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  • Friday afternoon rolled around, as I sat at the kitchen table trying to finish my homework so I could spend the weekend with my kids, rather than sulking in front of my laptop with a cup of coffee. The boys were unusually quiet, I hadn’t refereed an argument in about 30 minutes, I wasn’t sure if I should be concerned or elated. If I had another hour like this, I could be done with all my work. Just then I got a text from my husband, “The weather looks good.” “Ok cool,” I text back, hoping he’d understand I didn’t have time to text.
    You see, one of the perks of being a student with a husband and kids is that I can multitask like it’s nobody’s business. I’ve nailed down all the household and motherly duties while studying, texting is the exception. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t get my hint, and continued to text back. I decided it would be better to call him. The next 45 seconds led to planning a last minute surprise trip to the beach for the boys.
    In the evening we rushed through dinner and their bedtime routine, and told them we were going somewhere important early in the morning so we’d be waking them earlier.
    The boys are 6 and 4.5 (and yes the half matters when you’re 4). We will refer to them as Thing 1 and Thing 2. Thing 1 is fairly naïve, and believes everything we tell him; Thing 2 questions everything we tell him. Last week he told me that he wanted pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner; I told him that wasn’t very healthy, which led him to question whether or not I was his mom, because, “real moms let their kids eat pizza whenever they want.”
    “Where are we going?” questions Thing 1.
    “Umm…I’m not sure what the address is,” I reply.
    Thing 1 shoots back, “Well, how are we going to get there?”
    “Are you crazy?” chimes in Thing 2, “Of course we’ll put it in the GPS and it’ll tell us where to go!”
    “Ahhh! Never mind, you don’t get it!” Thing 1 says as he climbs the stairs to the top bunk.
    I quickly gave them a hug and kiss good night, and closed the door behind me, rushing to my room to start packing. Bathing suits, towels, extra clothes, and sunblock are thrown into my pink leopard beach bag. I ran down to the kitchen to pack some snacks, my husband starts loading the car to save time in the morning. 15 minutes later we’re in bed, dreading the thought of traffic on the Bay Bridge.
    Seven hours later, we’re out of the house with 2 semi-sleepy kids in tow. We cross the Bay Bridge without any delay, and then stop for breakfast at a Dunkin Donuts in a small town with a population of a little over 4,000. After getting our order wrong, and overcharging us we finally get our food, and more importantly our coffee. 178 mg of caffeine has never tasted so refreshing.
    The next 65 miles were full of questions asking the time and distance to our unknown destination. Some interesting conversations happened in the back seat; Thing 1 wants to have 5 horses when he grows up. Thing 2 wants to be a crop-growing, house-building, human and animal doctor (I’m not so sure I’ll going to him when I’m sick).
    Finally, I can see signs that hint to the beach being near! As my husband and I debate the best place to park, I hear Thing 2 say, “I think we’re at the beach.”
    Thing 1 replies, “Why do you say that? Mom and Dad said it is some place important.”
    Thing 2 says, “DUH! Don’t you see all the people in their bathing suits?”
    We quickly pull into the next available parking, and then cross the road and ask the boys to close their eyes as we walk to the boardwalk. “Can we open our eyes?” they ask in unison.
    “Just a second,” I mumble as I struggle to open the camera on my phone so I can catch their reaction. I tell them to open their eyes. Thing 1’s eyes are in disbelief, “We’re at the beach??!!”
    “I knew it,” declares Thing 2, “ I told you we were at the beach.”
    “Yes, we ARE at the beach,” my husband replies.
    Reality sets in for Thing 1, “Did you bring our kite? Our sand toys? Our swim clothes?”
    “Yes, we got everything.” I reply.
    The next 10 hours were filled with sandy toes, funnel cakes, French fries, and a tiring ride home.
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