July 2018

Five Buoys and a Gull

Reflections on Beach Week 2018:
-Our beach house is on Topsail Island. You might be tempted to pronounce this “Top Sail Island”. And if you do then you will immediately be identified as a tourist. The correct pronunciation is Topsul Island.
-Staying at a house on the beach was fantastic for everyone, and we have little desire to go back to staying off the beach. It is so much easier to allow everyone to follow their own schedule. Also, we can send the kids to the beach to play and keep an eye on them. They weren’t allowed to go in the water without an adult or two on the beach, which worked ok, but at times they couldn’t resist.
-After our week together a couple of the smalls started saying “Oh for Christ sake!” Alarming and funny, and our job is to not draw attention to it.
-The beach house was just like the ones the Chris and Sean remember from our childhood. These are five room houses on stilts with a bedroom in each corner and a large room in the center spanning the kitchen, dining room and living area. Each pair of bedrooms is connected by a full bathroom. The basement contains storage and parking. The towns on the island are small and quiet, without nearly as many things to do as Rehoboth Beach. There is no Thrasher’s French Fries, Kohr’s Custard or Funland. There aren’t anywhere near as many restaurants. However, none of us seemed to miss any of those things very much. We didn’t eat out once during the week, and the adults didn’t even plan date night. The only night we went out was to see the fireworks on July 4th. We spent our days at the house, going to the beach in the morning and evening, and staying inside during the heat of the day. A couple days we watched the World Cup.
-No one got seriously sunburned, which is an amazing feat with 6 children and 7 days of bright sunshine. Good work parents!
-Our kids started a game in earlier in June called Throw Your Parents Under the Bus. This is a game in which the children come up with creative explanations why anything they find displeasing is the fault of one or more parents. It also applies to times where one parent get in trouble for coming up with answers that are contradictory to another parent. During beach week Kathy and Sean got pulled into the game as well.
-Gwen introduced Sean to Pouncy Time. This is a game that Gwen and Chris play most evenings where Chris lays on his back and Gwen jumps on his chest. Sometimes Ted joins in as well. After a couple pounces Sean said “Do not teach my boys this game!” Gwen replied “Too late! I already taught Aidan.”

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July 4th 2018

Yesterday there was a strong wind down the beach and as a result a strong undertow that quickly drifted people down the beach. The wind also created chaotic waves that are difficult for the smalls to navigate. So we rode fewer waves, but also built our largest sand castle yet during this trip.

For some reason Surf City is celebrating July 4th on the 3rd. In the evening we drove to the center of town (which has one traffic light), parked and walked to Soundside Park. The kids played at the playground for a while. Aidan gave out glow sticks to all the kids (he specifically picked out a special one for each of them). We watched the fireworks and then headed home with a pile of kids in the back of Sean’s minivan.

On the 4th we stayed at the house, swam and built a castle in the morning, then had a low key afternoon. Parents napped while kids played Minecraft and other games. In the evening we had a taco dinner and a birthday party for Melissa, Everett, Teddy and Gwen. Everyone opened presents and afterward the kids played on the beach. Ted and Gwen each received a kite from the Colorado Butsons and got to fly them for a while. Then we set off fireworks on the beach (the legal variety, not from South Carolina). Kids were down by 9pm and adult soon after.

Happy Independence Day!

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Waves & Minecraft

The kids are spending most of their time either riding waves or playing Minecraft. So far they don’t seem so interested in spending the day building large castles that occasionally outlast the tides as we have in the past. The surf here is pretty gentle and the waves break over a long distance. The water is quite warm. In terms of riding waves it’s the best beach we have ever visited for beach week. All six of them are able to ride waves here. The older three can do so on their own, and the younger three can do it with some help. All of them have been rolled in the waves from time to time.

Funny quotes from the kids:
“I’m bored!”
“There’s nothing to do here.”
“So let me get this straight. All there is to do here is go in the ocean, play in the sand, play games, play Minecraft and read books?!?” Um, yes?
“Get your horse out of my pool!” The last quote was something we overheard while they were playing Minecraft, and ultimately led to some strange sounding proclamations from the parents who had grown tired of the bickering and arguing which was occurring in the real world over things happening in the virtual world. Such as “No one put any animals in anyone else’s pool, ever!” and when that didn’t work we told them “Everyone get in your own world and stay there!”

The adults love+hate the iPads. The good thing about them is that they provide reliable entertainment for the kids. And one remarkable thing about Minecraft is that all six kids will play it together. They never seem to tire of it, and they are able to work together to create virtual worlds. The thing gives the adults pause is the frequency and amount of time the kids will spend on their devices. We note that Everett recently received the latest Wings of Fire book, which was so engaging that he often chose it over the iPad until he finished it on Tuesday.

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