In the wee morning hours of Halloween day we loaded the kids into our already packed car (SO nice to be all packed up the night before), met up with the Passmores and Christy and headed for the beach! The traffic was light, the air was festive, and the books on tape were abundant. Though waking up at 5am is never my strong suit I loved being at the beach before lunch. It was so worth it and I bet we will do it that way often now. We stayed at the Shedd's condo at Playa Almendro and loved the variety of pools and how organized the condo was.

The first thing we did was grab swimsuits, sunscreen and head down into the sand to find some lunch. It was a bit torturous for the kids to have to wait through lunch to get into the water but they survived. We spent 4 days soaking up sun, building castles, eating fish, riding waves, talking, laughing, crying, playing games, EATING. Nate did his triathlon our second morning there and then we met up with some YW friends to play some beach volleyball. We were definitely a spectacle to those around us with our loud, competitive laughter and our traditional (not ecua-volley) style of playing. I also won't forget how big the waves got after our vball match and I came out of one wave totally disoriented, bedraggled only to see one of the YW ladies in the exact same state. They played with our kids in the waves and kept such a responsible eye on them. The last day there I found a guy to sell me 8 lbs of dorado fish and packed that all up to come back to Quito, which turned out to be a bit stressful with the defrosting freezer in the condo but turned out just fine in the end. Most days we ate lunch on the beach, while opting for breakfast and dinner at our condo. Although one day I did bring scrambled eggs down to the sand to allow Christy and Christine to sleep a bit longer.

The kids all slept in the same room for the first time. Nate and my bedroom was on the ocean side and we could hear NOTHING except the waves. Meanwhile, Christine got up the first night because Eden was crying from falling out of the bed she shared with Damari. This led to Damari being up another two hours, while Nate and I were clueless. Nate made sure to take the morning routine the next few days to make up for Christine's "on call" night. Once the kids were asleep we made appetizers each night and ended up eating way too much rich food. Blue cheese stuffed mushrooms, pumpkin pretzels, sriracha sweet potatoe fries, brie in puff pastry, pretzels with cheese sauce. We sat out on the balcony together, playing Monopoly Deal and/or processing life together. There was one night spent processing some very real, very current interactions between us that was honest and perfect in it's imperfection because it showed how each of us is really IN this life together. The last night Aaron and I were totally grumpy from lack of sleep and who knows what else but it also turns out our friends love us regardless. There was also just a lot of laughter and a lot of listening and a lot of caring and we soaked it up.

The days were awesome in their relaxed, fun-filled nature. We spent hours on the beach each day. Watching both Canaan and Eden adore boogie boarding and go at it full force was super fun. Those kids love the waves. Having friends who love swimming, getting sandy and being active like I do is fun. We spent afternoons passed out on any couch or floor we could find while the kids napped. Or watching shows with our earbuds in for downtime. And then we would head back out to the beach and then finish off in one of the many pools, watching the kids flail about in the water, come out shivering, and then go back in for more. Being at the beach with our kids is one of our very favorite ways to interact with them! We left the beach later than usual (part of our compromise for Nate who wanted to stay 4 nights) and it felt relaxed to get up and swim and then pack the kids into the car in time to crash for a nap. 

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