Aug 16, 2016

Beach 2016: Thursday

This year in preparation for Beach Week, we did something different -- Grayson made intracoastal kayaking reservations for anyone in the group who wanted to go.


The moms and grandparents stayed back at the house with the younger kids and others who opted out, but they ended up with a great group of adventurers for the morning.


They got a great tour of some coastal Carolina marshland, some of them in single kayaks, some in doubles.




Have you ever kayaked before? Looking at these pictures makes my shoulders hurt. I remember the feeling I have about eight hours later.




Their guide took them out to a sandbar and told them to get out -- they were at what they call "Birthday Cake Island," named that because when each time you take a step it feels like you're walking in icing. I CAN ONLY IMAGINE.


I'm totally sure there's nothing grody in that Birthday Cake Island sludge.


The interesting thing about sending all those people kayaking was that it left such a skeleton crew back at the beach.


I only had two kids with me.


TWO KIDS, INTERNET!

Not since 2008 have I seen the likes of that.


And the day was just gorgeous. The clouds were so wispy, the sky so blue.

And since there weren't 480 of US out on the beach, it was -- dare I say -- kind of QUIET.


Amelia was having fun riding the waves on her stingray float, and Nick was enjoying being The Only Big Brother around to help her.


They were quite a team, and he was so careful to make sure she didn't fall off, even when the bigger waves came in.




Not that Amelia wasn't pulling her own weight -- that girl had an iron grip on those handles.



Nick and I literally had to drag her in from the ocean, because she would have stayed out there ALL DAY.


The thought did cross my mind: Do sharks eat stingrays? Because if so, this looks really appetizing from their standpoint in the ocean, I imagine.


Did I mention that I jogged every day we were there? I think I skipped one day because of lightning, but every other day I was out there LIVING THE NIGHTMARE.

On Thursday when I was on my way back to the house, I noticed a little trail heading away from the street, so I took it. I had no idea where it would go, but I had a hunch it would lead to the intracoastal if it went far enough.

After about a five minute walk, I came to this:


Yep, that's a look across the marsh they'd kayaked that morning.

I continued on, wondering if I'd go farther out into the marsh or eventually hit a dead end. Or get kidnapped. But I was really hoping for one of the former. And then I came upon this tree:


At first I thought it was kind of ugly and creepy, but then I looked a little closer and saw what looked almost like a character in it.


At that point I was probably 15 minutes away from the entrance to the trail and I wasn't sure if it was a horseshoe or a straight line -- I was about to turn around when I walked up to a bridge with a view:


While I was standing there admiring it (and taking a picture), a family of four came up behind me and I was able to ask WHERE THE HECK THE TRAIL ENDED. They told me I was three-quarters of the way to the other side, so I just kept going.

When I came out, I was a few blocks past our house, so I had to backtrack -- BUT I HAD ADVENTURED.

It's a good thing I got back when I did, because less than an hour later, a huge shelf cloud formed over the island and it was like a scene out of a movie.


It changed every minute or so, and its colors and shapes were just beyond beautiful.



I took every single one of these standing on our back deck with my phone. No editing or filters.


It started to lighten up from south to north after about 10 minutes.


And then -- this was so freaky -- the shelf cloud was still there, but the sun was high in the sky, breaking through the clouds right in front of our house. It was amazing. I've never seen anything like it.



What a way to end the day.

Aug 3, 2016

Beach 2016: Wednesday and maybe possibly also Tuesday

As I mentioned before, I didn't have my DSLR with me, and I didn't want to take my phone down to the beach every day we were there. Soooo, looking back at the collection of pictures I took, it appears that in my camera roll we jump from Monday to Wednesday. But really they all look the same to me, so there may also be some from Tuesday in here.

I KNOW HOW YOU ALL ARE ABOUT THE DETAILS, SO.

When I start a post so powerfully, I'm reminded of the music of Calvin Harris and Nils Sjoberg Taylor Swift: "This is what you came for."

Nathaniel is clearly very impressed.  #beachnap


Anyway. Onward.

By the middle of the week, we were well into our groove.

Many members of our clan were rocking caps by then to protect their faces from the sun, including Matt and Patrice. One of them more effectively than the other, MATT.


Amelia was wearing a cap that clashed with her swimsuit every day to help keep her cheeks from getting burned.


She looked really cute in it.


Although there is a SLIGHT possibility that it was a TINY BIT too large for her.



She did her best to work around it.


And sometimes was more successful than others.



I thought it wouldn't last more than an hour the first time I put it on her.


But she surprised me and wore it the rest of the week.


Gary's cap was Carolina blue. Remember, #thisiswhatyoucamefor.


As always, at low tide the kids did a large degree of digging elaborate castles, moats, et cetera, in the sand.


I mean, I wouldn't accuse any of them of being future architects, but they definitely put in the elbow grease.




In the picture below you can see the little channels the tide left as it went out, channels which became Amelia's favorite thing each day.


The beach filled up with small tidepools every afternoon, and they were so much fun to play in and around.



Many evenings there were boardgames, card games and word games for all ages.


I'll be honest: Because of my healthy-lifestyle-induced bad mood, I couldn't handle the volume of the room when all that was going on, so I usually went to our bedroom or out to the back porch while all that was going on.


It wasn't just the games at the table ... it was wrestling, too.


No judgment here -- you know it's par for the course at our house. It's just, at our house we max out at four of them unless we have friends over.


I went in to check on them on this particular night, but the chaos was mild. Still, my brother-in-law ended up going back in after I did.


Ten minutes later, everybody was like, "WHERE'S GERRY?"


As it turned out, he'd gone in there and just joined in. (I didn't get any pictures of that.) (Sorry.)
 

And I wanted to share some of the pictures we take every year, that we've been taking since the oldest kids were just toddlers. Sweet tradition.








And one of everyone on the trip, most of Grayson's extended family.








While the kids had their shirts on, I think it was Heather and Tiffany who decided they wanted to try to take a picture of them in a circle from above. Of our four kids, Nathaniel cooperated.


And we at least TRIED to get a good family picture on the beach that night. We get points for effort. While I would have preferred to have changed into other clothes, it had already started to rain when we took this one -- changing wasn't an option. The reason Jake was grimacing and Grayson's mouth was open was that raindrops were pelting us and Grayson was saying, "STAY STILL! WE JUST NEED ONE PICTURE. DO! NOT! MOVE!" -- all through his teeth. It was a great night. Character-building.


Believe it or not, I still have more pictures to share. The beach trip that keeps on giving. More soon.

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