Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Father's Day at the Coast + 4th of July Weekend

Fluffy stuff coming atcha... Starting with a good old fashioned photo dump {why haven't we come up with a better phrase for this phenomenon? perhaps I'm just an eight year old boy at heart, but "dump" makes me snicker. then I remember I'm an old lady, and I grimace}. 

Father's Day at the Beach

We once again trucked it down south to the CINNAMON Gulf shores {so.much.brown} of Port Aransas to celebrate Father's Day weekend with E's family. We stayed at the Island Retreat condos - a total blast from my childhood past {this time with less avocado green shag carpeting}.  The property itself {pool, exterior, grilling areas, playscape} leaves a bit to be desired {aka: haven't changed a bit since 1990}, but the beach views and access across the dunes can't be beat!  And the interior of our condo {VRBO #55664 if anyone is in the market for a 4B/2B - it worked just fine for 6 adults and 2 kids} was very nicely updated.  We rented our golf cart {not a true necessity but I think B would have staged a mutiny without one} from Silver Sands.  I wouldn't say their customer service or the actual cart we received were super top notch, but their pricing is pretty standard and they deliver / pick up your cart for free, soooo... take that for what you will.  Two last Port A plugs... Fins was a decent choice for supper with kids {nice marina view; my shrimp tacos were quite tasty; no one cared when B inexplicably insisted on dining topless}, and we all really enjoyed Avery's Kitchen for a super casual breakfast {cash only}. 

The beach itself was pretty dang hot and rather crowded during the day {ahoy Captain Obvious}; I much prefer Texas beaches during the off season!  But the chicklets had a total blast in their own distinct ways... L attacks the surf and sand with extreme gusto, jumping over waves, digging for hours, planking until she gets knocked over with a wall of water, and generally bringing home half the dunes in her swimsuit.  

B sits in the golf cart. For hours.  Until I think he might get heatstroke and fashion a private golf-cart-cabana for him out of towels. I am pretty sure E could take him to play 18 holes of golf in the middle of his nap time and he'd sit peacefully without a whine or worry on the cart for the entire 3 hours.  I kind of want a stationary one to just sit in my living room. 

And of course we all had fun spending time together with family and celebrating two fantastic dads. {And opening Hamilton paraphernalia.} {And watching the OJ Simpson 30 for 30 and American Ninja Warrior and drinking beer.}

4th of July Weekend

I feel like we celebrated the 4th of July for an entire week... which was just {Yankee-Doodle-} dandy in my book! 

Not an official Fourth event, but we got in the spirit Wednesday afternoon with some patriotic playdate Flag Cake.  These girls were excellent pastry chefs and very dedicated to festive decoration.  I highly doubt anyone needs a recipe for Flag Cake, but just in case... we used a Butter Vanilla box mix - whichever one says MOIST! WITH PUDDING IN THE MIX! on the package - and then improvised the frosting with Cool Whip + whipped cream cheese + powdered sugar.

On Saturday, we took a big family walk around Lady Bird Lake and played at the playground of the school where L had soccer this spring {and where my mama taught for 39 years} plus a Thundercloud picnic. A post-nap backyard swim and grill-fest with friends rounded out the day. 

Another big walk to see the neighborhood decked out in red, white, and blue and lunch al fresco at Shady Grove kicked off our Sunday. Our little neighborhood club has thrown a "We Can't Wait for the Fourth" celebration every 3rd of July for as long as I can remember, and I was so excited to take our kiddos this year to continue the tradition. Music, BBQ, bounce houses, snow cones, gaggles of sticky children running amok on the golf course, fireworks... It was pretty much just as I remembered it from nearly 20 years ago, which is to say...hot, hot, hot, and fun!  This was the second year L stayed up for fireworks, although these were quite a bit closer {re: LOUDER} than the ones we saw last year in Orange Beach, and she took a tick to settle in and enjoy them. I took major advantage and snuggled the crap out of my big girl for the duration. B was absolutely giddy and shouted BOOM! throughout the entire display. Their delight was well worth the sugar crash and 10:30 pm bedtime...

::she naively said until the beasts awoke cranky as hell at dawn on the anniversary of the birth of our nation::

Errrrrm, sooooo... We'd planned on cheering on our neighborhood parade but we were a wee late getting our proverbial patriotic poo together and pretty much missed all but the last 5 minutes. Which was enough to amass a good-sized bag of candy and wave at some golf carts, so the kids were mostly satisfied. We ditched the little "end of the route" fiesta in favor of bagel sandwiches and then hit up the pool to occupy the kids until naptime.  Having already checked off our fireworks box, we kept the evening low key with brats {hotdogs / not children} and burgers at J and T-Pop's. J unearthed some sparklers; L was like AIN'T NO WAY and B was like DEEZ ARE DEE BEST {although he was particularly stoic in his adoration}. We had the little meatloaves scrubbed and brushed and in bed by 7 and Independence Day was rolling by 7:15. Nothing says HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA like Will Smith cold-cocking an alien in the face! 


  1. Hi! Long time stalker/reader here and I 1. Wanted to say hi as you were so kind to email w me years ago...and 2. Pls pls tell me how you all slept w 6 adults and 2 kids in the rental. I am stressing big time about my upcoming vacation w my extended family. My kids r 3.5 and 1.5 and don't share a room at home. Eek. Good luck interviewing, how exciting!

    1. Hi! I will not pretend that the sleep arrangements were perfect, but we made do! The condo had one master bedroom with a king, one room with bunk beds, and two rooms with queens. For B's naptime / L's rest time, we put B in a PNP in the master and L in the bunk room by herself. At night time, they both slept in the bunk room with B in the PNP. They do not share a room at home and they actually did okay. The biggest issue is that B is waaaaaaaaay too big for a PNP so it took him longer to fall asleep and he woke up earlier than normal {and of course kept L up / woke her up early}. I was under the impression until a week before our trip that the condo had a crib, and by the time we figured out they meant a PNP, it was ridiculously expensive to rent a crib. A crib really would have made all the difference so if you can get your hands on one for your vacation, I would totally recommend it!

      Another tip: if there is a spare closet with ventilation or bathroom big enough to put a crib or PNP, definitely stick the littlest in there! B has slept in closets and bathrooms all over our fare country :)

      And, if all else fails, put one adult in one room with one kid and the other parent in another room with the other. B will NOT bedshare AT ALL but we've totally shared a bed with L on vacation out of necessity before.

      Finally: low expectations and lollipops. Those two things make my vacation world go round ;)

  2. You are the best for responding and I am so impressed they shared at night. So, to dig even deeper, would you put B down first at night and then L would sneak in later? My youngest is a good sleeper but the lightest sleeper in America, so one sneeze and we are all in trouble. Smart to have them nap separately!

    1. We actually just put them down together. They go to bed at the same time now (7:30/8) so we just threw them in bed and hoped for the best. It took them about 30 minutes to up to an hour each night to go to sleep. And we had to go in and remind B to stop chattering. Again, not perfect but the fact that the beach exhausts them did really work to our advantage. Over spring break, when we traveled with another family with 2 kiddos (4 and 8), the three big kids shared a room and we did put the two 4 year olds to bed first and the 8 year old would creep in later. That worked fine, too!

  3. You are my hero. Thanks so much for taking time out of your already busy life to help little me! So glad this all worked out for you. You give me hope. :) Cheers!


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