Two weeks ago we were enjoying a family vacation at Virginia Beach. Despite a few minor glitches we had such a great time! Life has changed so much since then and I am really missing the beach!
I failed miserably at completing my vacation recap last year so I'm determined to finish this year. My 2000+ pictures are a bit overwhelming so I'm going to break it down into a day or two at a time and post the recaps over the next few weeks.
I mentioned it before but one of the best times to go to the beach is the last full week of August. Colleges and many schools are back in session so the beach is very quiet and relaxing most of the time. Right now it works out well for my family because school doesn't start until the very end of August. Spending the last week of Summer Break at the beach is our favorite tradition!
The timing for vacation was a bit rushed this year. Liam's birthday was on the 18th and we left in the wee hours of the morning on the 19th. We had school visitations for three kids, last minute errands and a mini birthday party for Liam on the 18th so we were literally packing until 2 AM. By that point I gave up on sleep!
We climbed into our SUV around 5 AM and hit the road. Despite the luggage rack on top our car was filled to capacity. That's what happens when there are 6 people in the family! We could barely see poor Dylan in the back seat!
The entire road trip to Virginia Beach was a complete blur and I didn't take a single picture on the drive. I only get sick 2 or 3 times a year and guess what? I got sick! I had been awake for well over 24 hours, I was congested, I had a fever and it was almost 100 degrees outside. All I can say is thank goodness all four of our kids are fantastic travelers!
As we neared Virginia Beach it started pouring down rain. Poor Grant could barely see the road. It just seemed like an ominous sign that vacation was doomed!
Check in at our hotel was a breeze. We unpacked our car and settled into our suite (3 trips to the SUV later of course). We decided to run out to grab some dinner and we brought it back to the hotel. It was still raining when we finished so we headed down to the indoor pool for a swim.
While the kids were swimming the weather started to improve. We had to say hello to the beach after a long year away so we immediately headed outside before it got dark!
The dark clouds blew away and we got to see the most beautiful rainbow and sunset.
We stayed on the beach until the sun disappeared completely.
We went back to the room, got dressed, took a quick stroll on the boardwalk then headed back so everyone could get a good night's sleep. Grant and I sat on our balcony for a bit to enjoy the peace and quiet and the beautiful view.
The beach and boardwalk were very quiet for a late Friday night. The sound of the waves were lulling us to sleep and Grant and I practically fell into bed. We were exhausted after a long day!
Our first full day at Virginia Beach was a busy one! I was still sick and feverish but I was determined to make the best of it. After all, being sick at the beach is much better than being sick at home. I refused to let it slow me down too much!
After a delicious breakfast (the hotel we stay at has an amazing breakfast buffet) we went back to the room and got ready to go to the beach for the day. Getting 2 adults and 4 kids ready for a day at the beach is not an easy task! Somehow we made it down there with minimal frustration!
Our first full day, which was a Saturday, was the busiest day the entire time we were there. The beach was somewhat crowded but nothing compared to how it is earlier in the season. We're just used to having the beach practically to ourselves!
We set up our spot for the day then Grant took Dylan and Lexie boogie boarding. I was given strict instructions to relax as much as possible (easier said than done with a toddler). Lily played with some friends she had just met and Liam actually relaxed by my side.
Grant eventually came running out of the water and told me to grab my camera. He said there were a bunch of dolphins just a few feet away from where he, Dylan and Lexie were swimming. Dolphins are one of my favorite animals so I was thrilled!
We have a good routine while we're at the beach. Everyone stays together until late afternoon then Grant takes Liam up to the room for a nap. Lexie and occasionally Dylan join him. Lily, however, is a beach bum like me. We stay at the beach by ourselves until dinner time and that's when I can truly relax! I look forward to those 2-3 hours every day we're at the beach!
Lily asked me to go for a little swim with her. I'm not ashamed to admit that I only like to go in up to my waist (except if we're at the Caribbean and I can see my feet). There's a good reason for that. All afternoon Dylan and Lexie were complaining about crabs pinching them and I thought they were just being dramatic tweens.
While Lily and I were swimming I felt something large go over my foot. I immediately pulled Lily to the shore and as we stood in the surf something washed up over my feet.
We decided to spend the rest of the day at the edge of the water!
The crowd started to drift away and Lily and I ended up having our area of the beach all to ourselves. We were reluctant to go back to the room but we knew everyone was probably hungry. We met our crew in our room then headed out for an incredibly overpriced dinner at a pizza place.
By the time we were done with dinner it was dark. We headed out on the boardwalk to get some exercise. Lexie grabbed the scooter, Dylan grabbed his skateboard and Grant put on his rollerblades and pushed the stroller. I feverishly trailed behind them.
That was the busiest the boardwalk was for our entire trip. Most nights there were only a few people here and there and we walked. And that night the people were crazy. Maybe there is something to be said about a full moon?
Before we went back in to the hotel we stopped at Lily's favorite pirate ship playground on the beach. It was the perfect way to get out that excess energy!
We decided to spend the rest of our evening swimming. When we're at the beach we stay up late and close down the indoor pool!
The kids ended their evening with a very short TV marathon. They were obviously exhausted after their first full day at Virginia Beach. They crashed and Grant and I were able to relax on the balcony!
Day 1 and Day 2 were really busy and so much fun! Stay tuned for the rest of the recap...