It’s the first Beach Days of the season with my wee kids and the effects on me and mine were wonderful.
With all three of us at the tail end of a sniffly/sneezy bug, the salt air and sea breeze were just what we needed. My 5 year old is pumped following his morning soccer game and although my original plan was to get him home to take it easy for the rest of the day I knew as the car hit the waterfront on the road home I was going to cave.
My 2 year old pointed out the window, her chubby arm stretching out from her car seat strap, yelling excitedly.
“Mama!” she shrieked. “Ocean!….dat the ocean!!”
The parking lots packed, the beach cafe and ice cream stand were already buzzing with customers, and on the sand and shoreline people stretched out on towels, blankets, and camp chairs. The tide pools filled up with kids, buckets and shovels at the ready for crab and sand dollar collecting, and one look in the rearview mirror at the two little faces behind me sealed the deal.
“We’re going to the beach,” I announced as I turned into a parking space directly in front of the steps leading from the boardwalk down to the shore.
That first day when shoes and socks come off and the hats and flip flops go on had been a long time coming. We deserved an unscheduled, just because it’s sunny and Saturday, kind of moment.
So off we went toward the sand with no buckets, blankets, swimsuits or picnic lunch. Only hats, bare feet, my camera and a need to just spend some time away from the scheduled existence we find ourselves enslaved to by this time every year.
Watching the two of them completely enthralled with slimy seaweed, scurrying crabs, quick as a wink tiny fish, and hundreds of shells, rocks and sea life inspired me to get cracking on that end of school year to-do list when we arrived home a few hours later.
This year I’m determined to be somewhat organized so by the time that final kindergarten bell rings in late June me and mine will hopefully have loads of time to do the simple things we all enjoy.
My summer to-do list goes something like this:
1. Sort and pack away all cold weather clothes, boots, toques, gloves and heavy coats. Rain gear and puddle boots have to hang around – living on the Coast and all – as well as for mucking out our goat pen but everything else can be donated, passed down or thrown out. Bye bye work socks and Sorels.
Hello water socks and flip flops.
2. Purge my first aid basket. Throw out any outdated medications or long since used first aid staples and re-stock. When little legs go from being covered up in denim to out in the open under shorts and skirts the bumps and scrapes that come along afterwards call for a freshsupply of bandages and a new tube of Polysporin cream.Mosquito, wasp, and bee stings are a part of summer especially out here in the country. Refreshing the After Bite and/or herbal alternative supply is imperative. Wasps are an issue on our property and when they bite the sooner some type of relief is applied the better.
3. Buy sunscreen. After being diagnosed with basal cell carcanoma just over fifteen years ago I don’t mess around with anything lower than SPF 30 both for myself and my kids. I’ve heard and read both sides to the sunscreen debate - ingredients in some sunscreen products are worse than any sunburn – but my memory is crystal clear of the chunk of flesh removed from the middle of my back a few years ago. That doctor had to go in three times before he finally hit healthy, cancer-free tissue. I have no desire to go THERE again nor do I wish that for my kids. Sunscreen and hats are non-negotiable for me and mine. This year I’m trying out Aveeno Hydrosport Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 because I like the spray vs hittin’ every spot with lotion and I like the cost at $17 bucks.
4. Figure out a grad gift for my big son and an outfit for me for his commencement ceremony. He’s all registered at VIU Music Program for September which leaves me loads of options for his college student wish list so I’m not too worried but it would be cool to come up with a gift that could blow his 18 year old mind.
Definite call-out to my chick crew for some help on an outfit choice for commencement. Nothing too formal as family photo-ops are scheduled for the beach but I still want to look nice. As usual Joe Fresh is always my starting point. Their cute tees and affordable pants, skirt and dresses are right up my alley.
5. Pull down the family calendar and see what’s keyed up for July and August. I already know I have soccer camp penciled in for August and a quick trip to Cranbrook for my niece’s wedding reception first week in July but other than that I am determined to keep those calendar squares under some kind of manageable control this year.
6. Have the ingredients for bubbles on hand. Blue Dawn liquid dish soap, white corn syrup and water in an ice cream bucket with the lid. Made a batch last June and it lasted all that summer…no kiddin’.
Bubbles are on my Top 5 list of Best Boredom Buster EVER. Right up there with Knock-Knock Jokes, Lite Brite and Crazy 8s. Bubbles put a smile on faces from 1 thru 99. Love me some bubbles!
Glorious off the cuff days at the beach are a great start to my list. Between work and family responsibilities I plan on taking more time to enjoy more than a few unplanned days at the beach, lake or park with my kids.
We were covered in sand when we arrived back at the house as my husband’s truck rumbled down our long driveway right behind me. The kids couldn’t get out of the car fast enough, running to tell Daddy about crabs under their toes and castles of sand.
So one last thing for my gettin’ ready for summer list?
7. Bring out the buckets, shovels and mini-fishing nets and make sure they’re in the car, along with sunscreen:), so we’re always ready to pull over, get barefoot and make some memories.
Happy summer planning.