Beach with a Babe - What Worked and What Didn't

After all of that stressing and thinking and planning we finally made the trip to the beach with our two babes, and it was a little slice of heaven. Blue skies, the aqua ocean, a big house full of family, and perfect temperatures - we got so incredibly lucky. We only had a half day of rain during the entire trip, and other than that the only other problem all week was a dead alternator on the drive down. Thankfully we had pulled over safely into a parking lot and were able to call AAA to give us a jump and follow us safely to a service station.

We were lucky that it happened at lunch time and the parking lot we were in was full of restaurants, so we waited for the tow truck driver in comfort while we ate some yummy sandwiches instead of hot and sweating and stuck in the middle of a six lane highway. When we got to the service station a weight loss infomercial was blaring on the television, the only available seating was an old couch and a few uncomfortable benches, and the place was outfitted with a bathroom that was clearly cared for by men who weren't afraid of a little dirt (and no baby changer in sight), but the service was friendly and they worked hard to get us out of there as quickly as possible. After consulting the other patrons I switched the television station to one of the only other options available - a station playing opera and classical music, and the girls and I pretended to be ballerinas and twirled around on the tile floor. I think there was a collective sigh of relief when the voice screaming at us to take diet pills was replaced instead by the sound of violins, and there were definitely more than a few grins at our tiny dancers. When the girls tired of twirling we played with a few matchbox cars that we had packed until eventually Lucy's eyelids started to droop and I popped her into the Ergo carrier for a nap. The situation wasn't ideal, but it gave us a chance to stretch our legs and we made the best of it. I was really proud of our girls for being so positive and flexible in a less than ideal situation. Also sooo happy that it died when it did and not when we were out driving on the beach!

I was a little worried about how Violet would react to the ocean - the last time we had taken her at age two-and-a-half she had been absolutely terrified of it, but this time as soon as our toes hit the sand she started asking to go in the water. She loved being in the waves with her papa especially - he was tall and made her feel super safe in that big blue expanse. Lucy loved the water as well - especially the warmer tide pools that formed on the beach. One day we were lucky enough to set up near a deep hole that another family had painstakingly dug earlier in the day which ended up being a perfect baby pool for our little ones.

Being the over packer/over planner that I am, we had actually purchased our own cheap inflatable baby pool to bring to the beach, but only blew it up one day until we realized that the tide pools worked just as well and the kids seemed to enjoy them more. Plus they didn't involve us bailing water from the ocean. We did use our Shade Shack every single day - it was so lightweight and easy to carry to the beach and set up in about thirty seconds flat.

Baby powder was my absolute savior with Lucy. She got so incredibly caked in sand every time we were there, and the saltwater only did so much to remedy the situation. I used it on her hands, on her face, and when I changed her diaper. It took the wet sand right off - absolutely amazing.

She loved palling around with her Uncle Dan while we were there. I love that even though she has only really interacted with him on Skype (seeing as how he lives in Australia), she took right to him and they were best buds during the trip. Her little batik cloud dress and yellow hat were my absolute favorites - so comfy and pretty. I died every time she wore them of the sheer cuteness. And of course Saltwater sandals - they were Violet's when she was Lucy's age and they've held up so well. I love that they're cute, comfortable, and water-friendly.

We also brought one warm, plush beach towel for the girls to share and used foutas for ourselves because they were so much more compact. And I loved using our Pyramids travel throw for the same reason - everything fit so nicely into my tote, which was really great on the day that Lucy unexpectedly fell asleep in my arms at the beach and I had to lug her dead weight the whole way back to the house. It wasn't far, but it felt like forever, trying to keep her little face out of the sun and make sure she was comfortable.

We also made a ton of use of Lucy's pretty cover-up from Rikshaw Design. I've found that rash guards just always made Violet super cold and shivery when she was a babe, but I still wanted something to cover up Lucy's skin when she wasn't in the water, and I didn't want her to get overheated. This kurta was the perfect solution - the material was really lightweight and breezy but kept her arms, back, and chest extra protected from the sun's rays.

I feel so incredibly thankful that everything worked out the way it did. I so wanted my girls to have a positive experience with the beach and to enjoy our time with our family who traveled so far to spend time with us. We couldn't have asked for a better week - we celebrated our anniversary (eight years!), climbed the stairs of the lighthouse, drove on the beach, flew a kite, enjoyed the waves and pool, and ate copious amounts of ice cream. I only wish it would've lasted longer, but I suppose all good things have to come to an end. We have one more week with my sister and her family before they head back to Oz, and we're trying to soak up as much time as possible. Although I know Lucy probably won't remember our first beach vacation as a family of four, I hope that the bonds she and Violet made there will last and grow despite the many miles between them and us. xo, Lauren

Lucy's Kurta: c/o Rikshaw Design
Lucy's batik cloud dress: c/o Hiho Batik


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