the fourth & the beach
We were supposed to head to the Jersey shore for the week of the fourth, but my placenta has put a hold on any travel that we’ve planned this summer. Bad placenta.
So, we made the best of the time that Jason had taken off, getting started on some kitchen demo (because remodeling the kitchen is definitely the thing to do when you’re 30+ weeks pregnant and stuck in your house) and other work around the house, and attempting to spend lots of time together. It was so so so very nice to have him home for several days in a row — his work hours have been sort of insane in recent months, working long days, going in on weekends, and the occasional 12+ hour day where he doesn’t get to see Lilly at all. It’s been hard on him, I know. It’s been hard on me, since I am not supposed to lift Lilly and really need some down time by the time he gets home. And, poor Lilly. It’s too sad to hear her little voice ask when daddy is coming home, and the way she follows him around after not seeing him for a day is just too sweet. So we were all VERY happy to have daddy home for a few days, even if it wasn’t for the beach vacay that we had been hoping for.
We dressed in our red, white, and blue on the fourth and headed out to the local parade. Our parade features approximately 50 tractors, trucks from every local business that owns a truck, the 4H kids, a few girl and boy scouts, and, of course, the vets, police, and firefighters from local communities. I was disappointed that there were no marching bands, and I also wonder what happened to actual floats? Because I don’t count stars on a garbage truck as a “float”. I want something made of chicken wire and tissue paper (shout out to our homecoming float from sophomore year of high school, which went up in flames…). Did you see any floats at the parades you attended? Also, was your parade TWO HOURS like ours was? Thank goodness for the free candy and nearby popcorn stand or we wouldn’t have been able to stick it out.
It was about this point that our charming little one learned the phrase, “throw more candy at Lilly June!” And I might complain about how rude this seems (could she at least use “please?”) but I was too busy eating the candy that parade walkers had thrown at her.
We had dinner and fireworks at home with two of our friends. Jason smoked some pork (yum) and our friend made an amazing banana cake dessert. This year’s family fourth pictures were not quite as wonderful as I’d hoped, but I think pet + toddler photography can be tricky on their own, not to mention when all posed together.
Lilly wasn’t entirely sure about the small fireworks that our friends brought over. So Lil and Jason hid in their outdoor bear cave (aka the fridge box from our kitchen remodel) for safety.
The following day, we decided to venture to the shores of Lake Michigan. We’d promised Grammy some pics of Lilly on the beach, and I wanted to try to snag a few photos of our family before the baby makes an appearance. (Unfortunately, we didn’t arrive at the beach until nearly 12:30 so had a bright, overhead sun – not the best for photography. We found a spot in the shade to take some pics, but if anyone has other solutions to the bright sun/photography problem, I’d love to hear them.)
After a quick self-photo session, we threw on our swimsuits and headed closer to the water.
I was happy to sit on the beach and watch as Lil and Jason splashed in the waves.
Lake Michigan is COLD. I really couldn’t handle dipping much more than my feet and ankles, but somehow Lilly was game for getting entirely wet. Luckily, her daddy was game for going with her. 🙂 She would have stayed in all afternoon had we let her, but she was shivering so much and her skin was turning cold to the touch, so we had to convince her to play in the sand for a while.
We made friends on the beach because everyone else’s sand toys were much more fun than the ones I had packed. And by “made friends” I guess I mostly mean that we apologized for our kid stealing random toys that other people’s kids had discarded on the beach. We weren’t sure about beach toy protocol — I didn’t really care if other kids played with the shovels and buckets we brought, but other parents seemed to vary in their response – anything from the same, “sure, your kid can play with that!” response we have to annoyed looks that said, “maybe you should supervise your kid better”.
Ultimately, the water was her favorite. Also, here I am incredibly glad that she’s blocking my maternity-swimsuit clad body, and I’d also like to put out a PSA that YOUR BELLY STILL NEEDS SUNSCREEN. I almost learned the hard way that not all suits are SPF rated and that your belly is at the PERFECT angle for catching rays. Not to mention, if your belly looks anything like mine has since about halfway through my pregnancy with Lil, it has not seen the light of day in over 2 years (because it is covered in stretch marks, the belly button ring I acquired in my early 20s left holes which have been made larger and more disgusting looking by my stretching skin, and my belly button grew to twice its normal size and has yet to return to its original cute and tiny status. The chances of me ever wearing a bikini again are pretty much nonexistent.).
We left the beach after a few hours, grabbing ice cream on our way out. We visited a local splash park, but I think Lilly was too tired to splash by that point, so we quickly changed plans and headed to dinner instead. We managed to keep Lil awake the entire hour-plus ride home by singing her favorite song (the yeah yeah yeah song by the Flaming Lips), and by taking turns pretending to roar like bears while lifting our paws up in the air. We must have looked awesome to people in cars passing us, but, hey, the family that growls together stays together. Or something like that.