Yesterday's forecast called for a gloomy morning, so we decided to hit the NC Aquarium. Nina raced around from tank to tank in awe of everything. I was really impressed that she was even brave enough to pet the sting rays! Elise enjoyed the outing too, but she wandered through as a more seasoned veteran of museums and such. Addie enjoyed sleeping upright in a carrier on J.C.'s chest. With the ear infections, that was probably the most comfortable sleep she had all day. Nina's excitement level definitely surpassed the other two.
In the afternoon, we decided to try Putt-Putt with the girls for the first time. We came to the conclusion that six is a better age for Putt-Putt than four. Nina loved her pink ball and was actually pretty good at putting (she had two holes in one), but she had no patience for waiting for anyone else. Once we altered a bunch of rules to work better with a 4 year old attention span, we all had a good time though!
In an effort to truly follow in her big sisters' footsteps (both of whom had recurrent ear infections and multiple tubes surgeries), Addie is now battling flaming ear infections in both ears and a sinus infection. I spent two hours of lovely, bright, sunny beach time this morning with her at urgent care... not a fun place to spend vacation. She's now doped up on antibiotics and other meds and attempting to make up for lost sleep from last night. I'm hoping for a better night tonight. I guess we'll count this as infection number one in our steps toward tubes. Speaking of tubes, whoever invented them should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Surely, wars have been prevented or stopped by formerly sleep-deprived parents who were suddenly given the gift of sleep when their child got tubes. Brilliance, I tell ya! We need more medical break-throughs like tubes... the simple stuff that feels like it turns your world back around.
This morning started out with overcast skies, but that didn't put a damper on our fun on the beach. JC dug holes (aka "beach tubbies") for the girls, and they were in heaven. Around lunch time though, the rain moved in, and the day quickly deteriorated into an afternoon of burned grilled cheese sandwiches, "She hit me in the eye with the DVD!", mamma not getting the nap she needed because of a grumpy baby, "She said 'duh' to me!", exiting the grocery store with a cart full of groceries in a deluge, and a broken elevator, so said groceries had to be hauled up two flights of stairs. Not fun. Rain, rain, go away!!!
Blue skies and warm sun made for another fun day on the beach!
We started the day with an attempt at taking family photos on the beach early this morning. I'd share some, but they are locked in the camera since we forgot the flash card reader for that camera. I guess we won't know if we got any good shots until we get home! Although the beach was deserted, apparently we had quite an audience for our photo session. While walking out to the beach later that morning, a couple stopped us and asked if we were the ones taking pictures that morning. We admitted we were, and the woman went on and on about how they had always done that with their kids. Seeing us had brought back so many memories for her. She said she almost sent her husband (former professional photographer) out to help us. I wish she had! Taking pictures with the timer is always a challenge. Later in the afternoon, a grandmother stopped us at the pool to ask us if we had been taking pictures that morning. She said she looked out the window without her glasses on (and after having had too much to drink the night before) and thought she saw a bride twirling around in a white dress! Then she wasn't sure what to think when there were two brides out there twirling around! She said they watched us for quite a while. I never imagined we would provide quite so much entertainment in the early morning hours.
For dinner, we made our annual pilgrimage to one of our favorite haunts, the Sanitary Fish Market. As fun as it can be to take vacations to new, exciting, exotic locations, I think there is something special about recurring vacations to the same spot year after year. You build up so many memories from each trip. Trip planning is easy and stress-free when you already know where to stay, where to eat, and what to do, and everybody in the family looks forward to their favorite restaurant, ice cream shop, or special activity. My family spent many Thanksgivings and summers in Santa Fe, N.M., and to this day, I still like to hit the same restaurants we frequented when I was a kid. Maybe one day, Elise, Nina, and Addison will be taking their children to the Sanitary Fish Market too to start their own family memories.
When we arrived at the beach yesterday, Nina ran out there and raced around in circles yelling, "Yahoo! Yahoo! Yahoo! Yahoo!" I love the way kids that age have no inhibitions. She was feeling the excitement and exhilaration of being at the beach and just laid it all out for everybody to see. She really put a smile on my face. Heck, maybe Tom Cruise isn't as crazy as he seems with his couch jumping antics... perhaps he just took lessons from a 4 year old.
J.C. and Nina took a long walk to go shell hunting. While they were walking along, holding hands, she looked up at him with her big blue eyes and said, "Daddy, I like it when you go on a walk with just Daddy and one sister." I think she melted his heart right then and there.
Elise's good friend E was at the beach with her family, so she and Elise had a ball together.
Addie loved the pool!
I was even treated to a little alone time on the beach to sit and read a magazine while soaking up the sun, the sounds of the crashing waves, and the beach breezes when the girls were all napping! Pure heaven!
Nina, Addie, and I had a nice visit with friends and family in Dallas last week, so I thought I'd share a few pictures.
Addie's first flight... no fear of flying in this baby! She looked like this for nearly the entire flight. With Addie snoozing and Nina watching a movie, Mama got to sit back and read a book - what a treat!
Nina with the Mustangs of Las Colinas. To quote what she was saying when I took that first picture, "Wow! He's even got a penis!!"
Bubba and Addie... they've got the same hairstyle!
Nina was thrilled with the pool! She couldn't get enough of it.
Addie seemed to enjoy her bath in the kitchen sink.
No trip to Texas is complete without nachos and fajitas! Nina got a kick out of sitting on this saddle at the Mexican restaurant. Aunt Marietta and Uncle John (not pictured) joined us for the feast.
Despite Addie catching a little cold and Nina choosing to test every rule, boundary, and limit possible, we had a very nice trip.
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving."
While Addie, Nina, and I were doing the Texas Two Step, Elise was enjoying being spoiled as an only child, and J.C. was relishing a week without diapers. J.C. took advantage of their time alone to get Elise out on her bike for some longer bike rides. One day they rode to a burger joint and back for lunch for a total of 6 miles. The next day they tackled an 8 mile ride on a greenway. As J.C. was telling me about her cycling accomplishments, his face beamed with pride like that of a football crazed father watching his son's first touchdown. I think J.C. already has her in training to become the first female winner of the Tour de France.
You're familiar with the phrase, "like a kid in a candy store", but I'm here to tell you that's nothing compared to "like a little girl in the American Girl Doll store." While we were in Dallas last week, my mom and I took Nina to The American Girl Boutique and Bistro. If I could have found a way to bottle up her excitement I would have a blockbuster drug on my hands! She ran around the store from display to display oohing and ahhing, touching and caressing literally every doll and toy in the entire store. The grown-up, practical, budget-minded side of me walked through groaning at the prices and marveling at the power of successful marketing, but I tried my best to shut that side down and just enjoy the magic of seeing it through her eyes. We had a great lunch in the Bistro where the dolls get their own menu and a seat at the table. There were a number of girls there celebrating birthdays, and that made a big impression on Nina. I have a feeling next time we go, we'll need to celebrate someone's birthday as she was very enamoured with the singing and cakes being brought out. When we got home, she was so excited in trying to tell J.C. about it that she fumbled the words and feverishly told him about her trip to the "American Dirl Goll Store".
We came out of there a bit poorer than we went in, but if you have a young girl and are ever near Chicago, NYC, LA, Dallas, or Atlanta, I highly recommend a trip to the "American Dirl Goll Store." It was as much a treat for me as it was for her.