This year, we did something different for vacation. We loaded up and made the 500 mile trek to the Grand Strand area of South Carolina. It is where James's sister Katie lives, and it is halfway between Fort Vegas and Melbourne, Florida, where James's dad lives.
Andrew was in his element (sand!) from the moment we arrived. Give this kid his trusty shovels, pails, and dump truck and he is liable to build you the Taj Mahal. During the week, he managed to wear out many digging companions - starting with Katie's boyfriend, Danny, then moving on to Pop-pop, before finishing off with Mommy and Daddy. He was also happy to have his new "swimmy vest" so he could head out into the ocean. The calmer ocean around the S.C. coast made it much easier (and safer) to have the Big A enjoy the waves.
Twice during the week, we took breaks from the beach to head over to "Broadway at the Beach." From the aquarium and Build-A-Bear, to the remnants of the old Pavilion amusements and Margaritaville, this place had something for everyone. Andrew was captivated by the rides. Here is a shot of him taking a spin in the dune buggies (or as we were calling them "race cars"). He also rode the carousel (on the lion, of course), the boats, and the tea cups. For a small fee, you can buy the video of James riding the tea cups with Andrew. Those who have seen it say it is worth the money!
Here is a great shot of Andrew and Mommy enjoying a hug on the Garden City Pier. We watched fishermen reeling in baby sharks, which Andrew seemed to enjoy. There were bars with live music at both ends of the pier (and where was this pier during our more liquid pre-Andrew days?) He also logged his first video game at the arcade and managed to rack up enough tickets to get all kinds of small, gimmicky toys that managed to annoy his parents no end.
All in all, it was a good night in the middle of the vacation.
Soon, it was Friday afternoon and we had to do the one thing that made Andrew sad - return the golf cart. During the week, he had gone from "I want to help you" to "I want to drive" and was handling everything short of crossing the big road and the hairpin turns around the corner from the house. Pop-pop was getting ready to take the cart back to "the man" when we decided to send Andrew along. With dark thunderstorms looming and James following in the Kia, the cart rolled down the road one last time with Andrew logging very important behind the wheel time with Pop-Pop.
Before I close, a couple of "props" go out to a few folks.
* The Bull family - from loaning us furniture and grill tools, to having us over for dinner and supplying Pelicans baseball tickets - you all opened your home and your town up to us. Thanks for everything!
* Speaking of the Pelicans, we're going to throw in a plug here. If you are ever in the Myrtle Beach area and the team is in town, it is a MUST DO! Everyone from the ushers to the concession stand workers to the coolest mascot in sports (Splash the Pelican) made us feel at home.
* The folks at Bubba's Fish Shack (yes, another plug) - make a note to catch this joint - good food, good atmosphere.....again, where was this place in our more liquid days?
* Yet one more plug from James - "mad props" to the folks @ Bi-Lo in Surfside Beach.
* Katie, Danny, Brenda, and Pop-pop - this was a great vacation and we are glad we spent it with you guys!