Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sun, Surf, & Storms


Our family just got back from vacation. I can't tell you how excited this made me. Not only did we go on vacation, but we went to the BEACH for a whole WEEK! Do you know how long it has been since we have been on vacation as a family? (Camping does NOT count!) It has been 4 years since we have been anywhere & 5 LONG years since we have been to the beach!

I am such a beach girl. I could move there & not think twice about it! (Ok, maybe I would think twice, but not long.) My husband, on the other hand, loves the mountains.

Austin has been to the beach 3 times - 2, 3.5, & 6. His first reaction to the ocean was "Big O Big O Water". Makenzie has only been once, when she was 2 years old. I really don't remember how she reacted, but I know she had fun. 

Aren't they adorable?

We drove down to North Myrtle Beach, SC Sunday afternoon after church. Immediately after unpacking & eating supper, everyone headed down to the beach with flashlights. They had a blast hunting for crabs!

As soon as Logan's feet touched the sand, he said "Huwts. Hold You." & held out his hands for me to pick him up. He was not a fan of the sand or the ocean. Thankfully, he did start to like it before we left.

Austin almost mastered "surfing" on a skim board by week's end. Justin probably would have had it down pat too if we had a bigger board. 

We spent our days on the beach soaking up the rays & our nights out & about in town. The weather forecast called for scattered thunderstorms all week with a tropical storm rolling in on Friday. Yep, you heard me right, Tropical Storm Andrea decided to join our party!

Hey did you know that sting rays & other critters come in close to shore to feed right before a storm? Well, I had never really thought about it until Justin & Austin came charging out of the water, excitedly talking about the rays that just swam by them!

I can finally check that item off my bucket list! I rode out a tropical storm/hurricane. We even ventured out onto the beach on Friday at the height of the storm! Oh, we only stayed about 10 minutes. The blowing sand STUNG & Logan could barely stand up. It was certainly an experience!!

Austin & Makenzie rode their first roller coaster at the Ocean Drive Pavilion. Justin rode the Alien Abduction (otherwise known as the Gravitron) with them & felt sick the rest of the night! I tried to convince Austin to ride this thing with me that flipped upside down, but he wouldn't take me up on it. They did talk me into riding the Tilt a Whirl & the Scrambler. Oh, I paid dearly for a while after that! I just can't go round & round the way I used to could. I'm still ok with flipping upside down, but not doing circles.

We walked out on the pier. Unfortunately, we didn't manage to make time for fishing ourselves but we watched plenty of other people catching fish. Some guys caught little sharks & some Toad Fish while we were out there. I've never heard of a Toad Fish, but they claim that they are very poisonous. We also saw several Sting Rays swimming by.

Putt putt is a MUST on vacation! It always has been! Captain Hook didn't let us down. 

On Wednesday, we headed to Wet, Wild, & Wheels for all the swimming & racing we could stand! I watched the sky with dread as it turned black & the clouds began to build. Thankfully, it blew on over & we had a beautiful overcast, day that was not too hot! I even managed to get Logan to sleep smack dab in the middle of all the fun. But, it was hard to make him understand that he was too little to ride the go carts. Yep, I have mad skillz, but some things are just out of my control! LOL

Since it was raining again most of Thursday, we took a trip to Ripley's Aquarium. {See, I got school in! We are studying Swimming Creatures with Apologia next year.} Sharks are always a favorite, but touching the horseshoe crabs was an experience as well. We even had our pictures taken with mermaids!

The ONE thing that I REALLY wanted to do (other than take pictures on the beach) we didn't get the opportunity to do. Mother Nature & Andrea had other plans! When I told the kids we were doing school while at the beach, they were not too thrilled.....until they found out what I had planned. Myrtle Beach State Park had a bunch of really cool things planned for the kids all summer. I was especially interested in hunting for sea turtles! The problem with this little adventure - we had to be on the beach 30 minutes away at 6am! Well, it was calling for pouring down rain most of Friday morning so we didn't even bother setting the alarm.


But wait, there's more! 

We saw several turtles throughout the week. Then, as we were looking off the balcony Thursday afternoon not 1, but 2 turtles lumbered by. One of them even dug her nest in full view of our room!

After tempting fate through the storm early Friday, the weather cleared & we were able to spend the rest of the beach digging in the sand!

Saturday greeted us with the dread of cleaning, packing up, & heading home. Farewell ocean, until we meet again...........hopefully sooner than later!

Oh yeah, while we were living it up in paradise, we kept getting reports from home. Apparently home had A LOT more water than we did! Our driveway greeted us with deep gullies in the gravel. Our road (& several others) were impassible for some time due to flooding. And I now need a new roof!

Well, at least my good ole Suburban made it down & back, almost 800 miles & tripping the big 200K mark, in one piece .....

..... or did it?

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