So, Katie and I planned to spend the day.... err afternoon... in South Haven with our 4 boys. Did I mention they are 3, 3, 15 months and 15 months?? Not to be a Negative Nelly but what the shit were we thinking??
The ride there was great. We thought for sure our day was going to be all unicorns and rainbows. Once we arrived to the beach and parked, we realized we had a whole shitload of stuff to carry and not nearly enough arms. Hudson can't walk, Nolan can't stay near us, the cooler doesn't roll in the sand, Porter wanted to bring 50 million loaders and diggers, umbrella, bags and bags and bags oh my!
We made it down to the waters edge and found ourselves a nice little spot near a sweet middle aged woman who most definitely had a great laugh all day. The kids were starving as we'd arrived right around noon. I brought cheese, crackers and summer sausage.... I thought I was doing great because I didn't forget a knife but we quickly realized that 4 young children with very sandy hands, two who can't contain themselves from climbing all over everyone and everything to scavenge for food, was very very messy. We didn't bring plates either, so we ended up just throwing all the food down on a sandy towel and letting them have at it. Disgusting.
Porter and Donnie kept running all around the beach after the 380 seagulls that kept flocking our area. Why wouldn't they... it was like feeding time at the zoo with all the food laying around! If we managed to keep our eyes on one set of kids, the other set was off somewhere else. We'd lose a baby in the water, a big kid down the beach etc etc.
Relax? What the hell is that? We couldn't even find anywhere decent to sit because our blanket and towels were covered with sand from the babies. They had no understanding of "STAY OFF". We finally settled down, got ourselves organized and spent a whopping 2 hours at the beach before calling it a day.
2 hours. 2 hours of driving, 2 hours of beach and back in the car for 2 more hours. AHHHHH!
I was thrilled to find a parking ticket on the van. South Haven has the stupidest parking fee system. Instead of having someone stand at a toll booth at the entrance to the parking lot, they have parking police (literally... police in cars who sit in the parking lot) and they go around hourly to write tickets. Turns out there are little yellow "lockers" where you slip your money into a slot and I'm assuming they check it every hour to see who has paid up their slot. I didn't realize this as it was not well marked and I had no clue. I love that they pay an officer to sit all day in their car rather than getting money up front from parkers. I guess they probably make more money that way anyhow.... poorly marked parking payment place + unfamiliar visitors = paydirt!
The ride home. Ooooh... the ride home. We thought for sure it'd be heaven, that all 4 boys would zonk out and we'd be good to go. Well, Donnie and Porter were out within minutes. Hudson wanted to sleep but Nolan was so dilerious that he babbled and screamed, and then laughed at himself, the entire ride home. Hudson stared at him like he was insane. Porter woke up about halfway through the trip home and then whined about something or other the rest of the way home. What a greeeaaaaat ending.
Some things we learned for next time (if there is one....):
- Lunch on the beach is sandy.
- Prepare lunches before arriving. Or pick up Happy Meals. Better yet, feed the kids before hitting the beach.
- Plates for eating on... hellooo!
- Bring less toys.... do we seriously need like 8 buckets and 43 shovels?
- Grow more arms and eyes
- Don't forget the alcohol
- 1:1 parent/child ratio for children under the age of 3 is preferable
- The babies do not need their floaties