' birthdays on Wednesday, and that was really nice. Delaney was so excited about being the birthday girl, and she didn't mind sharing the spotlight with her sister. She said, "I love my birthday! This is the best birthday ever!" They got a Nemo cake, a bunch of balloons, and nice presents from everyone -- clothes, dinosaurs for Delaney, Zhu Zhu pets, Pillow Pets and other nifty things. Now Delaney tells everyone she's 4, even though she isn't really until July 8. This morning she cracked me up a little when she told me she missed being 3. Annie didn't like the singing any more this time than she did last year, but she gobbled down her cake and ice cream with such single-minded pleasure that she made everyone laugh.
|Annie wanted nothing to do with the singing or blowing out her candle, but Delaney loved it.|
|Annie's favorite part|
While we were there, Tim finally got a port call, in Italy. On Saturday, a day I would have been a little mopey because it's the last day of vacation, we got to Skype with him for the very first time since he's been gone two months. It took a couple tries, but finally it worked, and the girls and I got to talk with him for 45 minutes. They were so happy, saying, "Dada!" and hugging the laptop, and trying to "tickle" him on the screen. It meant so much to all of us to get to talk with him face to face. It made our day. We would get to talk to him again today (Monday), his last day of liberty. It made me miss him so much to see him on that screen, looking close enough to touch.
It was the best week. I felt less pregnant and exhausted, and just happy and energized after a week of sun and relaxation, and the company of my family. The girls had so much fun and we made a lot of happy memories. A day after getting back, I kind of feel like I'm paying the price for all that fun, as this has been one of my most difficult and overwhelming days yet since Tim left. But that's for a different post, maybe, if I feel like it. Delaney has said to me at least 10 times since we got home, "I want to go back to our vacation." Me too! Here are some more of my favorite pictures from the week, in no order whatsoever. I didn't take all of them, by the way. I didn't even take most of them. I did what I always did, which was to grab Mom's, Grace's and Faith's camera cards at the end of the day, and get theirs.
|Faith gave the girls a bath one night while we were out shopping and having dinner.|
|I LOVE this one of Delaney.|
|The girls L-R: Annie, Delaney, Aspen and Jaden|
|2 pregos: Anna, 24 weeks with John Paul; and me, 30 weeks with Timmy|
|Little Scotty in his wagon|
|My siblings and I L-R: me, Grace, Scotty, Sophie and Anna|
|Miles and Aspen|
|Scotty and Faith with Aspen (5), Jaden (3) and Little Scotty (11 months)|
|Anna, Robert and Miles|
|Almost the whole clan|
|Mom and Dad|
|On the balcony with Auntie Sophie after her nap|
|All the cousins except Roman, L-R: Annie, Jaden (3), Delaney who never looked up, Aspen (5), holding Little Scotty (11 mos), and Miles (4)|
|Next time, Tim had better be in this picture! Wow, next time it will be Tim AND Timmy.|
|Obligatory last day beach photo of everyone|
|Faith kissing her sweet baby|