Daily dispatches have been posted but I wanted to offer a few broader musings on our two-week stay in Rehoboth Beach, if anything to remind me for the next time we go (and oh yes there will be a next time):
1. Definitely two weeks in one place makes for a relaxing vacation. Really settling in by the end of the first week, it would've been a downer to have to pack up and go home at that point. Staying a second week chilled everything out, allowing us to not feel like we had to pack everything into a short stay and giving us room to really decompress from our normal routines.
2. Having a hyperactive 16-month-old does not make for a relaxing vacation. Asher needs to be accounted for at all times, making it harder to truly sink into our happy places. The Y, with its 90-minute babysitting service, was a great respite for Amy and me, to be able to work out together without worrying about the kids; but, this service was unavailable during the whole second week of our vacation, because (like many Y's at the end of the summer) they shut that room down for renovations. So we had to pick our spots for exercise, naps, and date nights (either when Asher was napping or when we had grown-up company over).
3. I didn't get much book or TV time. Related to the above point, a day at the beach involved two eyes on Asher rather than one nose in a book, and a relaxing evening at home usually meant chasing Asher around and then collapsing into bed not long after he went down. I did get a few episodes of "Scandal" in when we went to the Y the first week, and I managed to squeeze in enough end-of-day reading to get through three books (Condi Rice, 1491, and John Muir).
4. Rehoboth Beach is perfect for us. I really liked the place, for the following reasons. First, it is affordable. Rentals are reasonable, and the attractions are mini-versions of more expensive places, so it suits where we are as a family now (we're just not in a position to spend all day at a water park, for example, so why not pay a third of the price and go for a few hours). Second, it is inclusive. We saw a lot more diversity here, in terms of race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, than you tend to see in other beach towns. Third, it is cute. The place is well laid out, with ample parking without overwhelming the place with cars (lots of bike parking, too, for example), and very walkable (i.e. dense), and very fun to walk around in (i.e. lots of neat stores).
5. We missed a chance to teach the kids about money. With so many fun things to do, eat, and buy, Aaron and Jada constantly pestered us. We should've given them an allowance and let them learn about scarcity and trade-offs and deferred gratification. Maybe I'm a killjoy, but if there's one behavior I despise in kids it is being spoiled. Instead of fighting and negotiating and yelling, I should've just told them how much they had to spend and let them deal with and learn from the consequences.
6. We did a pretty good job of packing. We packed really light on clothes and really heavy on food and home goods, and despite having a tiny minivan we fit everything in it (with the help of a cargo bin on the roof; a second bin, to go on the back door of the car, ultimately was not needed). I still think we packed too many clothes, but I tend to be OK wearing the same 2 T-shirts over and over again while on vacation. And I'm happy we brought a lot of stuff for the house, as it saved us time and money once we were here.
7. We did a pretty good job on activities. Proximity to the beach and boardwalk allowed us to hit both places practically every day, and midweek we mixed in trips to do go karts, mini-golf, and water slides. We were blessed with incredible weather; really only a half-day tainted by rain in two whole weeks). Overall, I feel like our pacing was good - we did a lot, but we didn't go so hard that we were worn out - although a lot of that has to do with having a 16-month-old who takes two naps a day.
8. All the kids were happy. It can be tricky when you have kids of different ages to find activities that work for everyone. Aaron and Jada were great with Asher at the beach, splitting time between doing stuff they wanted to do (like ride the ocean waves and make sand castles) and spending time with their little brother (taking him into the water and playing in the sand with him). For the bigger activities, we tended to split up, with Aaron and Jada off doing their own thing at a water park or one of the grown-ups taking them somewhere while the other stayed home with Asher.
9. So much for husband-and-wife time. We're at a time in our lives when we simply don't have the time or energy to go out, and vacation was no exception. Our times out as a couple were scarce and brief. We will have to make more effort to arrange for this to change.
10. Let's do it again. Meaning two weeks again and Rehoboth Beach again. Long-term, wouldn't it be neat to buy a place, earn some rental income, and have family and friends down a couple weeks a year. Something to work hard for as we head back to our normal routines tomorrow...