Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Family Beach Portraits 2013

I love opportunities for family pictures.  The beach is always one of those times and when we get the whole family together there are always pictures for my mom.  Years we are all together, we take a group shot, and when we can't get together, we do smaller group shots.  This year, I decided it would be fun to do both in case some didn't turn out (which is likely with two kids and a dog).  This year, Brady was the problem.  We had a very hard time getting him to smile and he's now at the age where he can verbalize protest.  He was in many of the group shots and kept screaming that he didn't want to take any more pictures.  We got a few decent ones, but many are grimaces like the one above.

Look at those smiles.  No denying they are father and son.  They have the same exact mouth and smile.

Brady's not looking in this one, but it's the best one we got of the four of us.  He's smiling at his baby sister which is sweet.

The previous pics were taken on the third floor deck and we tried a few on the crow's nest (fourth floor small deck in line with the roof).  It was much too sunny, but nice that you can see the ocean in the background.  We didn't go up there much, since the first time we were up there, Alex and Lauren's dog, Kiro, went through the rails and was walking on the roof.  We were so freaked out and he walked from end to end, and almost over the top peak.  We thought for sure he would fall off and be a goner.  We got him to come down eventually, but it was very scary and we didn't go up much after that.

The yearly whole group shot.  This is the first year that Izzie was in it.

 Alex, Lauren, and Kiro.

The kids and grandkids (Kiro included).

Mom and Dad

Nana and Dubby with the grandkids.

 The next day, the kids took their naps, we showered, and headed down to the beach for our small family pictures, like we do every year.  I had been looking at beach portrait poses on Pinterest because we'd done the same pose the past three years (see below).  This was one of them, but it didn't work out like I thought it would.

This was another pose I had Pinned, and it seemed to work out well.  I liked the different heights.

 A smile!  This was definitely the winner out of the two days.

She was loving her toes in the sand.

 This pic got forgotten in the last post about the entire vacation.  Brady is in love with his puppy cousin, Kiro, and again Lauren caught some great pics on her phone.  You can tell by how genuine his smile is that he loves Kiro.  He loves him so much that he often teases him by taking his toys and gets nipped, but he keeps coming back for more.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Virginia Beach Vacation 2013


We've been going to Virginia Beach since I was a baby.  When I was little, we went with my grandparents (mom's side) and my aunts.  By the time I was in elementary school, we were going with my godparents (cousins from my dad's side) and their son.  We moved from the main tourist beach to the private beach lined with houses when I was 10.  We've been there ever since and have only missed a year here or there when a larger vacation took its place, like our trip out west or Disney World.  Now, it's fun to take my kids with their grandparents and uncles.  This year was even more special because it was Izzie's first year.  My parents never took us as infants, but waited until we were 1.  Brady took his first trip to the beach (Myrtle) when he was four months old, like Izzie is now.  This year, we also got everyone there.  Chris flew in from California, and my dad had no family emergency to take care of.

Each year, the traffic gets worse and worse.  Two years ago, we came from South Carolina and encountered no traffic.  Last year, Brady and I were living in Pittsburgh with my parents while we house hunted, and left from there when Andy joined us from Michigan.  We left at 6AM and it took 12 hours (without traffic or stops, it should take 7.5 hours).  This year, we drove the 4.5-5 hours (including feed stops for Izzie) from Michigan to Pittsburgh on Friday night.  Saturday morning, we woke up and were on the road by 3:30AM in an effort to beat some of the traffic.  We made it to Maryland before the kids woke up and had to stop twice to feed Izzie.  There was still a good bit of traffic and we made it to the main tourist beach at 1:30PM (check-in at the house wasn't until 3PM), making it 10 hours.  The ride back took much longer unfortunately.

Since we arrived early, we headed to the main beach to kill some time before check-in.  We saw this as an opportunity to get our souvenir shopping out of the way at the start of the trip instead of wasting beach time driving the half hour from the private beach later in the week.

Sunday was our first official beach day and we were excited to get the kids to the beach.  Brady in particular couldn't wait, he'd been told since Friday that we were going and he got made every time we stopped somewhere that wasn't the beach.  He even screamed at cars in traffic to keep moving!

We've been going to the pool since mid-May and I started to notice that Izzie's 3-6 month bathing suits were getting a bit snug.  I had already purchased a few bigger suits on clearance for winter swim lessons and was glad that I did.  She's seen above in a 6-9 bathing suit and you can tell it's not big at all on her.

That day, the water was quite cold and Izzie whined every time her toes were put in. 

It wasn't a problem for Brady, however.

That night, we noticed our gas grill at the house was leaking when turned on, so we had to wait until the next day to get it fixed.  We decided to go with Plan B.  My mom was planning a low country boil and we did that instead of grilling.  She and I went to the local seafood shack to get shrimp and crabs.  Above you can see they had the crabs mating in a tank.

We brought home 18 male blue crabs in a bag.  Crabs have always reminded me of spiders, so they kinda freak me out.  They were initially in a fridge to slow them down when we purchased them.  By the time we got home, they'd warmed up enough to be active again.  Brady is seen above peering into the bag.

When they went to pull one out, there was about four or five of them that had grabbed hold of each other.  When they let go and scattered, it got quite hectic on the indoor porch.  I turned tail and ran, and both Brady and Lauren were on top of furniture.

Monday the water was considerably warmer and I was even able to go about waist deep with Izzie in my arms.  She was perfectly comfortable in the water.  Every day, we would take the kids down mid-morning, spend a couple hours at the beach til they got tired, then come back, bathe them and put them to bed.  Someone would stay at the house while they slept, then everyone would head back down after lunch.  With eight people eating, the trips to the grocery store are quite frequent.  My dad had gone the first two days, so my mom and I went on Monday.  Right before we left the house, we got a text from my brother, Alex, and Lauren while they were fishing.

They had caught a shark!  I had assumed it was about 3-4 feet long from the picture, but later we learned from them that it was 6-7 feet long!  It was a sandbar shark that is very common in the area.  We certainly know that there are sharks in the water (as there are in all saltwater bodies of water), as there was a shark attack (bull shark) on our stretch of beach back in 2001 (featured on Shark Week each year).

When we left the grocery store, we had a few more pictures waiting for us.  They'd caught a second shark, this one much smaller at around 18 inches.  While they rolled the other back into the ocean, they brought this one back to the house (dead of course by then).

Tuesday, the water was on the cool side again (nothing near as cold as the first day), which was just as well, since it was one of our days to go out to dinner.  That night was our yearly trip to Captain George's seafood buffet.

Wednesday was a gorgeous beach day.  My dad took this as an opportunity to take his camera to the beach and take pictures in addition to ours.  Above is Alex and Lauren getting some sun.

A pic of Chris.

Andy and I relaxing.

Izzie hanging with Nana.

My dad has a really nice camera that I love and he was taking pictures of me and Izzie from the next umbrella over.  She seems so much older in many of the pictures we take, but I was shocked at how young she looked in these ones.

When we arrived at the beach on Monday, there was a large tidal pool waiting for us.  It remained there through Wednesday and both kids loved playing in it was it was shallow and warmed by the sun.

Izzie is wearing a 6-12 month swim suit above!

This toy truck we bought the first day at the main beach was Brady's favorite toy on the beach.

Brady was very intrigued by Alex and Lauren fishing since we had a house bordering the back bay last year and he went with them while they fished.

That night was a grill night.  We had five pounds of shrimp, pineapple, and what remained of the blue crabs.

Thursday was a cold and windy day with a threat of rain.  We took Brady to see Despicable Me 2 and went to Margie and Ray's for dinner.  Brady and Izzie were having fun playing in the same high chair.

Friday would have to be the absolute best day we had down at the beach.  Andy found a small boogie board at the house and we put Izzie on top.

The water was absolutely in temperature and the waves were unbelievable.  It was pretty calm until that day.  We went out and waves were crashing above us and before us.  We had to dive under each one and had only a few seconds between them.  It was rough, but so much fun.  Brady had his floatie on, but it was too rough to put him down.  Andy held onto him for most waves, but I had the misfortune of holding him during a rough one.  I went under and the wave was so strong, it ripped him from my arms.  By the time I surfaced, Andy had grabbed him.  He was fine, but wanted to go play with his toys on the beach after that.  It was safe to say I was sufficiently water logged after three long bouts out in the rough ocean that day.

Brady loves playing with his Uncle Alex and above is a great action shot of Brady trying to squirt him with water.

It was such a great day, we weren't ready to go in when it was time for Izzie's nap.  We put her on our large blanket behind our chairs (she won't sleep if she can see people) and after 10 minutes of whining, she passed out.  This allowed us a few extra hours on the beach that day.

I thought it would be fun to compare a few similar shots of both kids at the beach for the first time since they're almost the exact same age (about one week off).  That may be one of the few advantages when it comes to having their birthdays close together.