By Heather Keenan

As summer winds down I am sad to admit that our beach days are limited. I have enjoyed nothing more that spending time at the shore with my three amigos. Most of our beach days play out in the same way, and as I reflect on this I wonder if I am a crazy person for being bummed that it is coming to an end. Let us review the beach time line that is when you are dealing with three children under the age of seven.

7am: “Can we go to the beach now?!?!?!”

8am: Time to pack up the cooler. No lie, I pack everything but the kitchen sink, and if it would fit, I would most likely stick that baby in there, too. I have lunch and second lunch. I have enough snacks to feed an entire baseball team, twice. Marathon runners do not require that amount of water that I have crammed in there. And if I’m being honest, there are definitely some beers in the bottom of that baby.

9am: Sunscreen time. My darling children who have been calmly vegged out playing their tablets have now turned into jumping beans. There is just no possible way that they can be still and let me lather them up. I finally manage to get it done and we are off to the van.

10am: Beach arrival. The kids are off and in the water. I have managed to drag a beach cart loaded with an umbrella, toys, towels, the cooler, and a few chairs down to the sand. I get it all set up with zero help from my offspring and plop down in a chair.

10:30am: They’re hungry, there goes lunch #1.

11am: They want me in the water. Oh wait, someone has sand in their eye. Back to base camp, eye washed out, back to water. Oh wait, someone is thirsty. Back to base camp, water bottle obtained, back to water. Oh wait, someone has to pee, back to base camp, pee in bucket, back to water. Oh wait… get the picture.

12:30pm: Lunch #2.

1pm: We can send a man to the moon, but can not seem to make sunscreen last longer than 80 minutes. Seriously?! Time to reapply.

1:30pm: Sand castle time. Just kidding, there is no sand castle being built. They are too busy arguing over who is going to get to use the “good shovel” to build anything. Oh great, the little one is crying, and snotting, and getting sand stuck to her face due to said snot. No! Do not rub your eyes!!! Too late, she rubbed her eyes. Back to base camp.

2:30pm: Time to hit the road for home. You have finally packed everything back up in the beach cart only to realize that those delicious watermelon beers that you so optimistically packed yourself are still in the bottom of the cooler, untouched. No worries, they will be nice an cool when you get home.

3pm: You get to the car and take ten minutes to convince your kids that it is OK to ride home with sand on them, that they will not actually die because of it.

3:30pm: Get home, start the de-sanding process. I mean, really, how does the beach have any sand left at this point?

4pm: They are all clean and happy. Just kidding, they are all clean and hungry.

While beach days may be hectic with kids, I must say, I will miss them and I am already looking forward to next summer!!