We arrived at the hotel just in time to enjoy my favorite time of the day, meal time. The kids shoved their faces full of pizza before petting a turtle from the aquarium. I really have no interest in touching anything with a shell, unless it comes filled with taco meat.
There were markers. There was paint. There were blank canvases for which to create art. (Daniel must have been confused because they provided no couches to color on.) After making our family banner, the kids got to paint t-shirts. Paint on clothing?? Daniel's interest gets picqued with a quickness. He can barely wait for Eve to finish so he can have his turn to make a happy mess.
Of course, the first night in a hotel is always the hardest. The kids, all in the same bed, are far too wound up to fall asleep in a timely manner. Natalie and Daniel can calm down pretty fast, but it's Eve who turns into a Tasmanian devil. After an hour or so, she finally passed out. (I came unprepared on this trip, leaving the Benadryl and Dramamine at home.)
The next morning, we went to the Channel Marker for breakfast. I managed to make it through my meal with only minimal sodium intake until Eve spiked my water with salt when I was distracted by the bacon sword fight Natalie and Daniel were performing.
Off to the beach for sand sculptures. We found our chairs under the banner our kids made the night before.
Natalie still had plenty of Sharpie marks left on her arms from the project, but made sure to jump in the ocean like a crazy person to wash it off. I make it a point not to enter the ocean until at least July when it's had time to heat up, but you can't stop a 5-year-old in a swimsuit from jumping in. Although, in her defense, it was a little warmer than the salty ice water I had with breakfast. Thankfully no one tried to drown so I didn't need to practice my Baywatch run into the water.
This is our sunbathing starfish who is listening to his boombox. Top that!
Well, that was our sunbathing starfish before Eve dove onto him belly first. It was like she was angry at him or something. She has an appetite for...destruction.
All that demolition and crazy polar bear plunging really wore them out.
For like, two seconds.
Us Griffiths are huge fans of tubular meats, so when the hot dog bell rang, we ran in it's direction. And we must have looked really hungry because we were given a giant family-sized bag of potato chips. With the 6 hot dogs. And the cookies. And the Italian ices. Really, if pictures of us enjoying our lunch were to surface in Europe, they would surely be photoshopped with something including the words "fat" and "Americans." But man, those were gooood hot dogs and I would do it again no matter what the Europeans think.
I did put down the bag of chips when the pirates came out, though. Mostly because I had eaten them all.
We went back to the hotel so Eve and Daniel could chill in the room while Nat and I went down to the heated pool. After "heated," I think they forgot to add "by the sun." It must have been colder than the ocean, because Nat could only stay in for a minute at a time before she had to get out, lay in the hot sun, start sweating, and jump back in to cool off, only to repeat the process over and over again for the better part of ninety minutes. It was like watching a slightly more sophisticated hamster on a wheel, but in a really cute bathing suit.
Dinnertime came and we were treated to pulled pork and fried chicken. Let the record show that I did not eat all the crispy breading off of my kids' chicken before giving it to them, although I certainly couldn't be looked down upon for such an offense as it would only have made the meal healthier. But I did think about it really hard, and it took some control not to do it. I'm the girl in the kitchen on Thanksgiving eating the turkey skin while everyone else looks on in disgust. Like I care, folks. More for me.
[nom nom nom.]
Eve ate nothing but large amounts of cole slaw. No matter how much sugar and mayonnaise you put on cabbage, it doesn't change the fact that there's still a vegetable hiding inside. Eat on, my dear, eat on.
We got a treasure box filled with candy, to round out the fried chicken. These optimists rock. And I bet they're not even going to judge me when we don't floss tonight.
After dinner it was time to play mini-golf. I was so exhausted at this point that I used my putter as a cane while I watched the kids take upwards of six strokes each to move the ball six inches. I imagine putt-putt will be fun [for me] one day when we can play by the rules and start keeping score. Right now, we're lucky if no one gets hit in the face with a club. It's amazing how your definition of success can change once you have children.
So now I know what I gotta do each day to get the kids to fall asleep instantly when we put them to bed: three heavy meals with no vegetables, several hours on the beach, some pool-side relaxation, eighteen holes of mini-golf, and candy before bed.
Mother's Day morning started out with breakfast at the aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores. Surprisingly, no fish on the menu.
After eating, we enjoyed a presentation on shipwrecks. And by "we," I mean everyone but Eve, who was too busy trying to shove muffin crumbs up my shirt as she was hanging upside down from my lap.
We were free to explore the aquarium. I think Natalie expected these turtles to talk to her like Crush did at Epcot. Sorry, Nat, I don't think these are English-speaking turtles. The only chance we have communicating with them is if they speak Dora or Kai-Lan.
Daniel is always most excited about climbing on top of statues of animals rather than seeing a real animal in captivity. He and the girls spent a few minutes crawling on top of this giant turtle who was moving so slow that it almost looked it wasn't moving.
I think the marketing director at the aquarium needs to rethink this sign.
Are they seriously using my love of snakes and skeeters to pull at my heartstrings? Please, save them before I lose anymore sleep over it! Fail.
I was sad to leave our weekend at the beach but kind of happy to be away from all those snakes. Back home, I had to run to the store to get a few things for Daniel's birthday the next day. Keep in mind that I left the kids at home and was not wearing Mom Jeans.
As I enter the store: Happy Mother's Day, ma'am! That's a double whammy right there, that's what that is. A) How do you know I'm a mother? and B) Ma'am? Seriously? I'm maybe two years older than you, and probably less mature.
As I check out: Did you have breakfast in bed this morning? Huh? For Mother's Day. Did they treat you to breakfast in bed? Umm, again, how did you divine that I had children? And honestly, do you think I want crumbs in my bed? People without kids would think this is sweet. I don't know what movie you're watching, but people with kids just realize they are making even more work for you.
I don't know why I got my panties all in a wad; I am a mom. I guess I just don't want to look like a mom all the time. And the fact that I can't pinpoint what exactly makes one look like a mom is disturbing to me.
Once home, the children gave me their Mother's Day presents. Daniel gave me a flower he had planted, Eve gave me a framed picture she had painted, and Natalie gave me a book with facts she had written about me.
Yep. I'm 78 pounds and 6 1/2 feet tall. According to these calculations, I must look like a malnourished giraffe in Natalie's eyes. Maybe that's why I look like a mom.