Since school ended on Thursday (and by the way, this was the first time Desmond had that "I'm so excited it's the last day of school" feeling. I'd forgotten how good that felt) we went to the beach on Friday. My brother Kevin moved to Virginia Beach in January, so we decided we would go there. He lives about 20 minutes from the ocean, so we stayed at the Atlantic Sands Oceanfront Hotel
. There were only 2 problems w/ the trip, Desmond and Izabella. They screamed and hit for the whole ride. I didn't exactly have directions, so I made a few navigational errors around VA Beach and the Friday traffic was not forgiving. It took us about 6 hours to get to the hotel. We planned to meet Kevin and his roommate Chicken for dinner, but we strolled down to the hotel restaurant for some appetizers and, most importantly, drinks while we waited for them. We sat on the deck looking over the ocean (and watched military helicopters do some kind of training that involved dropping soldiers in the water and then flying them around while they clung to a rope attached to the helicopter) and discovered that there was live music on the deck Friday and Saturday, right below our 3rd story room. Eventually we made it to Mahi Mah's
for an excellent seafood dinner (I had the Virginia Cobia b/c I figured it was fresher than the Idaho Rainbow Trout). The kids behaved great at dinner (although the 45 minute wait for the table was a test of patience). Then we went out on the beach to see the free Huey Lewis and the News concert. We didn't stay too long figuring the kids would go to sleep after a big day and it was almost 10 o'clock. However the band was still rocking on the deck, so Maria and I hung out on the balcony while the kids stayed in the room. Desmond stayed in bed and fell asleep. Izabella waited us out and went to bed at 11:30.
The next day started out w/ me getting the kids ready to go to the beach before 8. It wasn't very crowded at that hour so they had their choice of sand plots. Less than an hour later they were heading back to the hotel w/o their dad (who thought we would bring back the stuff we brought to the beach). It was before 9 when we got back. They were interested in playing Power Rangers in the room (which involves punching and kicking each other as far as I can tell). A few hours later the whole family tried the pool and then went to the beach to wait for Uncle Kevin. This was the sum of our beach and pool experience for the weekend. It was about a 1/2 hour of pool time and 2 hours of beach time. Finally, I convinced Desmond that we wouldn't go to the rides that night if he didn't listen to his parents and he shaped up immediately. He had a good time and while Izabella couldn't ride everything she wanted (the European accent of the Himalaya operator "Do you vant to go faster?" was pretty enticing but the ride went too fast for us to allow it) she seemed scared out of her wits on everything except the choo-choo. When we came back to the room Desmond went to bed w/o incident again while Izabella stayed up until 12:30 w/ us.
Sunday it rained so we went to the aquarium
. This seemed like a good idea and Desmond was into the sharks while Izabella and I got to touch the stingrays in the pool. There was another building featuring poisonous snakes (another Desmond favorite) and the 1 mile walk there seemed like a good way to wear out the kids. Unfortunately, it started pouring rain about halfway there. We went back to the car and Maria noted that the next time we go to the aquarium we should try not to fall in. We made it to Kevin's house that evening for dinner and on the way home Izabella finally fell asleep at a reasonable hour.
The drive home wasn't as bad b/c there wasn't much traffic and I knew where I was going this time. The Sirius radio even produced some Birds of Avalon
. It only took 4 1/2 hours to get home and I'm considering going on vacation w/ the family again at some point in the future.