Holy holiday bliss, Batman! How much fun can one family possibly have just hanging out together? Well, throw in some beach time, some Captain Jack Sparrow, a little poolside pageantry, and several stellar imaginations — and you begin to push maximum capacity, at least in this family. We stayed up too late every night and got up too early every day (except Natalie, who uncharacteristically got to enjoy some extra sleep — much to all our mutual pleasures) and we burned the enjoyment candle at both ends and in the middle almost every moment in between. And pretty much all we did was hang out together for 8 days straight with Nana and Grandpa George.
Here’s what the view’s been like:
Bella and Xi share a room at the grandparents’ house. It always turns into Kid HQ. From this sacred space erupts laughter, wild pretends, cards for all occasions, and mass quantities of art. This year, added to that was the now familiar din of pre-teen music sliced out of a pink Ipod on the table, and an exclusive secret club (complete with membership cards, a card-scanner at the door, induction survey for placing new members, and codenames!).
This year we returned, by virtue of some very generous friends of my parents, to this amazing country-club-water-park-thingy.
The girls played and swam and rode the water slide a billion times, but enjoyed none of that better than the royally luxurious feeling of lounging poolside and sipping their non-alcoholic piña coladas and strawberry daiquiris. We grown-ups had our own version of that as well and enjoyed it just as much… Add potato wedges for that extra-luxuriant feel!
After a few days of hanging around Nana and Grandpa George’s house, and going to the pool club twice, we all piled into vehicles together and drove an hour to Orange Beach for an off-weekend weekend. Sunday afternoon, Monday, and Tuesday until early afternoon, we stayed at the Perdido Beach Resort — the very same place we went for the first “Bats at the Beach” when Bella was 5.5 and Xi was about to be 3. As per our usual beach genius, we revolved between gulf and pool — starting each cycle (twice a day with a break in between) in the sand and surf, and finishing with more frosty beverages by the cement pond.A couple of things I love about this photo — this pool is famous in our family, because of our family photo screensaver which often shows this shot of Izabella in the same pool at about the same age doing her now legendary “Is she OK?” barely-above-the-surface-swimming.
There’s just a delicious kind of symmetry in the cyclical nature of our returns to the beach each year combined with our first ever return to the same spot, in the same manner, with some of the same costumes, and doing some of the same bits. It made for quite the existentially blissful experience to feel so much nostalgia sandwiched into an already perfect now… Most of the best moments at the beach this year already had some relationship to some of our best memories.
And per their usual fashion genius, Nana and Grandpa George made sure that some dazzling new outfits found their way into the girls’ wardrobes.
This was the scene from the balcony, just a few feet from the bed. You can actually swim into the building (and an indoor pool and hot tub area) there at just right of center above. One of Bella’s preferred vacation-yoga postures. Family gathering under the shade of the pool bridge.One of Echo’s favorite vacation-yoga moves.
And a variation of Xi’s now famous vacation-yoga pose.
During the week we also watched all four of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, ate more blueberries than is generally safely advised, had a birthday celebration for Nana and Natalie, played board games, pet the dogs into oblivion, enjoyed magnificent meals together, made piña-colada-pops, and sniffed gardenias — Grandpa and I even got in some midnight philosophizing.
It was all so so fun. And so easy. Simply Splendid.
I hope you’re already finding your way(s) to some easy fun this summer too!