Boys at the Beach by Leslie

One of our favorite things to do in the summer is visit our local lake and hang out on the beach. It's such an easy day and the kids are guaranteed to get along and have fun without much stress or planning. I've gotten our gear down so that the three of us can carry in everything we need. Quinn carries the bag of toys, Milo carries the pop up tent and blanket, and I carry the water, food, towels, clothes and my camera. We are also late afternoon beachgoers and usually arrive after lunch and stay until right before dinner. The lake is perfect for little guys, the water is shallow and warm and there are bathrooms and a food truck nearby. It's so fun!

What is your go-to activity with the kids on a hot summer day?

(Photo specs: 50mm compact macro lens, ISO 100, f/2.5, 1/2500 secs)

Alone at the Lake by Leslie

Way back in May, before the beach was officially open and the summer got a little crazy, I took the boys to the lake. They had been playing in the water a little bit but the park ranger came over to tell me that they were not allowed to swim because there were no lifeguards. This was the same day that I took those neat sand photos.

Some poeple might think it's particularily lonely to be at the beach when no one else is there, but for me, it's my favorite time to go. We felt like it was our own private place and the kids can wander far without me having to worry about them disappearing in the crowd.

Early season empty beaches are long gone, but soon you will be able to find late season freedom. After labor day it gets a little chillier, but plan to visit your favorite summer spot when the crowds are gone. You can have the place to yourself and extend your summer just a tiny bit longer.

At the Lake and a Big Pile of Sand by Leslie

Late in the afternoon last week, a friend of mine tipped me off to the fact that a large truck load of sand had just been delivered to Wawayanda, our local State park that has a beautiful lake and beach area. She told me I HAD to take the boys after I told her how much fun they had in a mud puddle the day before. There were just a few hours before Chris would be home from work and it was a 20 minute drive away, so I put the chicken pot pie in the oven and we headed out for a very last minute, no frills, hour-long trip to the beach.

It's still a bit too cold to swim and there isn't a life guard or swim area set up yet, so I told the boys we were just going to play in the sand. Of course, we couldn't resist dipping our toes into the water and even though I asked them to only go as deep as their knees, before I knew it they were completely soaked. Quinn fell in the water at one point (see the video below) and by then it was a lost cause! I thought it was super cute that they held their shorts up to try to keep them dry, even after they were totally wet.

Even though I had asked them to try to stay dry, I knew it wasn't likely to happen. They were having such fun and I so enjoyed watching them play together that I couldn't possibly be mad about them getting so wet and dirty. It's just a little water and sand after all, nothing that can't be cleaned up. It was the same with the mud puddle. Quinn was covered in mud from head to toe and I literally hosed him off, but it was worth it for the joy I could see in his face when he squished the mud in his hands and between his toes.

Anyway - it's my favorite time to go to the beach; when it isn't too hot, no one is there, and I don't have to cart a bunch of stuff for the whole afternoon. It was just a casual trip to enjoy the sand and the water. Milo and Quinn were such buddies, playing together side by side the whole time. I love being able to step back to just let them be together, summer is so wonderful for all the time we get to spend outside. It really does make everything easier, they rarely fight when we are outside, it's just all smiles and fun.