Headed to the ocean for the first time
Jack was so excited to see the ocean and play in the sand. He had not been to the beach since he was 8 months old. I know he doesn't remember his last trip, and I am glad! He was allergic to the sand, or salt water...we're not real sure, but every time we took him to the beach he blew up like a blow fish. Poor kid. We hoped he had outgrown it, and luckily he had.
Daniel's first time to get his feet wet in the ocean.....
...and boy did he LOVE it! We laughed and said he was drawn to the water like a moth is drawn to the light.
One thing for sure, Georgie knew what to do in the water! Her and Michael actually saw a shark about 10 feet away from them, along with a school of stingrays.
You will notice in all the pictures (along with the ones I will post later), Jack is always bone dry (with the exception of the pool). He mostly did a lot of digging the the sand.
Hanging out in the pool, which by the way was as hot as bath water
Gotta love this face!
Bikes are BIG in Hilton Head. We decided to rent some and give it a try! Michael and Georgia Anne had a tandem bike and I had a regular bike with a pull-along-buggy for Daniel and Jack. The kids loved this and we really enjoyed riding along all the great bike trails there. Michael and Georgia always lead. I will forever have the picture of Georgia's little legs (with her new red cowboy boots) riding that bike. It had to be one of the cutest things I've ever seen.
You'd think there would be a lot of this going on during the 6 hour trip, but there wasn't! They hardly slept in the car at all. This actually happened on a quick run through town to get something to each for lunch.
And finally I thought I'd share an article Michael wrote about our trip for Tallassee Times last week. I think it is pretty darn funny, and sums up the trip! Enjoy!!
Vacation National Lampoon's Style
by Michael Butler
Last week was vacation time for my clan of five. My wife Leigh Anne and I packed up our three kiddies; Georgia Anne, Jack and Daniel and headed for Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.
I had been to the Atlantic coast before. This was my first time in Hilton Head. I enjoyed it, though my wife said over and over, "It's just not the same," in comparison to the Gulf. Yes, the sands aren't quite as sugary white, but I didn't smell the aroma of Pennzoil either.
Actually, I've gotten good reports from the gulf. I think that the oil spill might have aided in our decision to try a new venue for our trip.
Our bunch skipped a vacation last year, so this was overdue. I do believe that everybody needs a little "R&R" as often as possible. Rest and relaxation is not that easy with three little 'uns from 15 months to 6 years old, though.
The best example which I've written about before is outings in restaurants. It's just not meant for families with small children to eat out on the town. Every meal was an adventure and usually expensive. It's difficult to pay $90 for a meal when you spent an hour swatting flies and dealing with screaming babies.
Our most notable dining experience was at a place called the Sea Shack. It's been featured on Food Network. We got there a few minutes before 5:00 and saw a crowd lined up all the way around the parking lot. "Maybe we should try something else," Leigh Anne said.
"They haven't opened yet," I replied. I assumed everybody would be let in as soon as the doors opened for dinner. I was wrong.
At about 5:05, one group at a time started to enter. Two or four people would go in and place their order. After about five minutes, another party would do the same. You've seen the "Soup Nazi" episode of Seinfeld haven't you?
By the way, the temperature outside was about 110 with no breeze and 200 % humidity. At around 5:45, we had moved past the halfway point towards the door.
"I can't believe it's taken this long," I exclaimed.
"Do you want to leave," Leigh Anne responded. That was the best advice she's probably ever given.
Stupid me. We waited another 20 minutes or so to get everybody riled up. There was a second level on the facility, but these folks didn't use it. Once we got it and made our orders, it was packed in tight.
Then the fireworks started.
Jack Butler bit Daniel Butler. The loudest, piercing scream ever heard resonated throughout the Sea Shack. Then, everybody got quiet. We got the stare from about 50 others who obviously have never had children or taken them out to a restaurant.
Five minutes later, it was get even time. Daniel Butler pinched Jack Butler. The loudest, piercing scream ever heard (topping the last one by about 10 decibels) resonated throughout this quaint dive. Those same 50, turned around again with more stares. I'm sure they're thinking, why do they bring little ones into a restaurant. What do the expect us to do? Lock them up back in the room?
"Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God."
The grand finale was the bottle spill incident. An enraged Danielson (as we call him) tossed his bottle onto the floor shooting a jet stream of liquid onto a man's sandals. "I thought something was urinating on me," he said after being pelted (his words not mine).
As we were leaving (to a standing ovation), Leigh Anne apologized to the man with wet feet again. "I'm so sorry," she quivered.
"Oh, it's just water," he chuckled.
Little does he know, we fill our babies bottles up with carbonated drinks. A sticky clean-up awaits. In the words of Jack Torrance from The Shining, "You've got a surprise coming to you. Go ahead check it out!"
By the way, good hush puppies and stewed tomatoes at the Sea Shack, consumed in record time by yours truly.
As for the highlights of the trip, we saw plenty. In a wildlife refuge, a baby deer walked up to us. Everyday, we saw rabbits outside our door. In the ocean, we spotted dolphins and a family of stingray (five in all, just like our group). The most interesting find was the shark that got withing about 15 feet of Georgia Anne and me while we were jumping waves. From Jaws: Hooper: "That's a twenty footer."
"Quint: Twenty-five. Three tons of him."
I'd say this one was closer to five feet, but regardless of size it was too close for comfort.
Hilton Head is set up for biking, so there's plenty of folks on two wheels. We took advantage of the tandem bikes and attachments for the kids and rode around a couple of days.
Those six hours in the vehicle can be wild too. I love listening to radio stations along the way. Lady GaGa's "Alejandro" proved to be the most popular song - Ali, Ali, Ali - Alijandro. Heard that one a couple of times, maybe more like a hundred.
After about five hours of squalling by Daniel on the drive home, Jack made an excellent recommendation. Daniel want his pah pah (baby jibberish for blanket). Sure enough, it worked.
The trip was worth it. We could go back someday, but we will likely head back to Alabama's coast next time. "It's just not the same." I hope the BP cleans up its mess by then.