Thursday, June 17, 2010

Cousin Camp 2010 in Review: Thursday

Thursday was the day we went to the beach. Everyone was excited as we lathered on the sunscreen, grabbed insect repellent (mosquitos are notorious on Assateague), and headed out the door for the 45-minute trip.

First, we stopped at the Wallops Island NASA Visitor Center. We had been there last year, but they had changed some of the displays, so we spent a few minutes browsing what had changed. Then we watched one of their feature presentations about life in space. The kids loved it, and we adults thought it was really neat, too.

If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend going to the Visitor's Center. It's free, they have some really cool exhibits, the presentations are also free (several 20-min. DVD presentations in theatre-style seating), and there are picnic tables set up outside ... And if you get really lucky, you might see some fighter jets fly overhead, looking like they're barely clearing the tops of the trees. We saw two of them while we were eating our lunch, and the kids loved it. They fly very low at Wallops Island, so be careful if you're driving. The sight of one coming at you just might make you wreck if you're not expecting it. :)

After eating our picnic lunch at the NASA Visitor's Center, we sprayed nearly everyone with insect repellent [Skintastic OFF! spray - do take note of the brand!] and headed for the island of Assateague.

Last year, the lighthouse trail had been closed for repairs, so we didn't get to see it with the kids. This year, it was the first stop we made. The trail isn't long or hard, but we were beginning to feel the heat -- and the mosquitos. We did manage to get a decent photo of everyone with the lighthouse in the background.

You can't tell that some of the kids were already whining. "Why can't we go up in the lighthouse? Why is it closed for today? You mean we walked all this way just to look at a lighthouse?" Apparently, yes. I had no idea it was closed on Thursdays. Oh well. We took our pictures and went on.

The next stop were some of the walking trails that we enjoyed so much when we visited a few years back with some friends ... except they weren't quite as enjoyable this year. We were halfway to the first stop on the trail (the pony lookout) when we were suddenly aware that we were becoming a picnic lunch for the mosquitos. You know how you usually can't tell a mosquito has bitten you until they're done? Well, they were so thick we could actually feel them crawling on us. So much for the insect repellent. The ones who hadn't been sprayed were bit less than those of us who were.

That might sound like just a little annoyance until you realize that one of my nieces is allergic to mosquito bites, which is why I bought the spray in the first place. She was bit to pieces by the time we got back to the vans. In fact, the one side of her face was noticeably swollen by the time we got home that night. Apparently, it was like perfume to mosquitos - it attracted them instead. I'd sure like to take someone from the "OFF!" company to Assateague and spray them with their own product ... :) I bet they'd change the formula.

We endured a lot of grumbling on the long walk back to the vans, but the grumbles vanished almost as soon as we stepped out of the vans on the beach. We were fortunate that the beach wasn't crowded, since we don't dress like most beach-goers (just look at the pictures and you'll understand), nor do we want our guys to have to see a lot of it. :) We usually avoid the beaches in the summer, but Cousin Camp falls in the summertime, so we opt for the less-crowded days and times.

We took along sand toys to build sand castles and dig, but the only things they really used were the shovels. Most of the time they stood at the edge of the water, seeing how close they could get without getting wet. (None of us adults knew how to swim, so we told them they couldn't wade in.)

They did a lot of this ...

... trying to stay dry, and a lot of this ...

... when they misjudged a wave and got their feet wet. :)

They spent a lot of time just digging holes right at the edge of the water. Funny as it may seem, they loved it!

I enjoyed snapping pictures with my sister's "new" camera. These pictures of my dad are among my favorites of the day.

My sister's youngest daughter loved the water, and my sister had to watch her like a hawk. If she turned her back for just an instant to say something to one of her other kids, she'd turn around to find her daughter almost at the water's edge. She's a bit young to understand the dangers. She only knew that she liked the feel of the water. :)

I managed to get this group shot of us right before we left. We were gazing straight into the sun, which is why we look like this. I was able to get in on a few of the pictures since a nice lady noticed what we were doing and offered to take a group picture for me.

And just to prove how much I like my blog readers, here's a picture of me and my husband on the beach:

See, I really like you a lot. I'm not very photogenic, and I promise he wasn't mad. I'm not sure that picture will even make it to the scrapbooks! :)

After we got home, we had a late supper and made Ocean in a Bottle crafts. I just realized as I was uploading pictures that I didn't get any pictures of that, but the idea is simple. You take old water bottles (we used the ones from lunch that day), fill them with an inch or so of sand, then add some small seashells and a pinch of glitter. Next, gently fill it to the top with water, add a drop of blue food coloring, and glue the lid on. It's really neat and a great keepsake for a day at the ocean. Just don't shake it, or you'll end up with balls of sand floating through your water. Yes, we learned that the hard way!

Stay tuned tomorrow for pictures of our Cousin Camp Celebration (a carnival-style roundup of games and prizes).


DeeAnn said...

I am enjoying reading about Cousin Camp. I don't have a large family but if I did I would definitely host a Cousin Camp. You all look beautiful. Definitely scrapbook that photo.