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Nuno’s birthday falls in the last week of August and mine comes six days later in the first week of September. For the last three years, we’ve taken vacation during the first week of September both as a birthday celebration and it’s a great time to hit the beach without huge crowds. The weather is usually still as good as August – a few degrees cooler, especially at night, but still plenty warm for hanging around outside. As a bonus, the water is warmer having had all summer to warm up.

It is, of course, the start of the off season. And for us, it was the end of our own personal off-season. August hit us like a roller coaster and by the time our planned vacation rolled around, we sorely needed it. Usually we’ve gone to Plum Island on the North Shore of Massachusetts, but since our usual beach was hit pretty hard by some winter storms, we thought we’d try something else this year. So, we headed south to the Cape and it was… off.

It wasn’t good, it wasn’t bad. It was just… off. We had booked a whole week but drove back on Tuesday night. Three days was enough to find out that Paulo really, REALLY did not like sand (a problem we didn’t have in Maine, and one that I attribute to the temperature difference – warm sand being preferable to cold). My birthday was on Wednesday and the whole point of being at the Cape on my birthday was to spend it at the beach – being that the beach would involve a series of tantrums, this was less than appealing. When I found myself researching playgrounds on the Cape, I figured we might as well go home. If it’s PLAYGROUNDS we’re looking for, Boston has no lack of them.

I’m glad we did it this way. I’m glad we left when we were all still fairly content rather than dragging out a week into descending misery. I’m glad we got away for a few days. And I’m super glad I spent my birthday at home with friends and mummies (oh yes, MUMMIES) rather than at an unknown beach with a cranky tot.

We learned one very important lesson on this trip: even if Plum Island itself washes away, we will be there next year. And every year after that for the rest of our lives. This is the very first year of my own life where I went somewhere else for vacation and I’m hoping that our little off season doesn’t spell an off year. Much like going on vacation makes you appreciate coming home, going on a *new* vacation made us appreciate our old haunts.

(And much like going on vacation last year with six of our closest friends made Nuno want to try just having the three of us this time around, he’s already decided that we need to have a BONANZA HAUS reunion next year because there just weren’t enough people to play board games.)

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