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Beach Day

April 3, 2012

Hands down the best part about living in this part of Florida is the easy access to the beach.  Although I was never much of a beach goer before I had kids, I absolutely love it now.  Where else can you sit your kids down where they will sit for literally hours quietly playing and you can stretch out and half pay attention?  Without turning on the television, that is…  Sand seems to keep my daughters occupied for an eternity.  Supplement this with an occasional jaunt into the waves to splash around, and the only thing that limits our day at the beach is my northern European complexion.  Bless my husband for giving both my daughters (even the blonde) his olive complexion.  Keep them coated in sunblock and they are good for the whole day.  I, on the other hand, could coat myself in a layer of SPF 200 paint and I would still end up looking like a lobster the next day.

Saturday was an unlikely candidate for the perfect beach day.  I picked up my mother early in the morning, while the kids were still in bed, to  do some thrift store shopping (or thrifting, as I like to call it).  On the way to her house, I fortuitously ran into a neighborhood garage sale.  Three stops, one stuffed animal, about eighteen kids books and some antique handkerchiefs later (and only about five dollars lighter), I finally arrived to pick her up.  One of our local thrift stores was doing a “customer appreciation event” with the whole store half off.  Needless to say, I planned ahead and left the kids sleeping at home with their father to supervise.

After our expedition, my mother and I headed back to my place and lunch with the kids.  Their father quickly headed off to bed to catch up on some seriously needed rest.  After a leisurely lunch and two attempts to get a very excited two year to take a nap, we finally packed up the car and headed to Fort De Soto park to enjoy the beach.  And wouldn’t you know it, it started raining heavily as we were loading the car.  Now, a tourist might think the day was cancelled.  But this is Florida.  In Florida, if you don’t like the weather just wait five minutes.  So we loaded up the car and figured it was worth a shot.  I live close enough to the ocean it can be pouring over my house and a ten minute drive later it can be as sunny as a summer day.  We arrived at Fort De Soto in time to miss the worst of the rain, although it was still sprinkling and the skies were still dark.  Cars were flooding out, and the beach was practically deserted.  Leaving our stuff in the car, we figured we could at least take a walk down the shore for a few minutes.  (It is worth noting that there was absolutely no lightening or thunder.  I’m only slightly crazy).

We dipped our feet in the water and discovered, to our delight, that the water felt warmer than the cool rain and breeze in the air.  The kids and I sat down at the edge of the waves while grandma found a strategic place to plop herself down.  After a few minutes, we both noticed that the horizon was getting lighter and it looked like the end of the rain was eminent.  When the rain stopped about five minutes later, Abby and I headed back to the car and grabbed our towels, snacks and sand toys.

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It turned into an absolutely perfect afternoon.  The weather stayed warm but mild.  The sun peeked out of the clouds here and there but mostly stayed behind a thin layer of clouds.  This kept it bright and warm, but without too much direct sunlight.  Even I actually avoided a sunburn for a change.  After about two hours we saw a storm gather a few miles off shore, and decided this made for a perfect end to our beach trip.  It was getting to be dinner time, anyways, and I knew that if I wasn’t proactive about getting my toddlers home to be fed, bathed, and put to bed I would probably have a serious tantrum on my hands as they ran out of energy.  Upon our return, I announced to my husband that we needed to try and go to the beach every weekend while the weather stayed like this.  All too soon, Florida will get blisteringly hot, and by the end of summer even the ocean will be as warm as bath water.  Add to that a deluge of summer tourists making the beach a crowded and noisy place, and the summers seem less than ideal to take my little ones.  We’ll see how well I hold up my resolution to spend significant time at the beach this spring, but as of now I am totally dedicated to the idea of it.

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