So, in the early hours of July 11, we headed down to the beautiful South Carolina coast for two fun-filled weeks at the beach. Week One was at Edisto with my parents, sisters and brother-in-law. Week Two was at Isle of Palms with Dan's parents, aunt & uncle, cousins and their children.
It was SO WONDERFUL.
The trip down went remarkably well although it was quite lengthy. We left here by 3:45 (the car had been packed since Thursday night). James woke briefly when we got him up from bed, but he soon was back asleep until his normal waking time of 6:30ish. We then stopped at a Bob Evans for breakfast and some exercise. Then back in the car until noonish when we hit Applebees for lunch (great Kids' Menu-- steamed broccoli!). One last stop in mid-afternoon shortly after arriving in SC on I-95. We bought gas and let James burn off some energy running around the truck stop. Good times! Remarkably, he never took a nap. It seems the trucks on the interstate were just too entertaining! During his few bouts of fussiness, we were able to pass him books, Cheerios or his water bottle to keep him happy. Meanwhile, Dan & I enjoyed listening to the CDs of Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince as we drove. We finally arrived at Edisto in time for delicious pulled pork barbecue at 7:00.
The week at Edisto was SO fun & relaxing. James woke up between 6:30 and 7:30 most mornings, and we'd fix him breakfast and eat, then grease up with sunscreen and head to the beach for a few hours. Let me tell you, for years we have been missing out on this prime beach time! Those first few hours in the morning are so peaceful and uncrowded! We'd head back up to the house (which was a short walk across the street) around 10:30 or 11ish, before the sun got too bad. A quick shower outside for James, lunch then naptime. He ate and napped like a champ! Looks like sea air and lots of running around are just the thing! As soon as he'd wake up, we'd do it all over again-- sunblock, beach, shower, dinner, bedtime. His aunties & grandparents enjoyed helping out with storytime, so Dan & I hardly even had to put him to bed all week.
Each time we left the house (as well as upon every return), James visited his "special place"-- a screened in area under the house which had a ceiling fan. He'd open the door, walk in, ask for the fan ("Fan!" w/"please" in sign language), and sometimes refuse to leave. So funny!
We had a great time hanging out, golfing, attempting to build sand sculptures, playing cards, drinking Sweet Tea Vodka, eating pie, doing handstands in the ocean, eating seafood,... The week went by so fast!
Then it was off to Isle o' P. We stopped in James Island to catch up with some college pals and their cute sons over pizza lunch. Very lovely. We then rolled into the driveway of the beach house at 3:00 right behind Dan's mom & aunt!
The house was great-- on the water, 6 bedrooms (one per family), two livingrooms, a huge dining room table, a patio (aka the slab for the original house) on which the kids biked and played, a wonderful shady porch where we'd sit and look out to the ocean...
There were tons of us-- 12 adults and 9 kids (ranging in age from 7 weeks to 15 years), so there was always a lot of excitement. Dan & I tried to keep the same basic routine we'd established at Edisto because it seemed to work well for us and James. We had a few rough bedtimes, but overall, things went well. James LOVED the beach. He'd point to the painting in our room saying, "Beach! Wa-wa!" (He also had a borderline annoying habit of running from room to room pointing and announcing the presence of the ceiling fans, "Fan! Fan!") He quickly learned the way to and from the beach and house, and would run up the sandy path over the dunes saying "Hill! Up... down." We had a tidal pool right in front of the house which was perfect for James and the other little kids. James also enjoyed perching (Karate Kid style) on a post on our beach. Very cute.
We had a wonderful time watching old family videos, relaxing on the porch, going out for sushi & Harry Potter (thanks to the grands for babysitting for all those too young for the movie!), surfing, playing in the tidal pools, making sandcastles, having the family talent show, playing poker, tie-dying shirts, playing with blocks & trains, running on the beach, ...
The ride home went quite well. We went from IoP to Columbia on Saturday, arriving at Pops & Nana's house in time for lunch and a nap. Then we went for a short playground visit before dinner and "pie" (aka a very delicious cheesecake). We hit the sack early and were on the road by 2:44 Sunday morning. This time James didn't even wake up for the diaper change & car transfer! We headed up 77 & 81-- the western (non-95) route. James woke up around 6:30, we hit Cracker Barrel for breakfast around 7:30, a brief stop for a diaper change and exercise break at a rest stop at 10:30, and back to another Applebees for lunch around noon. James promptly fell asleep for a nap at 1:30 after Dan read him three books in the car. He slept three hours (!), and we pulled into our driveway at 5:00.
So now we're in a terrible post-vacation depression. James keeps reciting the names of our family members-- "Peb" (Auntie Peg), "Eye-eye" (Eli), Nate, "Tay-tee" (Katie), Emma, Nana, Pop,... It actually breaks my heart every time. He also was inconsolable yesterday and kept asking for "wa-wa." I tried giving him both water and milk to drink, but he'd push it away; he wanted to go to the beach. Me too, Baby, me too.