This afternoon we had to deliver a letter from Aunt Rebecca in the Philippines to Allan's mom. After a brief visit with her - and still unable to reach the bow maker who has my backup cello bow in for rehair - we set off - ostensibly to the grocery store and then home.
It was a beautiful sunny day: warm but not hot, breezy but not windy, blue skies, sunshine, and good traffic. I said to Allan, "you know - I half think we should just go out to the beach and eat supper out". Then I lapsed into a semi-napping state. When I next became consious of my surroundings - we were headed to Crescent Beach out in White Rock!
Originally uploaded by biketrouble.
As we parked, Michael and Melissa clued in and because VERY excited! We got the babies into the backpacks and headed for the beach. As soon as we were within sound of the water Maribeth started to coo, babble, and LAUGH with utter happiness. Once the waves on the beach were in view - Megan joined in and proclaimed loudly "DAT!" pointing at the waves. We realized that from the time the girls came home from the NICU until we moved in February - they had gone to sleep every night with ocean wave sounds from the computer (to mask the noise from the people upstairs). Living here - that hasn't been needed - but they remembered the sounds and were excited to hear wave sounds and also to see the water.
Megan's "DAT!" was shortly followed by "get DOWN" as she watched Michael, Melissa and Maddy running on the beach and balancing on big logs. Of course we didn't let her down as we know from past adventures with wee toddlers that a toddler "DOWN" at the beach means about 10 minutes to END OF ADVENTURE due to wet, cold toddler!
With some difficulty - we convinced M's 1, 2, and 3 that we should WALK the length of the beach FIRST before stopping to play. This was helped along by walking along the edge of the water to "look for shells" instead of walking on the pathway. Backpacks are wonderful things for these situations. As useful as the double stroller is, it can't handle rocky beaches.
Beth, Cheryl, and Allison on the beach
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.
So we had a magical late afternoon and early evening: climbing on big rocks, looking for shells, playing with the natural driftwood "teeter totter" - where we found out that Mommy with Maribeth in the backpack weigh about the same as Melissa, Michael and Maddy. Along the way - we met someone we knew from back in Open Door days and we had many, many people counting how many children we had with us!
Then we headed over to the washrooms because Maddy claimed she had to pee. Melissa and Michael claimed they didn't but were told to "go anyway". As it turned out - Maddy did NOT have to go and Melissa and Michael DID. Coming out of the bathroom Melissa smelled something, "sort of like French fries and fish and Mommy don't you think it's supper time?"
We followed our noses - Allan wanted to go to RAF's where we had often gone with our friend Richard while he was alive. But RAF's was packed and our babies were antsy, having spent a good amount of the afternoon either in carseats or backpacks. So we opted for fish and chips at a take-out window eaten at an outdoor picnic table instead.
After having a snack (didn't buy enough for a full meal plus they were out of salad which left french fries only for the non-fish eaters) - we headed back towards the other direction at a lesiurely pace. As we neared where the van was parked - we let the babies out to their immense delight! They did what all our toddlers have done - they headed STRAIGHT for the ocean and tried to crawl in. We caught them in time and held them over the edge of the water so they could reach down to touch the ocean for the very first time. Both squealed in delight and did exactly what Melissa did 5 years ago: reach down and grab up sand and rocks and then stuffed them into their MOUTHS! Only this time - no one had a camera along to capture the moment! Yes, that's right - we went out for an adventure without a camera.
By the time we got the crew back in the van to the grocery store and home it was already long past bedtime but it was a good way to close off the last of Allan's vacation time for this year.