The Rowland's First Visit to Virginia Beach

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The Rowlands arrive, hungry for Mexican food.  
Sasha plays it "serious."

Then she loosens up.


Over at the "cool table" Jeff, Maddie and Alan discuss how the last Harry Potter movie made no sense to the "non-readers" of the series.


Jeff takes one last sip of margarita before Sasha unleashes a spitball barrage that would render him nearly unconscious.


The next morning Anna, Tess and Sasha decided, while everyone else was still sleeping, 
that the entire downstairs of the house needed to be filled with tunnels and tents.

This day started with pizza at the beach.

The Dads do their best to embarrass their families...


...While the kids pretend to be amused by their father's antics.


The Pizza Pi Coronation.  A new tradition?

The Rowlands meet the Atlantic Ocean.

Everybody gets their sun screen and then the fun begins.

Tess gets busy building castles with water-phobe Sasha.


This toy boat she found would help Sasha pass the time while we all played in the ocean.

Sasha learns that if you don't wanna go in the water, you are left behind.

Tess has pity and stays to play for a while longer.

Holly returns from somewhere and since she isn't going swimming either, Sasha will have a beach buddy.


Best beach buddies is what they are.  The landlubbers.

Jeff and Lisa head out into the Red Flag (Dangerous) surf.


This wave took them both out and they tumbled to shore on top of each other.


They soon recovered and went back out for more.

It was a very heavy wavy day.  Lisa played for as long as she could.


But everyone needs a break, except Jeff that is.

The rest of the family tries to ride the tide as well.

It's too strong for the little ones but the big kids can play.

And the morbidly-big kid (Alan) can stay in forever.

Jeff tries some body surfing.


Finally he decides to just take on the ocean.  Man against nature.  
The ocean wins.


Though he is defeated, the generous ocean does give him a few more rides.

Tess hunts seashells.

Tess and Anna do some wake-walking.

Jeff does some wake-waving.

And Holly keeps em laughing up at the chairs.

I'd say that was a fun first day at the beach.

Back at home, the kids clean off in a bubble storm.

Tess is the Storm Master while Anna and Sasha take popping duty.

The next day, While Alan and Jeff are at the Simpsons Movie, the kids all go to Mt. Trashmore.

First a picnic feast.
Maddie starts working her way through her 800-pages-a-day habit.


Pringles.  Sasha can't eat just one.  (But that's all we gave her, it was cruel but funny.)

The old playscape at Trashmore.

Sasha shows her cousins the ropes and swings and monkey bars.

Tess Captains the Mt. Trashmore Ferry.

Until The Sasha  Kai Mutiny removes her from command.

Tess, the displaced Captain, is reduced to pushing her new master in the swing.

Lady Lisa is Queen of the Castle.


The little ones gather around her highness. 


Sasha's got an "in your face" style of play.


Luckily she's cute enough to pull it off.


Did someone ask for a Mega Bouncer!?

We just happen to have one!

Tess and Anna make full use of it's bouncy goodness.

Even Sasha gets in for a few leaps.

We then start Operation Re-Create Sasha's Birthday: Attempt #1

It starts off OK, but Sasha gets a little whiny when her cousins want a turn at Penguin Bowling.


The Penguin races upset her a little more, even though Tess and Anna let her win every race.

Jeff and Tess have a 3-Legged race against nobody.  I think they came in like 3rd or something.

At the Penguin Search Tess and Anna once again let Sasha find the most penguin cards.


The good thing about playing party games and letting your bratty little cousin win every time, is that everyone gets prizes in the end.


Penguin prizes for everyone.


Even though everyone had fun we had to postpone the rest of the birthday party.
Sasha had a little meltdown at the end and had to go cool off in her room and then go to bed early.

The next day, we headed out for Sandbridge.

The day was gonna be great for Boogie boarding and maybe some surfing too!

Tess, Jeff and Maddie get on board.

Wild wave riders.

Anna acts as lifeguard up on shore.

(Quicktime Required)

  1. Boogie Boarding

Lisa and Maddie catch some good ones.

Then Lisa and Tess catch a few more.

A new surfer is born.

We head over the the surf side of the pier.
Jeff boogie-rides his first wave.  Alan's only advice is that he open his eyes on the next try.

The Boarder picks up his stick and heads back out into the action.

(Quicktime Required)

  1. Surfing

While we wait for the perfect wave, Tess comes out to ride a few too.


He's up!


Everyone was so preoccupied with Jeff's ride they didn't notice that Anna was dragged out with the undertow 
and then spat back up on shore by the angry sea.


Tess returns from her triumphant attempts.


She's got "The Look", now she just needs to come visit again and get a little more practice.


Tess does the heavy lifting, moving Sasha from one side of the pier to the other.

Anna and Sasha try to see who can cover themselves in the most sand.


Come on Maddie, pick up the pace.  You've only read like 684 pages today.  What's the problem?


Beach snugglin'.  That's the way to end the day!

After a story and the Shrimp Feast, we commence with Operation Re-Create Sasha's Birthday: Attempt #2 

This time her mood is much improved.

This is the best part of the birthday celebration anyway.

The cake...

...And the presents!

(Quicktime Required)

  1. Happy Birthday Sasha! (Caution: Really big file)

Stilt-cups.  That'll add another good 4 inches.  She can now grab stuff off the counter.

A quick intermission to master the stilts and then on to more presents!

Paint pens!  These will make for a happy mess.

Lets open them up and play with them right now!

One masterpiece later, we can move on to the next present.

A little mermaid activity set.  Cool!

One more present to go.  What can it be?  Ooooh!  It's that cool fishing game.  Sasha loves this game.


She also likes those party blowy things.

Maddie takes the cake and Jeff reads the bedtime story.

For the last day we all went to the Virginia Marine Science Museum.

Anna and Tess harass the imprisoned seals.

Almost as soon as we get to the museum, Lisa is attacked by Giant Jellyfish.  
Sasha covers her ears to muffle Lisa's desperate cries for help and mercy.

Lisa was quite a loss, but we still decided to forge ahead with our day at the museum.

Sasha stands in line begging strangers for museum tickets.  Her cuteness pays off after a few minutes and we all get in for free!


First we walk/run to the otter habitat to see the feeding.


We have to get there fast or we'll miss the show.

Luckily we got there just in time for Tess to operate the mechanical arms that grab the otters so they can be fed to the Burmese Python.

After the carnage we all hug and laugh.

Tess wins the "stare-down" with a turtle.


You would think at a Children's Museum, they would put the "Self Destruct" button a little higher up on the wall.

Based on this size chart we can assume that Anna could be eaten by Emperor penguins.
Maddie and Tess try to walk with penguin eggs on their feet.  Unfortunately this resulted in a couple penguin omelets.

According to the Marine Science Museum habitat, penguins are, apparently, cave dwelling birds.  I never knew that.
Jeff flexes to try and claim alpha male status among the little birds.

Sasha gets a boost to see the living Chesapeake exhibit.

Petting the stingrays is fun too.


Here's the little "crazy" one that seemed to take a shine to Maddie.


More buttons and levers to push and pull.


Learning can be fun and informative as well!  The ocean is apparently filled with gallons of water!

Tess and Anna play with the "poke the brain of a Dolphin" exhibit. 


And finally, everyone gets to experience the horror of being eaten alive.

That's always one of the highlights of the Marine Science Museum.


Sasha watches the sharks until she gets sleepy.


Their gentle menacing movements lull her off to dream land.

It's always funny to see a kids face when they wake up underwater submerged in a sting ray tank!

And finally the Rowlands end their vacation by ditching their boring relatives and head out on a Dolphin Cruise!

Just in case things "go bad" (as is often the case on most Dolphin Cruises) Lisa gets one last hug from her daughters before they cast off.

Maddie takes a brief respite from the world of fantasy to check out this "reality" everyone is always telling her about.

Ah, the famous Gondolas of Virginia Beach


Jeff is King of the World!  

Maddie is happy but Tess looks disappointed by the lack of dolphins.

But then a dorsal fin breaks the surface.  Then another and another.

These blurry shots appear to be photographs of the head and neck of some sort of sea monster.  Hopefully it didn't eat the dolphins.

Nope.  They were back and decided to all surface for this sunset group shot.

One last peek and it's back to shore.


We had a great visit Rowland Family.  We hope you had fun!  Come back and play with us!


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