One of the best things about a camping vacation at the beach, is beach practice! In the days leading up to our family Labor Day beach camping adventure, we shared photos and texts with each other as we acquired the perfect gear (including new beach chairs, shade tents, fishing poles, and a ukulele, even), and practiced beach related activities, like sun bathing, drink mixing, and napping in the shade.
Jamie helped mom and dad practice setting up the two tent tarp combination that we planned to hold everyone and their gear in the dry, even if there was the hurricane or typhoon mom was afraid of. He shared the picture above, of the tents and the mosquito net tent set up in our parents back yard. I think the chickens were as impressed as I was!
After great deliberation, I made a selection of new beach chairs, and once they arrived I could hardly peal myself away from my new chair. My chair is like totally awesome, dude! Jamie and I sat outside in the sun in our awesome chairs practicing for the beach as often as we could in the days leading up to our trip. The chairs have cup holders perfect for tasty beverages, and handy pockets that can hold a cell phone playing tunes selected specifically for beach frivolity. They can completely recline to allow beach induced naps, and clamp on umbrellas provide shade. They make hanging laundry even more fun.
I didn't get Puck his own chair, but I did order a shade tent hoping he could escape the glare with us. I set it up outside for practice and got the neighborhood kids excited since they thought we were camping in the yard.
The cats helped me do some sewing on my bathing suit. Since bathing suit shopping is the worst type of shopping, and after a year of practicing for the hike in Peru and taking up super foods as a hobby, my suit top was loose enough that I was afraid a rouge wave would leave me topless. Bathing suit alterations required that I take it on an off as I pinned it in different locations, so this photo is a topless sewing photo. Oo la la, right?
We even geared up for ocean fishing. The only time I've ever fished in salt water I caught a slimy eel that wouldn't come off my hook and all I had were my slimy hands to deal with it. This time I made sure we brought some pliers, especially since we might catch a shark, and not want to put our hands near it's teeth. I was so optimistic that we would catch something huge, that I brought the fish scale we usually use for weighing our back packs for hiking. See what I mean about beach practice being fun? Before we even tried fishing, I was imagining the sharks and sting rays we would get to see!
I've been experimenting with home made non-toxic insect repellent. I've practiced with the home made repellent enough in our yard to know that it works, so I mixed up a big jar for our trip. I used coconut oil with eucalyptus oil and lemon grass oil, and drew a mosquito on the jar. I've found that as long as there's enough of the eucalyptus and lemon grass oil to make it smell pungent, and I apply it liberally, it really works for mosquitoes, which have been terrible in our yard this year. The first day I tried it, Brandon walked in the room I was in and I asked him to come smell my new fragrance. He said he didn't need to come to me because he could smell my stink from across the room! Ha! I love that I can slather it on and not worry about poisoning myself, so I don't mind smelling like a tub of Vick's vopo rub. Actually, the smell has grown on me so much, that I like it now. And coconut oil is supposed to be good for skin. I made sure to test the new batch while I scrubbed our coolers and swept out our tent.
Check out the party wagon! All it needs is a surf board strapped to the top, right? Jamie made some alterations to his little car by adding a roof rack and hitch so he an mom and dad could transport all their gear. They left before the rest of us so they could get set up during the daylight hours.
Brandon, Puck, and I rode in Byron's van with him and my nieces, and I spent some of the long drive to the beach playing with my phone photo editing program and altering some of the beach practice photos while the girls watched movies on the lap top and Brandon and Byron listened to pod casts. Long car rides are like personal entertainment sessions these days. I don't know why we don't go to the beach more often!