We've been at the beach since Wednesday, visiting with my long-time friend, Shannon, and her family. It's our first time here with four children (her two and my two), plus both husbands over the weekend. The definition of crazy fun -- sometimes just crazy and sometimes just fun, but always worthwhile.
Here are five things I love about spending time at the beach with a friend who's known me since my single days and continues to be my friend after all these years:
- Watching our kids turn themselves into little shake-n-bake babies, coating every inch of their sweet bodies with sand and loving every minute of it (see photo). Then bathing all four of them together in the shower outside the beach house, soaping and re-soaping until their tiny white tushies are all clean.
- Reading a book, an actual, wonderful, honest-to-goodness novel. Shannon finished it on Wednesday and I burned through the 400+ pages by Saturday night. Not only was The Help a great book, I finally made the time to read. Of course, it helps that Shannon and our husbands were there to entertain the kids so that I could read uninterrupted for more than 15 minutes.
- Staying up too late, talking about everything from Michael Jackson to forgotten friends to Punxsutawney Phil to our families to saving turtles to where we want to buried (or not) when we die. We might not have solved the world's problems, but it's way more fun than chatting on Facebook.
- Wearing a bikini on the beach, because it makes my husband happy to see me in one and I don't feel self-conscious around Shannon because she loves me in spite of myself. And she has probably had as many body-image issues as I have over the years (although hers are different ones than mine and she looks fantastic).
- Having a schedule, which sounds counter-intuitive for the beach -- but only if you don't know Shannon. She's a planner, in the most high-maintenance way, and I love it. We always know what we're going to do and when we're going to do it -- when the schedule is filled with nap times, snack times, trips to the pool and the beach, you can sign me up for that plan any day of the week.