Years ago, my dear friend invited me to go kayaking with her. She had vast experience in a kayak. I had none. By the end of the afternoon, I was hooked. But I never had much opportunity, time, or space so I never went again. When we moved to a lake community, one of the first things I told Lucas I would like someday was a kayak. We've looked at yard sales and on craigslist, but several years later we still hadn't found anything we liked. I'm turning 30 this year (this week actually). Usually, I don't want a gift, or a party, or much - a fun family adventure is the perfect celebration to me. But this year I asked for the kayak I've wanted for so long. Bonus: the kayak could be part of a fun family adventure!
We looked around for a while and then just decided to go and buy the kayak we found that we liked best (in our budget). Of course, we had to go the next day and have a launch party! After much reading online to familiarize myself with the mechanics and safety of kayaking (it HAS been 8 years after all), we headed to one of our lakeside parks. About 30 seconds after I set out I knew that I was born to kayak. While I still have a lot to learn I immediately felt at home in my kayak. Gliding across the water, seeing the turtles pop their heads out around me, spotting fish swimming underneath, listening to the birds singing around me - I felt more peace and relaxation than I have in a long time. So much so that when I got back and Allie spotted a spider on my leg, I simply said, "Oh, Lucas, can you get that for me?" (my hands were full trying to keep the kayak from slamming into Allie). No screaming. No panic. That's how relaxed I felt.
Me in the kayak.
Provided everything went well with the maiden voyage, I promised the twins they could take turns going out for rides with me. Allie was first (I swear she thinks the kayak is hers). She is such a little wiggle worm that I was worried about how she would do in the kayak. I had visions of us tipping and me trying to hold onto her while turning over the kayak (even though I stayed close to the shore so we were never in water deeper than my shoulders). The second she was in the boat she snuggled in and stayed perfectly still the rest of the time. Every now and then she would sigh and say, "Mommy, I just LOVE kayaking!"
Snuggled in as we take off and I go over the safety rules one last time.
Coming back to shore.
I figured that if Allie stayed still, I wouldn't have to worry about Ryan at all. And I didn't. But Ryan was not as content as his sister to just sit there and go along for the ride. He wanted to paddle and really be a part of making it go. The second he got in, he grabbed the paddle and he helped with every single stroke the entire ride. It was a little awkward for me, but I loved his determination to learn how to kayak.
Ry-guy and I setting off. Notice his hands on the paddle.
Coming back. Notice his cheesy, excited smile.
Lucas was the final one to set out. He has actually never been in a kayak before. So I gave him all of the pointers that he would let me give (not many), and then he set out. He took a different route than I did with the kids (he went around the island - which you can kind of see in the picture - but I took the kids to a nearby inlet so we wouldn't have to deal with the wake from the many boats on the water). When he got back he was as hooked as I had been after my first time in a kayak. We're both excited for future kayak excursions.
Allie pulling him in when he got close enough. She was eager to help and he was eager to rest.
While we were out, the kids built sandcastles.
Then we had a picnic. We were planning on going out some more post-picnic, but it turned out there was a group meeting there for a sand volleyball game, so we decided to pack up and get out of their way. The kids played in the water a little more while Lucas packed up the van.
First they shot at each other.
That ended in crying kiddos, so I told them they could only shoot it in the air.
One might think that would ruin the fun, but one look at Allie's face tells you otherwise!
It's probably good that we didn't go back out again in the kayak because by the time we got home and got unloaded and showered the children (they were covered in sand) and got them in bed it was WAY past bedtime. But we were just having so much fun. On the way home Allie said, "I miss my beach so much. I can't wait to go back." And Ryan is already planning our next Mommy and Ryan kayak trip!