We got home from Sandbridge in Virginia Beach on Saturday night. A full week away with my family, a full week to catch up with my sister and see her new home. A full week playing with my boys, relaxing, putting "to-do's" and the demands of life out of my mind and just being present with the people I love.
I have lots of photos from the week, and I chose these pretty randomly. Some show what we did, some are just little moments I caught and loved.
Let's start with this adorableness of Jaden Saylor. Such a classic face for him right now. He was my little beach baby. He spent lots of time sleeping in the shade or bouncing on our laps.
And his big brothers. Isaiah is my beach buddy too... he would walk down to the beach, help me put sunscreen on and then just wanted to sit in his little chair scooted next to mine and watch the waves and eat grapes. Once he got tired of snacking he'd go lay down in the pop up tent and rest. Then he'd want to snack again. :) He was intimidated by the ocean the whole time until the last two days, then he finally spent a little time splashing in the waves with Drew. And then there is Drew on the beach. Constant movement. He was either tossing up the wiffle ball and hitting it out of the air himself, or running in the waves, or building or digging in the sand... I don't think I'll ever forget how he looks when he runs through the waves at this age.
Saturday night (our first night there) Shaun and I were out on the beach with Drew and Isaiah while Randi and Nate made dinner. It happened without planning, and as I walked out and others walked back and it was just us, Drew started running in the waves just wearing his regular clothes, and I was watching his little legs splashing and moving so fast, and the little muscles in his shoulders were flexing as he ran, and I commented to Shaun "look at his little muscles!" and Shaun said back "He's our strong healthy boy." And all of the sudden I had a moment. You may remember my post about Drew's febrile seizure back in January. You may or may not know that he had another seizure, afebrile, resulting in a hospital stay, in February. You probably don't know that we use that phrase "our healthy boy" often to describe him ever since those scary weeks. I don't dwell often on what happened or let myself go back to those crazy raging emotions much. But watching Drew running in the ocean, hearing Shaun call him our healthy boy, something in my heart broke and waves of thankfulness for his precious life just began to wash over me and I was crying silent tears behind my sunglasses as the sun went down and the waves crashed and drew ran.
It's one of my favorite moments from the trip.
Saiah baby napping away.
Disbanding after a family photo... I liked the candid more than the one where we were all looking ;)
Shots with each of my boys.
(Drew was making his fish face)
Eric wasn't able to be there the whole time because his golden retriever Samson had a crazy thing happen to him days before we left and had to be hospitalized and receive blood transfusions. Thankfully he is doing ok now and Eric was able to come down Monday through Thursday. This is the first photo I have of my whole family together since Jaden was born.
I am so thankful for this girl. My baby sister. Our relationship only becomes more and more valuable to me as time goes on. I seriously had the best time just being together for a full week and getting to share all the pieces of our lives that 5 minutes phone conversations just can't convey. Heart to heart, eye to eye. It's my favorite.
This is Drew's real life smile. I don't catch it on camera that often, but when I do I treasure it. His whole face lights up sometimes, and it's the most beautiful smile ever. He was smiling at Uncle E.
I took a few of Jaden sitting on the dunes in the same seersucker overalls I've taken photos of Drew and Isaiah in when they were little too.
Jaden fell asleep on the beach and we were packing up to head back to our house and his comfy little bed was the last thing left, just him and the ocean. So peaceful.
Oh. my. gosh. So Suave.
Last beach day.
A lifeguard stopped on the beach and let the boys sit behind the wheel. So nice of him!
We are so sisters. There is a whole series of pictures this one was in, and our mannerisms and facial expressions are so similar it cracks me up.
So our last beach day was my favorite. We watched it storm out over the ocean, and we all just had our chairs lined up next to each other down by the water. Isaiah and Jaden were both sleeping and it was so peaceful and beautiful. We were watching birds come in a dive down to catch fish over and over again. Then a whole pod of dolphins came swimming through and they were splashing their tails, and then riding the waves in; we could see their whole bodies. It was so cool just watching them play. I didn't take a single picture of them. Decided it was a moment to just live in. ;)
We finally all the left the beach when another storm came in from behind us, but after it passed there was this gorgeous double rainbow out over the ocean. Can you see the tiny white sailboat in the middle? Wonder what their view was like. :)
Last night there, in their matching shirts from Mommom. Jaden is looking like such a big boy between his brothers now.
A quick peek at the sunrise the morning we left.
Final photos before climbing into our separate vehicles.
There is so much not shown in the photos I have here. Randi (and Nate) made stir fry. And her amazing brown butter, nutella stuffed, sea salt topped cookies that are my favorite cookie ever. We got to spend time with Nate's family one day and I loved getting to know them a bit better. The Herrmanns, great family friends of ours came down for two days and we had a great time with them, a game of fish bowl, lots and lots of laughs, "I remember it like it was tomorrow..." We watched Secret Life of Walter Mitty one night and it was amazing. If you haven't seen it you should. Not only is it profound and inspirational, but it is so artisticly done and has a great soundtrack, memorable quotes and an awesome storyline. (Watch it!) I only left the beach house twice, once to get dinner at a local restaurant (the most amazing fish tacos. ever. ever. ever.) and once to get ice cream. Lots of awesome conversation with my parents about the balance of parenting and grandparenting and learning to do them both in a way that strengthens our relationships with each other... more on that later cause it was so good. We also watched parental guidance, so funny and so appropriate for us. Another must watch. :) We would put all three of our boys to bed and come back upstairs and just stay up talking with everyone til almost midnight every night. And then one of my other favorite memories, when I went swimming with Drew and Isaiah and we screamed and laughed and played and I felt like a little kid with them. It was just the three of us and I had so much fun. I went swimming again with them plus Shaun on our last day there, and that was so fun too. Jaden sat and watched us from his bouncy seat by the side of the pool :) Oh, and I also should mention that we all took personality tests while away too (Randi forced us), and that was quite fun/enlightening as well. :)
It is so good to get away sometimes.