Wednesday, July 22, 2009

WW-On the boardwalk...

On the carousel,
and watching fireworks.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Beach trip--Day 2.2

It's 11:30PM. I am sitting in a weathered lawn chair, the kind I had when I was a kid. With rubbery plastic straps alternating blue and white. A couple of the straps are broken and the one directly beneath my backside feels as if it might be hanging on for dear life. The air is cool, but clammy and the sounds of the crickets and cicadas almost muffles the sound of laughter from a distant balcony. In the lawn chair next to me Anne sits with another laptop. Chatting with friends and updating her Facebook page. In the water, Brando and his friend are cheerfully trying to drown each other. Burst of laughter, almost manly-but not quite, ring out. Occasionally one issues a challenge: 'Swim the length of the pool underwater. Stand on your head' and they revert, happily to the young boys they were when they met.

After the initial morning shower, the rain stayed away today. We went to the beach again. Boo is absolutely in love with the ocean. Everything about it...the sand, the waves, the endless supply of playmates. Then tonight, we went into town for pizza on the boardwalk. We watched a street performer juggling fire on a unicycle while making hammy jokes. The Littles rode the carousel while the older boys contemplated the cost vs. payoff of henna tattoos. Then we caught a fireworks show over the small manmade lake. We were so close it was deafening but Boo ate up every explosion and then delcared it "much better than those last ones on July 4th" And then, finally, we headed back to what Pepper has dubbed "our brand new home."

"That sure was a fun night, Mom" Boo declared several times on the way home. It doesn't take much to make him happy. And right now, up late, sitting in my plastic lawn chair and surrounded by the smell of chlorine and my older children it doesn't take much for me either. I am not sure what it is exactly about vacation that makes me so able to set down my mantle of stress, and short temperedness and soak in so happily these moments with my family. I imagine it's partly to do with not having to say "No" so often. And partly from having fewer responsibilities and divirsions. And partly even from simply knowing this particular time together is finite. But oh I wish I could find a way to be this person I am here, at "our brand new home" when we get back to the old one. I like her much better.

Beach trip--Day 2.1

Today dawned with the sound of little feet and giggles. Bump, bump, bump. Squeal. And the distinct feeling that something dangerous was going on while I slept. I crawled out of bed at a shockingly respectable time of 7:30 to go find out what The Littles were doing. Sure enough, Anne had vacated her spot on the air mattress on the patio in lui of air conditioning and The Littles had made it a trampoline. I was actually shocked that Boo could get the sliding glass door open, but he was a boy with a mission. They two of them in the pajamas, dischevelled hair, and guilty grins was about more than a mama's heart could take. So I joined them...for snuggles, not jumping.

Then Boo asked if it was time to go to the beach again. And I glanced outside.

At the rain.

Not sure what the plan is for today. Going to try, passionately, to avoid anything with the name "Ripley's" in the title. But we shall see. Little whining people in a condo all day may wear me down.

Here's a couple pictures from yesterday's trip to the beach. We sure had fun.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Beach trip-Day 1

I'm at the beach. We'll technically I'm sitting at a coffee shop, in a beach town, with Anne sitting across from me. The two of us, our laptops nestled back-to-back on the bistro table are happily lost in cyber-space while The Littles nap at the condo. I love peaking up at her, watching her expressions change while she chats or Facebooks or watches music videos. She's really becoming quite beautiful, although she doesn't know it yet. I suspect she won't for quite a while. Youthful beauty is a fleeting thing that's rarely acknowledged in it's own time.

It's odd, I suppose, that it took a vacation to cause me to catch the blogging bug again. It's been two-years since our last family trip and we finally arrived yesterday after a long day of packing and cleaning and the kind of slow-motion traveling that one does with small children or a large group or-- in our case--both. For the first time we took 2 vehicles. Brando and his friend followed behind us in a separate car while Mr. Crumbs, Anne, The Littles and I led the way in the mini-van. Not having all my my clan in the car with me made me antsy and I kept looking behind me at the two two-tall teenage boys in the next car. It's surreal sometimes, your kids growing up in front of your eyes.

But then last night we all piled into a huge booth at Wild Wings Cafe and laughed and gorged ourselves on Wild West Wings (Thanks Chrissy-these rocked just as much as you promised they would!) and I looked around the table at us all squished together and I was hit, as I am occasionally, with wonder and awe that this is my family. (Well technically my family-plus one.) This noisy, motley group of people in all sizes and personalities. And one hair color.

Then today we went to the beach.

I have four kids. The oldest is seventeen. The youngest is three. (She turned 3 this week, more on that later.) Finding things we can all do together and enjoy, is a rare and blessed treat. But today, for hour-after-hour, they all--toddler and teenager alike-- had the time of their lives. And sitting, briefly, on a blanket watching them, I couldn't remember ever being quite as happy as I was that moment. And suddenly, I wanted to write about it. I wanted to capture the images of Pepper digging in the sand, of Brando and his dad playing football and volleyball. Of Boo splashing in the waves and Anne collecting shells. I wanted to put this day, that moment, in a bottle like fine perfume. So I could pull the stopper from time to time and inhale it. Invoking images, and sounds and a heart--my own--that wanted to burst with happiness. And on the lable I would write, "This, was one darn fine day."

I'm happy to be back at this blogging thing. Beach pictures coming up.