Thursday, August 11, 2011

Crystal Beach

OK, girls and boys, this post is going to be a long one, and picture-heavy, too. So sit back, grab a margarita, and put on some sunblock, because tonight I'm going to show you Our Trip to Crystal Beach.

See how far we've come from the days when family members were coerced into sitting for hours and looking at slides from a vacation they weren't a part of? ...Ahem, well at least now you can just click on your e-mail if I get a little long-winded...

So! Back to Crystal Beach. I'll have you know, this was: 1) The longest car ride we've taken thus far with kids, 2) The first vacation to anywhere with two kids, and 3) Both Audrey and Henry's first time on a beach. Prepping for it was a chore, packing for it was a pain, and making sure everything came back with us was entirely unsuccessful, but at least we didn't forget a family member! On the whole, though, it was a great trip, and it went way smoother than this worry-wart Mama thought it would. Shall we start from the beginning?

Kyle's family won, with a winning bid in a church silent auction, a few nights at a congregation family's beach house. It just so happened that the days everyone agreed on were days that allowed us to join Grammy, Gramps, Nanny, Granddaddy, and Katy (aka Aunt KK) there. So after packing up what seemed like at least half the house, arranging for a house-sitter (thank you Donny!) and cleaning out the fridge, we headed down on a Wednesday morning at 5:20am.

Audrey and Henry were awakened, semi-fed, and plopped in their car seats, still in their pajamas. It didn't take Henry long to fall right back to sleep, but Little A decided she wasn't going to miss out on a thing... and stayed awake... for the whole drive. Aaah well. Anyho...

By the time there was enough daylight to take good pictures, we were already in Galveston, and in line for the first exciting adventure: a ride on the ferry.

We got sandwiched in between a big truck carrying lumber and the side of the ferry, so Audrey admired her first glimpse of the sea on Daddy's lap
We arrived at the beach house by lunch time, and after putting little Henny Benny down for a nap, stretched out on his tummy (finally!), we slapped together some sandwiches and ate on the amazing back porch, picnic-style.
It looks deceptively calm; we fought an amazing sea breeze almost the entire time we were there...
Sweet sleeping nautical baby

Oh, and did I mention that Little Miss Awake-Since-5am finally conked out in a real bed and slept late into the afternoon? Oh yes... 
After this nap, we put up toddler bed rails and she slept safely and 100% contained the remainder of the trip

During nap time, I was able to wander around the manicured, yet rustic, property between the beach house and the beach itself. Apparently, last year, the scrub brush and flowers were not a presence like they were when we visited, but they quite added to the feel of the place if you ask me. 

In the late afternoon/early evening, we made our first trek down to the beach. Grammy and Gramps went first, setting up a shade contraption and folding chairs. We followed, once the Little Woman was thoroughly soaked and covered in sunscreen and donned in her fancy-pants bathing suit.

Grammy and Gramps hauling the beach gear over the scrub

 Luckily for us, we were allowed many a quality beach hour due to doting great-grandparents who loved up Henry while Mama, Daddy, and Audrey were off getting sandy and sticky...

Even when our stomachs started growling at the passing of our traditional dinner hour, we were hard-pressed to drag our sandy little beach comber out of the surf and in to the shower. However, as we waited on the grill to work it's magic, she seemed just as happy exploring the outdoor spaces of the beach house.

We all hit the sack early the first night, and in the morning, I took my little mermaid for a walk on the beach with Aunt KK. It was fun to see all the low-tide things through the wide-eyes of our little first-timer.

Day two brought Henry's turn to meet sunblock, surf, and sand.

The second day concluded with dinner, some beach-front acoustic guitar, and an evening stroll on the beach wherein the golf cart got stuck bringing us back to the house and Katy and I pushed it about 100 yards to free it in past-your-ankle-deep powdery dry sand...

Ahem. So on to the last day.

The third and final day was much more of the same... eat, beach, eat, sleep, eat, beach, eat. However, dessert after lunch came in the form of a beautiful early surprise birthday cake from Katy, made by a member of her church congregation and carefully carried in secret to the beach house for yours truly (though I'm pretty sure Audrey felt it was meant to be hers, there had just been a misunderstanding...).

There was, however, one special thing that made an appearance the last evening we were on the beach... one single thing that was, perhaps, more anticipated by our little traveler than the beach itself... the kite.

We squeezed every minute out of our last trip to the beach, then packed up all the gear for the last time and trekked back to the beach house. For our last night, we all had steak, stayed up way too late chatting and sharing photos, then hit the sack for an early start home.

We left Crystal Beach at 4:30am, and were actually too early to catch the ferry, so we detoured to I-10 and still got home before lunch. Since then we've been in recovery mode, reluctantly washing the sun and sand out of our bathing suits, happily washing the sand and grime from the shells we scavenged, and slowly easing back into the 'real world.' 

I am happy to report that it has been more than a week since we embarked on our beach adventure, and our Little One is still fondly talking about it, including in her games tidbits about the beach, and asking about wearing her bathing suit all day. I am also happy to report that not one of our foursome was sunburned. High five!

Until next time, thanks for everything, Beach... and oh, how we love you so.

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