adventures in babysitting,  Beach Bits,  Bug

Exploring the Caves

in a cave!

I’m sorry I had to drop that last post on you. I know you understand and your comments are so encouraging but I still feel bad about doing it. I really didn’t want to but it had been fermenting in my brain since forever. And you know what happens when posts ferment in your brain. You get a blogging clog and everything you want to say seems irrelevant because you have this big elephant in the room that you can’t talk about. Next thing you know your blog is dying a slow painful death—which would probably be fine with a lot of my family members but unfortunately isn’t fine with me because to me it’s more than just a silly website.

But anyway! Onwards!

The other morning I woke up feeling sick. I just wanted to lay in bed and stare at the ceiling contemplating how much snot was lodged in my head. A pound maybe? A kilo? A liter? Who knows. There is no time for such thoughts when you have a toddler who thinks one must pop up and play the minute she opens her eyes in the morning. Resting is soooooo boring. Either you are awake or you are asleep and if you are awake that means you must be playing.

A long time ago I taught Bug that I wouldn’t get out of bed until I got my morning hug. Of course I invented this stall tactic in hopes that I could sneak in a few more winks while she cuddled with me. It sort of worked. But lately she’s taken to body slamming me and then staring at me wondering why I don’t just hop out of bed. “Get up mom! I hugged you. What’s wrong with you?” she seems to say. As if hugging automatically jump starts my mom brain in the morning. I so wish it did.

this way Mommy!

The day before I had promised Bug that we would go to the beach. It was hot then, but I put her off because I had some thing that I wanted to get done that seemed more important than building sand castles in the sun. We often battle over this, she and I, and I feel terribly guilty about it because what could possibly be more important than going to the beach when you have the luxury of living only a few blocks away from it? It really is a shame that we don’t go every single day. But we don’t. Why? Because I have to do stuff.

I’m just a stuff-doing sort of person. If I could figure out a way to take my laptop to the beach without ruining it with sand, I totally would. Also the glare is terrible on my screen and I need a power source because my battery is shot. Last time I checked, my extension cord wouldn’t reach.

So, the beach sans laptop it was. Promises are promises even when your head feels like a brick and the weather has suddenly turned cold. It’s not like it was snowing, it was just a little chilly. I tucked my greasy dirty two-days-without-a-shower hair into an ugly hat and headed out the door. Thankfully, there is a doughnut shop on the way to our beach that sells very large coffees for very cheap. A normal person would be embarrassed to show their face at the local doughnut shop looking like this but I’m a mom and I have very little vanity these days.


And that was the flattering shot. Did I mention I was sick? I looked like I felt.

around the bend

We sat on a lifeguard tower while she ate her chocolate sprinkle doughnut and I sipped my extra-large coffee. I have to admit this isn’t a bad morning routine but of course breakfast on the beach was only part of my promise. I promised sand-castle building and that meant I was delegated to fetching water from the icy cold ocean.

Why do I always get this job? Oh yeah, because I’m deathly afraid she’s going to get washed out to sea. So off I went to fetch a pail of water. Surprisingly, the water was not as cold as it looked. Probably because the air was cold so the water felt warmer. Sometimes that happens.

We played at making sand castles for a bit and then Bug spied some caves. The tide was way out and great big rocks that are usually submerged under water were standing out in the sand just begging to be explored. I really didn’t want to explore them. What I really wanted to do was go home and curl up under a blanket on the couch but I knew that was a pipe dream. I’d probably get stuck watching Noggin all day and rebounding a kid off my back like I was her own personal trampoline.

I remembered exploring these very same caves with my brother when I was a kid so I decided to let her venture into them. They were just as magical and claustrophobic as I remembered. There aren’t any really deep caves here but they are low and the surf is right at your back making you feel like any minute a giant wave could come crashing up under the rocks and smash you to smithereens.

I knew the tide was way out and we’d have hours before we’d have to actually worry about getting wet but that doesn’t stop me from imagining getting stuck there in the rocks under water. I guess it’s just a deep fear that I’ve always had. That, and driving a car off a cliff into water and not being able to undo her carseat buckles in time before she drowns—those are two of my greatest fears. Even though I love the ocean and can’t imagine living far from it, I’m still very afraid of it.

exploring inside

The other day, when I was babysitting the kids that I always babysit at their ocean-front house, I for some reason couldn’t stop worrying about what I would do if suddenly a tsunami occurred. If water was everywhere and slowly leaking into the house, what door or window would I escape from? Would I let the house fill up with water first and then swim out a window? What possible escape route would keep all three kids safe? These are the silly worries that keep me up at night. If anybody has any expertise on this subject, please enlighten me so I can sleep better.


Of course we didn’t drown while we were exploring the caves and Bug thought it was all a great adventure. I survived even while carrying my extra-large coffee in one hand so it can’t be that scary. If you can hike while carrying a coffee cup, I’d say that was a sissy hike. But I will say that I was very happy to be back out of those caves. And even more happy to be hiking back up the hill towards my house and some warm blankets on the couch.

rock climber

I never really did get my couch time but I did go visit my mom in the sticks and she let me stare at my computer vapidly while she watched Bug. Moms are so good for that. And yes, I am feeling better.


  • Mrs. Wilson

    I have a preoccupation with serial killers. I check my back seat, I check my closets, I check under the beds, my husband has to walk me to our vehicle at night when I go to work … needless to say I have no advice for your fear of drowning besides to say that sleeping pills are my (your) friend. I will be watching your comments though for someone who has a cure for our irrational fears.

    As usual, you’ve made me long for the ocean. I really have to get back there one day.

  • Sally

    I know how hard it is to appreciate things like that when you feel like crap, but I’m so glad you explored those caves so I could experience it through your blog. You and Bug seem to have a lot of fun. Thanks for writing.

  • K

    Looks like a fun day at the beach… I really like that second picture- the bird sitting on the rock in the upper left hand side is awesome!

  • BeachMama

    Sorry you are so sick, I am all stuffed up too. It’s that time of year. I envy your beach time and am so thankful that you share it with us. Thank you!

  • Liz

    I think you have a respect for the ocean and that is always a good thing. Glad you’re feeling better and yay for moms that give us a break.

  • Gayle

    Beautiful photos! My MIL is a phobia counselor and her advice for things like this is to stay in the present. When a bad thought comes into your head you need to say to yourself “stop”, and even envision a big stop sign. And you need to do this every single time the thought pops up, even if it is every five minutes. Eventually you will train yourself to not keep thinking the troublesome thoughts. I think this is way easier said than done. I am an expert worrier! Good luck and let me know if you try this and if it works!

  • Sarah @

    Oh my gosh, I’m the same as Mrs. Wilson. I check under my car and in the backseat and try to call someone to let them know I got in my car safe and sound. I know it’s ridiculous, but everyone has little fears like this, right?

  • a Chris

    Such a sweet and funny post. You’re a sweet and funny mom with a sweet and funny website. And! It sounds like writing your tough post did work on your blogger’s block. You were really on today!

  • Jennifer

    I think I have a lot more hang ups than I realized because I’m afraid of all your fears and also Mrs. Wilson’s and also being attacked in my sleep and also being kidnapped and tortured to death and a few other fears like falling through ice on a lake and not being able to find the hole I fell through to get out. Which is ridiculous because I’ve never ever been near a frozen lake. I’ve never even seen snow fall!!

    I don’t know what do to if your house is submerged underwater but I do know what to do if you are in a vehicle. You didn’t ask about that scenario so I won’t bore you with details.

    I hope you are feeling much better. I must be a super crummy mom because I break promises on a daily basis with lots and lots of talking that confuses my children into forgetting that I promised them anything. Either I’m part Jedi or they have come to terms with my crumminess OR they just think I’m very forgetful. Which I am so I have that on my side.

  • Uncle George

    Get well, B. I know it’s been hot down there now so that should help.

    Next time I come down and it’s warm I’m taking the bug for a swim session. She’ll be a body surfer in no time and she can rescue you from that big bad ocean!

    NPB has a great Junior Lifeguard program, she should be in it once she’s old enough. She’s a Ponnay, and that makes her a de-facto surfer and lifeguard already!

  • Clownfish

    Favorite Shot: Bug, rocks and wild flowers

    ps – Need to meet Gayle’s MIL; I hate elevators :-)

  • Miss Virginia

    i am queen of all worries! Clownfish-me, too…I am terribly afraid of elevators, airplanes and all things water like you, SAJ. I am a decent swimmer, it’s just i let the worries get the best of me. i worry about Tsunami’s and the car going off a bridge w/ my kids strapped in the back EVERY.TIME. I cross a big bridge. I LOVE the idea of a stop sign image. Let me tell you…Xanax is amazing!

    LOVE the picture of Bug w/ the wildflowers. just beautiful.