Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Stay at the Bay

At the end of every summer, I always wish that I had taken more time to go down and enjoy my in-laws' bay house. It's only about an hour and a half away and it's right on the water-- the St. Clements Bay in Southern Maryland.

We usually go 1 or 2 weekends each month, but it never occurred to me until last month to actually stay down there with the boys for a whole week. 

So we did. Well, it was 5 days, but still a great little "stay-cation".

Even on a cloudy day, it's worth waking up to see the sunrise here.  But when you can see that big orange glow coming up over the water, it makes it that much better.

You know what else is great about the bay?

When the boys are totally exhausted from doing this all morning...


So then I can lay on a lawn chair and do this while they nap...

Who wouldn't want to take a nap on a nice breezy porch with the sound of trees in the wind, birds chirping and gentle waves lapping up on the shore?

Every day, we lucked out with weather and hung out in the pool before making our way down to the dock for Niall's favorite activity:

"Creepy Crawler Catching"


It was a little tricky figuring out how to take 2 kids who can't swim into the pool without any help, but it turns out that a life jacket for Niall was all the help I needed.  He looked like a little egg beater, kicking his legs non-stop and spinning around in circles.

Obviously, if I had tried to take a picture of any pool activities, somebody would have drowned-- but here is an aftershot.

Brendan liked the pool, but he preferred to lay out and work on his non-existent tan.  (I guess the hat and full body suit didn't help with that.)

Niall kept telling me about these "bugs" that I had to look at, but I was too busy/distracted to pay attention.  When I finally walked over to the hole in this horse thing he was pointing at, I found about 2,000 wasps had built a little nest in there.  How sweet.

You're not getting out of this place without some good bug/critter stories, so I have one to top that.  When we first pulled up, I saw this Amazon jungle spider on the front porch that was seriously almost the size of my hand.  We took a pic of Niall looking at it and went about our business... 

The next day, I changed Brendan's diaper and put him on the floor after so I could wash my hands.  When I came back, that same spider was about 6 inches from Brendan's sweet little head and baby boy was ready to crawl over and play with it.  I could have died right then and there, but instead I made some crazed lunatic grunting noise and smashed that sucker with my shoe.

Finding this bug on Grandpop's sneakers just about made Niall's week.

And it wouldn't be a summer day at the bay without a root beer float.  Well, that's what I decided to use as my excuse-- I mean, it wouldn't be fair to Niall ;)

Bye, bye bayhouse.  Until next time...

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Monday, August 13, 2012


There are a few crucial side notes that I accidentally left out of my vacation post...

1) Brendan STRONGLY prefers Bud Light over Miller Lite.  Tested, tried & true.  I'm talkin, makes out with it.  I have to say, as a long time Miller Lite supporter, I'm not happy about this.

Yes, I know that in these particular pictures, he is choosing a bottle over a can, but even in the case of 2 bottles, he always goes for BL.

2) What ever happened to parks like this?  I used to love getting lost in these wooden maze castles and now I never see them anymore.  A definite perk of South Haven!

3) Brendan loves boogy-boarding.  We won't crush his dreams by telling him that doing it on a non-moving surface makes him any less talented.

And Niall loves showing him how it's really done. (And we won't tell Niall that he is actually surfing, not boogy-boarding).

4)  Next time, we'll go for the $25 bag fee instead of buying Niall his own plane ticket.  I like this kid's thinking.

On another note, it's now 6:45am and BOTH of my kids are still sleeping-- as in, nobody woke up in the middle of the night.  WOOHOOO!!!

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

South Haven

It was an amazing week.  And, as always, it went by way too fast.  I am proud to say that I accomplished just about everything I wanted to, even if it wasn't in the exact way I had planned, and equally proud to be counted among the 8 lucky people out of 15 total to not catch the bug that made everyone violently ill the last 3 days of the vacation.

Watching Niall interact with his cousins was so much fun.  He jumped right in, not like his usual cautious and hesitant temperament. Does it get more American than this?  Grab a flag and wave it over a good ol' game of baggo.  Good ice breaker, Niall!


The first night (and the rest of the week) involved a lot of me getting my butt kicked in baggo, a lot of eating and a lot of dancing...

I think "kids' table" may be the only thing that kept Niall mildly sustained with nutrition (although I'm not sure you would call mass quantities of red meat nutritious).  If only I could get 10 kids to come sit around our table every night, Niall might actually eat something.  Hmmm, on second thought, I think I'll stick with 2. 

Girls just wanna have fun... and so do babies, but they can't dance yet ;)

And boys want to have fun, too.  So shaking your butt on the baggo board would be one way to do it.

I've noticed at family gatherings that the oldest kid tends to be the hero, and for Niall, this was definitely the case.  Everywhere that Gus went, Niall was sure to follow.  It was like a real life version of Where's Waldo. 

And for the little girls, it was the opposite.  The smallest baby gets all of the attention.  And I mean ALL of it, ALL the time.  It was like free babysitting, except for the occasional check-in to make sure Brendan didn't get dropped on his head ;)

And when the little girls got burnt out, there was always Aunt Kate.

Little Tessie (4 years old) could not keep her hands off of him.  As soon as I walked into a room, she would run up and ask "Where's my baby?"

Among my other favorite quotes from her over the course of the week:

"I can watch him for you while you're at work, you know."
"You can just leave him in this chair with me while you go to the bathroom."
"I think he's hungry, we better get him a bottle.  Nope, he's not hungry, he just wants me."
"I'm talented at pretty much everything."

I didn't get to watch the sunrise, but the sunset was even better because it means I got to sleep in.

The beach was amazing-- so much more than I expected out of a lake.  It was just like the ocean!

Brendan loved him some time with the ladies.

...Dad... not as much.  "Don't bore me, people."

There was a night where the kids camped out in the tent, which I always wanted to do as a kid.  So now, go figure, it was my own kids who kept me from doing it as an adult.  But Brendan got to partake from a distance.

Garden party.  Jambalaya.  Chinese lanterns.  Long family table.  Perfection.

We even got a picture with almost every single kid looking at/ toward the camera.  My only regret is that if I had held out for 2 more seconds, I could have gotten Tessie in a mid-air sweet dance move.

 Cook-offs.  Personalized aprons.  Amazing food.  Way too much meat, but so worth it.

And the icing on the cake... 

I have captured on camera and seared into my mind what it looks like to be a kid in a candy store.  I don't think I've ever seen Niall quite so mesmerized... or myself.  They had all kinds of fudge, ice cream, chocolate covered ANYTHING (including twinkies-- but I opted to keep a small shred of my dignity and go with the oreos).  Everything I could have hoped for and more-- except for the sugar high and crash that followed (for both Niall and myself).

South Haven, we will miss you, but we'll be back.

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