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    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    A Look Back.



Taking Baby To the Beach.

I make no secret of the fact that I LOVE the water  A fish, I tell ya.  I could spend all day every day watching the waves if that was an option.  I’m sure many of you feel the same way.

So you can imagine my excitement to take Cullen on his first real beach adventure this past weekend.  (We took him with us to Maui in February, but he was so teeny tiny he didn’t really grasp the whole sand and surf thing.)  One thing I learned this weekend?  Taking a baby to the beach is RIDICULOUS.  Long gone are the days when I strolled down the boardwalk with nothing but a book and a beach towel in hand, ready to spend sun up to sun down beneath the blazing sun. 

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Nope, beaching it with a baby looks more like this.

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Totally ridiculous, right?  I haven’t written as much about Cullen’s adventures recently, but I thought it might be fun to share our beach outing since it was a first, and it was also slightly comical.

First off, our plan was to leave the house at 9am.  Casey was absolutely convinced that if we didn’t get to the beach super early, the parking would be nonexistent and the beach would already be filled with ghostly Seattle-ites desperate for sun.  But after Saturday’s outing to Alki beach, we realized we needed some new beach gear.  Most importantly – a shade tent or umbrella for Cullen.  I don’t know what it is about the sun up here, but it’s fierce and burns happen quickly.

We woke up early so that I could start packing us up to get ready to go – outfits, diapers, blankets, snacks, towels – the works.  Meanwhile, Casey headed to the store in search of some beach accessories.  I suggested a small cabana tent.  Ninety minutes later, he returned with an 8×8 tailgating monstrosity.  We are absurd. 

An hour later than intended, we finally pulled out of our driveway.  Knowing we’d be gone all afternoon, I packed as if we were headed out on a two week vacation.  I thought of any and all scenarios.  New moms learn quickly to be prepared.

For example, YES – it was going to be a high of 85 on Sunday.  But this is Seattle, which means the high temp for the day isn’t reached until something like 4pm.  I knew it would probably be about 65 degrees when we got to the beach.  Extra layers were packed for everyone.

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Good thing we got there early, too!  We got the LAST spot in the sand.

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I’m kidding, obviously, but in reality I was glad we were there early.  We got a money parking spot and we had clear unobstructed views of the water and mountains in the distance. 

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I learned that it is always, always important to have something available for Cullen to climb.  When we go for walks at the park, I often put a blanket down for a bit when we’re done so he can stretch his legs.  And despite the warm grass and toys strewn about the blanket, he is only ever interested in climbing up his stroller. 

The same rule applied at the beach.  After discovering the joys of eating sand, he quickly moved on to climbing beach chairs.

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And he practiced his side-stepping and assisted walking by going back and forth between the chair and the cooler.  Nevermind the long stretch of sand and crashing waves.  In-tent entertainment proved to be just fine!

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I also learned that when babies are around sand, you cannot take your eyes off them for even a half-second.  If I looked away at all, I looked back to find Cullen eating fist-fulls of sand or trying to swallow rocks.  And as he took a bold step between the chair and the cooler, I was too slow to catch him before he landed open-mouthed in the sand.  He was not pleased.

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He did, however, LOVE the water!  It was shockingly cold, and I thought for sure he’d scream the minute it touched his toes.  As it turns out, he couldn’t get enough of it.  We both stood in the 45 degree (no, really) wading pool while my toes went numb and he splashed and danced with glee. 

A few solid hours of climbing, eating sand, and splashing – and he was more than ready for a solid snooze.  Casey took one for the team and offered to sit in the shade for Cullen’s nap.  They sat like that for almost two hours while I was able to close my eyes and relax in the glorious sunshine.  My hero.

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Finally around two, my little crab woke up and was ready to eat.  I fed him in the beach chair while he peed all over both of us.  What a stinker. 

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Luckily I was prepared and had plenty of extra outfits on hand.  Some brief public nudity later, he was dry and clean and feeling much better. 

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We were all feeling pretty crispy and sunned-out, so we packed up and left around 2:30pm.  What I used to consider my peak beach hours was now my I’m ready to go time.

If I had to pick, I’d say the beach is probably my absolute favorite place.  It used to be something so simple and so relaxing –a  place to unplug and recharge.  Things are a lot more complicated now – packing, planning, chasing, feeding, napping – the works. 

Despite all of that, I can honestly say that my favorite place just got better.  Sandy baby feet.  Splashing and flashing that toothy smile.  Big tufts of baby hair matted with sunscreen, blowing in the mountain breeze. 

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It just keeps getting better.

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71 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Amanda     at 12:04 pm

I haven’t been to the beach in years, since I moved away from FL in fact, yet I live in Va Bch now. I just can’t imagine taking the girls because of the sand factor, not a fan of the stuff. We are going to a water park next week though, should be interesting. And yep, I totally get the over packing/be prepared for everything mentality :p

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jen     at 12:15 pm

you guys are so cute :) love his little stripped outfit. everything requires just a little more work with babies/kids but it’s almost always worth the extra effort :)

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Erica     at 12:17 pm

Awww that ending actually made me a bit teary eyed! My bf and I go to the beach almost weekly here in Florida and I’m always amazed at the families there. I can’t imagine how much work it is but the thought of having lil sun babies of my own to splash around with someday is just beautiful!

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Verna     at 12:23 pm

Bahaha! Brief public nudity! Doesn’t parenthood change you! ; ) Love it!

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Lindsay     at 12:37 pm

This post is awesome. Lots of chuckles while reading :)

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Michelle (The Runner's Plate)     at 12:41 pm

Haha! My husband *totally* would have bought something like that too! And gosh, I already bring a minimum of two bags with me to the beach; I am going to be a wreck as a mom!

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Bree     at 12:44 pm

I loved this post! My son was born about month before Cullen and we are planning our first beach trip next month (on the east coast). I am looking forward to all the added chaos…

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Jessica     at 12:47 pm

LOVE this! And your monstrosity looks awesome!
I am so jealous of your views. I have been to Seattle twice and it.was.awesome.
Cutest baby ever!

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Sabrina     at 12:51 pm

Cullen is such a cutie pie. Love the ridiculous tent.

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Emily E.     at 12:54 pm

Don’t worry, it won’t be long until Cullen is building sand castles and body surfing in the waves! I remember it being pretty stressful when my boys were babies, but time really does fly. My twins are now 6 and the beach has gone back to being relaxing and easy! Just wanted to remind you that life won’t always be so tough!

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Carolyn.     at 12:57 pm

I loved this post! The tent cracked me up but it really is perfect and it will be for future beach visits too. Over here on the east side of the state it is SO HOT, too hot for my liking. At 9pm it was 99 degrees the other night. Unfortunately we don’t have a beautiful beach to go to either so we had to make due with our backyard and our kiddie pool. Perfect even for the parents to sit in while the kids splash around us:).

Heading anywhere with kids is so much work but it almost always worth it. We have been taking the boys boating the past couple weekends and it is so much work to get a 5, 3 and 1 year old ready to go but once we get to the river the fun makes me forget about all the work.

Cullen is adorable, he looks like he’s getting closer to walking too. Just wait until he can walk, he won’t want to stay under that tent for long.

Have a great Tuesday!

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Laine     at 1:11 pm

I pack like that to bring just myself to the beach! I need a giant tent, though.

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Michaela     at 1:16 pm

oh yes, it will get even better when he is older and can build suncastles and put dead jellyfish onto your feet ;)
you are such a happy family!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Omg dead jellyfish. GAG.

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Helen @ This New Song     at 1:20 pm

Your posts never fail to make me chuckle! Seattle beach reminds me of home in Maine…not too crowded and COLD water. Wetsuits required in August!

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Allison     at 1:20 pm

cute post – you have a good sense of humor and that will help a lot as Cullen enters toddler-hood. After reading other healthy living / new mommy blogs, I find your blog refreshing.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks so much Allison! :)

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Sana     at 1:26 pm

LOL at the huge tent!

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April     at 1:36 pm

OMG Emily, i can SO relate, i laughed through this ENTIRE post as we took our little guy (one week younger than Cullen) to the beach for the first time on the 4th too, SAME experience. I love that i can read your posts and relate so well, i wish we lived close, i know we would have lots of ‘play dates’ hee hee.
But i have to say, the beach does knock the kiddos out, mine took two 3-hour naps:) Nothin’ like the sun, water and sand.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Awww I wish we did too!

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Kate     at 1:38 pm

It is such a joy to read about you and your family. It is so obvious how much you all love being a family and have such fun with all of it!

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mindy     at 2:54 pm

You make me want to move to Seattle! We were there recently and fell in love with the city. But where did you get your striped maxi dress? I have been looking for one for ages and yours is super cute!

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Emily Malone Reply:

It’s a few years old from Old Navy!

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Coco     at 3:05 pm

I know exactly what your talking about.. I actually don’t know how parents handle all of the stuff that kids need, AND the kids themselves.. while trekking through hot beach sand- kudos to you! Looks like you all had a wonderful time though!

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Angela     at 3:09 pm

I honestly can’t get enough of his sweet face! His expressions are priceless. I can only imagine how much joy Cullen brings to your lives.

So glad you guys snagged the last spot on the beach (heh). The early bird catches the worm! ;)

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Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction     at 3:14 pm

HAHA THAT TENT!!! Better be safe than sorry right?! I used to love (and still do) going to beach when I was a kid. I remember my mother dressing us up in neon colors so that she could see us in the water from far away!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Love the neon colors – that is awesome!

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Gina     at 4:15 pm

I laughed out loud when I saw that tent! I’m sure you will get good use out of it!

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Katie @ Shared Bites     at 4:47 pm

My goodness, he is such a little cutemeister!! My new job does not permit as much blog reading as my old job, but I’m glad to catch up. Congrats on the new house and glad you had fun at the beach! :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thanks Katie! We miss you guys. Congrats on the new job!!

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Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See     at 5:10 pm

Wow, Cullen looks like a major adventurer. First climbing strollers, then beach chairs? Oh man. :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

He’s into EVERYTHING!

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kate     at 5:19 pm

I live in Clearwater Beach, FL… and EVERYONE brings a tailgating cabana to the beach. I mean everyone. I could have counted over a hundred there last Saturday, so you’re in good company!!!

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Christine     at 6:38 pm

I loved reading this post. My husband and I took our 15 month old and 3 year old to the beach last weekend. We had a wagon and stroller full of gear (no kids in either). It’s amazing how the beach changes once you have kids!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I need to get a wagon!

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Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie     at 7:09 pm

Your family is so beautiful! I feel like it was just a few weeks ago you were pregnant and now you have this healthy, joyful little boy running around to enjoy life with! I’m so happy for you!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thank you so much, Erin!

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Caroline Costa     at 8:18 pm

hey, how are the dogs going? they deserve some of this fun too, right?

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Emily Malone Reply:

They are great! We actually thought about bringing them with us since we had such a big tent, but dogs aren’t allowed on Seattle beaches. :(

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Kelli Reply:

I was going to ask about the dogs too! I miss them! Lol

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Elisabeth     at 8:22 pm

Love the maxi dress/bathing suit coverup!

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Joanna@DrizzleofSunshine     at 11:08 pm

That’s one thing I hate about beach trips…packing! There is so much to bring and I can only imagine how much more stuff you have to bring with a baby.

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Patty     at 5:36 am

I can only hope for a baby half as happy as Cullen! He is adorable. I was trying to scope out what your beach read was for the day. Anything you’d recommend?

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Jen     at 6:10 am

I am a beach lover like you. While kids have definitely made it a bit less relaxing, it has become a lot more fun. My older son is almost 4 and I now have the beach thing down. A few weeks ago, I managed walking to the beach with both boys and all of our gear by myself. We loaded everything onto our BOB stroller (chairs hung over the handle, umbrella perched inside the handle, toys hooked on, duffel on my back, etc). I have to say I was quite proud of my success, since it is quite a handful.

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Sarah G     at 6:16 am

HAHA– look at all the blindingly white people on the beach behind you and Cullen in the last photo. Also, did you see that couple to the right? They’re totally “topping” the brief public nudity (pun intended) :)

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Renee     at 6:17 am

As someone on the cusp of TTC, this post at first had me worried and thinking, “Shoot! I need to get to the beach everyday this summer before it’s too late for me!” But then I read to the end, and saw that you’re in love with the beach even more now that you can share it with your little one. Thank you for a beautiful post, and for putting my pre-baby anxieties to rest :)

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Jules     at 6:25 am

You’ll get your beach days back. Just remember, time will fly, and the next thing you know you’ll have a 4-year-old building a sand castle, then a 7-year-old looking for sea life and shells, or a 10-year-old boogie boarding. :)

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Amateur Mommy     at 6:50 am

This totally made me giggle– you’re right, trying to go to places like this with a baby is so much different than pre-baby days! I recently tried to go somewhere with my toddler sans baby bag, just into the store quick, and she chose that moment to pee through her diaper and all over the floor.

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Samantha     at 10:08 am

Oh thank you for such a funny funny post. Especially as one who has lived here for life. I especially laughed about having to layer pretty much until afternoon. Yup, that about sums the area up.

Recommendations:

As he gets a little older you might try renting a house either on Vashon/Bainbridge or the San Juans. It isn’t that the water will be any warmer, but it will be sort of the beach house experience, and off season not to expensive.

I LOVE Lopez Island. Always have. Once he gets a bit older you might try and get into kayaking which you have probably noticed is quite the water sport around here. But I wouldn’t do it with a baby that young…I think stronger kayakers might, but not me. :)

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Melissa     at 10:51 am

Cullen’s hair is getting so red! We had our first baby beach experience last week and learned an important lesson- swim diapers are not meant to hold in the pee! Who knew??? I’m glad my baby isn’t the only one who enjoys a fistful of sand!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Haha oh yes. Very leaky! :) Learned that one the hard way in Maui.

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Nicole     at 11:26 am

I am so jealous of the gorgeous place you live! We took Amelia to the lake for the first time last week and she loved it, her first beach trip will be in September. I loved this post and I love hearing about Cullen, Amelia is only a month or so younger! Would you consider doing a day in the life post at this stage? Thanks, keep up the wonderful blogging!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yes, I was just thinking I should do another one of those! Next week. :)

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Tiffany     at 1:04 pm

Haha! This was awesome. I so remember our first beach outing with our first born. Completely comical and we left by 2:30ish as well. Now with 2 kids, we pretty much have it down to a science (although we live in California and prime beach parking is always a challenge year round. Ridiculous.)

Thanks for sharing this adventure with us! What a cute, sandy baby!

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Angela @ Happy Fit Mama     at 1:07 pm

I had to laugh all through your post. Long gone are our days of lounging at the beach! Now it’s spent digging, running, and splashing. Beach chairs are not needed that’s for sure.

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Kim     at 5:15 pm

Cutest baby ever!! I love your blog! I tried some BBQ Tofu tonight but you were right, I wasn’t a big fan of the baked method. I will definitely try your crispy blackened tofu next!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Hope you like the tofu! Something about baking just doesn’t do it for me.

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Alex @ Raw Recovery     at 5:21 pm

I’m glad that Cullen actually liked being in the water this time! I remember your Maui posts and how he didn’t like the pools/beach as much then, but I’m sure he was a lot more sensitive to the cold and new sensations as a little tyke. I love his hair-it is absolutely adorable with his toothy grin :)

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Emily @ Life on Food     at 7:09 pm

I didn’t know there were beaches like that in Seattle. They are so pretty, especially with the mountains in the background.

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Leah     at 7:34 am

Glad to see your original Nook is still going strong! Mine is too! I think it’s now 2.5 years old. :) I love it because I cans still read it in bright sunlight (b&w version is best for that).

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Emily Malone Reply:

Casey’s is fried but mine is still kicking! :)

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Leah Reply:

Yay!

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Christine     at 9:41 am

Your writing is superb and your blog has such detail and care. Emily you crack me up as well, comments are so funny and realistic. Great work :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

Thank you so much! :)

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Gabrielle     at 1:31 pm

Looks like a lot of fun! And we all have to eat a little sand at some point. ;)

Curious though, you mention getting peed on… don’t those cloth diapers catch the pee at all?

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Emily Malone Reply:

Oh yes definitely. The cloth diapers are great! He was actually wearing a disposable diaper for the beach. The swim diapers don’t hold pee – just poop!

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RLR at Mom's Magic     at 10:15 pm

I’m not a big beach person, so I would take that canopy for myself! I was actually in FL last week and got pink sitting under a beach umbrella! I’m fair-skinned, as are my kids, so we are always in a ton of suncreen. And, even though my kids are older, I still feel compelled to take “stuff” – buckets and shovels, towels, bottles of water, the camera, chairs…. Now, they can just help me carry some of it!

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Alison of NOVA Frugal Family     at 5:58 am

We left for our first trip out of the house with our little man and we packed my little station wagon so full that I was sure it might burst. It was the first time that I thought…I get why you need a mini van when this is what I need to leave the house for the day. Only an hour behind schedule is actually the best you can hope for with a little man :) Good luck on the next trip.. I highly recommend packing the car the night before while little man is sleeping!! That is also why my husband started calling me a pack mule because I care at least four bags leaving the car from the trip to the library :)

[Reply]

Heather     at 12:34 pm

Your tailgate tent is actually very common at least in the south. We have the same one and everyone who heads to the Northwest FL beaches lines them up along the sand. Its 85 degrees when we get to the beach early in the morning so having a shady place to rest is a must. You and your tent would fit in well here!

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Kat     at 11:01 am

omg isn’t it nuts how many tings you have to pack up every time you take a step out of the house, especially, if, god forbid, you’re going out for over an hour? We bought a beach umbrella (that we lost the same year – idk how one does that so quickly) and some chairs and beach stuff that we drag with us (in fact, in the summer I just keep it all in the car) and I seriously look crazy when I’m bringing the kid to the beach alone.

Thankfully, the beach is only about a 5 minute drive from home and my bags are always packed in the summer for a little beach outting (but my car is now a sandpit).

btw- the early morning comment, almost peed I laughed so hard.

[Reply]

active escape     at 4:39 pm

Usually I don’t read post on blogs, but I would like
to say that this write-up very pressured me to try and do
so! Your writing style has been amazed me.

Thank you, very nice article.

[Reply]

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