Wednesday, July 4, 2012

4th of July

As always, Jacksonville is the best place to be for the 4th of July.  Although we were very disappointed that they didn't do fireworks at the beach (which is normally our traditional place to go), downtown was still a spectacular scene!  (ahem... even if we did skip it!) 

We were one daughter short for the week.  Emily-Anne is spending two weeks with her grandma and grandpa.  The Hunky Hubby and I took our other two daughters (Kaitlyn and Madelyn) to Jacksonville Beach for a few hours to release some pent up energy.  You would think that since we live so close to the beach, we would be avid beach go'ers.  NOPERS!!  The fact is, going to the beach with kids is a very stressful event to prep for mentally let alone physically!!  First you want to be sure the house will be ready for when you return home because there is nothing worse, (OK, there is, but stick with me here), than coming back home with three very tired, full of sand, slightly burned, hungry, crabby kids and a hubster who just wants to abandon us all to take a warm shower and go straight to bed!  So of course, I make sure all three bathrooms are ready with towels, wash clothes, soft soap, skin cream and comfy loose PJ's.  I also need to prep for a fast dinner because the only thing anyone has energy for is fighting, so the sooner I get them fed and laying down the easier my night will go. 

Next is figuring out the right balance between taking too much stuff or not enough.  The usual stuff... oversized beach towels, sunblock, hats, glasses, water bottles, beach blanket, umbrella, buckets and shovels.  And since there are so many different variables that goes into how long we actually stay beach side, I need to anticipate how much food and drink to take.  If the weather stays warm and not scorching hot, the kids are in sync with their moods, and my Hunky Hubby actually relaxes and takes a nap, then we could be there for hours.  In that case the one thing this family liks to do is EAT... constantly.  However, it takes one kid to accidentally pick up another kids shell or a bird flying by to poop on something, or too much sand in a bikini bottom to cause the entire trip to tailspin.  In that case, you have to lug a cooler full of food off the beach, which for some reason, is harder than lugging one to the beach!

So by the time I have all the kids strapped into the car and busting at the seams from anticipation and the hubby mumbling and complaining why we need so much stuff.... I'm ready for a nap.  The kind you take on the floor next to the bed so when the kids come looking for you they can't see you on the other side and you actually get some peace... for about 20 minutes!

Then comes the dreaded parking space hunt.  The ring-around-the-rosey-game you play while trying to find a decent space within a mile from the beach.  And if that wasn't frustrating enough, dodging a million idiots drinking on beach cruisers!  There is always an internal debate I have regarding how much damage would there actually be to my kids if they witness their mother running down bikers like they were zombies in a video game... Would it be more than a therapist could un-do later?  Probably, so I curse silently hoping for some other crazed idiot to do it instead!  We finally find a pretty good spot not far from the beach but next to this apartment strip that apparently houses only drunk adolescent males excited they have an excuse to bring their stereos out onto their balconies and annoy everyone else on the planet.  But we've made it here so I take a deep breath, smile and start unloading the madness. 

After getting everyone and everything actually out onto the sand I am reminded why I hate to go anywhere on Holidays... people... everywhere.  However, I still refuse to let the crowds be what takes me down and I keep smiling as we set up so we can finally relax... I know, I know... RELAX????  Yep, I'm going to relax or at least pretend to be so that the kids and my hardworking Hunky Hubby can!  But between my fear of the kids being out in the water past their ankles, scanning the beach for doggie do (WHY DO PEOPLE BRING THEIR DOGS TO THE BEACH IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!) and sharp shells facing up that my four year old will, with out a doubt, end up stepping on... I'm a complete basket case.  I will say though, that other than my own self-inflicted manic worry, the day went pretty smooth.  So when the sky got dark and I had a legitamate excuse to leave, I jumped on it! 

After dodging the rain, and getting the kids home, showered, and slathered in cream (thankfully no signs of sun burn anywhere) there was no way I was going to venture out again to see fireworks.  Breathing a sigh of relief that the Hunky Hubby was on board with my plan, I was able to stick a few sparklers in the kids hands in the driveway before the sky really opened up, cranked out dinner in record time and got everyone settled and calm before I finally collapesed!  So if it makes me a bad mom that no one got to see fireworks this year for the 4th of July, so be it.  At least I didn't commit massive vehicular homacide while trying to make our way to downtown amidst 500 thousand drinking maniacs.  I like to look at it as me being a hero... I saved lives tonight!! 

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