Sand Bucket List

This summer, we took our first family vacation with the quadruplets.  In fact, we took them to the same beach and condominiums where my grandparents took my mother and her siblings, then all of their grandchildren for decades.  While we were on Mustang Island, we made sure to introduce the quads to our tried and true family traditions.  We also added a few new items for our future family trips.

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1. Stuffed the car before bed and departed before daybreak at 6:00 am.

My dad has always been an early riser, waking up before dawn on regular days.  On the eve of a vacation, he’s generally awake giddy with anticipation while some people are just going to bed.  We ALWAYS left for a road trip between five and six am.

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2. Stopped at Czech Stop for kolaches

George introduced our family to the Czech Stop, which is located just north of Waco, Texas.  There you’ll find a variety of fruit and sausage kolaches (the most authentic you’ll find!) as well as other tasty treats.  The kiddos all enjoyed free M & M cookies.

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3. Snapped a picture with Buc-ee

I learned about the goodness of Buc-ee’s on my way home from our first annual Quad Mom trip.  It’s a family-friendly gas station designed to meet the needs of travelers.  They have spotless bathrooms complete with attendants and sanitizer as well as an array of tasty treats, supplies, and Texas memorabilia.  If you ever travel through or to Texas, it’s a must stop shop.

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4.  Played in the sand

Of course no beach trip is complete without playing in the sand.  Sydney had some difficulty with the dry variety, which posed a few problems, but damp sand was okay in her book.  We ordered an incredible Sand-Free Multimat, which is designed to repel sand, but it arrived about six hours after our departure.  I guess we’ll have to try it next year!

5. Caught sand crabs

If you wait until dark and bring flashlights, you can easily spot and capture sand crabs darting along the sand.  The kids had a blast chasing the little guys then setting them free.  Whenever anyone in our family mentions catching crabs we all have a good chuckle.  When my Uncle Dale was a little boy, Grandma chose a shirt for him at the souvenir shop that read, “I Caught Crabs on Padre Island”.  Thanks to the family tradition of catching sand crabs, Grandma thought it was perfect.  When Dale returned to school after summer break donning his new shirt, the principal called Grandma in a tizzy due to the vulgar connotations…..Poor Grandma didn’t realize the shirt wasn’t referring to sand crabs….

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6. Visited the Bob Hall Pier

I recall my dad and Grandpa taking us to the pier at night to see creatures including sea turtles, dolphins, and sharks swimming in the sea.  This time, we visited during the daytime and instead watched fishermen reeling in their daily catch.

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7. Enjoyed ice cream at Scoopy’s Veranda

George and I started this tradition with the kids.  Next door to Scoopy’s is Snoopy’s restaurant, which is where our family enjoyed sea food on the water for decades.  We thought the kids would enjoy a sweet, summer treat more though.

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8. Constructed sand castles

Rylin insisted we build a “large sandcastle” before departing from the beach each day.  This particular one was the largest of our structures.

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9. Fished off the Red Dot Pier

My father’s favorite pastime is fishing, and he’s been itching to take the quads fishing to share his passion since they were infants.  For Father’s Day, we gave him a pair of Mickey Mouse fishing poles and a pair of Frozen fishing poles.  He was ecstatic to have four kiddie fishing poles and to take the kids on their first fishing trip.  Rylin wasn’t terribly keen on the process, but liked her “girlish” pole.  Sydney appeared bored until she reeled in a perch, which excited her.   The boys really tuned into the process and seemed to enjoy themselves.   Harper caught the largest fish of the bunch, a mangled looking dogfish.

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10. Bought souvenirs at Ocean Treasures

I fondly remember browsing Ocean Treasures with my sister in search of the best bit of memorabilia.  The kids had an equally good time cruising the long aisles for something of their own.  Harper traveled all the way to Padre Island only to find ANOTHER fire truck for his burgeoning fleet.  He later regretted his choice and begged for a submarine instead.  The best part of our shopping adventure was seeing the magestic sandcastle.

 

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11. Cooled down in the pool

It’s family tradition to take a dip in the pool after a day at the beach.  The first day, the quads were uneasy in the baby pool, but quickly learned to steady themselves and splash around with their older cousins.

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12. Played in the surf

With close supervision, the kids learned to enjoy jumping the waves and watching the tide come in.

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13. Took a cousin picture on the seawall

Before departing and heading to our separate homes, we’ve always snapped a photo with all of the cousins.  This year we had the largest group of cousins ever, which included my cousins, Jennifer and Lindsay with their children.  A total of ten kids under ten outnumbered the nine adults.

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14. Took a stroll down the beach to collect shells

It’s always interesting how the tide brings in different things each year.  Over the years, I’ve visited this particular beach many times and it’s never exactly the same.  This year, there were a few scattered sea shells but many blue crabs, which I’ve never seen before.

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15. Fed the seagulls

The seagulls are a ravenous lot.  If you toss a bit of food into the air, they’ll artfully scoop it up before it touches the ground.

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16. Snapped family photos at sunset

We’ve always taken family beach photos, but this year I wanted them to be more than just random shots.  I hoped to snap a few worthy of hanging on the walls or putting on  a Christmas card.  I charged our DSLR camera and meticulously coordinated the family wardrobe.  I also heeded Lindsay’s tips for taking excellent beach photos. I made a grave error, however.  I did not leave the DSLR camera outside long enough for it to fully acclimate to the humidity.  Much to my dismay the lens was horribly foggy.  Thankfully, George’s Samsung Galaxy 6 takes excellent photos, and was able to capture these.  Despite being a phone camera, I was able to enlarge and print several for our gallery.  Sydney wasn’t willing to let her precious toes touch the sand so we either carried her, or we improvised and sat on a table covered in an aqua picnic blanket.

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I was admittedly concerned about how the quads would handle a long road trip, and sleeping away from home, but they surprised me. We stopped only twice each direction and whining was minimal.  Of the in car entertainment items I packed, the Melissa & Doug On The Go Water Wow Books kept the kids occupied the longest by far. Our trip was such a success, we are already making plans for next year, and hope to include the family members missing from this trip.

hugs!

 

Amber


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Family Legacy

When my mom was a child, her family took an annual road trip to North Padre Island, Texas. After school ended for the year, they’d load up their station wagon and head south for 10 days of beach bliss. My Grandpa loved the sea, especially deep sea fishing and swimming while searching for sea life. His love of the beach was passed down to each of his children who maintained this family tradition. While I was growing up we went to the exact same beach, and stayed in the same condos where my mother stayed. It became a family tradition with our entire extended family.

We all loved the beach and developed routines for each beach trip. However, when my sister, cousins, and I grew older we wanted to discover new destinations besides our familiar beach. We’d still take trips to our beloved North Padre Island, but we skipped the family trip to see new things. The last time our family went to North Padre Island was 2008. Both of my grandparents were with us, and we all vividly remember Hurricane Dolly  visiting that year. I’d heard of hurricanes before, but never experienced one until Dolly. Though it was only a category 1 hurricane, Dolly brought incredible winds and more rain than I’d ever seen. Dolly literally chased us all the way up the coastline until Austin. Visibility was null. We could not even see the dots on the highway, and prayed we were within our lanes.  Miraculously, everyone in our family made it home safely that year.

It wasn’t that long ago, but our photo collection is quite sparse for that trip.  We didn’t have smartphones then, and relied on our Cannon Powershot, which we didn’t use much, apparently.

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Grandpa and Aunt Terri enjoyed the beach views from the balcony.

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We fed the seagulls bits of bread from the sea wall.

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We took photos in the sunset.

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The hotel gave us glow sticks as the hurricane came toward us.

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This was the beginning of Dolly’s appearance.

 

Grandma and Grandpa humored us when the family elected to visit Crested Butte, Colorado in 2010.

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It was a lovely trip, and we were all glad we headed north for a change.  Colorado is gorgeous in the summertime, and the hikes were stellar.

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My grandparents welcomed the quads to our family in 2012, and we captured this precious four generation photo.  Grandpa became seriously ill in 2013 and passed.

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The kids have fond memories of visiting Grandma. In fact, Rylin periodically talks about when we blew bubbles on the porch together last summer.  Grandma passed away this spring, and though she lived a full 86 years, it was difficult to say goodbye. After her passing, we all knew that it was time we return to our beloved North Padre Island to honor our family tradition. Also, it would be the first time the quads, and several of the youngest cousins would ever visit the beach.  Our family vacations to the beach are part of our family legacy, which I hope will live on for many more decades to come.

We all die.  The goal isn’t to live forever, it’s to create something that will.

This year, 19 members of our extended family made the trip back to the beach and it would’ve melted Grandma and Grandpa’s hearts knowing that our family tradition is being passed to the next generation.  Stay tuned for details about the trip!

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hugs,

 

Amber


For more from Four to Adore, connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  We often share pictures, life hacks, activities, recipes, and more via social media.