Friday, May 4, 2012

Sun, Sand, and Water: Part 1

When friends say, "Hey, we have a timeshare in Hilton Head this week and unfortunately we're not able to use it. Are you interested?" the correct answer is, "YES! We'll be there as soon as we can throw clothes in a suitcase and empty the fridge into a cooler!" 

And this past Tuesday morning, that's exactly what we did.
Grady rearranged things with his schedule at work, I cancelled some appointments, we threw things together, and by 3:00ish we were on our way to the beach for the rest of the week!

We checked in, dropped our bags, and took a night walk out to the beach. The boys were thrilled to be up "way, way, way past our bedtime!" Grady showed them the Big Dipper, we all wet our feet and ran around, and when 10:00 pm rolled around and meltdowns were imminent, we called it a night.
The kids slept like champs and even let us sort of sleep in the next day. Eight o'clock am is sleeping in, right?
Our resort home for the week was fantastic - lots of space and wonderful amenities! With three bedrooms and three bathrooms and four TVs we were never on top of each other. The boys said their favorite thing was watching cartoons in bed; Grady said his favorite thing was the FIVE nozzle shower; my favorite thing was in-unit washing machine/dryer; and I'm sure Annalyse's favorite thing was the fact she didn't have a highchair and could sit at the table with us.
We wasted no time Wednesday morning getting slathered in sunscreen and making our way to the beach. A short walk down the boardwalk and we had our choice of swimming pools or the sand and surf. The boys wanted to run in the waves so we headed to the beach first.
Lots of soccer and football, lots of digging and building, and lots of wave jumping and body boarding - and that was just before lunch!
Her expression says it all: Annalyse hated the beach initially. I think the big waves scared her and she didn't like the feel of the sand slipping away under her feet. She wailed and whined for most of the morning, but once she realized we were here to stay she bucked up and got a little bit braver.
The guys were oblivious to her wails and stayed busy playing and swimming. And although I was not oblivious to Annalyse sobbing, I found it rather easy to tune her out and still enjoy the beach. The sun was warm, the water was refreshing, and I was content to sit and let the waves pound my feet.
We quickly discovered that this was the prime time to be at the beach. The air and water temps were warm but not uncomfortably hot, and the beach was fairly empty since kids are still in school. Not to self: family beach vacations should happen in early May from now on.
I love this picture because it captures my three handsome men heading toward the adventure of jumping in  waves together. It won't be many years and my boys will equal (or surpass!) their dad in height.
We jumped and jumped and jumped in the waves for a long time. And then we jumped and jumped and jumped some more. My boys never tired from being crashed and washed over by waves and found the frothy water on their faces exhilarating. The result? They took two hour naps every afternoon! In fact, they were almost eager for rest time so that they "could get more energy to play in the waves again in the afternoon!"
Lil Miss Fluffy Bum was happy to play in the sand so long as she had her snack cup in hand and someone sitting next to her. Does this qualify as high maintenance? I think so.
We discovered several jellyfish that were left ashore when the tide went out, and, after observing her brothers poke and prod them, Annalyse followed suite. She walked up and down the beach looking for jelleyfish and nearly toppled on herself in an effort to run to the next one she'd spot.
When the waves and sand finally tired the crew out, we took a break for lunch and naps. And yes, that included me! If I was on vacation and all three kids were napping, you better believe I was going to as well!

Later in the afternoon we explored the different pools around the resort. The boys are getting better at swimming independently and Annalyse loves pool water. If I'm being honest, I can enjoy hours by a pool but I can only take so much time at the beach. I'm not a fan of sand - at all.
Grady gave the boys a quick lesson in Shuffleboard and then it was game-on! How cute is this: two scrawny boys in muscle shirts next to their game-face Dad, all wearing joe-cool shades. Love it!
After walking and exploring the grounds, we opted on dinner at The Salty Dog. If you're familiar with Hilton Head you've no doubt heard of this place. Yummy seafood in a fun atmosphere on the water. The boys wanted nothing to do with shrimp or fish this time and instead asked for, are you ready for this, a hot dog and a hamburger. Seriously?! Whatever.
After dinner we explored a nearby park, walked a pier and looked at boats (my husband may have actually been enviously salivating over the boats), and watched fishermen cut and scale their catch. It's relaxed evenings like these that I don't want to end. New things to see and enjoy together as a family - in beautiful weather and environment. I think I wore a smile in my heart and on my face all evening.
When we returned to our resort we discovered they were offering smore's around bonfires. My boys were all about roasting marshmallows and enjoying them with chocolate since I don't usually pull out chocolate and graham crackers when we roast marshmallows at home. Annalyse wandered the circle waving her hands and saying hi to anyone and everyone that would give her attention. Her cute friendliness was a hit with the older folks and she received lots of attention.
This kid is a mess - in every way. More chocolate and marshmallow on his face than in his mouth. An upside down sticker on his shirt, courtesy of The Salty Dog, that is ketchup stained. A shirt that is enormous and doesn't fit but "matches Grady's shirt so I want to wear iitttttttt!" A mess I tell you. A total mess.
Since the boys took an afternoon nap and were well-rested, we asked if they thought it would be fun to take a night swim. I think they stripped and had their soggy suits back on before we finished asking the question!
And so ended our very full and very fun day at the beach! When kids were in bed that evening, Grady and I looked at each other and thought about how blessed we were to be on vacation because of generous friends. When our week began it was business as usual, but by Tuesday plans went in a totally different direction. Thank you, Jesus, for working in the details to make this special time together happen!


  1. Sarah!! I can't believe you got to do this last minute. So great!

  2. Awesome - Yes. Eight o'clock is sleeping in. Yes. The beach in May is fabulous. Yes. She is high maintenance, but soooo cuuuttee!

  3. I was keeping a mental list through the post of my favorite photos to comment on...until I realized that they were ALL my favorites! You captured such precious moments with your family! Whoo-hoo for wonderful friends to bless you like that (and can you introduce us? ;-) So glad that you guys got to get away & enjoy some wonderful beach time as a family! What an awesome start to the week, can't wait to see more!!!