This vacation post deserves it's own space and is too much of a gem to get lost within the all-inclusive vacation recap.
We are done having kids. If you are unsure if your family is complete there is one simple way to figure out your answer. Take the kids you have to the beach. I swear to you it will seal the deal.
Our house was about a tenth of a mile from the beach. An easy walk down a sandy path, from all of the recent rain it was riddle with potholes and the like but for the most part an easy walk to and fro. Right. Our plan was to put Luke in the umbrella stroller which would later offer a space for Ellie to sit/nap (our car was far too small to bring along the Bob Double Stroller which no doubt would have rocked the beach, but I digress) and carry Ellie in the Baby Bjorn. We also had two beach chairs, a beach bag equipped with water, Ellie bottles, snacks, magazines, and a big towel, an umbrella to keep Ellie in the shade, and a bucket of beach toys for Luke. Not too shabby.
John's sister and I took the kids while the guys carried all the gear. Ellie was strapped to my chest as I tried to push the stroller in the sand. Not so much. It didn't bugde, so I pulled it. Heaving 38lbs of Luke and carrying Ellie was a struggle, but I managed, no biggie, we were on the beach, whatever. That was day one. I didn't realize how much of a chore it would be on days 2, 3, and 4.
Once again I pulled Luke, but this time John had Ellie. On the handles of the stroller were the bucket of toys and a chair, all dangling within an inch of falling off, the stroller at times tipping on it's side with Luke hanging on for fear of being face planted into the hot sand. John trailed behind wrestling the umbrella and one of the chairs that kept opening up on him, the overstuffed beach bag and Ellie, who dangled like a rag doll.
Day 2. Leaving the beach.
Luke was done. Overtired, it was time to leave. He started throwing sand just as Ellie was screaming for a bottle. The beach was packed. Families were all around us and the great beach mocked us. "Let's see you gracefully escape" it taunted at us.
I had Ellie and Luke, I need to get them home, Luke repeatedly threw his dump truck, Ellie alternated between screaming and smiling. Good times. We got Luke strapped in and Ellie's legs moved like a puppet on a string, I put what I could on the handles of the stroller and prepared for the pulling of the dead-weight. All eyes were on us. I looked back to see John wrestling the umbrella, it was a scene straight from a Chevy Chase Vacation movie. A woman looked at me and said, "oh I remember those days" as her grandchildren danced about her feet. I declared back, "this is great birth control, we've realized today that we're done, no more kids for us!" Everyone laughed. At least I made them laugh and could laugh with them.
We trudged on. I looked back to see John still trying to compose himself, the damn chair opening up on him over and over as the umbrella slid back and forth preventing him from moving quickly. I just kept laughing. The wooden ramp from the parking lot to the beach was just steps away, I was almost to a hard surface, I started counting the seconds, it was so close and yet so far away. 10, 11, 12, 13...16 seconds and were on the ramp. Phew. I took a breather and turned around. John was lagging far behind. Eyes squinting, brow furrowed, totally pissed.
The kids and I moved on, Ellie dancing, Luke muttering, our house just a few moments away. I turned around again, John was closer but still steps behind us. The chair opened up on him again and the umbrella slipped to the ground. I laughed. I couldn't stop, it was pathetically hilarious. He yelled, "Well that's just what I needed. Tomorrow we are bringing a blanket. That's it!"
The next few days we left the umbrella home and used a towel to shade Ellie in the stroller (which also did have a shade cover too, we were extra cautious), Luke held some of his digger trucks and we figured out a better way to put the chairs on the stroller. We still were the variety show leaving the beach, but it was a little better each day, learning a new trick to the game. I am impressed with families of more than 2 kids. I really don't know how we would have done it with 3.
I really think Chevy Chase could have written those 15 minutes of daily hilarious hell. I need to go ask my mom how they did it so seemingly perfect when were kids.