Sunday we checked into our beach house on Topsail Island. Rob grew up on the coast of North Carolina and my first visit to Topsail Island was back when Parker was about 17 months old. His father kept saying we were going to Topsul Island. I kept asking for Rob to repeat it and he spelled it for me and I said "Top Sail"? No "Topsul", just like the nautical term. Well, I believed him because everyone down here calls it Topsul, but I just looked up the term and it is pronounced topsail so I still don't get why the island is not. No matter, tomato tomato (doesn't work well typed out, but you know). It is a very nice, quiet island with a beautiful beach.Rob's brother kindly arranged for the rental of a house on the beach. Rob and I hardly went to beach when we lived on the East Coast, instead we went to the mountains every weekend we could. It was partly because of rock climbing, but I also assumed it was because Rob grew up on the ocean and didn't find it as interesting as I did growing up in land-locked Illinois. I love mountains too, don't get me wrong, but as soon as I was old enough to venture to the islands I was off to the Caribbean every year. This ended when Rob and I met. Then we moved back to Illinois and our friends from Maryland started the lovely tradition of getting together yearly (although due to this or that it ended up being more like every other year) at a beach house on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This is the first year, however, that we've stayed in house with Rob's brother, Marc and his family, and Rob's dad. This is also the first year we've been right on the beach...I am now completely spoiled. It is very nice to be able to walk out your back door and be on the beach.
Rob's cousins also came down and stayed in a house close by. They ended up with six adults, seven children, and two dogs in their beach house. It is too bad we couldn't all stay together, but we were able to spend some time on the beach, eating pizza, roller skating, and chatting. I hope we make this a regular event. It is so much fun to see all the kids together. Out of 11 children, only 3 are boys (my two and Rob's cousin has 1 boy and 3 girls). Fredbunch's son, Bear, stayed a couple nights in our beach house with Parker and Dema. My boys were so happy to have him (Dema talks about Bear and Marc's daughter, Lillian, to anyone who will listen). Bear is the sweetest young man and I was tempted to take him back to Illinois with me. He is such a gentleman, great with younger kids, and adorably funny. Birdie (she turned 1 year old yesterday!) is only a little over a month older than Josie and it was so much fun to see them together. Josie is just a little too over affectionate and I'm sure Birdie was a tad sick of her grabbing her and kissing her, but it was still fun. Happy Birthday Birdie! All the kids are super sweet and great to be around. It was so neat to see all the girls together and I can't wait for Josie to join in when she is older.
Dema is smitten with Rob's cousin Jamie. She is wonderful with kids, although she doesn't have any of her own (just the furry four-legged kind), and I think Dema would bring her home if he could. Dema has a love/hate relationship with the beach. He loves it, but doesn't like the salt water in his eyes and mouth, yet he is in the water every chance he gets. Both the boys go much farther out in the ocean this year than they have in years past. It is probably due in part to our neighbor's Vicky and Greg and their pool. They are great swimming instructors and very generous with their pool so the boys are much more adventurous in the water. Marc and Rob helped the kids ride his surf board (no standing yet) and I swear Dema looks like he will eventually be a surfer. Rob and Marc grew up surfing so he has some good role models. Parker likes the Boogie Board Vicky sweetly sent with us more than the big surf board.Josie is a beach baby. She loves it! Josie is a little crazy and will crawl right into the waves until I pick her up after the hit her in the face and she just laughs and laughs. We better watch out for her next year. Our niece, Lillian, is a little (not so little...she is as tall as Parker now) fish and I love watching her in the water. The boys and Lillian also had great fun playing in the sand.I love just being by the ocean and listening to the waves crash. I've nursed all three children to sleep on the beach at different times over the years and nothing seems better than sleeping cuddled up in someone's arms on the beach. There is something primal and soothing about the ocean. I especially like a warm ocean that feels like nature's bath water....perfect. As a Midwesterner, I am totally in awe and in love with the water, is not entirely comfortable in the ocean. I love seeing Rob in his element. He is completely respectful of the ocean and what it can do, but also completely comfortable in a way I don't think I could ever be, but I think I appreciate it more since not living near an ocean makes it a little magical. The only thing I dislike is the sand. I like to play in the sand and I like the way it feels on my toes, but it is so hard to get rid of when you are done with it! I forget this every year, but the sand in everything would get old after a while. I have to remind myself about the sand or I'd buy some property by the ocean (oh, wait, I guess money might be a factor as well). I keep thinking global warming is going to put places like Topsail (no matter how ya say it) completely underwater some day, but I'm glad we can enjoy it now.