As you know, my childhood summers always involved the beach somehow. From the perfection that is Varadero to the surf in Santa Monica, every summer that I can recall was spent at the beach.
Of the many happy beach memories I have, however, one trumps them all.
I still remember the magical moment when my dad filled my plastic bucket with the perfect ratio of wet-to-dry sand, turned it upside down, tapped it a few times with his palm and then pulled it up.
Voilá! A Sand Castle! Ay Dios mio!! Pure magic!! (<--The double exclamation points are used to convey my excitement and on-going fascination with the still-to-this-day amazing process.)
When I had kids of my own, I couldn't wait to show them this same bit of beach magic. I remember watching their faces intently and sharing their excitement as they quickly grabbed the bucket to make this magic happen for themselves.
Fast forward to last week while we were on vacation....
While waiting for the surf to be up and being thwarted from playing beach games by the strategically placed flags on the beach, (see this post for clarification) we had to find another method of amusing ourselves.
Sand castles have come a long way since my childhood. It has now evolved into an art called Sand Sculpturing.
It turns out that the sand in Del Mar was Designed by God Himself for the express purpose of making exquisite Sand Creations.
So the boys started by creating a basic pyramid shape. This involved a lot of digging to get the right amount of sand to build up that pyramid-y base. Plus it took hours of concentration and work. (The really good kind of fun-work that happens when you're super focused on a task.)
Then while Eric cut away layers on the original pyramid, Jonathan created a little Egyptian village with its very own obelisk and Sphinx. (No, really...it gets way nerdier than this, I promise.)
Encouraged by the positive feedback (and personal pride) from their first attempt at sand sculpture, the next day, they went on to dig a wider perimeter and created a Sphinx.
Jon added detail to the face. (Yes, he first added a nose and then broke it off, but that's not important right now.)
Reminiscent of Eric's first car. Pretty sweet ride, right?
Sometimes the creating just devolved into sand-stacking fun.
Finally, emboldened by his ability to make the sand bow to his will, Jonathan pulled out all the stops and went for creating The Great Pit of Carkoon*.
[*Explanatory note from Wookieepedia - The Star Wars Wiki: The Great Pit of Carkoon was located within the Dune Sea on the planet Tatooine. The large depression in the sand was the home of the rapacious, if slow-eating, sarlacc of Tatooine. Its proximity to Jabba's Palace, paired with the torturous death provided by the sarlacc, made it an ideal spot for executions to be carried out for Jabba the Hutt's pleasure. It would be the place of the Skirmish at Carkoon, and the subsequent death of Jabba.] <--But all you uber-geeks like us already knew that. =D
What was I doing? Mostly just sitting there shouting directions:
"This side needs to be built up more."
"Add some more suction cups."
"That tentacle needs more detail."
It took a while for them to realize that I was just sitting there "dirijiendo." Basically, I sat in my chair, under my umbrella and flag (!) telling them what to do (like the good, bossy Cuban mother that I am), while they were sweating and sculpting in the hot sun. (The Pharaoh to Israelite correlation was not lost on me, but that's not important right now.)
They never uttered a word of protest, but by the end of the day, Jonathan managed to convey his true feelings...