After 6 weeks of being taken back and forth from home to my grandparents house and being told to sit quietly in a small room, my minions more than deserved a day off to be kids and get a little spoiled. So on Saturday morning, we took off and left the horrors of a house that has lacked attention for weeks, and drove west to the coast.
Our first stop was to Frida’s Cafe and Bakery in Largo for an early lunch. We love Frida’s because literally, every single thing there is delicious and you can get massive gluten free sandwiches that are amazing. It’s both really sad but really good for my wallet that it is so far from our house or I might live there. Although, for the record, the kids sandwich with chips was only $3.99 plus .99 for the gluten free bread and it was big enough for them to share and still barely finish it! Also, if you go there, get the coconut water lemonade. Yum.
After lunch, we went to John’s Pass which is a great shopping area with little tourist shops and ice cream and food and it’s located right on the water. You can watch the boats go through the drawbridge and sometimes catch glimpses of dolphins following their wake. Jonah loves the shop with the live hermit crabs for sale and all the shark teeth in bottles. Haven loves to go through all the buckets of shells and Laelynn basically likes running around looking at everything. I love getting inspiration for home decor with all the shabby chic coastal art.
After running off our lunch, we were a little hungry so we stopped into a ice cream shop on the boardwalk. Normally, I’m the mom who rarely allows ice cream but, when the moon is blue and I do, it’s a shared vanilla scoop in a bowl so that it’s mess free and non-staining. I know, I’m boring and sad and depriving my children of a proper childhood with my clean-freakness and health consciousness. Once, I even offered them milk shakes and instead, gave them chocolate smoothies made with probiotics and almond milk. But hey, the kids loved it and I felt good about sneaking in some immunity boosting goodness!
Anyways, the theme of the day was ‘spoil the kiddos’ so this mom did a very brave thing and walked into the ice cream shop and allowed them to choose what they wanted. I didn’t even flinch when they wanted cones instead of bowls and spoons (gasp! the gluten and the impending drippy mess!). Jonah surprised me by choosing mint chocolate chip, my favorite! But Haven…oh my sassy Haven…she wanted “rainbow” otherwise known as Superman flavor; a mom’s worst nightmare. It is basically a horrifying conglomeration of primary colors that melt and drip and leave a staining, sticky residue on everything in it’s path. But that is what she asked for and I told her she could choose so that’s what we did.
Honestly though, it’s fun to dramatize it and normally I would have probably had a panic attack but this day was different. After the stress and emotions of the past few weeks, I was just so grateful to be with my little crew of favorites and live in that moment, mess and all. Life is beautiful, and messy, and fun, and heartbreaking, and it over too fast, and the time you get with the ones you love is far too short to eat the boring ice cream. The rainbow ice cream poured over her hands and and dripped down her white swimsuit cover-up, but it made her laugh, and that was the point.
After hunting down a bathroom to wash up in, we decided to leave there and hit the BEACH! We went to Redington Shores, where we were surprised to find some pretty respectable waves by west coast standards. The first thing I did was indulge my compulsion to document the moment by snapping a couple pictures of the kids. There were some big, beautiful boulders, covered in barnacles rising up out of the water that were begging to be part of the pictures. I sat the kids on them and snapped a couple fast pictures before being chided by Michael that they could get cut on the sharp edges of the barnacles. I brushed him off, only to be caring for poor Haven’s bleeding finger a little while later. I hate it when he is right. Oh well, I never claimed to be “mother of the year”.
I then put the phone camera away and just soaked in the giggles as we made sand castles, wrote our names in the wet sand, picked up shells, and waded into the waves. I do wish I could have captured my littlest minion braving the waves though! While the other two were content to get their feet wet but stay a safe distance away from the surf, Laelynn couldn’t get enough of the pounding water. She fussed and twisted her arm, trying to get loose from my grasp as the waves pushed her back. While I wanted to encourage her adventurous spirit, I also didn’t want her to drown herself. Eventually, I tested her bravery by holding her on my hip and going out past the breakers to jump up and down in the big swells. She shouted “WEEEEEE!!!!” at the top of her lungs with every jump, no matter how high. She may be little but she is fierce!
We watched the sunset, headed for the showers, and then to the van. We were wet, tired, and still a bit sandy when we got home but it was a fantastic day and I don’t think I will soon forget it. It was so good to just take a day to enjoy the magic of my kiddos. With the birthdays coming right around the corner, I’m learning more and more how fast time flies and how urgent the need is to spend time with them and allow them to enjoy being little.