How to Effectively Sunscreen 1, 2, 3 or 9 Children.  At the Beach.

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Step 1: Pre-Beach preparations: Head on over to Walmart to gather up beach supplies.  [Which is the only reason you head to walmart because their carts - never go straight and always have a wonky wheel.  Am I right?]. On your way to sand toys you see cute display on isle 9 reminding you of your sunscreen need.

Step 2: Realize that the display at the end of isle 9 doesn’t include the “safe” sunscreens so you proceed to pharmacy/toiletry section next.  Which is at the OPPOSITE end of Walmart and you have to use every last bit of upper body strength to steer the cart with the wonky wheel without taking out any humans.

Step 3: Arrive to the pharmacy/toiletry section and spend approximately 32 minutes reading the labels on all the sunscreen options to make sure you choose well.  Because, ingredients matter, you tell yourself. They will thank me, you whisper. Three extra large bottles ought to do it! And maybe one extra can of the “no-no” spray just for touch ups.  

Step 4: Check out and wonder how on God’s green earth you just spent $72.00 on 3 bottles of sunscreen.  At WALMART. But again, it. Is. worth. It. Hardly any unsafe chemicals on these precious babies.

Step 5:  Day one of the beach and you are READY for the blazing sun.  Line children up and begin the half hour long process of getting every last inch of their bodies covered in sunscreen.  And since it is on the mineral side of sunscreens, everyone is coated a cute/slightly awkward shade of white. You are reminded of just how out of shape you are because the slather action has left you sweaty and winded.  Everyone is ecstatic that you survived what seemed like a full blown iron man. Sunscreening children is not for the faint of heart. But you did it and the sun has NO chance harming an-y-bod-y.

Step 6: Gather up all your necessary supplies, cooler, tent, sand toys, sunscreen for reapplication, and head on your merry way.  

Step 7: Get set up on beach.  Lay out towels. Position chairs.  Send children to play. Find your tasty beverage and sit your hiney down because you made it!  To the beach! Hallelujah it is glorious and peace filled and all is right with the world.

Step 8: Look at watch and realize you are a measly 34 minutes away from having to do it all over again.

Step 9: This is where you begin to say a prayer to ready your heart for what is about to take place.  You are close to calling all of your children out of the waves, who will inevitably need a snack right this very minute, tell them to sit on a towel and not touch the sand.  Sunscreen is coming! The struggle is real and so is Jesus. Holy Spirit please make me kind and patient.

Step 10: You are reminded once again how out of shape you are just by trying to get up out of your chair.  It is borderline concerning.

Step 11: Line up the kids and start with the faces - you work your way down and realize you are now bracing yourself against the resistance of a nice thick layer of sand which makes slathering that much harder.  Winded is an understatement.

Step 12: One look at those 12 legs standing in front of you, compleeetely coated in sand has you whipping that “no-no” spray right out of your beach bag and going to town trusting your great intentions at the beginning of the day will surely outweigh what you’re spraying all over their precious bodies.

Step 13: don’t forget to sunscreen their lips cause the reflection off the water is killer on calm water days and prevention is way better than post-burn-care.  Trust. Us.

Step 14: Start the timer for your next reapplication deadline, and remind yourself of all the calories you’ve surely burned while double fisting twizzlers into your mouth before the kids can see you.   

Step 15: On day 2, send husband to the store to buy more expensive sunscreen because three extra large bottles + one back up is not enough for even half your adorable family, so you’ve learned.