Sunday, September 9, 2012

New Norms

Since our move to the beach, there have been things we have done that we could have done back in Athens but just didn't. For instance, bathing (in my bathing suit) with the kids.  They love it when I get into the bathtub with them.  Now, I could have done this while living in GA, but putting on my bathing suit and getting all wet never seemed very practical nor fun.  However, coming in straight from the beach or pool can be very chilly.  I often don't have time to grab myself a dry change of clothes so the best solution to staying warm has been to get into the tub too.  Last night we added bubbles to the mix and had so much fun playing together before getting down to the business of getting clean.  Luckily, the bathtubs at our townhouse are jacuzzi tubs so they are plenty large enough for the 3 of us to sit in comfortably.  For those wondering, Bobby was actually the person to initiate this practice.

I have been told that parenting baby #2 is often more laid back and less obsessive, and for the most part I am experiencing that to be true for myself.  I am glad to have a dynamic backyard with LOTS of room and soft sand to allow Liam the freedom his little boy heart desires to explore and roam. I can't imagine sitting him on wood chips at a playground and letting him go, but at the beach it seems very natural.  Who knows, he's heavy enough that I might have gotten over myself really quickly and not worried about bugs/germs/splinters/etc and let him go on the playgrounds back home too.
I am thankful for our beach backyard.  Liam goes in all directions.  He loves chasing (very slowly) after the seagulls.  He points and talks to the birds all day.  He loves them so much and desperately wants to get his hands on one.  He also loves crawling in and out of the water.  Thankfully, he somehow knows not to go in too deep and crawls out before big waves get a hold of him.  When the bank down to the ocean water gets steep enough he likes to scoot on his booty like a slide down to the water.  He's very silly.  Amelie also loves the beach.  There are so many things to do we have yet to be bored of it. We spend our days building castles and collecting seashells, as well as playing (and reinventing) games.  We changed red light/green light to red shovel/green shovel.  We have to hold up the color of the shovel instead of shouting the words because the distance and wind often makes it difficult to hear. 
 Recently, we started playing a form of ski-ball in which we dig tennis ball sized holes in the sand and try to roll/toss the ball into the holes, all of which are different point values.  The list of endless possibilities of things to do at the beach could go on!  We love having the beach as our backyard!
Daddy and Amelie helping Liam chase the seagulls.

I'm not sure if it was the move itself or a shift in our mindset (or the combination of both), but we have really slowed the pace of our family down.  It has been so refreshing to enjoy the little things throughout our day that we can do together.  Whether that be building a tent in the middle of the living room or designing a log house out of popsicle sticks, the time is there for us to do those things and not be rushed by the next event or thing we have to do.  If ever I've wanted to stop time from ticking it's now.  I know that's not possible, and am continually reminded at how fast time flies (I can't believe we have been here over a month!), but I'm trying to truly cherish these days and these memories.

-Kelly :)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Days Are Just Packed

As a kid, I used to love Calvin and Hobbes.  I had almost every book and anthology and looked forward to Sunday mornings when I could see them in a new adventure in full color. I related (relate) well to the precocious troublemaker with a healthy imagination. Even with my own kids, I've often hoped they turn out to be the half-genius half-rascal that is Calvin. One of my favorite covers was on a collection titled The Days Are Just Packed. On it Calvin multitasks by waiting for an unsuspecting neighbor girl on which to drop a water balloon while napping and chatting with his best bud, Hobbes. To us they are doing a whole lot of nothing, but to them, they are very busy indeed.

I start this post talking about Calvin and Hobbes for one reason; as an excuse for our drought in blog posts. You see, our days are just packed. We have done a lot of nothing and a lot of everything, which has left us very busy.  Kelly and I are still working, and have to inject a dose of fiscal and occupational reality in to our lives every now and then.  However, for the most part we remain without specific duties and schedules that might endanger our fun.

We've had a few visitors in the past weeks, which has been nice as we've begun to miss our friends.  Our honorary first visitors, Albert, Anisa, and their son, Van, were able to swing by for a few hours on their way to a family holiday in Orange Beach.  Although their visit was brief, we made the most of it by making sure the kids got nice and sandy at the beach before they had to meet grandparents for dinner.  Hopefully they can come back and stay longer next time (at least enough that Albert and I can get a few rounds of golf in).

Next to visit were our long time friends and vacation buddies, the Greens.  We've been to many a beach with Katie, Chris, Bella, and Farrah, so it was only appropriate that they were one of the first to visit.  Also headed to a family vacation with Katie's family, the Greens took a long detour to stay a few nights with us and give us some company.  We spent the days at the beach with the kids, building castles, jumping the surf, hunting for shells, and having hermit crab races (which we decided are really boring).  Chris broke out his camera and photo skills once sunlight hit the "magic hour" and took some great pics of the kids.  Nights were nice once the kids were in bed as we sat on the porch, listened to the waves, and reminisced with great friends until the wee hours of the morning.

A big disruption to our lives came in the form of Hurricane Isaac.  We knew that living on the Gulf Coast during hurricane season might get interesting.  Nonetheless, we would never have predicted a mandatory evacuation by the police a day before landfall.  A large part of me wanted to stick it out and encounter the weather.  How bad could a non-direct hit by a category one hurricane be?  However, my appetite for adventure was trumped by my innate desire for the survival of my children.  Luckily, Kelly has a cousin a few hours north in Montgomery, and they were more than gracious in providing a few days of asylum to us refugees. After the hurricane made a hard westward turn, we hurried back in order to still experience what was left of the storm.  Constant 30 mph winds howling through the night and bouts of power failure let me know we made the wise choice leaving for a few days.  The landscape of our beach was changed greatly by the hurricane, as we lost more than a 100 feet of beach front (luckily it was pretty big already) and the squeaky clean, sugar-like sand has been replaced with hard packed grey sand.  Also, our private dock to the lagoon was all but destroyed.  In spite of it all, the city is cleaning up and rebuilding quickly.  Plus, the ebb and flow (literally) of nature is amazing. Except for a bit of trash and dead flora and fauna here and there, the beach is already almost back to normal.

We've stayed busy in so many other ways, of which I won't go in to elaborate detail on this post because it is already lengthy.  I'll have to update more frequently in order to talk about some of our other fun.  I'll just skip the stories for now and include some pics with brief descriptions below.  The days are just packed!
She's a bit rough, but he never seems to mind.
The Pensacola Naval Museum was awesome! Probably only rivaled by the Smithsonian, it was great.  Daddy had the most fun, but the kids seemed pretty enthralled too.
 First day of preschool! More info for that in future post.
Exploring an old wooden ship that washed up after Isaac.  Love this pic.
 You can't beat these skies.  The sun is actually behind me and the clouds are reflecting that bright light.  Made my top five most beautiful nature scenes I've ever seen.
 Same night.  So great.
 Amelie and I can do some serious crab catching at night.
Running through fountains. Very easy fun.