So today, we drove up to Cochiti Lake Beach -- about an hour north of Albuquerque -- and spent time at the beach. It was my first attempt at doing something like this on my own with all nine, where water and no lifeguards are involved (I remember when we just had our first three and I didn't even like to take them to the beach by myself ... but I got over it since I don't love sitting around the house all the time). Before we left, though, I had a good talk with all the big kids and explained to them I needed their watchful eyes to help me keep track of the little kids. They did a good job.
And we prayed together as a group for safety! and fun. God answered both prayers.
Anyway, this was our first time spending any time at Cochiti Lake Beach. It was surprisingly nice, considering it's a man made lake (as it seems many of them are here in the desert) created by damming the Rio Grande. The water was generally clear, though there was a little algae as most lakes seem to get (in my experience) and the beach part was all sandy and nice. In the water, the sand was pretty rocky in the swimming area, but one end was more sandy and the kids kept spending most of their time down there unless they kept their shoes on (flip-flops).
The kids were thrilled to discover a crawdad (I guess?) in the water and grossed out by seeing a cicada walking across our beach blanket. I snapped some pictures and then realized how gentle and slow he was, so I kindly picked him up and moved him elsewhere so the kids could stop grossing out ... hence making them gross out more because I was actually touching it. Oh well.
|Yes, this is me, holding a cicada. No biggie.|
Speaking of burning, only one kid got burnt -- J. She was too impatient to wait for me to put on her sunscreen, so she had one of her cousins do it and they were apparently not thorough enough on her back. She got fried. It's bad. (Made worse by the fact she has to wear tight-fitting dance clothes for dress-rehearsal this evening and the recital tomorrow.)
We sustained only one injury. S. She was dragging our ice chest (on its wheels) and then it somehow ran over her toe and bent her toenail back pretty good. That sort of put a damper on her day, but she was more willing to sit around and help with E because she was afraid to get that toe wet.
I planned to leave there by 1:00pm (after the picnic lunch I packed) to be back in time for J to shower and get ready for the dress rehearsal. We started packing things up around 12:20pm and I think we were fully loaded into the van by 12:50pm.
There had been gusts of wind all morning. A couple of them sent our umbrella tumbling and blew some other stuff around the beach, but nothing major. Then just as we were getting into the van to leave ...
|That was our shade structure for the day -- where we were eating lunch just an hour before this.|
Other families were dropping to the ground and curling into a ball to avoid being sandblasted -- and all their stuff was miles away by the time this particularly lengthy gust grew quiet.
So then we left. I declared this beach a "morning beach" and said next time we'll bring breakfast and leave before lunch. This was too close! Here in the desert, the windiest parts of the day are afternoon when it gets warmer.
But overall, it was a successful day. We'll do this again more this summer.
My haiku inspired by the day:
Sun, Lake, Sand, Sunscreen
Nine kids and me, Picnic Lunch
Fun Day at the Beach