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My Little Beach Bum

We are in Hilton Head, South Carolina this week, gathering together for a big family reunion and memorial for my grandparents. Technically this isn’t Cullen’s first trip to the beach – we took him to Hawaii when he was 3.5 months old. And while we had a fabulous trip, he was way too small to really take advantage of, enjoy, or even remember any of the beach activities.

So this week really feels like his first big trip to the sand and surf. The beach seems like it’s one of those things that people either really love, or totally hate. I personally can’t even comprehend the latter. I am a total fish, having grown up spending every summer on the Jersey Shore for two months, followed by two weeks in Hilton Head with my dad’s family.  I was spoiled rotten and had no idea how good I had it. As an adult, I’m so grateful for those childhood memories, because I have such a deep connection and appreciation for the great outdoors now.

Being a total beach addict myself, I couldn’t wait to get Cullen out onto the sand. He looks like his dad, but so much of his personality is clearly me. He’s at the perfect age right now for exploring and new adventures, and I had a feeling the beach was going to more or less blow his mind. His little toe hit the warm sand and I just snap, snap, snapped away with my camera. I couldn’t believe how much he loved it.

I took something like 300 pictures of Cullen frolicking around in the sand and salt water. Indulge me and let me share a few of my favorites.  Here is my little beach bum in action!

nggallery template=’carousel’ id=’131410′

  • Cute photo warning 1 of 21
    Cute photo warning
    Click through to see the highlights of Cullen's first beach adventure!
  • First time in the sand 2 of 21
    First time in the sand
    He was hesitant at first, and sort of pranced around on his tippy toes. It didn't take long to get the hang of it though!
  • Wind-blown baby 3 of 21
    Wind-blown baby
    He has such a great mop of hair, and it just looked that much more fabulous blowing around in the sandy air.
  • Throwing sand 4 of 21
    Throwing sand
    Cullen loves the sandy beaches in Seattle, so I knew he would love tossing it here too. But our Seattle beaches are more gravel-based, and he seemed to be really excited about this fine powder sand.
  • Always… 5 of 21
    Always...
    No matter where we go, this child always finds a stick. The beach appears to be no exception!
  • Checking out the waves with daddy 6 of 21
    Checking out the waves with daddy
    Is there anything cuter? I just ran around snapping photo after photo - so excited to capture such adorable moments of my favorite people in one of my favorite places.
  • Beach boys 7 of 21
    Beach boys
    We are here this week with Cullen's cousin, who is just five months older than him. It is so fun for him to have a playmate, and I love seeing them interact and laugh together.
  • So much sunshine 8 of 21
    So much sunshine
    I know it sounds dramatic, but Cullen really isn't used to bright, direct sun in his eyes. We've had such a cloudy, grey winter in Seattle, and his little eyes aren't used to it. He turns his back to the sun most of the time when he's outside.
  • Time to check out the water 9 of 21
    Time to check out the water
    After a bit of running around and checking out the sand, Cullen discovered the vast stretch of water in front of him.
  • Freezing feet! 10 of 21
    Freezing feet!
    His face lit up with surprise when his toes finally hit the chilly water. Kids are so funny though - they never seem to care about extreme temperatures like the wimpy adults do!
  • Soggy bottom 11 of 21
    Soggy bottom
    When the first small wave came in, Cullen wasn't sure how to react and ended up stumbling backward onto his booty. He got a little teary and scared by his cold, wet seat. But he bounced back ten seconds later, as always.
  • That way, mom! 12 of 21
    That way, mom!
    Just like his mama, my little fish was all about the water. Once he went in, we could NOT get him out!
  • Splishing and splashing 13 of 21
    Splishing and splashing
    I didn't think we were going to be swimming or getting very wet, so I hadn't even dressed him in a bathing suit. He didn't seem to mind, and carried on in his sweatpants and t-shirt.
  • Mama’s boy 14 of 21
    Mama's boy
    I know I've already said it a million times, but I can't explain how amazing it felt to watch my son love something that has been such a special part of my life. I came to Hilton Head for years and years as a child, and it felt totally full circle to have him there enjoying that same spot.
  • Totally fearless 15 of 21
    Totally fearless
    Just as I expected (and somewhat feared myself), he was completely fearless on the beach. He'd plunge into the water and take off full speed, with no awareness of the incoming waves or deepening sand. We had to say right by him most of the time to make sure he didn't (literally) get in over his head.
  • Drip drop 16 of 21
    Drip drop
    He took a few big spills that got him pretty much soaked from head to toe, and he didn't even seem to notice. I couldn't believe how soaking wet his clothes were. Next time, he'll be appropriately dressed!
  • Happy boy 17 of 21
    Happy boy
    He was all smiles on the beach. We had perfect weather, just enough sunshine, and a wonderful afternoon in the sand with family.
  • Little fish 18 of 21
    Little fish
    I'm already talking about trying to get a beach vacation planned for later this summer, just to get Cullen back in the sand while he's still at this perfect age of discovering new things. It's a lot of work to chase after him on the beach, but it's the best kind of way to feel tired at the end of the day.
  • Full dive 19 of 21
    Full dive
    There was one big tide that rolled in before his dad could catch him, and Cullen ended up splashing completely under water. He looked shocked for a minute, but was up and running back to his beach buckets 30 seconds later.
  • Building and digging 20 of 21
    Building and digging
    Once the novelty of the water wore off, he headed back into the sand. He spent an hour or so digging and scooping, and moving the sand around to what seemed like very intentional spots. He's such an organizer!
  • Bubbles on the beach 21 of 21
    Bubbles on the beach
    My half-sister is eight, and she had fun doing bubbles on the beach with the boys. There was great wind that made the bubbles go far and fast!

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