Sunday, June 30, 2013

Beach 2013

This year, I anticipated our beach trip more than ever. I was super busy in May and into the first two weeks of June, and eventhough school was out before Memorial Day, I didn't really feel like my summer started until my toes hit the soft, white sand on June 15th!

I love the beach because we are mostly removed from the daily distractions of life. We are together as a family. Don't get me wrong, we cherish "together time" here at home, too, but it's different on vacation. And these kiddos love the BEACH! One "new" thing I enjoyed this year at the beach was Mary Claire's desire to walk down the beach with me. You see, when I was young, and we went to the beach, we took my grandmother, Jenny, with us. Jenny would walk and walk and walk on the beach. My mom would walk with her, and they would see how far they could go sometimes. Avid exercisers, they are!:) As a young person, I never saw the meaning of such long walks, but occasionally, I'd join them.

Now, I tend to see things in a different light. Walking next to the ocean is AMAZING to me! (Not to mention, IT IS GOOD EXERCISE.) Seeing God's beauty and marvelous works in the waves and the infinite sand, the seashells, and fish, and...I could on and on!

Honestly, the beach is now a sort of refuge for me. It's the last thing Jan's mother and I talked about before she died on June 25, 2010. She was excited about going with us to the beach that year. She died suddenly 3 days before we were supposed to leave. Jan's Aunt Elaine encouraged us to go on to the beach after the funeral, saying that we probably would be better off getting "away". Turns out, she was so very right. Having busy, young children is a distraction from grief in many ways, and being with them in a place that brings them joy helped us through the tough days that followed Ms. Sue's funeral. That year, my walks on the beach became the moments when my tears flowed because it was just me and God out there.

Everytime I step foot on the beach now, I think of Ms. Sue. When my kids scream in delight at the seashell they have just found, I think of how she would have enjoyed seeing them hunt for shells. She loved looking for shells a lot! I'm not sure that Ms. Sue and I had very much in common, but the most important thing we had in common was our love for Jan, John Owen, Jonah, and Mary Claire. I wish she was here to see how big they have gotten and to be at their special events. She is greatly missed...

For the sake of our family scrapbook, I won't linger on the broken pieces that life has given us, but I will choose to focus on God's blessings. We were blessed to have a wonderful and safe vacation this past week. We saw sharks (Oh yes, and one close encounter with one, I might add.), dolphins, a sea turtle, and a few beautiful sunsets. We made the obligatory trip to the "Shark's Mouth" AKA Souvenir City, and we ate some great seafood. Two recommendations from this blog author: the shrimp and grits at LuLu's and the crab cakes at Cafe Grazie. Oh my goodness!! I had to walk some extra sand miles to burn those calories off! But it was well worth it.:)

We played putt-putt golf and rode go carts. (The kids favorite thing to do, I think.) And we met some friends and went on a Pirate Cruise! It was really neat.

To sum it up, our beach trip was awesome! I was sad to leave, but happy to be home safely with my family. Until next year... 
The boys hit the waves as soon as they could!

One of my favorite pictures this year from the boardwalk
Mary Claire, John Owen, Jonah

Have I mentioned how hard it is to keep focused when taking family pictures on the beach? :)
The last pictures are just some that we managed to get the night before we left the beach. Funny thing, we were trying to beat the sunset and the "low battery" flashing on my camera!! Oh well, good memories...:)

Do you think the kind soul who volunteered to take our picture was laughing as she looked through the lens?
A penny for her thoughts...haha

This picture speaks volumes of the different personalities of my children!:)
Notice the struggle between the two on the left. Enough said.

My handsome John Owen!

"You want me to do what?"

Handsome Jonah!

One little girl that is not afraid to strike a pose!

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