Life lately has been pretty crazy but so much fun. Nora amazes us every day. She is 5 months old and can sit up like a champ and pull to standing just from holding our fingers. She loves to make people laugh, and she has such an inquisitive and adventurous spirit. She’s not afraid of anything! We’ve developed a pretty good routine during the day of reading books, going for walks, playing in her walker/bouncer/activity center, and singing goofy learning songs in between naps and bottles. She has progressed from shoving her entire fist into her mouth to now sucking her thumb occasionally (which is adorable, but we don’t want to become a habit), and she loves to yell at a high pitch and loud volume for no reason. We have more fun each day than I ever dreamed possible.
This past week, we went to Hilton Head, SC with my parents, brother, and sister and stayed at my parents’ condo. It was pretty cool for Josh and me to sit on the same couch with our daughter that, years ago, we had sat on as we prayed over our decision to start the adoption process. I was intimidated about the idea of bringing a 5- month old baby to the beach, but it turned out to be SO much fun. Some tips we learned:
- It feels like you’re packing everything you own, but you’ll probably need all of that (and more). Babies need SO. MUCH. STUFF. The day before we left, I kept a notepad by the changing table so I could keep track of how many diapers we use in a typical day and pack accordingly.
- If you leave around 10 pm and drive straight through the night, it’s possible that your baby will sleep the ENTIRE 8-hour drive, and wake up happy as a clam just as you’re entering the resort. (I can’t guarantee this will always work – I think we just got really lucky.)
- The beach will no longer be relaxing for you. It is not about reading and getting a tan; it is now about watching your baby like a hawk so she doesn’t get sunburned, making sure her hat doesn’t fly away, and stopping her from eating ALL THE SAND. I’m sure babies that can crawl or walk will add a whole new dimension to this excitement.
- However, it is really, really fun to see baby’s excitement and wonder at seeing the waves and feeling the sand. There are so many new textures, sights, sounds, and smells for her to discover. Make sure to bring a fully-charged camera!
- Amazon sells really great beach tents (since babies under 6 months shouldn’t wear sunscreen). We used this one, which was large enough for us to sit in in our beach chairs with Nora. CAVEAT: it helps a lot to practice putting up the tent before you actually get to the beach. It can be pretty stressful to try to figure it out when everyone is hot and sandy. 🙂 We also learned that it helps to go at off-peak times, before or after the sun is at its strongest.
- We bought this duck baby bathtub for Nora to sit in inside the tent, and she loved it! You could put a beach towel in it and lay a baby back who can’t yet sit up, but since Nora can sit up now, we just put a little ocean water in the bottom to keep her cool. I have also heard of people bringing laundry baskets for this purpose – we just needed something collapsible for ease of packing.
- Babies look so freaking adorable in sunglasses and sunhats. That’s not really a tip – just a fact.
- Get a clip-on fan! The beach was super windy, so we actually didn’t need to use one, but I have heard of so many other people using them on strollers, beach tents, etc. and think it’s a really great idea.
- Going on vacation with family can be such a blessing. We were able to have more hands to help (even babysitting so we could have a couple date nights), and you know they love getting to spend lots of one-on-one time with the baby.
- Our drive home was during the day, so it went a lot differently than the drive there. One way it was made easier was to have a bag at arms-length with everything we’d need for the drive: bottles, diapers, wipes, extra clothes, toys, burp cloths, etc. so we wouldn’t have to go digging. We also made a Spotify playlist of kids songs. We tried to line up our stops so that we could eat at the same time Nora did, but that didn’t work out so well. Maybe you’ll have better luck. 🙂
I think Nora is really missing the beach (and all the attention of 6 people fawning over her), because she’s been a little irritable since we got home. I guess maybe it’s time to just go back?