My husband Randy’s immediate family lives in Richmond and Houston, but the entire extended family, and there are a lot of them, live in the Baltimore area. The family is close and they see a lot of each other. Every year, over 4th of July week, the entire crew picks up and heads to the Delaware shore for beach time, eating, drinking, and singing. We go every other year and it is a trip I really look forward to.
On the West coast, if you tell people you are going to Delaware, they look at you funny. Why Delaware? For the beach, of course. Beach to a West coaster, unless you are talking about Southern California, is a place to enjoy beauty, maybe play in the sand, perhaps dip a toe in the water on a really hot day. East coast beaches are for lounging all day and swimming, really swimming, in the ocean. Every time we go, I have a hard time with the sand for the first day or so. My boys do too. “Where is the pool?”, they want to know. But then we all settle in, get used to sand being everywhere, and adjust to long lazy days with nothing much to do. Every morning, Uncle Dan heads down to the beach in front of his house and sets up chairs and umbrellas and then people come and go throughout the day. Some stay all day, some just come for happy hour beers. It is a great vacation.
We flew Virgin America for my first time. I’m no longer a Virgin virgin. It was great having the convenience of screens in the seats, on demand movies and food and drink. It was also great flying out of terminal 2 in San Francisco where there are great restaurants and even a yoga studio. We were able to take advantage of these things because we had a three hour delay on our way out. Then we had to circle for an hour over Washington D.C. because a tornado hit near National airport. It was quite a trip out but the trip back was worse.
We never try and make it to the shore in one day because of things like delays and tornadoes. We spent the night near the airport and the boys shared a bed. When they went to sleep, they were head to head but sometime during the night this happened.
Weird to drive over two Bay bridges on opposite sides of the country within 24 hours of each other.
This is so not a West coast sky.
One of the highlights of the trip was spending time with Randy’s sisters, their husbands, and all the kids. Cousin Charles got a big kick out of his big boy cousins. (The frozen custard was pretty great too.)
Each time we go to Bethany, we make sure to spend at least one day at the boardwalk in Rehoboth. It has a great area for rides that is especially good for young children. It was bittersweet to walk by all the kiddie rides and realize that my children are much too old and big for them now. They still get a tremendous kick out of trying to win animals. For some reason, we had never gotten fries at Thrasher’s but we remedied that this trip. I was disappointed. They were greasy and not salty enough.
One of the biggest family activities is the one or two hootenannies that happen each week. Many of the family members are musical, so singing and playing guitar is a big part of their lives. I sing and play the guitar, I used to perform in coffee houses, but I almost never sing or play anymore. Each visit, I am coerced to play for everyone so I spend some time practicing so I don’t make a fool out of myself. The boys were captivated when I played. (Note to self: play more often.) Spencer thought he might perform a song of his own but decided he wouldn’t sing. He would play the guitar only and it would be “jazz”. In the end, he opted to play with the cousins instead.
Graham, on the other hand, performed a song of his own writing, music and lyrics, on both hootenanny nights. I was proud to bursting and he brought the house down.
At the 4th of July parade. Yes, you can see up my dress but I promise that is a bathing suit underneath.
This was home for a week. So many of the houses along the shore are huge like this, built for multiple generations to be able to stay in one house and that is exactly what we had. 15 of us slept comfortably!
On our way back to D.C., we always stop in Annapolis to visit Randy’s alma mater. We walk around the beautiful campus, stop in a few buildings, then hit the store for Navy gear for the boys.
Our flight home was supposed to leave at 10am. We got to the airport at 8:30am and proceeded to wait for 12 hours. The crash in San Francisco closed down two of the runways so everything was backed up. It was one of those, “are we ever going to get home?” days. We have been lucky with flying and had never been severely delayed so I wasn’t sure how the boys would do. It turns out they are expert travelers and were amazingly flexible with our weird airport day.
Lots of walks up and down the terminal, new books, comic books, coloring books, treats, a surprisingly small amount of screen time, and they were true troopers. We finally got on the plane, took off, and I breathed a sigh of relief. And then I realized we still had a 5½ hour flight and a drive back across the Bay to Oakland to get through. We got home at 1am which was 4am our time. Still, I will never take landing safely for granted, especially at SFO.
Finally, I like to let you know what I am reading. This is the current book. I had high hopes. Let the Great World Spin is on my top ten list of all time. This book is beautifully written. I have to stop and slow down and just marvel at the sentences and images sometimes. But I’m not captivated by the story. I admire it. I can’t say I like it. I have a lot of other great-sounding books waiting in the wings though.