Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Quick Charleston Vacation

We lived in Mount Pleasant, SC for over a decade before Abigail entered our lives.  Then we moved to Virginia to be closer to family.  It has been 4 years since we lived in Mt. P,  and 3 years since we last visited.  We just returned from a wonderful little trip, Joseph's first to Charleston (which, if you didn't see, was Travel + Leisure's #1 Best City in the World, so I guess that we've seen all that the world has to offer, right?)

We were lucky enough to stay with some old family friends during our visit.  Joseph mourned them deeply tonight, crying buckets because he missed his new friends so much!

These two besties, waiting to get into the Aquarium.

Joseph LOVED the shark

Joseph took this pic of Lar and me.  

Shell hunting with Baba as the storm comes in

Good thing we moved:  Joseph HATES the heat and humidity!!
Abigail pet the sharks for so long that the worker at the petting tank
called downstairs for a shark tooth for Abigail to take home!

Our dear friend with two happy kids who love her!!

Abigail always wears a wet suit so her tan lines are amazing!

He wanted so badly to see a lighthouse.
It was his first time in the ocean.

At my favorite park in Mt. P

She kicked me hard right after this shot as she crash
landed, but it was worth it!

Seriously, the boy was a puddle for 4 days.

Splashing in the famous pineapple fountain

He put down quite a bit of sushi.  Then he named his new stuffed seal from the aquarium "Sushi."

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Smith Mountain Lake Vacation

The past week my parents, my brother and awesome SIL, and our little family rented a lake house on Smith Mountain Lake.

view from our dock to
our house
A few SML facts for the uninitiated:
  • man made lake with 500 miles of shoreline nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains
  • it is the cleanest body of water on the east of the USA
  • it is where the movie What About Bob was filmed

We couldn't have ordered more perfect weather for the week.  Our only sprinkles were on Tuesday morning and it just provided a great time for Abigail to get some fishing done.  (She caught 5.)

The growth we got to see in the kids this week was incredible.  Joseph started the week very content to be a landlubber and stay dry.  But, following his intrepid sister's lead (and learning to trust his life jacket), he was exploring and swimming and kayaking and having a blast in the water by midweek.
Joseph, staying dry, fishing for family members

Joseph is trying out a little bit of water
but mostly staying dry

Another fun, dry activity is buying ice cream
from the ice cream boat man

Joseph gets a little braver and leaves land

A little chutzpah assistance from Baba

"I 'loat!  I don't 'ink!!!"

We also rented a small speed boat for half of the week.  Abigail loved to go tubing (so did Grandma!) and Joseph just loved riding on the boat.  He didn't want to tube, even with his beloved Mama, although I was the only one with whom he even tentatively thought about climbing on.

Jos loved riding the boat and watching the water

Abigail had some fun tubing with her Baba

Joseph liked riding the boat, even when he wasn't
conscious of riding it!

I think that it was a hard week for my brother and SIL because they are used to a calm, quiet house and my kids were Wound. Up.  all week.  But, they really are an Awesome aunt and uncle when it comes to playing with the kids, Abigail in particular because she is at such a fun age.  They spent hours and hours running down the dock and jumping/ diving into the lake with her.  They invented specialty jumps together (such as the Abi-dactyl and the Twist).  I think of all 8 of us, Abigail probably had the most fun.

She loved doing anything in the water

My dad, a new smart phone user,
took a lot of pics and he has a
side view of this event I need to
get from him and post

Our happy water girl after her 200th jump

So, between the continual development of Abigail's emerging swimming skills, and her bravery to jump off docks and ride on tubes pulled by speed boats, it really was a joy to watch Abigail's growth this week!

Me with the kids on the night
we rode the boat to a
restaurant for dinner

I can't imagine ever doing a beach vacation when we can do a lake vacation.  The water is so clean and fresh and not salty.  You can affordably get a great house right on the lake, not several streets back.  There is shade.  You get your own private dock to use for the week.  AND, it is in the mountains, so there is also a chance for great hiking, which was my favorite part of the week.  Larry and I took Abigail on the hike up Sharp Top.  It was Abigail's biggest hike yet, with rock scrambles and a 360o view from the top, which she loved.

Part way up our Sharp Top Hike

She loved the view and her new hydration back pack