Toes in the sand and peach cake in my hand or what we did on our family beach vacation (7 Quick Takes)

~1~

You might think that a blogger who is on vacation all week would have time to write a blog almost every day. In fact, I thought that myself.

But on our extended family vacation this year I have somehow managed to have no time to write even though I have had time to make guacamole and peach cake, play card games, and do more loads of laundry in a week than I have done in the past 13 years.

Not that it hasn’t been wonderful. Our boys have loved their time with their cousins, and I’ve enjoyed spending time with my family, especially my nieces and nephews. I’m not sure it has been the most relaxing vacation, but we’ve made many memories.

~2~

On our way to the beach, we stopped to visit my in-laws on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and my husband took the boys fishing. I didn’t go on the fishing expedition because I was making dinner, and I joked with my father-in-law that because I hadn’t gone, our 8-year-old had a better chance of catching his very first fish.

I was right.

Our husband called to tell me that our little fisherman had reeled in his first fish—a spot. When you have a child who has adored fishing for two years before even catching a fish, what happens when he finally does?

Stay tuned.

~3~

Every year when we go to the beach I realize our children have grown into some rides and out of others. This trip both boys were all excited about riding the Paratrooper, which is sort of like a Ferris wheel, but one that goes partly forward and partly backward and where the riders’ legs are dangling down as it goes around and around.

Watching my children go around and around at high speeds far in the air above me makes me nervous. But they absolutely love it. So what can I do?

What they love even more, though, is winning tickets at the arcades. I don’t even want to think about what I’ve invested in those arcade machines this week, but we have had a blast.

~4~

A key part of any family vacation—or at least ours—is at least one family baseball game. This year a few of our key players didn’t manage to make the trip, so I joined the Pancakes. And though we lost to the Cucumbers in the Food Series, as the kids called it, we had a great time. I got a few hits and made more than my share of errors in the field. And we didn’t play a full nine innings.

If that’s not a victory, I don’t know what is.

~5~

One evening after the children went to bed, my brother challenged me and my oldest sister to a game of Scrabble.

I can’t remember the last time I played a board game with any of my siblings, so it was fun—and maybe just a little more my speed than baseball, if I’m going to be completely honest.

We were a little flexible with the rules, allowing a Latin word and letting my brother play “Old Jesuit” as one word because it was just too much fun to throw it off the board.

~6~

During our vacation, my younger son noticed my mother knitting a blanket for my newest nephew, and he asked her whether she would teach him to knit. She said yes, of course, so we went out to get knitting needles and yarn.

He was so excited and so was his brother.

I left them in a room with her for their first knitting lesson and came back 10 minutes later.

My mother looked up at me and said, “He’s left-handed!” She knew that, of course, but she hadn’t considered how that would affect her knitting lessons. For now, he seems to be learning how to knit right-handed and chugging right along.

~7~

Are vacations about something other than eating? If you’re not eating, it seems that you’re talking about your next meal, or rummaging through the snacks looking for your next snack. We have had some delicious meals and two peach cakes and Fractured Prune donuts and on and on and on. But my sister Treasa made some homemade baked sugar donuts and they were amazing.

I’m not 100 percent sure they improved my baseball skills, but they were delicious. This is the recipe Treasa used, so now you can go make them yourself.

And I haven’t even talked about kite flying or the crab the kids found on the beach or how our homily last week was the first one our son found interesting or our family conversations about the most annoying noises in the world or how I thought I would finally sit down for a quiet moment with a piece of peach cake and ended up running into a bathroom to plunge a toilet instead. So I may have to write more after our vacation is officially over and we are back to ordinary life.

Meanwhile, you can find more quick takes at Kelly’s blog, This Ain’t the Lyceum.

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Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.