Beach Days.

Thursday – really?  And August – seriously, get out of here.  I am just starting to get into my summer groove, and it already feels like I’m running out of time.  We’ve been vacationing this week in Hilton Head, South Carolina with Casey’s family.  We’re having an absolute blast, and I’ve had a wonderful time disconnecting, digging beach pools, napping on the balcony, taking beach walks, and eating messy sandwiches.

We are staying in the same spot that I visited every summer of my childhood with my dad’s family, and it’s been a special treat for me to create new memories here with Casey’s family.  The beach makes me a cheesy sap, and I just can’t quite get enough of watching Cullen laugh and splash in the same sand and surf where I learned to swim, collect sea shells, and build drip castles. 

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He is 100% obsessed with grandpa, and will have nothing to do with anyone else.  It’s nice to get a break, but I could do with a little less “no, mommy!” too.  We are kidnapping Casey’s dad and taking him back to Seattle with us.

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We’re in a great groove where every morning we are up early and on the beach before it’s too hot and sunny.  We’ve been blessed with a few overcast, cloudy days that have made the southern transition a bit easier on this melting Seattle family. 

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Cullen loves the beach, and I’ve never been so sandy in my life.  I stopped packing books and magazines after the first day, and have embraced a sandy bottomed swim suit and sore arms from digging wading pools.

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This is my happy place.

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I’ve even been able to catch up with a few friends!

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In between endless trips to the ocean to refill buckets of water and trying to wiggle a squirmy toddler out of wet beach clothes, I’ve been soaking up as much of my sweet 11-week old niece as possible.  She is by far the most laid back, well-behaved baby I’ve ever met, and I absolutely adore her.

Even more fun is watching Casey with her – he is a total natural and doesn’t seem to have lost any of his natural comfort with an infant.  I am clumsy and awkward and have forgotten the rhythmic bounce and sway that calms them so quickly.  He is confident and seems to have the perfect forearm length and size for resting her and gently rocking her into a trance. 

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And what fun to watch my brother and sister-in-law become parents.  I’ve had fun picturing what our family trips will be like when we have a six, seven, and eight year old running around.  I’m guessing afternoons in the pool will involve a lot less napping and a lot more cannonballs. 

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This little fish spends most morning on the beach, and we cool off in the afternoons at the pool.  When I came here as a kid, I spent pretty much sun up to sun down of every day at this same pool (since we’d already done the the beach thing all summer in New Jersey).  I know I’m a broken record, but it’s just so incredible to see Cullen learning to swim in the same space.  I keep expecting to see my cousins or grandparents round the corner though – lots of strange déjà vu!

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Okay we’ve been here for something like five days now, so less commentary and more pictures.  Indulge me – this is my vacation journal!

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Don’t make me leave!