Family Vacations

My parents first took me to the beach when I was 18 months old. My dad mentioned to me the other day that he remembers taking me in the water for the first time. Bill’s mom made a similar comment to me about the first time they took Bill to the beach when he was about 2.

September 1981

My family didn’t start going to the beach annually until I was 8 years old and then we went all the way through my early 20’s. Some of the trips were to Bethany and Rehoboth beaches in DE but the later ones were to the Outer Banks in NC. I have such fond memories of all of those trips: Funland in Rehoboth, Henry and Anita (and their daughters, Thelma and Louise), judging waves “necessarily necessary”, getting French braids in our hair, the parents and their “wall” of sand to block the surf, my dad the road nazi, and our parents packing the cars to the brim with suitcases, groceries, boogie boards and Barbie dolls.

Summer 1988 — Ted (9), Rachel (5), me (8), Carrie (7)

Thirty years later, Bill and I took Caelan on his first beach trip (with hopefully many more to come). We rented a condo in Ocean City, packed up our car and headed to the beach for a week. This was my first time in the role of “parent responsible for packing everything we’d need for a week” on a family beach trip and I forgot quite a few things. Nothing major, but you just don’t think to bring trash bags on vacation. I have taken notes for next time 🙂

Writing in the sand to make it official 🙂

Not only was this Caelan’s first vacation but it was only the third time he had stayed overnight anywhere other than home. Thankfully, it didn’t seem to phase him one bit. He shared a room with us (for the first time since he was a month old) sleeping in the Pack N Play and though he woke up a little on the early side, he slept through the night. Win. He also became a super star napper, taking a 2 1/2 hour nap on most days. He’s always been a terrible napper so this was kind of a miracle!

We went to the beach 5 out of the 6 full days we were there and we realized within about an hour on our first day at the beach that vacationing with a toddler is a whole different kind of vacation. Laying on the beach for hours, listening to music and reading…yeah that is not happening. Caelan wanted to wander and so we wandered with him. He seemed to enjoy the sand and the water and barely flinched when waves hit us as we were sitting in the surf. He also seemed to enjoy the baby pool, though we were disappointed that the big pool had a no-babies-in-diapers rule. I think he would have enjoyed the big pool.

First look at the ocean

Checking out the surf

Friends told me that having a tent at the beach was a good idea so that we’d have some shade and a place for Caelan to nap. We borrowed a tent from a friend for the shade but I thought, no way would Caelan just fall asleep at the beach. He never just falls asleep randomly.

Sleeping beach monkey

What the hell do I know – I’m only his mother! Caelan fell asleep at the beach on 3 separate days. It was actually really nice for Bill and I to have a little bit of time to sit/lay on the beach and relax without chasing the kiddo around.

Aside from the beach and pool, we made a trip to the boardwalk and took Caelan on his first carousel ride and a mini train ride. I don’t think he knew what to make of it.

First rides!

I tried to get a picture of Caelan in front of something iconic on the boardwalk but all I got was this in front of Fisher’s Pop Corn. He usually tolerates the stroller fine, but he gets bored if we stop for too long.

Too young for pop corn anyway

We had a great time on our first trip together! Bill’s parents joined us for two nights early in the week and their visit left Bill and I nostalgic about those family beach trips of yore. We’re excited to plan future beach trips with our extended family on both sides and hopefully Caelan and his future sibling(s) and cousin(s) will have the same kind of great memories about these trips as we do about our childhood trips.

He is pointing at birds in these pictures – he loved the seagulls!


5 Responses to Family Vacations

  1. Jen says:

    I’m so glad you guys had a great time! Keeping the family beach vacation tradition alive is wonderful, and I hope we can join you next year, and see how Caelan likes the big pool!

  2. Nancy says:

    Aww – thanks for sharing. I remember that trip to the beach when you were a baby – that was fun! Looks like you had a great time with Caelan – another water baby. And taking a nap at the beach sounds like a good thing to do :-). Hope to go with you next year!

  3. Amy says:

    Glad to see that Caelan napped at the beach for you…and that Bill got in some cuddle time while he was sleeping too! I remember you saying something about being glad to see they still did that when you saw a picture online of Brayden napping on Mike at the beach! 🙂

    • skmac31 says:

      While we are thrilled that Caelan will nap in the crib now (only took 12 months to get him to do that!) we still enjoy the occasional cuddle nap. We were stunned he fell asleep on the beach!

  4. […] to dig up some old pictures and scan them for me so that I could use a couple for my post about our beach trip. When I was looking through the pictures of me at about 18 months old, I caught a glimpse […]

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