I love the beach. The waves, the sun, the breeze. But, the beach and I have a few problems. I have pale, sensitive skin as well as hair that is accustomed to deep conditioning treatments and indoor temperatures. The result? Lobster-colored skin and hair that looks like a lion mane. Unfortunately, babies have the same problem with skin as I do, in addition to their high risk of dehydration. I decided that this time, I was not going to let this happen. Aksel and I had a week on the beach and their was no way we would spend it with sunburns and migraines.
The biggest thing I did was pack like a maniac. We have all heard the sayings: mom packed like we were leaving. Or, mom packed like there was a crisis. This is totally necessary! Aksel has never had a fever, but I made sure that thermometer was packed just in case! I also packed things for me that I would not normally pack. Then, finding other activities made for an awesome experience. Not always staying on the beach kept us away from that intense and harsh environment. And finally, planning a vacation at a good time for the weather as well as for your family schedules will make the trip all the more enjoyable. And finally, capturing every moment, as always, is a must for our family.
Packing Like There’s No Tomorrow
Making sure you have everything you need will give you a peace of mind as well as save you money. For Aksel, the biggest things were sunblock, his hat, and sunglasses. I made sure I got a normal, lotion-like sunblock. A study at my university showed that rub-on sunblock can actually peel off in extreme heat, so I make sure to avoid this. My favorite brand is Babyganics. We kept the hat and sunglasses (with UV protection!) for long times in the sun. I also had an emergency pack with acetaminophen, gas relief, Oragel, allergy medicine, a thermometer, and pedialyte.
For mommy, there were a few items I was thankful for. My favorite thing was my deep conditioner. I have the 3-minute miracle conditioner from Pantene, and using this kept my hair from looking like Einstein’s! I also made sure to pack razors (something I always forget) as well as my best wet skin moisturizer, and sunscreen for my face and body. Giving myself plenty of time to shower and take care of my skin and hair kept me from looking like a madman and made me feel more beautiful and healthy.
Staying Away From the Beach, At Least a Little
The beach is what we all went on vacation for, but, the beach is not where we spent our time. We had a few trips to the beach, yes, but other activities kept us inside and under the shade for protection. My absolute favorite activity at the beach was bike riding. I would put Aksel in the attached baby carrier and we would take off down shaded bike paths throughout the town. The bikes could take us to different restaurants and activities that were nearby, like the diner and the arcade. We had lots of fun, but stayed away from the harsh weather with our little one.
Other times on our vacation, we went on excursions and family-friendly activities. Thanks to Groupon, we were able to enjoy dolphin cruises, massages, and crabbing excursions for a fraction of the price. This gave us time on open water and under the shade of the canopy. We also enjoyed some spectacular food from local restaurants that served only the best of seafood and other choices. Our vacation was definitely enriched by the additional, family activities and it kept everybody protected better than if we had been on the ultimate tourist attraction by the water.
Planning the Vacation
Our vacation was planned around everybody’s activities. It was the week after school got out, after work on the house had been done, and before summer classes started. This meant that everybody got to stay a full week and enjoy a slow-paced, easy vacation. Aksel had time everyday for his naps and was not burned out by constant going and moving. It also meant that of the week we were there, it was overcast one day, and raining for two. While this did limit the things we could do, we had a great time sitting inside watching TV and talking.
The overcast day marked Aksel’s first time on the beach. The beach was nearly empty, the breeze was cool, and it was a relaxing and beautiful day. Aksel and Nathaniel loved running through the water and Maddie, Chrishelle, Nathan, and Jacob enjoyed games of catch and Frisbee. This was the ultimate bonding experience and it kept us active, but not hot or sunburned. Careful planning kept everybody having fun and staying active, but helped us avoid sunburns and dehydration.
Family time must have pictures. We have so many great shots to remember our experiences: the relaxing, the exciting, and the crazy. I got to capture Aksel on his first trip to the beach when he tried to eat the salty sand and when he played in the water. We have shots from the first crabs we have ever caught as well as the dolphins we got to see up close. I know I always bring up photography, I feel it is so important to remember these times that we played catch or held a crab because these are the moments that bring us together and closer. And who wouldn’t want to remember that?
Travelling with a large group can be difficult. Travelling with a baby can be even harder. We had to arrange, plan, and pack for a big trip. Having the entire week to do what we wanted was exactly what everyone needed, and we got to come home better energized and ready to take on life and reality.