So, we left on Friday of last week with the goal of getting as far as we could before stopping for the night. A lot of that was obviously going to depend on how Dean took to being in the car for hours on end. In my last post, I noted that he was a dream. He did not complain a single time, so we drove over 8 hours our first day. It would be wrong of me to leave out the fact that we have a portable DVD player for the car. He spent much of his day watching episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Johnny and the Sprites and some music videos by The Imagination Movers. (Yes, I know he shouldn't watch that much tv in a day. No, he doesn't watch that much at home.) We stopped, had a lovely dinner at Cracker Barrel and got a hotel room in Florence, SC. Dean LOVES hotel rooms. He embraced his inner rockstar and ran around, playing with everything he could reach, trying to climb into the toilet, turning the tv on and off and climbing onto and off of the bed. Somewhere around 9:30, he just passed out, so we
tossed him gently placed him in the pack and play.
On Saturday, we got up,
enjoyed choked down a mediocre (being kind) continental breakfast (except Dean, who refused to eat it and had leftover peas for breakfast) and hit the road again. We met up with the Lanes from Virginia at the Flea Market in Myrtle Beach, then headed into Calabash for lunch. Eva asked in the comments on my last post if all our seafood was fried. Why, yes! It was! Marcus doesn't really like fried seafood, except clam strips, and I try to avoid it when I can, especially now that I'm trying to get all lean and such. We ate at places that ONLY had fried seafood three days in a row. I thought I was going to turn into a fried shrimp. Don't get me wrong--it was good, just a little much for the ol' tummy-tum-tum. (Incidentally, I took some Tums and then felt much better!) We did a little shopping at a huge "crap and garbage" store, acquiring magnets, postcards and fudge, then we set out for our rental house in Sunset Beach.
The only way to get onto Sunset Beach (which is really an island) is on a one-way bridge. It has a red light that lets traffic run one way for about 7 minutes, then the other way for 7 minutes. Not bad, right? WRONG. Every hour on the hour, they open the bridge up to let boats through the channel. And if a commercial boat comes through? They let them through any time. Our shortest wait all week was 3 minutes, our longest was almost 40. (And I give another shout-out to the portable DVD player! Not just for children!)
The house was great. Dean was in our room with us, which is always an adventure. The problem is that if he knows we're in there, he will not go to sleep. He will stand up and say HI and dance and wave. One morning, I awoke to him standing in the pack n play (positioned at the food of the bed) poking my foot. All in all, we did ok, though naps were kind of a disaster. One day, he didn't nap at all, so we left him for some one-on-one grandparent time and went to play mini-golf. When we got home, he was passed out on the floor, covered with a beach towel.
The beach was amazing. I haven't been to the beach since about 2002, so it was a real treat for me. I love the feel of sand between my toes, the splashing sounds of the ocean and the smell of saltwater. Seeing Dean discover these things for the first time was the absolute best part of the week.
On our second day, we headed to the Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach.
Getting there when they opened was the right decision! It got really crowded really quickly. We were able to beat the tour groups, though, and Dean LOVED seeing the fish. He even got to pet a horseshoe crab and tried to climb into the pool.
Later in the week, we visited Broadway at the Beach and Barefoot Landing, which have a lot of shops and restaurants. You can pay to have your picture made with a baby tiger or a monkey. We skipped out on that one. There are some fun places there, like Maggie Moo's Ice Cream and The Fudgery, where you can sample freshly made fudge. (We like fudge, can you tell?) They even have a KISS Coffeehouse, which is situated inside a pair of giant boots.
I discovered the most wonderful place in the entire world:
Every single thing in the store is purple. It even smells purple, thanks to some lovely lavendar sachets hung around the door. I was in heaven. Marcus bought me a lovely new wallet.
G-Mama (my MIL) and I decided one day to take the boys to a local farm while the guys fished. Sending the two of us out in a car together with nothing but a small local map is always dangerous, but we (finally) made it to Indigo Farms. They had a nice little fruit and veggie market, a great bakery and an animal farm, which housed the biggest, ugliest, smelliest hog I have ever seen. Dean slept through most of the trip (of course), and Adam refused to walk up the little steps to go into the nursery, but we did get to see a lot of animals. Boy, do they have an eclectic mix: large hog, chickens, turkeys, mules, horses, goats and peacocks. I made off with some fresh-off-the-bush blueberries, a few peaches, one of which Adam ate down to the pit in my backseat, and some wonderful oatmeal cookies.
Dean took a miraculous 3 hour nap on Friday, so Marcus and I left G-Mama and Pop Pop in charge of him and went to walk the beach. We filled a jar with gorgeous shells we found and walked all the way to the end, where the channel runs. We decided to take a slightly different route back to our car, which ended up giving me a workout that would make even the toughest Shredheads cringe. The sand on the other side of the beach was wet and deep and goopy. About 4 steps in, I lost my flip-flop AND noticed the enormous storm clouds heading right for us. We hurried as best we could in sand up to our knees and 25 mph wind and made it to our car just as the rain came. At least I got an Italian Ice out of it. That night, I woke up with the worst leg cramps I've had in YEARS, including during pregnancy, and had to eat many Tylenols. So I don't feel TOO bad about the fried shrimp, you see.
Marcus and his brother tried desperately to catch something other than eels and teeny tiny sharks. They did not succeed. At least the view was nice.
We drank a lot of coffee, ate a ton of food, shared a bunch of laughs and read The Enquirer. (Don't YOU read The Enquirer on vacation?) Mostly, it was fun just to have everyone together and to watch the boys play. I would love to go back to this area in a few years when the boys are older, since it is SO family-friendly. (I've declared that we are not going to visit Mickey Mouse until everyone is potty trained and out of strollers.) There's great shopping and dining and plenty to do, no matter what your interests.
I'll post some more pictures tomorrow, but if you'd like to see the whole set,including a bunch of pictures of fish from the aquarium (Marcus went a little nuts with the camera there), leave a comment or email me and I'll send you a link to my album on snapfish.
Now it's back to the real world, a world full of laundry, dishes, bills, the internet and humidity. At least there's 30 pounds of sand in our car to remind us of our wonderful week at the beach.