Tag Archives: Beach

Florida with Sidney and kids

Last year Sidney and I took the five kids down to Florida to visit her parents.  The trip was such a success that we decided to do it again this year. We packed up her two kids, my three kids, and all of our stuff into the car last Monday morning and set off for Deland, Florida.  It is an 8-9 hour drive to her parents “ranch”.  Honestly, I know it sounds crazy, but the drive really wasn’t that bad.  The kids love to be together and they get along very well….and so do Sidney and I.  :)  We drove down on Monday and came back on Friday so that we are gone while the men are working during the week.  Perfect!

This year we trekked it over to the beach twice instead of once.  The kids love the beach and they rarely get to go.  The first day that we went it rained the whole time, but it didn’t seem to bother anyone so we stayed and played in the rain until the thunder came.  The second day was beautiful.  We were there for many hours and when it was time to leave the kids wanted to stay even longer.  Being at the beach is so refreshing.  I love to stare out at the water and be amazed at the vastness of it.  It always reminds me of how powerful and creative God is, and in turn, helps me to reflect on how blessed I am to be healthy and alive….not to mention that I love to play in the water and dig in the sand, just like the kids.

As soon as we arrived at the beach Faith and Jesse made a new friend.  I am always amazed at how easily children make friends.  Shiloh is also in the picture with us, in front of me…

The kids buried they feet in the sand…    It was Yibbit’s birthday while we were at the ranch and she decided to take us all on a river cruise.  The boat floated through the river and out into Lake George.  We were able to see a few alligators, herons, turtles, etc.  It reminded me of going to the everglades when I was little.  I really enjoyed it and so did everyone else.


Our small gang for the week….

The days we spent in Florida were very relaxing.  The kids swam in the pool, I got to sleep in most mornings, I ate well, did very few dishes thanks to Tom, had interesting conversations, enjoyed wine with dinner, spent time with good friends, and got away from my everyday routine.   What more could a girl ask for?!

Annual beach trip

Each year we go to the beach with my parents, Doug’s family and Grandmama.  This year was no exception.  Everyone arrived in Murrells Inlet, SC on Saturday morning (except Tom and I, we drove in late Saturday night after working on the house all day). We rented a large house right on the beach, which is necessary due to the number of small children that we have going back and worth from the beach to the house all day. Because the rates are much less expensive in May than they are for the rest of the summer, we pulled the kids out of school and took off for the beach.  Hands down, we had the most beautiful weather this year.

The cousins were so excited to see each other again.  Now that Doug, Jacqueline and the boys live in Maryland, the kids really appreciate the time that they have together.  I could put thirty pictures in the post to show how much fun we all had, but that would be a bit excessive.  I will show the highlights:

The five cousins having a grew time together.  The ocean was fun, but a big hole and pile of dirt was equally as entertaining….


Doug had his surf board with him and we rented a paddle board for two days.  The kids learned how to surf and ride the waves.  We all briefly tried paddle boarding.  The water was a bit choppy which made it hard to stand up on the paddle board.  Frankly, I was too afraid of what might be swimming under me to fully enjoy the experience.



The best part of vacation was that it actually felt like a vacation.  Many times going to the beach is more of a “relocation” than an actual vacation.  This time I sat in a chair more than I stood up. It was awesome!  The kids were finally old enough to play in the water and not need me hovering over them making sure that they didn’t drown.  The sun shirts that we all have on became the unofficial uniform of our vacation – they were on sale at the beach shop so we all bought one.  By the third day I had on a giant floppy hat and a sun shirt….gone are the days of bikinis and laying out to get a tan.


Tom and I did get our date night out on the boardwalk.  We deemed it as one of our best dates. :)  As for the other nights, we ate well, drank many margaritas, ate ice cream and watched a comedy on TV with Doug.  I hadn’t laughed that much in a very long time.  It was good to hang out with my brother again.

Vacation at the beach was amazing and unforgettable.  It was hard to go home, but I was very glad that the house was immaculate when I got there. (although no buyers for the house yet).  I have to thank Mom and Dad for starting this beach tradition and for carrying it on each year.  Thank you!!

Home again….

I would have to say that the hardest part about going on vacation is coming home.  The return home has been bitter sweet.  It is so good to be around the kids again and I can tell that they are very excited to be home.  It is also very obvious that Faith missed her brothers.  They have been playing together non-stop.  During the trip with Faith, Tom and I would look at each other and comment how easy it would be to have only one child (but not wishing that we only had one).  As soon as put all three kids in the car they started singing loudly and poking at each other.  We had to laugh, shake our heads,  and say, “I love having our three, loud kids.  This is our life.”  We wouldn’t trade having three kids for anything in the world.  They make us laugh daily and are so sweet to each other.

The bad part about being home is that life goes back to normal:  waking up early and making the kids breakfast, doing laundry, constantly cleaning up dirt and doing dishes.  There are so many mornings that I feel like the “Time to Make the Doughnuts” guy.  I probably look like him each morning as I drag myself into the kitchen to pour cereal into bowls and make chocolate milk in a Cars cup for Wilson.  Although life is redundant and laborious, I get to laugh and smile many times throughout the day and that it makes it all worth it.

Some recent laughs are:

Faith used her hair chalk to color Wilson’s hair green.  They were dressing up as fairies.  Unfortunately, she did it on his very wet hair which made his scalp also green.  Even after swimming in the pool for three hours yesterday it is still bright green.  He doesn’t seem to mind.

Then the kids sat out by the street having a lemonade stand.  There aren’t took my cars that pass our house. After about thirty minutes, the garbage truck drove by. The man hanging off the back had his buddy stop the truck. They both bought a glass of lemonade and a strawberry. Afterward the kids were so excited because they earned a dollar and talked to a real live garbage man (in a kid’s world that is very cool and exciting)!

Today they dressed up like a princess, Spider-Man and Miller was a cheerleader. Then they jumped on the couch and sang a song. I put the video on Facebook.

The life of a mom isn’t the most glamorous job, but it full of wonderful memories.  I am glad that I get to see the little things that the kids enjoy and make them laugh. I am also glad I have the privilege of staying home with them. Time is flying by faster than I want it to and I have to remind myself daily to enjoy all of these moments because before too long they will be gone. If I could freeze time and not let them grow up anymore I would.

Beach Trip: Day 1-2

We left to go to Murrell’s Inlet in South Carolina on Saturday morning for our yearly family beach trip.  This trip includes our family, my parents and Doug’s family.  We always rent a house right on the beach.  Because it is much, much cheaper to go before Memorial Day, we decided to take Faith out of school for a week and go now instead of after school lets out in two weeks.  Seeing that it is only kindergarten I didn’t have much of a problem doing so.  Saturday morning we left around 11:00am – after I taught water aerobics, Wilson had soccer and Faith had auditions for her camp this summer.  It was a busy morning, but we got it all done (I had been packing all week).

We met Doug, his kids, my parents and Grandmama at the Strawberry Festival at McLeod’s Farm on the way to the beach.  We picked strawberries, ate lunch, ate ice-cream, and the kids bounced on the bouncy castles.  After we had our fun there, we loaded up and continued on our way to the beach.  Here are some Strawberry Festival pictures.






The house is great!  This year we had to get a different house than last year, but it is even better.  This one has a swing set and a fenced in back yard.  We eventually had to rig a baby gate up on the walkway to the beach because Miller and Shepherd kept going down the walkway to the beach by themselves. Not good!

It has been so much fun to see the excitement that the kids have for being at the beach.  Miller was so in awe of the ocean when he first saw it.  He looked at it in amazement and said, “That’s big water!”  He was right.  The whole first day, he and Shepherd ran back and forth picking up shells and then throwing them into the water.   The weather has been a bit chilly in the mornings, but that hasn’t stopped the kids from going into the water anyway.  The kids keep playing in the water, getting cold, going to take a bath, and then drying off only to go straight back to the beach again.  It is almost comical.

The most amazing thing that I have seen so far, which is scary but fascinating at the same time, is sharks.  They were not in front of our house, but were down under the pier which is about two miles away.   Jacqueline’s sister, Monique, and I were looking off of the pier yesterday afternoon and saw more than eleven sharks swimming underneath us. It was crazy!!  The sharks were circling around waiting for the fishermen to either throw back fish or steal what was on their hooks.  They weren’t small sharks either.  Most of them were 6-8 foot Black Tip sharks.  I had never seen sharks in the wild before.  It was truly frightening, but I have been back to see them again.  Thankfully, no one has been bitten here in years.  I have decided that these sharks are like pigeons:  they go where the food is given to them and they go back daily and never want to leave.  Hey…maybe all of the sharks around here are actually down at the pier getting fed instead of out in the water where we swim.  That thought makes me feel better. I have to say that I am thankful that the water is too cold for us to swim out in this year.  I don’t have to worry about it.

Overall, we have had a very enjoyable first couple of days.  It was a bit windy yesterday so we didn’t play on the beach much, but we stayed entertained riding bikes, playing games, going to the pier and playing on the swing set.  Today is supposed to be warmer.


Ocean Isle, NC

beach4 beach3 beach 2 At the last minute, we were very blessed to be offered a friend’s beach house for the weekend.  We decided to leave straight from Wilson’s birthday party on Saturday and not to come back until Monday night.  It was just what our family needed:  a little time together to relax and have some fun.

We arrived in Ocean Isle, NC around dinner time.  We convinced the kids to wait until the next morning to hit the beach.  Because it is October, the air was a little chilly and windy but the water was warm enough for the kids to splash around.  I, however, had no intention of getting in that chilly water!

The next morning the kids jumped right into the water.  They collected shells and played in the sand.  Miller wasn’t too fond of the water, but one of his favorite activities is playing in the sand.  It was great fun!  The kids finally got too cold and we headed back to the house to take baths.  This was a routine that we would do four times in two days:  Beach – play in the ocean – get cold- take a bath.

A few blocks from the house there was a great playground with a sandy bottom.  We visited it twice.  Once right before dusk, but there was a giant streetlight there that allowed us to stay after dark.  Once again…perfect!

We played at the beach, played at the playground, watched TV in bed, watched the boats go by from the deck of the house, and played with some of Wilson’s new birthday gifts.  Faith even got to eat her favorite meal:  shrimp.  I was able to read a little bit and watch one of my favorite shows since we had cable at the beach (and we don’t at home).  Tom worked most of the day Monday while we played, but at least he was near us and he got to watch an entire football game on Saturday which never happens at home.  All in all, a very successful and relaxing family vacation.



bike week

Here in the South, specifically Myrtle Beach, there are two bike weeks: white biker week and black biker week. The two bike weeks are separated by one week of no bikers. (This is when we like to go). Having two bike weeks may sound crazy, but each group is so large that they need two weeks, and each group likes to have their own week. I am sure that this also sounds very old fashioned and some what racist…I guess it kind of is…and it isn’t. Long ago the two weeks were combined as one, but over the years some higher power decided they should be separate. I can’t imagine having both groups of people at the same time. That would be an insane amount of bikers.

Yesterday afternoon we headed up to Mrytle Beach to ride some of the rides on the boardwalk. Unfortunately the rides weren’t open for another couple of hours. (Bad planning on our part). There was, however, lots if entertainment. It was bike week!

We drove up the strip in awe of all the bikes and pimped out/modified cars. There was a sweet one in front of us. Tom convinced me to jump out if the car, run up the sidewalk and get a picture of it. The driver was gracious enough to slow down so that I could get the picture.


Doug took a picture of the kids in front of a very nice and expensive Harley. There were many Harleys, speed bikes, and an occasional modified ride like the one in the picture. The streets were crowded with people and traffic was moving very slowly…..and this was only Friday. I can’t imagine how many people were going to be there this weekend and next week.

We had a great time. Eventually we did find a small arcade and some ice cream for the kids.


Murrell’s Inlet Beach trip

The week has really gone by very quickly. We have only one more day left before we leave on Saturday. We have had a few rainy days, but not many. It has been typical beach weather: sunny in the morning, rainy in the early afternoon, and then it clears up immediately after. Because the kids wake up so early each morning, we are on the beach by 9:00 and usually stay until about noon. by then the kids are tired and want to go in to rest and have lunch.

Grandmama Pat was able to come and spend two days with us. She and Faith shared a room. Faith loves to be around her. Faith made sure that she sat next to Grandmama at every meal and very assertively saved her a seat at the table. Grandmama was a good sport. I am sure that it was much louder and much more chaotic than she is used to seeing. We have good kids, but five kids in one house can be overwhelming for anyone.

Yesterday I was able to spend some quality time with Wilson on the beach. We played in the sand, jumped the waves and then walked down the beach a little ways. In SC people are always fishing on the beach. We came upon two guys that had just caught a baby shark. It was a very small shark, but still a shark none the less. We were able to pet him before they released him back into the water. My only thought was….”what is that shark going to be doing five years from now?”

Today we one of the most beautiful days that we have had. The temperature was in the low 80’s and the sky was clear. Tom dug a big hole for the little ones to play in with the shovel that we brought from home (a must have). Here are some pics from our fun day in the sun.