For a while now, my husband has been itching to take our girls to the beach. He grew up on an island and it just felt odd to him that his own children hadn’t experienced sand in their toes and salty air on their little faces. The only thing I could think of was… A. How many tantrums would ensue over the sand in their toes and B. How we would manage bringing the dog as well and it not become a giant mess. (Because, of course, he wanted Daisy to enjoy this vacation as well!)
What every young family must realize is, there WILL be drama. There will be projectile diarrhea (Daisy) and refusal to eat (also Daisy), but I underestimated how resilient my kids are… and they’re a bit older so things that used to be firm are now a bit more flexible.
Chris found this really cute, dog-friendly duplex on Dauphin Island (picture is linked). In hindsight, had we planned further ahead, we should have made sure to find something beach front to avoid extra hassle, however it ended up not being too bad. We always start any “family” adventure with very low expectations. If you have daughters, you know how emotions can be all over the place… even before puberty.
This place ended up being ideal! We were able to sleep all 6 adults comfortably, the girls used their sleeping bags (which they REALLY enjoyed and have pillows attached – easy to wash) and the top deck had a baby gate, so Daisy could be out without us having to watch her like a hawk. There was a pier off the back where you can fish in the Mississippi Sound (Not much luck, but it was still nice) and any basic amenities we needed, were there. ACP Real Estate provided us with information on where to park to get beach access and a permit to park so we didn’t have to walk so far.
THIS was golden, because that sand is SO soft, it’s a workout to walk a few feet… but well worth it. Dauphin Island was beautiful, not too crowded and seeing how much Daisy had a blast splashing around in the waves and the girls discovering sand and fulfilling that little dream made the exhausting trek with all of our belongings not so bad. Daisy didn’t get to go on our little lake vacation in Crockett, TX last year so it was nice to get to bring her without having to worry about her being “restricted” from places. She’s an older dog now and has anxieties stronger than most humans, so she wouldn’t eat and drank too much salt water which resulted in a raging poop situation, but she’s fine now, safe and sound back home… so no harm no foul. We got this leash for her and it ended up working out great – we just attached it to her harness and she could run freely while still being leashed.
We also made sure to stop at a Walmart in Mississippi before getting to the island (Chris claims we HAVE to stop at Walmarts on family trips now as a tradition… I would prefer a less eye-roll inducing tradition, but he seems to really enjoy the scenery in there so there we went).
The last month or so has been pretty stressful to say the least. More than average, so despite Diem having a horrible cough (allergies) and Daisy’s drama, it was so much fun and getting to make those memories with our parents and the girls was one of those things we will never regret. I’ll never get all the sand out of my car and I’m sure it’ll take days to finish washing all these towels and clothes but I see the way my girls so enjoyed this uninterrupted time with their daddy and it makes my heart explode. I get to do silly things with them daily. I try to make a point to fill our day with experiences not just I want, but things they enjoy as well. I know yesterday is already gone, and sometimes I just want to lay on the couch and watch trash TV… and I do. But, I never want to look back and wish I had played Chutes and Ladders one more time or flip on the Sky Zone trampoline instead of sitting on Facebook to see how many likes a picture got.
Being a writer and starting this blog has been such a learning experience for me. I know it’s important to connect with people because it will get them to care about my work. However, I have had to teach myself that writing is what I do for fun… so while I do like to make these delicious recipes to share and I love to have that camaraderie with other parents about the peaks and valleys of having children and life in general… I won’t be a slave to it.
With all the stress lately, this vacation couldn’t have come at a better time. I purposely left my laptop at home along with my running shoes and workout clothes. I took pictures just during the “firsts” of the trip but I really wanted to be in the moment with my family and give myself a reset!
Alas, we are back home and this morning I went out for a 6 mile run to start the week off on a strong note… it was a pitiful run but I did it and I’ll be working more on editing The Quiet Ones with a fresh mind and spirit.