Beach week with the grand kids - Bob has brought so many opportunities to our family, in this case the idea of vacation traditions and the two condo weeks in Port Aransas he bought on the used market. All of us have come to love the Mustang Island Beach Club - now a little the worse for wear and in process of major restoration. It is both familiar and exciting to us, and a great home base for sunset excursions to the beach at Padre Island, visits to the Texas State Aquarium, birding trips, rides on the carousel - and, these days, stops to help out with the set up of Bob's classroom.
This year beach conditions were perfect, especially the last two evenings we were down there. The gulf was blue and bathtub warm, hardly any waves. We could walk out far, from sand bar to sand bar. KK and Danny were able to feel safe enough to swim in the gentle surf. Zach, who seems happiest in any kind of water, just squatted down in the shallows and sat - when he wasn't building or destroying sand castles. KK gathered shells, including a beautiful moon snail shell. Danny didn't want to leave the beach, ever. I can't say I disagreed with him.
The Texas State Aquarium is improving every year - best new addition is a wild bird show in which a variety of birds from around the world display their natural behaviors in careful planned and amusing routines. The mixture of education and entertainment struck each of us five just right. Zachary even got to participate in one of the shows (we loved it so much we went three times on two different days). He threw a grape way up in the air for an African flycatcher to pluck. Zachary was just thrilled with having been chosen. Danny was equally thrilled when, during the diving show, he was chosen to place his hands on the tank surface atop the diver's hands so that we could see that our view of the fish was not distorted.
On our way home we took a back road and visited the mission at Goliad, where Zachary took great interest in the cannon. Our second stop, at Palmetto State Park, provided a surprising treat. For the second time this summer we were caught by a sudden storm and drenched - to everyone's delight. The rain caught us on the trail through palmetto lined marshland and cooled us off on the very hot afternoon. The children showered at the campers' showers and changed into their nightwear for the trip home. KK finished this year's Newberry Award winner, Kira Kira on the ride back home, and I read it later that night - a deserving book about a Japanese American family in the fifties in Georgia - about love, family, grief, and creativity.