On any trip with my kids, something dramatic will happen: Within 10 minutes of arriving at the beach house, Eli fell (doing "cool tricks," of course) and hit his forehead right on the corner of a wall. How he didn't split his head wide open I'll never know, but I'll be forever grateful. I prefer not to tour every ER in the 50 states. I also prefer this to watching Elena nearly get swept out to sea. When I left Mike said, "I love you. Don't let the kids get killed." Mission accomplished
Good Intentions, also known as What the Road to Hell is Paved With: I polled you for your favorite car distractions, I spent weeks gathering things here and there to pack in their travel bags, I lovingly packed four! totes with an array of fun things to do in the car. All for my children to use the same five things over and over and ignore the rest.
For what it's worth, the only things my kids really cared about in the car were Pringles, an old Tiger Beat magazine, my phone, flarp, and a Thomas the Tank Engine doodle pad. I, on the other hand, really enjoyed the View Finder, the giant Richard Scarry book and the Miley Cyrus biography.
If you hang around long enough, the kids will forget you're there: You'll hear gems like this one, from Elena as she's getting into the hot tub: "At first it feels like ouch! And then it feels gooood." As my sister wisely pointed out, "Been there, done that."
Sleeping single in a king size bed is divine: I love my husband, and wished he could have joined us, but me and all that space? We got along real nice.
I can survive a road trip without a single stop at Starbucks: It's not that I didn't want to, it's just that my dad's car doesn't seem to have the magnetic pull to the Evil Beast like mine does. And if someone else is willing to drive me and my kids halfway across the Eastern United States? I'll gladly drink gas station coffee and keep my trap shut.
3 o'clock Happy Hour may just be the key to life: I don't know what it is about the beach that makes parenting your kids with a beer in your hand not only acceptable, but highly encouraged. I don't know the answer, but I have a feeling that kind of thing is frowned upon in the Midwest. Too bad.
My family is a blast to be around: As happy as I am to be home, I'm missing the rest of my clan. I loved watching Elena and Eli play with their cousins. I loved sitting around and laughing with my sisters (Hairy Teeter. "She's a lot of fun, I hope she doesn't die."). I loved seeing my parents walking the beach together every morning. Most of all, I loved hanging out with these two kids, sandy crevices and all.
Who knew you could learn so much at the beach?