The trip we took to the ocean in late July already feels like a distant memory. As we drove to the shore, one of the girls asked if Kristin would catch her when she jumped off the diving board. Clearly, the younger children had no idea of what they were in for.
We arrived and hauled the beach cargo into the sand, unpacked, set up, organized, and whatnot. As my dad did to me when I was a kid, I herded each of the children to the front of the blanket, showed them the colors of our beach umbrella, pointed to life guard chair #6 nearby, and pointed out the green flag on the pavilion flying right behind our spot. Administrative items completed, and off to the shoreline!
Everyone jumped waves, got flushed, ate Doritos, lost swimming goggles, and we had a grand day. I even let the kids drink soda. I made only one water rescue. Reagan followed her much taller brother into the waves, and then she got flushed by a wave, once, twice, and was having difficulty getting her footing. For the umpteenth time in this life, I marvel at how fast I can run in an emergency.
Late in the day, as the beach goers began to leave and the tide went out, Ernie and I parked a couple of chairs on the shoreline while the kids dug a hole in the sand. They were back and forth to the blanket with buckets, shovels, and a variety of beach tools. My mom-ometer, sensing a disturbance in the force, kicked in when I counted only three kids. Reagan wasn't in sight, and none of the kids knew where she was. I ran to the hole the kids had dug, thinking that she might be in it. After finding it empty, panic immediately welled in my throat. Ernie scanned the shore line, while I ran to the pavilion area (another amazingly fast sprint). I went back to the blanket, then back to the pavilion; Ernie continued to search the shore, and I headed back to the pavilion. As I scoured beach, I saw Reagan from a distance walking toward me, then break into a run, jumping into my arms. She'd wandered too far from the blanket and then couldn't find her way back, until she remembered the green flag I had pointed out when we arrived. I happened to be standing right under the flag. Thanks Dad!
The beach day ended all too soon, and Ernie and I lamented not spending more than just a day there. We may modify summer plans for 2015 to include a few days at the beach.
Summer vacation wouldn't be complete without a trip up to camp. The kids and I traveled to Maine without Ernie, as he was recovering from surgery and couldn't make the trip. It was odd to be away without him, but impossible to disappoint the children, since they spend the entire winter and spring eager to go up to camp. We had a good week, but the kids were happy to get home to Dad.
In the blink of an eye, Reagan, Reese, and Treyton are riding two-wheel bikes without training wheels. We played mini golf and went for hikes. Reagan lost another front tooth. We played softball and swam in the pool, spent time with friends and family. Alas, summer has come to an end too quickly. Brody started fourth grade, the girls started first. The girls are now in separate classrooms, and that has been an adjustment for them, since they have never been away from each other. Since school has started, the house has been mayhem. The kids have been over-tired, over-excited, over-worked, over every-thinged. Settling into a routine has taken longer than I expected, but everyone is happy and healthy, and that is all that counts.