Weekend Happenings and Beach with a Toddler

Happy Monday, my friends! Are you ready to tackle this week like a boss? 

How was your weekend? We had a pretty great weekend, including a nice trip to the beach. I ended up getting absolutely fried, which I'm pretty upset about since I try to avoid too much sun due to religiously using tanning beds in my youth. So to get super fried (like my legs still hurt from the burn), is embarrassing and a health hazard. Not. Cool. 

I did use sunscreen, but it's about a year old and I'm guessing it's expired or something - let this be a lesson to you; don't use old sunscreen at the beach in Florida!

Before I go into our beach trip, including some recommendations on how we make the beach work with a toddler, I want to do a quick workout round-up from last week. 

I also had to post another smiling pre-workout picture, since they're usually so grim. 

Monday - P90X Shoulders, Chest, and Triceps

Tuesday - Speed running workout (see it here) & abs

Wednesday - P90X Back & Biceps

Thursday - Hangover rest day (booooooo!!)

Friday - P90X Legs & Back

Saturday - I planned on running but overslept (booooo!!)

Sunday - I wanted to run but my legs were too sunburnt. Yes, seriously. Not. Cool. 

As you can see, I did not do 2 of my planned workouts this week. So even though I absolutely LOVE working out and it's usually a part of my daily routine, I am still human and life (and beer) happened. And I'm perfectly fine with that since I know I'll have a better week this week. So if you happen to miss a workout or two don't let it get you down, we all do it!

Moving on to the fun part of the weekend...THE BEACH!

(look...we're all smiling! That never happens! Also, how does my Justin tower over me so much? I can't handle how grown he is!)

Also, if you're wondering about my swimsuit, I found it at TJ Maxx or Marshalls and even though I'd just gotten another cute one a month before, I knew I had to get it because it's flattering and comfortable and those are rare qualities in a swimsuit. I didn't get any pictures of the backside, but it's pretty cheeky which I love because I love my booty and like to show it off #datass

We only live 50 minutes from the beach, yet we hardly ever go. Which is crazy, because we all love the beach. It is just a lot of hassle to get all of the beach crap together, plan out food/snacks/drinks, pack and unpack and pack and unpack everything, wash all the towels, sweep up all the sand, deal with the aftermath of getting a sunburn...

But still, IT's THE BEACH. Now that the water is warming up, I hope we can start going more often. I'd like to challenge myself to go at least once a month from here on out, but we all know how my challenges go *cough, cough...meditation challenge...cough cough*

(to be fair, I've been consistently meditating most weekdays, so it's still a winner in my book)

Back to the BEACH...

We went to our favorite park which is right next to Cocoa Beach - it has free parking as long as you get there early enough, lifeguards, bathrooms, rinse off stations, and no crowds. I'm not posting the name because I don't want everyone to go there and ruin it, but if you really want to know hit me up and I'll tell you. 

Since moving to Florida I've become a huge vadge when it comes to water temperature and rarely go in the water from October to May, however the water was absolutely lovely this weekend. It was warm, but still refreshing. Even Jules loved the water and we all spent hours splashing around, boogie-boarding (the waves were too choppy to ride any, but still fun to play on), and making sand castles. 

As the mom of a toddler, pretty much everything we do is a bit more difficult and complicated. I obviously wouldn't trade it or her for anything, but I'm just going to be real and say it. I'm sure most of you would agree with me, if you have a toddler or have been around one. We can't just go to the beach with a towel and some beers...it doesn't work like that anymore! However we have gotten this whole beach with a toddler thing down to a science, and luckily for you, I write a blog and love to overshare my life and tips! So without further ado:

My tips and tricks for beaching with a toddler!

Pack the car the night before...

This is very important - otherwise you will end up scrambling and running late, you'll get all hot and sweaty and cranky, and you'll miss your free parking spot which is no fun for anyone. I always make a quick list of snacks/drinks for everyone, run it by my husband to see if I'm missing anything, and make a quick store run the day before. We tend to make sandwiches and bring chips and vanilla wafers most of the time, but every once in awhile I'll make a caprese salad that we'll eat out of the container like savages or if I'm feeling REALLY fancy I'll make ceviche and we'll eat it with tortilla chips. The recipe I use for ceviche is this one and it's so freaking good - let me know if you try it! 

The evening before we are going to the beach we get all of the food made and packed up in bags and then pack the car with all of our beach gear, which is a lot of crap - beach chairs, umbrellas, sand anchors for the umbrella, towels, cooler, boogie boards, Jules float thing, buckets to play in the sand...now you might be wondering how we get all of this to our spot on the beach without killing ourselves?

Get a beach cart

For some reason I fought tooth and nail on this - I'm pretty sure that in my head this was like trading in my SUV for a minivan. Like, I'm too cool to use a beach cart - only dorky, prepared grown-ups use those! Well guess what? I'm a dorky, prepared grown-up now! My mom ended up getting this for Jason and me 2 Christmases ago and I don't know how we ever went to the beach without it. If you ever go to the beach for more than a day or two, get one of these!

However I am never getting a minivan - I don't care how cool and comfortable they are. You can mark my words here...no minivan ever. 

Sun Protection

Even though I got fried this weekend, I am usually pretty psychotic about being fully protected from the sun. I always wear a hat unless I'm boogie boarding or surfing and I try to always wear sunscreen all over. I also religiously coat my children in sunscreen and force them to wear hats/shirts/rash guards (except for poor Justin's feet, which got burnt this weekend too #momfail). Julianna always has a long-sleeved rash-guard swimsuit (we found her mermaid suit at Target this year) and she always wears a hat. We really like this one and have already purchased two of them in the past year:

As for sunscreen, I really try to avoid any of the chemical crap since it really is terrible for you. I'm not being crazy, do some research and see how you feel about Banana Boat then. One place you can go to check out how awful or amazing your sunscreen is is the EWG website here . I urge you to do a quick search on the sunscreens you currently use and see how your sunscreen ranks. Then do some additional research and see how bad some of these chemicals are for you. THEN I think you'll jump on the chemical-free sunscreen train with me.

Here's my favorite stuff to the left. To be clear, I didn't use this kind this weekend since I couldn't find it - I used some stuff I had leftover from Hawaii which worked well in Hawaii, not so much here in Florida.

I know the bottle says baby, but it's good for everyone. The EWG ranks sunscreens from 1 to 10, with 1 being the best and 10 being the worst - this type of Blue Lizard sunscreen along with the sensitive Blue Lizard (blue lid), are both ranked as 1's. It is expensive, but I've found that a little goes a long way. 

One big tip for you when you're using any zinc oxide/titanium dioxide sunscreen is to rub it in. Seriously take your time and REALLY rub it in. If you don't, you will either look like a geisha OR you'll look purple. 

Another benefit of the chemical free sunscreens is they don't harm the coral reefs - all of the chemical sunscreens we use are actually doing MAJOR harm to the coral reefs and fishes and that's no bueno. So use the chemical free stuff and save yourself and the fishes!

You need shade!

We never go to the beach without beach umbrellas and/or a canopy tent thing (ours broke last year). Right now we are going with the two umbrella set-up, which works pretty well. You do end up having to move your chairs every couple of hours to chase the shade, but it's better than frying in the sun and then being burnt for several days because you were too lazy to move (I'm glaring at myself right now). 

If you're going to be using umbrellas for shade, please make sure you also get some sand anchors so your umbrellas don't blow away. Seriously...it's super windy at the beach and I've seen so many people almost get impaled by umbrellas flying away.

Yes, it is entertaining for us to watch, but I would feel bad if anyone actually got hurt. 

I found this picture on Walmart.com so you know what I'm talking about, but you can seriously find these things at any gift shop or drug store near the beach. I'm pretty sure ours only cost us $8 each and they've been a real life saver. 

Literally a life saver. Don't impale people who are on the beach because you didn't anchor your umbrella.

Bad juju.

Make sure you have somewhere to sit. 

I know the beach purists are probably all, "oooooh I just like to lay in the sand and chairs are for lame-o people". Well I am totally a lame-o person who has a toddler and needs a place to park my ass. Seriously. Get yo-self a good beach chair and thank me later. We've ran the gamut from the super cheap ones you get at a beach store to our primo Tommy Bahama chairs, and I highly recommend the Tommy Bahama backpack cooler chairs - worth the splurge. We usually use the cooler part for garbage and having the ability to wear the chairs on our backs gives us that much more room in our beach cart for all of the other crap we need. 

You're obviously more than welcome to buy through my affiliate link, but we actually got ours at Costco for like $30 each. #justsaying. 

The benefit of the chair is two-fold. You can sit down while you and your toddler eat a snack and make funny faces. 

And it gives you a place to relax and enjoy a cocktail while your toddler takes a nap for an hour or so. 

Those peach-a-rita's are delicious. I had 4 (over the course of 5 or so hours so STOP JUDGING ME). Yes, I know they're terrible for me, but IDGAF. So yummy. 

Bring it all...

We always bring:

  • a ton of diapers and wipes
  • paper towels and a garbage bag
  • a change of clothes (or two)
  • a bajillion towels (one for everyone, plus a huge one we lay in front of the umbrellas for sun and a beach blanket for under the umbrellas)
  • TONS of water
  • a sippy cup
  • things to play with (sand pail, something with wheels, shovels, water toys, etc). We actually failed on this one this time and only brought a sand pail - Jules ended up playing with the contents of my bag for an hour. Take everything out, put it back in, and repeat 24 times. 
  • Bluetooth speakers - we love to have music playing while we're at the beach. This way we don't have to listen to the crap other people are listening to AND Jules loves to dance so it keeps her happy and occupied on and off throughout the day.
  • snacks (fruit especially watermelon, chips, etc.). On a side note, Jules isn't allowed to eat popcorn due to it being a pretty significant choking hazard, however we used to always bring SmartFood popcorn. Then we noticed it always became super stale right after opening at the beach. I don't know if it's the salty air or the wind or what, but I'm talking 30 minutes after opening. So I don't recommend popcorn for the beach. 
  • Lotion for afterwards so your skin doesn't feel like it's turning to stone - or is that just me?

Have your husband drive...

So you can all nap on the way home. 

The beach is exhausting and Jules and I both slept the entire way home (I think mine had more to do with 4 peach-a-ritas than anything). 

That about sums it up! How about you? Do you have any additional beach tips I may have missed? Have you tried the peach-a-rita? It's SO GOOD! How was your weekend? 

This post includes some affiliate links from Amazon. If you click through and purchase any of the items I recommend it does not change the price of the item at all, it just gives me a very small commision for making the recommendation. Thank you for your support!