Friday, September 4, 2015

Beach Memories and Farewells

Most years we travel to Topsail Beach, NC for the week of Josie's birthday. Her birthday just happens to coincide with the start of off-season on Topsail Island. As Josie's 8th birthday fast approaches and we sadly will not be heading south for her birthday, I am remembering last year's beach trip. 

For the last three years, we have vacationed with our friends Seth and Gita and their twin girls. There girls are Josie's constant companions, they are our neighbors and friends, and they are moving this month to Colorado. While I am so happy for their new adventure and I understand their need for mountains, I can't help but feel sad too. We will miss them, to be sure, but this is an end of a certain type of childhood for Josie. She's been able to walk over to her best friends' house, dance with them, fight with them, bike with them, climb trees with them, practice aikido with them, get to know horses with them, share secrets, cry tears, laugh and laugh.

We hope to continue our yearly trek to the ocean together, but I know the extra distance will make this hard and their relationship is definitely going to change. We have loads of great memories though and last year we didn't just share the beach with their family, but also my sister and her husband, and our neighbors; Vicky and Greg. Rob's family even managed to come by for a night or two so the kids were able to see their only cousin, Lillian.
My crew as we set out for beach trip 2014.
Josie lost a tooth while we were shopping for groceries at a Whole Foods in North Carolina.
Greg and Vicky shared a huge beach house with us while Seth and Gita's family shared a smaller house across the street with my sister, Karen, and brother-in-law Stuart. We usually ate at our house where there was room for everyone.
We all shared in the cooking and cleaning tasks. Gita and Seth made their famous vegan sushi. A perfect beach food! 
Sand and boogie boards for Josie.
The island is known for its sea turtle rescue and last year we checked the new out the new facility. 
The line was long, but kids found ways to pass the time.

A sea turtle made out of trash found on the beach. An artful reminder to be think before disposing of plastic. 

Each turtle has his/her own story. It is amazing work they do and you can tell everyone from paid staff to volunteers is filled with love for these beautiful amazing creatures.
Our time there was educational and sobering at times.
Josie on the beach with her new sea turtle necklace. 
Parker loves to walk along the beach and explore. 
The boogie boards get quite the workout.

One of the many dinners together at our big beach house.

 Our neighbor Seth, Rob, and Marc (Rob's brother) relaxing.

Cousins kayaking together on the sound side. Vicky and Greg think of everything and they brought a trailer full of bikes and kayaks and all sorts of things. We rode down with them and it was fun to travel together.

 Dema in peaceful solitude.

Uncle Stuart and Parker exploring and taking pictures.

Parker on the secluded part of the island. Gita and Seth really wanted to rent a place at the end of the island in 2014. It was  a great choice. It is so quite and peaceful and lots to explore. In past years we would just go down to this section for the day, but it was nice to be right there the entire week.

We usually take a group picture at the end of the trip, but I think we must have missed in 2014 so here is my little family.
2014 was a great beach trip and Josie said her 7th birthday was her best, but seven is her special number so I think it will always be one of her favorite birthdays. We had vegan banana splits to celebrate her special day since we were driving 15 or so hours on her actual birthday. It was so fun to have our neighbors and part of my family and Rob's family come spend time with us at a place that will always be special to us.

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