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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bradys at the Beach, Plus Block Party Update

Well, the good news is they did not start resurfacing the street this morning, and the signs are down. We need to put up block party signs but there's a good chance of rain tonight, so I think we'll do that tomorrow.

Today I took the afternoon off and drove a chunk of the Brady kids up to the north side for some time at the beach. Originally I had planned to take girls only--it's a five-seater car and there are four of them who play together a lot--but at the last minute we squeezed Brady Bughunter in, too. His older brothers left this morning for two days in Michigan with their dad and uncle, and Brady Bughunter was going to be heartbroken if he had to stay home all day with just his mom and Littlest Brady. I was a bit concerned because we don't have enough seat belts for five kids in my car, but he and his younger sister are small and skinny. We put them in the middle of the back seat and put one seat belt across both of them. Obviously I drove very carefully. Everything was fine.

So we went way up to Foster Avenue Beach on the north side because they have a lot of parking and it is very kid-friendly. It is a smaller beach and since it wasn't super-warm today the kids got cold in the water pretty fast. They had a good time looking for shells and burying each other in the sand. I had been thinking we should at least see the edge of the bird sanctuary at Montrose Beach, too, so we decided to pack up everything, take a walk around the rocks and the pier at Foster, then go down to Montrose and decide whether to swim some more or go look for birds or a little of both.

The rocks and the pier were a bigger hit than I expected because the lake was clear enough to see fish swimming. Some of them were very big. Brady Bughunter was so excited that his big sister Ines had to hold the back of his shirt to keep him from peering too far over the edges of everything. Ines did a very good job of looking out for her little brother today--she wanted to know if he can come help put the school supply bags for the block party together tomorrow, too, so he won't feel lonely while his brothers are gone. I said sure.

They definitely preferred Montrose Beach--it's a lot bigger, and you can go farther out in the water. I think the water was warmer, too. It was a longer hike from the water's edge back to the washrooms (which was a little bit of hassle for me, but we all survived). One of the Brady Girl cousins is a little water baby--she was always the last one out. Brady Bughunter and his sisters got colder easily--they're all very skinny. "I'm a skeleton!" BB proclaimed at one point, and he's right--not much meat on those bones. When his teeth started chattering I got him out of the water and wrapped him up in my extra-large beach towel. He was OK with playing in the sand for a while until he warmed up. The girls can all swim, though the youngest is not a strong swimmer yet. Brady Bughunter doesn't swim yet so I kept my eyes most closely on him in the water. Even though he really wanted to go way out in the water, he knew his comfort level and would stop when the water got higher than he was comfortable with. Part of me wanted to teach him to blow bubbles in the water, but he was more interested in just playing than learning to swim and I wanted to keep my hat and glasses on. I wasn't up to swimming, but I played "shark" (tag in the water) and monkey in the middle--another group of kids let us use their ball for a while.

At the very end, after we were back in our clothes and had had some fruit cups from a cart for a snack, we took a walk along the edge of the bird sanctuary. We only saw one bird, but we heard a few more once I shushed them. I said, "If you stop talking you'll probably hear and see more birds"--they all went "Shhh!" and then were quiet--we could hear bird calls then. We found tons of milkweed and they all made wishes. Right after we saw the one bird (might have been a female blue jay--we were pretty far away so it was hard to see), it started raining a little so we headed back.

Shortly before we got back to the car, BB hollered, "A bunny!" and ran toward a tree. We all followed him. There was a big hole in the bottom of the tree trunk. I'm not sure if the rabbit went in there or if there was no rabbit and BB just faked us all out, but we had fun looking for the bunny in the rain. Then it rained harder so we went back to the car and went home.

Clearly they had a good time, since in the car they wanted to know when we were going to do it again. "Probably next summer," I said.

Later, Water Girl Brady said, "So next month when we go again--"

"Um, what am I doing next month, you guys?" I asked.

"Having a baby!" they all chorused.

Yeah, so I think it will be next summer before we have another beach trip. But I'm glad we got to do it once this summer.

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