Because Nicki Minaj Said So

Last week we spent a lot of time reciting the first line of her song Starships: “Let’s go to the beach, each, let’s go get away.” Why? Because we were at the beach, that’s why. Surprise! And since a bunch of you have asked what we did for our fifth anniversary (which happened to fall over our family beach vacation) we’re here to fill you in. You know we love sharing lovey dovey stuff and road-tripping stuff alike.

Last week was our annual family vacation to Bethany Beach along the Delaware coast (where we go with a bunch of relatives to spend time together as one big group). And since this year’s beach week just happened to start on our 5th wedding anniversary, we took various moments throughout the trip to celebrate half-a-decade of marriage. Starting first and foremost with our little anniversary tradition: snapping a family portrait.

We actually took it at home before hopping on the road for Delaware (since who knew how pretty / sane we’d be after the five hour car ride with a pooch and a toddler). These pics are some of our favorites.

We even got Burger into the mix for a few.

And you can see a bunch of outtakes over here on Young House Life.

But it was the first photo – where we all had the most natural smiles (since we were actually laughing) and with a vertical crop possibility (since the frame we needed to fill is vertical) – that earned the spot on our wall with the other four anniversary photos that we mentioned in this post about our little annual tradition.

Beyond taking those photos, packing and driving ate up most of our celebration time on the actual 7th of July. But with a week at the beach ahead of us, we didn’t mind. Especially since the week prior was one of those crazy get-as-much-done-as-possible weeks (we do our best to double up on projects so we can blog throughout the week while we’re gone – and so we don’t come home in a  panic after vacation). I did “surprise” Sherry with a stop at one of her favorite roadside shopping spots as an anniversary adventure on our way to the beach though. This is the Ole Sale Barn in Maryland where we found the L-turned-7 in our office last Labor Day.

Sherry did buy something there, but we’ll save news on her spoils (and other beach-y shopping adventures) for another post. Well, scratch that. She wants me to show you what she got, so here it is:

Yup, it’s a giant basket that she wants to turn into a hanging light. Such a cool find. It was actually hung from the ceiling (it’s a giant warehouse in there) so Sherry was so excited that she even spotted it among all the chaos. More pics of that trip (and other beach shopping trips) to come!

But we’ll also share another one of our purchases – since it was our only physical anniversary gift to each other. See it there below? It has already been added to Clara’s frame collage.

Yup, it’s a little painted wooden whale sign that we snagged at a shop called Mod Cottage in Rehoboth Beach. We both really liked it and it seemed fitting since “wood” is the traditional 5th anniversary gift (it’s fitting that we’re building a wood deck right now too, huh?). Plus, it sort of symbolizes our main non-physical anniversary gift to each other: our trip to Hawaii earlier this year (where we went whale watching with Clara who had the best time ever).

So we’ll have more shopping pics later this week, but you may have caught a couple of sneak peeks on our Instagram feed already (you get to see these pics in real-time by following us on Facebook and Twitter, even if you don’t have an Instagram account). More on these guys once we go through the other 200 photos that we shot of various pretty things on our travels…

We opted to make this a “working vacation” – aka, we kept posting regularly (even from the beach sometimes) – since we already took a week off in March for Hawaii. That was our first blog vacation ever since YHL starting in 2007, so we’re still easing into the idea of putting posts on hold (we also had book tasks, like finalizing our cover, which we had fun doing while we were gone too). Maybe we’ll take off two weeks in 2013. Crazy talk, we know.

But let’s talk about the beach. Yes, this is the face Sherry makes when she’s approving comments from a lounge chair.

Even if we had wanted to leave work behind, sights like this wouldn’t let us. I saw this baby rolling down the beach to add new “No Smoking” signs and couldn’t help but have post-hole-digger envy. Where were you a few weeks ago when I was digging deck holes???

But Clara’s always pretty good at snapping us out of work mode, both at home and at the beach (where it’s always welcomed). And when we were working, Clara had plenty of company to keep her busy. We were there with my parents, two of my three sisters (plus a brother-in-law and sister’s boyfriend), two nephews, one niece, and two cousins with their two kids. Oh yeah, plus two dogs. Having four kids under the age of four made for a bit of mania at moments, but for the most part is just made the week all that much more fun.

But if you ask Clara the most fun thing at the beach it was jumping off of the boogie boards. Onto dry land of course.

Seriously, the girl did it for hours.

Since we were too exhausted from the drive on our actual anniversary, we made time for a date night in the middle of the week. Once Clara was in bed (and others were in the house to keep an ear out for her), we ducked out to a nearby seafood place called Bluecoast to spend an anniversary gift card from my parents.

We had already munched on some dinner at home with the family, so we ordered the things that we usually never find room to order – an appetizer (shrimp dumplings, seen below), two desserts (key lime pie and bread pudding) and drinks (mojito for Sherry, Sprite for me). Then we capped the night off with a stroll along Bethany’s boardwalk and a little window shopping.

Since we ended up getting an appetizer that required chopsticks, we earned ourselves another sentimental souvenir for our little collection back at home (more on that here).

Actually, we should’ve talked about the pool first, since that’s where we spent the first few days (between working on the blog while we were gone and Clara’s afternoon nap, we didn’t even make it to the beach until our fifth day of vacation!!). So we were happy to have a pool nearby to give Clara an hour or two in the water without trekking down to the beach after getting the morning post up and manning comments (which would have left us just enough time to turn around and go right back home for her nap).

And since barely anyone was there, we often had the baby pool completely to ourselves.

Well, us and Clara’s entourage of Barbie dolls.

Clara has recently grown a strong distaste for getting anything above her neck wet, so most of our time was spent “watching” the Barbies “jump” into the pool. Which meant Clara just counted to a random number (like four or nine) and chucked them into the water.

Sometimes Barbie was naughty and needed a timeout in the filter.

After seeing me flick a plastic fish toy out of the water with my foot, Clara was determined to do it too. Wish I could say she had succeeded, but really this is just her holding it on her toe and then flinging it with her hand.

This was the closest thing we got to swimming. And it lasted all of 30 seconds.

But we did eventually make it to the beach. And again, given a certain someone’s predilection for a dry head – this is as close to the water as she got. But she loved the ocean in Hawaii, so we’re confident it’s just one of those kiddo phases and she’ll be back in the surf again soon.

Fortunately the sand held plenty of hours of entertainment. Especially when other visitors had left giant holes that just begged to be climbed in.

That’s our cousins’ daughter Elsa, who just turned three, playing with Clara. I love this shot of them because it feels artsy for some reason. Like it would be sold on 20 x 200. Okay, maybe I’m stretching a bit. But Sherry took it, so this is not me patting myself on the back.

The sun definitely brought out the blonde in Clara’s hair.

Which, in case you haven’t already noticed, has been recently cut. The sides and the front don’t grow – just the back (which = mullet) so Sherry snipped that off. But we’re both chomping at the bit for that fateful day when the top and the sides decide to grow in and this girl can have a more girly do.

And by “chomping at the bit,” I mean “awkwardly posing in a sand hole.” I think I’ve found my new Facebook profile picture…

One benefit of Clara’s aversion to H2O is that de-sanding her is much easier.

So much easier that apparently I had energy left to de-booger. This is love people.

We even managed to snap another family portrait before Clara had a you-promised-me-ice-cream-but-now-insist-on-taking-my-picture induced meltdown.

So you probably know how this story ends…

Besides just beaching it up, we also took a few bikes rides. I have no pictures of us on bikes to prove it, but I shared two of our bike ride destinations on Instagram already. Like this one when I took Clara to the playground one morning while Sherry was getting the post up and answering comments.

And this one that we all took one evening. Surprise: it ended in ice cream. You may notice a lot of our adventures end that way.

The house that we rented had a canal right in its backyard, which meant we got to take my dad’s tandem kayaks out for a spin right from home.

It was a blast. We got a bit of exercise, took some sneak peeks at everyone’s backyards from the canal, and Clara didn’t try to stand up and capsize the boat once. It was win-win-win.

You’d think after years of blogging Sherry would’ve learned to keep her thumb off the camera lens. Nope.

 The night after our little dinner date night was spent as a big family night out in Rehoboth Beach.

We once again hit up the kids’ favorite spot: Funland.

Since most of the kiddie rides were old hat for Clara (having done them over Memorial Day for the first time) after she had fun with those again, we tried out some new ones – like the mini Ferris Wheel.

Admittedly, it stopped a lot to load people in and get people out, so there wasn’t all that much riding. In summary: it was nothing to write home about. Though I guess I did just write about it in a blog post. But I couldn’t resist sharing that picture of $herdog. In a cage. In the air.

But as of Saturday afternoon, we have officially returned to the real world. We’re obviously missing vacation, but also happy to get back into the rhythm of regular life. Clara is still asking to go to the beach each morning, so we may have to break down and get her a boogie board just so she can jump off of it out in the yard (you know, to tide herself over until our next beach trip).

What’s the scoop on your summer vacation or your anniversary this year? Have you gone anywhere? Or are you one of the lucky ones with it still ahead of you? Either way – is it someplace new or a tried-and-true traditional location? Is it just with your honey (or your dog/kiddo?) or the whole extended fam? If you’re not going anywhere this summer, do you have any fun fall or winter plans on the horizon?

Psst- You can check out over 30 road trip/vacation posts here in our On The Road Again archives.

Psssst- Joss & Main is doing a best-of collection for a few DIY-related bloggers and a few of our past picks made their little encore collection.” We really like the things everyone else picked too, and are so flattered to be included among such awesome fellow bloggers.

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