Family Beach Trip!

It's just always felt like home, here on this beach.

Probably because it is home, in a way. I've been coming to this stretch of coast on the Florida gulf every summer since I was about 7 years old. I might have been 8. I'm not really certain. But every summer, without fail, my feet have hit these sands and my heart has spilled over with relief and gratitude into the bubbling foamy sea. This horizon has absorbed a lot of my heart cries over the years - sadness over break ups, joy over making the squad, relief from finals, anticipation for my wedding, anticipation for moving to Boston, anticipation for moving to New York, anticipation for having a baby... the list goes on and on. This has been the place where I've "worked out” a lot my life challenges, had my conversations with God, while staring into this azure sea.

This is the kind of place that I have grown to need. To love and to cherish. We all have a place like this, right?

This time around, I got to watch my husband teach my little son how to play frisbee. I smile because this is the same beach where I learned to throw a frisbee so many years ago, when Stevie and I were dating and he couldn’t just sit still and read books with me for 7 days in a row. This is where I learned to love the feeling of the sea spray on my face while I angled the disc just so and sent it soaring across the shoreline to my partner in crime. And now, watching my not even two-year-old son experience the same bewildering joy - well, that’s what I think they call nostalgia. And aging. And really, really wonderful.

I did a rascal job of actually capturing a lot of moments through the lens during this beach week, and that was actually on purpose. This is the kind of week where I put away my phone, neglect all beauty products, and wear little more than bathing suits and pajamas. I shut off from the outside world, partly because the Internet connection is so poor anyway, and just eat ice cream and have conversations with family and stare at the ocean. So these are the few rare shots I took when I actually remembered to pull my camera out and capture the moment.

I hope you get the opportunity to retreat somewhere this summer. Everyone deserves a reprieve from from the hovering chaos of calendaring and task lists.

Just a boy and his Papa.

Just a boy and his Papa.

Everett ate so much Pirate's Booty during beach week. He kept crying and asking for "more boooooty!!!"

Everett ate so much Pirate's Booty during beach week. He kept crying and asking for "more boooooty!!!"

The athleticism starts early.

The athleticism starts early.

Stevie playing with Lake, king of the cousins (because he's the oldest!)

Stevie playing with Lake, king of the cousins (because he's the oldest!)

Our only family shot of the week. I really wanted us to get showered and dressed in white for "real" family photos, but let's be honest - when you have the choice of staying on the beach and watching the sun plunge into the ocean... or forcing your boys inside to bathe and "get pretty" for pictures, what's it going to be? You can see what we chose.

Our only family shot of the week. I really wanted us to get showered and dressed in white for "real" family photos, but let's be honest - when you have the choice of staying on the beach and watching the sun plunge into the ocean... or forcing your boys inside to bathe and "get pretty" for pictures, what's it going to be? You can see what we chose.

He LOVED lying in the shoreline and letting the water move him to and fro. It was the funniest. I've got to start taking more video :)

He LOVED lying in the shoreline and letting the water move him to and fro. It was the funniest. I've got to start taking more video :)

We played frisbee, too!

We played frisbee, too!

He's a self-cheerer. I really love that about him.

He's a self-cheerer. I really love that about him.

A baby pool on the beach is SO the way to go, you guys. Endless hours of fun to be had.

A baby pool on the beach is SO the way to go, you guys. Endless hours of fun to be had.

What tough men. Filling up the baby pool :)

What tough men. Filling up the baby pool :)

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No, my niece wasn't picking up trash. Uncle Joshua hid a treasure map in a bottle for all the little cousins! He sent them on a treasure hunt around the beach and guess what the treasure was? Fruit snacks. He won "best uncle" award for the week.

No, my niece wasn't picking up trash. Uncle Joshua hid a treasure map in a bottle for all the little cousins! He sent them on a treasure hunt around the beach and guess what the treasure was? Fruit snacks. He won "best uncle" award for the week.

Uncle Matthew and little Ansley!

Uncle Matthew and little Ansley!

Best ever.

Best ever.

P.S. - For those who asked, my bathing suit is from Victoria's Secret (top is sold out, but similar here and here and here, bottoms here). :)