A summer without sand on your feet is a summer incomplete.
Katie and Dean are such sweet cousins to Tice. They were thoughtful and patient with little man the whole weekend. If he was in the room, they made sure the Scooby Doo episode wasn’t too scary for him. Dean is so good about sharing his tractors, trucks, and other toys with Tice (and if you’ve ever been to Dean’s house, you know he has the BEST toy collection that any boy could hope for).
But the most important–and probably the most difficult thing they share is Bebe’s attention. They do it with grace, though. Of course, Bebe absorbed every moment she could in the kids’ room with the three of them. All four of them were in heaven! Oh, and Tice (very sweetly) suggested that I needed to go in “that other room” when I would come in to check on him. What? Go to the grown-up room? Okay. Noooo problem, sweetie!
There’s something so special about that uninterrupted time with family during a vacation. Sure, it’s never perfect (stay tuned for the Rainforest Cafe story below…), but the memories and the bonding are worth it. I really think Tice will remember this, but even if he doesn’t, these pictures tell the story. I remember vacationing (even at his age) with all four of my grandparents, and then later with some of my cousins. I treasure those memories and how that time together strengthened our bond.
Our friends Erin and Roy recommended The Railroad Museum, and we loved it! The location at the west end of the strand made it convenient to visit before shopping and lunch. It was great for the kids but interesting for grownups, too. Katie (third grade), Dean (first grade), and Tice (2.5 years) all enjoyed our time there.
This picture makes me smile for many reasons. My husband can always make me laugh, and I’m so grateful to have my dad in the picture. He’s lost so much weight and getting healthier all the time.
I could have spent hours just looking and photographing all the paint, lettering, rivets, and other vintage details. There were several rooms with displays of the dishes, silver, and textiles from the decades when train travel was king.
After the morning on the Strand, we attempted lunch at The Rainforest Cafe. Have you ever been there with a tired toddler? The place was packed. Honestly, we should have left as soon as we saw the dining room. Harper and I gave each other that look, knowing there was no way in hell Tice was going to make it. Then the server told us that there would be a “thunderstorm” every 15 minutes (or something like that) and that the (creepy) life-sized animals would “come to life.” Again, Harper and I looked at each other and crossed our fingers and our toes and our eyes, hoping that the rainforest gods would go easy on us. If we hadn’t been with the rest of the family, it would have been easy to leave. Meanwhile, Tice kept eying the elephant head protruding from the rocks above the table next to us.
Right as the queso was delivered to the table, the thunderstorm unleashed its fury, and the animals went wild. I saw the fear take ahold of little man, but he tried so hard to keep it together. He hates to cry in front of people, but that elephant kept turning its head and flapping its ears as the thunder and lightning raged around him. He completely lost it, and we got out of there as quickly as possible.
Needless to say, it will be a long time before we ever attempt that place again. Luckily, the trauma wasn’t anything a little time at the beach couldn’t cure. (Although, Tice still reminds me about that loud elephant “at the beach” every time we see one in a book or on TV. Yes, we might have scarred our kid for life at the Rainforest Cafe.)
I don’t love this picture of me, but I love it of the three of us. They are my two favorite women in the world–the two that influenced me and loved me from the beginning. Well, almost the beginning for Nicole–I think it took her a few months to warm up to me. But after that, we were best friends for life.
The three pics below are blurry, but I love the moments and love that they capture. And like I’ve said before, I look better blurry than sharp anyway. I’m grateful that my sister or Harper grabbed the camera and took these.