ct shore beach day with my older kids


It was one and a half hour drive.  We stopped at Target and Dunkin’ donuts on the way and brought along a cooler of drinks and snacks.  We were at the beach for five hours.


I realized why floppy straw hats are so necessary.  I hid under mine all day.  You can bend the sides or front down and you’re in your own little world.  You can read, look at the mesmerizing waves, or eavesdrop on the conversations happening around you.


Now THIS is a beach read.




He’s going to the prom tonight with a sunburn.


Lobsters and fried seafood platter, milk shake and dr. pepper.  Oh my word we made a happy mess.



We also stopped at our favorite “after the beach” bookstore and the boys had coffee while Grace agonized between two poetry books. . . . . . . .

I chose two memoirs, a cookbook for my mom, and a book for Seth and Larissa’s baby.

My grown up kids took turns playing songs for us to listen to on their phones all the way home.

I thought over and over to myself yesterday, “I have grown up kids and I still look fabulous.”  (I mean, I was in my swimsuit for the first time in a year and it was the natural time to evaluate).


{this moment}


I remember the first time we took baby Sarah to the ocean.  She crinkled up her eyes in disgust and would not put her hands down to touch the sand.

We took the children to the beach yesterday and five year old Sarah was busy enjoying herself the whole day long.  Digging in the sand, collecting every shell in sight, swimming even though the water was cold, playing with nearby little girls, twirling her new hula hoop.  We were there for six hours and she cried when we had to leave.

She loves the ocean.

Jacob, day 1: a special day for a first year

There is something about watering a garden with buckets of water from the pond (because the hose doesn’t work) throughout a dry spring to make a woman deep down grateful to wake up to a fresh morning of drenching rain.  If I close my eyes, I can almost see the water trickling down-down-down into the dry earth.  I can almost imagine the rate of growth on the next sunny day in our small vegetable patch.  How satisfying it is to be a part of all that is happening outside.

Meanwhile, inside the house this morning I have been busy cleaning and thought I would take a break to type up a little blog post.  This will start  a week of my oldest son Jacob as the main subject of this little corner of the internet.

Yes, this is Jacob’s week, with so many blessings unfolding for him.  It really all began on Friday when he went to the store to do this:


Yes indeedy, he gave gifts to his sweetheart to mark their  anniversary.  One year ago he and Emily started their relationship, and such a sweet couple they make.  In fact, they are currently both on the couch watching “International House Hunters” right now.  🙂

Their anniversary was Friday and we planned a beach day for Saturday.  Rich was gone last week on business so I was a bit on the *worn to a frazzle* side.  He would not have minded making it a family day but I asked him if we could leave six of the children home and just take Jacob and Emily.  It was a most brilliant idea…the whole day from start to finish was wonderful.

(I just had to leave and come back from the school.  Ethan and Grace are now home after a morning of finals).


We went to Panera for breakfast.  Everyone was happy and goofy, including my husband.   It was nice to see him relaxed and enjoying a day off from work.  After breakfast we continued to the shore.  We arrived at about 8:30 in the morning.


That’s Jacob and Emily making a sandcastle together.


I sat in the beach chair for a while reading magazines.  It was such a treat to relax and not have to worry about children wandering off or getting pulled into the ocean.


The finished sandcastle.


Rich and I went on a walk down the beach.  The water was cold but the weather was lovely, warm with a cool breeze.  The sun didn’t start blazing down on us until later on.




They showed us their bucket of sandy crabby creatures when we returned.


We dozed in the sunshine….again, I was so grateful to just melt into the towel, knowing that there was no one that needed to be watched.


We took a foursome selfie before we left the beach for lunch.

So thankful to have kids who enjoy being with us!


Buttery lobster roll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Salt potatoes and an ice cold Pepsi (a rare treat)!  Wonderful lunch.  We were all good and famished and enjoyed every bite.



Then we headed into Madison, CT, just a few miles down the road, to our next stop.


R.J. Julia Booksellers…a wonderful bookstore.



There were signed celebrity photographs all over the walls.  I bought a paperback, a magnet for the fridge, and some yummy chocolate.



I stopped to admire these beautifully leafed geraniums.


We drove on home because the kids had to be back by 3:30 for further adventures.  But just before our outing was officially over, we stopped at Carvels for some cones.  I had the Reeses soft serve.  Yum!

Our day, which is a highly recommended itinerary if you get the chance to visit the CT shore.  🙂

(Panera, for breakfast)
Hammonasset Beach State Park
Joe and Lenny’s Fish Tale, for lunch
R.J. Julia Booksellers


family beach day


Overheard, just now:

“MOM?  My face is hurting.”  ~Dave

“Your face is red.” ~Sarah


Yesterday was a lovely day to go to the beach.  Rich didn’t have to work, so as soon as we got out of bed we began getting ready to go.  This year we gave the children each their own bag to carry and it made things much easier.  Our youngest child is four years old now and what a difference it makes to do things (we’ve never had a four year old “baby”….another one has always come along by that time).  As a mother hen personality *without any babies to care for*, I was almost able to relax yesterday.  ALMOST.

We drove about an hour to get to the beach, with one stop to Dunkin Donuts.  When we arrived, we parked the vehicle and all walked along the shore to find a place to set up.  Rich went to go change, but the rest of us had worn our suits under our clothes and were able to get directly into the water.


Sarah took her life jacket but as she is afraid of getting water in her face, I let her spend some time without it, digging in the sand and sitting in the water on the very edge.  She had a great time which was a delight to see.  She didn’t rest or stop once all day, except to eat lunch.

Jacob did some walking with Ethan, and spent some time in our tent playing solitaire.  Toward the end of the day he played again like I haven’t seen him do in a while….he’s growing up….but I saw him dunking and throwing his little brothers, getting into a sand fight, and building a sand castle.


Seth had to wear his life jacket more often than Sarah did, because he had no fear of the water and wanting to swim and do everything his big brothers did.

We had a small tragedy with Seth.  Ethan, David, and had disappeared down the beach and I was nervous so I told Rich I would walk down to locate them.  I took little Seth with me and we went all the way down to the rock-formed fishing pier.  Caleb was playing on the other side in warm shallow water, but Dave and Ethan had swam out to a small “island” and were sitting on it, resting.  I decided to sit and wait for them, and keep an eye on them, since it was far from the shore and I was nervous about them swimming that distance without supervision.  Seth climbed down to play with Caleb but just as I sat down he slipped and cut his foot on something.  He made his way back up to me and his foot was dripping rapidly with blood.  I carried him down to the water’s edge to rinse it off and realized that he had sliced a deep one inch gash on the inside ball of his foot.

My own leg was wet and red with his blood and I had to wash myself off, too.  He was so brave and hardly cried, just made some distress noises as I told Caleb to run back to get Dad, so we could carry Seth back to our tent.  Thankfully, his foot stopped bleeding, which was a relief…but it was open and sore for the rest of the day.  We put him in the tent and he rested with me by his side, and Jacob and Grace were with us, too.  Rich went down to make sure Ethan and Dave came back okay.  I was upset for a little while (on the inside), shaking and so sad about Seth’s foot.  I was upset with E and D for going off like that, but I knew that they were safe and just having an adventure and it was fine.  I just hate that vulnerable feeling that my children could get hurt badly at any time, or we could lose one.

I didn’t say anything to the boys when they walked back with their Dad, they were fine and I didn’t want to ruin the joy they had in their experience.  But I did tell Ethan later on, when he was about to go off and do it again, to stay around with us.


“I’m sixteen why won’t mom let me swim a quarter of a mile out into the ocean!”  (he’s not really saying that but it makes a good caption)


We left Grace and Dave and went to get some lunch at a seafood place.  We stopped off at CVS so I could run in and get a bandage for Seth’s foot.  My stress dissipated when I was back in the car and realized that I had bought the largest bandages they had, because in my mommy mind Seth’s cut was HUGE and TERRIBLE, and needed a five inch square bandaid.  I wish you could have heard the things Jacob was mumbling when I asked him to put it on him.  I laughed to tears.  In order to use it, he had to put it up around Seth’s toes!  It never worked right, by the time we got back and he took his shoes back off the whole bandage came off with it.

Rich and I had a buttery lobster rolls for lunch, and whole red boiled potatoes.  Jacob had a mixed basket of fried seafood, and Ethan had crab legs.  We took back fried shrimp for Grace and Dave, who were happy and having fun together when we got back.



I like this picture because all seven children are in it.  Seth was tired of sitting on a towel so he swam some more, running with a pronounced limp.

Rich went for a nice beach run.  He also played catch with the football with Ethan and Seth.





Sarah had sand in every nook and cranny.  She found a pink pony tail holder in the water and kept it with so much happiness.  She also got to play with a little girl just her size, named Chloe.  Grace and I watched them play and they were so cute that Grace remarked that Sarah would have made a good twin.



Big brother Jacob threw sand at David and Caleb.

We left the beach at 5:30, which was a process in itself since we all had to rinse off and get changed into clean underthings.  I was in charge of Sarah and honestly, the sand didn’t come off until this morning’s bath.


After we left the ocean, we went to a bookstore.  It was an independent bookseller, and I like those shops the best because they are always so unique.  The bad part is you pay full price for books, unless you can find something on the clearance table.   I love this picture of the children waiting for Dad to finish buying Mom’s books.  David’s turning red with sunburn and yawning, Caleb and Ethan are looking at a “where’s waldo” book, and Sarah Joy is itching the sand out of her hair.



We went to a pizza place for dinner,  just down the road from the bookstore.



David’s face seemed to get redder and redder.  He used to suffer from mild eczema as a child and even now sunburns and rashes bother him more than the other children.



We sat at three tables.  The big kids played cards and Sarah dragged her chair over to be by Grace.  Rich was showing something to Jacob on his phone.  They had a pepperoni and meatball pizza at their table.

David, Seth, and Caleb sat at their own table with a cheese pizza.

Rich and I had clam pizza at our table.


At the end of a fun day.  It was about 8pm when Grace took this picture of the tired but happy parents.

We drove home in the rain, listening to Winnie the Pooh.


What We Did:

Hammonasset State Park; Connecticut residents pay 9 dollars a car on the weekdays to get in.

Lenny & Joes Fish Tale for lunch.  A casual fish fry place, with a small carousel in the back, and a creamy soft serve ice cream stand.

RJ Julia Booksellers; an independently owned bookstore with great books.

Bradley and Wall Gourmet Foods, for pizza.  When we were there last night the place was fully staffed by young college aged kids — they were busy, happy, and energetic.  The pizza was delicious, we ordered three large and came home with about half a pizza leftover.