Sunday, May 17, 2009

Beach Baby...

California Girl

Yesterday was Dakota's first visit to Huntington Beach. I obviously grew up in Surf City, so the visit was extra special to me. Just driving by my old house and high school brought back so many fond memories. It made me realize how much I miss the beach life. Growing up in this town not only gave me exposure to some incredible experiences, but it helped form an extraordinary bond with my father, as well as open a lot of doors.

The greatest experience that I took from those 10 years in Huntington Beach was my participation in the Jr. Lifeguard program. Hands down!! It was also a huge influence on how I got to where I am today, which is why I hold the memories so dear to my heart! Some people might think is just some run-of-the-mill day camp for kids, but it was SO much more than that. It was a pretty physically intense program, which included pier swims, a lot of running, and written tests. It was both mentally and physically challenging at times, but it taught me a lot about water safety and to respect that seemingly calm ocean. Boy do I have stories about that!! It also taught me a lot about hard-work, perseverance, overcoming obstacles and struggles, and the importance of physical fitness. All of which helped me on that crazy road to becoming a police officer. I definitely hope to get Dakota into it one day.

Anyway, back to our day at the beach. It started off a little chilly, since the typical marine layer had yet to burn off. We parked out car down on Main Street and made our way towards the beach. There was a celebration at the base of the pier, so we checked out the vendors. As we made our way through the booths, I caught a glimpse of the wall that recognizes those who donated money towards the new pier, which has my dad's name as well as mine...



As we stood there looking at the wall, Dakota caught her own glimpse of a bounce house. It was still a little early to set up camp on the sand, so we decided to let her have some fun until the sun made it's debut. Dakota enjoying some bounce house fun...



We also took a walk on the pier, which Dakota enjoyed immensely. She loved running up and down the pier, looking at all the cool kites, and watching the surfers ride the waves.







I could tell Dakota was getting excited just looking at the water from the pier. The sun had finally started to peek out, so we decided to head down to the sand. We laid everything out and walked down to the water fully clothed. Big mistake!! I should know better by now, right? Dakota wanted to dive right in, so we held her hand as the water washed up over her feet and ankles. A few times we I had to pull her up so the waves wouldn't completely consume her...



Dakota started getting a little irritated that we weren't letting her completely immerse herself in the water. So, we ran back up to our towels, performed a Wonder Woman transformation, and returned to the waves. Daddy took her in first...



A short video of Dakota enjoying the waves
video

And, here I am playing lift-off with Dakota. It sent her into a giggle fit everytime I did it. She's so silly...



After playing in the sand and water for a few hours, we decided to pack it all up and head down to Main Street for a little shopping before returning home. But before we left, I wanted to take a few last shots of the pier. Oh yes, I so fondly remember grasping those pilings for dear life during my first year of Jr. Guards. It didn't take long to loosen my grip, but then I'll never forget when my instructor had us swim down the middle of it, as opposed to just swimming around it. Now, I'm by no means claustrophobic nor nyctophobic, but as a 13-year old, it's still a bit unsettling to swim through a dark, confined and tunnel-like structure. Not to mention the waves crashing through the pilings, which we were so conveniently sandwiched between. That's where the whole respect the ocean came into play.



I eventually got over my fear of swimming through the pier, since the ocean was like my second home during those six summers. Oh the memories! Sorry for the ramblings.

It was a great day at the beach and I know Dakota won't remember much of that day, but helping to familiarize and expose her to the simple pleasures in life is what parenting is all about. I'm pretty sure she was dreaming about her day in this picture. She was pooped!!!



And yes, she is STILL rear-facing. This is something very important to us, and I'm sure some might not agree, or even laugh or poke fun, but Dakota's safety is our number one concern!! And you can't poke fun or fault us for that. I understand that "we" were seated in far worse carseats (if any at all), but that's no reason to ignore the importance of carseat safety. If you have a child, PLEASE watch the video! You'll see the importance...


The rear-facing weight limit for Dakota's carseat is 35 lbs, so that pretty much means she'll be rear-facing until she's about 4-years old. lol


Oh, I forgot to mention, we bought Dakota a HSS hoodie! No child of mine can go without the classic HSS hoodie...


Oh, how I love these two pictures!!
He's such a wonderful daddy

3 comments:

Roger said...

That's awesome! I can't believe how big she is.

And as far as the rear-facing seat, she'll be able to tell you when someone's tailgating you. =oP

The Bradshaw's said...

I love the pics of you, Dakota and Kevin at the beach. Awesome! What great memories to share with her and I, too, hope she can get into the Jr. Lifeguard program when she's older :-)
Also, "thumbs up" on the rear-facing --> we too still put Austin rear-facing.

Nichole said...

Ohhhh- Your pictures brought back so many memories! I LOVE the pictures of you and Dakota under the pier :)
Good-times