In case anyone had any doubts, the beach was great. When I arrived I joined Ellen and the kids on the sand for a while and then we went on to dinner. After their bath, the kids got sparklers and chocolate chip cookies and several chapters of a book. Ellen and I got scotch and porch-sitting and the rare time to sit and talk. We all slept in. (Ada slept until the mind-blowing hour of 10am!) While the kids played, I worked and sat in a tub and worked then chatted with Ellen before we all ate dinner and Ada and I headed out for home.
I took a bunch of pictures (some with my diana lens, hence the atmospheric/fuzzy shots):
Although the time was very peaceful and the kids all played well together, there were some great moments of kid "negotiation" like this one:
N: Let's play Ivy and Bean and you are my sister, Ada.
Monkey Boy: No, I am not playing that, I am playing Narnia.
N: I want to play Ada's my sister and we find this little alligator.
Ada: (Spinning on her toes watching her skirt twirl around her)
Ave: There is no alligator in Narnia! (to Ellen:) I want to play something that I want because they want to play what they want.
N: how about we are in Narnia and we went to the pet store and bought a baby alligator?
MB: No! You are not being very nice! Because Narnia does not involve alligators! It involves people!
Ellen: well, there ARE talking animals in Narnia. Maybe we just have not met a talking alligator yet.