We just got back from our last trip to Holden Beach this summer. This time, Grandma and Grandad came along with us, and we had a blast. Miles and Vivienne seem to love the beach more and more as they get older, and Evelyn also seems to enjoy the sand and surf (though for not quite as long as her older siblings).
As soon as we arrived, we headed for the sand. The kids were eager to dig in their toes. Evelyn had a blast, crawling all over the beach, plopping her hands in the sand and water, stopping occasionally to hand me a sea shell and then crawling some more. She covered quite a bit of ground that first day.
And because we didn't get a single photo of me on the last trip, Jason took this one. It proves that I do indeed participate in my family's vacations.
Evelyn was looking just darling in her beautiful swimsuit from Grandma.
Grandad brought along some binoculars for the kids to use, and they were completely enamored with them. They didn't part with their "noculars" for quite a while, even insisting that they sleep with them on their bedside table.
Daddy got down to business with the shovel and dug out three islands for the kids, complete with a trench that opened it up to the waves. They were very much stuck in a "destruction" mode, however, so we didn't get too elaborate with the sand creations this time. Next time, I think a proper castle is probably in order.
Miles was most often seen with sand flying in the air (preferably away from by-standers, though this was not always the case, much to my dismay). You will notice in the shot below that you can see the sand flying off the scoop.
And Evelyn did plenty of her own sand slinging. She also tasted quite a bit of sand. Nothing says "comfort" like a sandy thumb. Yuck.
We also took the ferry across to the Fort Fisher Aquarium. It's a nice little aquarium that is perfect for young kids with small attention spans. Also, our membership there gets us into the zoo for free as well - a great deal for us. On the boat ride home, we also fed the birds off the back of the ferry - always a hit.
Evelyn decided that she wanted to keep Grandad's Boeing baseball cap. I have to say that it probably looks a little better on her (no offense, Dad).
One evening after a long day of beach play, Miles and Jason stayed out on the beach for about an extra hour. Miles loved tossing the frisbee back and forth with Daddy, and then he said that he wanted to sit out in the water. And so they did.
We were lucky enough to see the volunteers close out a sea turtle nest, so the kids experienced this yet again. They aren't even 4 years old and they have seen tons of sea turtles making their way out into the big blue. (You can see the roped off sections in the background below as we waited for the turtles to start their big adventure.)
This is our attempt at a family photo. You will notice that you cannot actually see the faces of any of our children.
Daddy also dug some very deep holes for the kids to play in.
On this trip, we discovered a new fun activity - boogie boarding!
Who would have known that a 3-year-old would like to boogie board, but Miles really got into it. Jason would set him up on the board and push him in front of a wave, and Miles would ride the wave to the sand (only 10 feet or so, but I was still impressed). He loved it. He kept saying,"Again! Again!"
They also loved it when we pulled them along the surf on their boards. Vivienne would try this out, but she was too nervous to try the solo boarding on the waves on this trip. Maybe next time.
We took one afternoon to go to Calabash for some awesome southern fried seafood. Captain Nance's never disappoints. Afterward, we stopped at St. Nick Nacks, a gift and Christmas shop. The kids were completely in awe of the Christmas wonder that awaited us inside. They kept saying, "It's so beautiful!" and "Look! Look!" Luckily they have no concept of just how far away Christmas really is.
We also enjoyed plenty of sweet treats on this trip. Miles and Vivienne devoured (and painted themselves with) countless ice cream cones.
And I close with another family photo with only one child screaming and the other two protesting the picture a little more quietly. Hey, we're all in the same frame. I'll take it.
Goodbye, summer 2013! Now on to pumpkins and turkeys and trees!