Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Topsail Island Vacation

Last week was Jackson and my first real vacation together.  We have taken short weekend trips here and there, but this was our first real time away from home (9 days!!!). Unfortunately, Ryan couldn't travel with us due to work. But, that did  not stop us from having a fantastic beach vacation!

Our traveling caravan departed on September 7.  My sister and I drove the kids  (Jackson and cousin Anna, age 2) in our Flex.  My parents and brother hauled all of our junk in their car and led the way!  It was a long drive (20 hours), but for the most part, the kids did really well.  We packed everything but the kitchen sink to keep them occupied and distracted.  Eventually they fell asleep and we decided to drive as far as we could while they slept.  We arrived at the beach on the 8th around 1p.m.

It was really hard waking up to this for a week (HA!)
We weren't able to get into our rental house at that time, but we had access to the beach. We unpacked some sand toys and introduced the kids to the ocean.  J was in awe!  He loves digging in his sandbox, so an entire beach was like heaven to my little boy!  The waves, however, took a little getting used to.  When he first set foot on the beach, he ran right up to the edge of the water to check it out.  He clearly didn't understand how waves work because when the tide came rushing back in at him, he let out a yell and started sprinting up the beach with a wave hot on his heels!  By week's end, he would wade out into the surf and liked to try to jump the waves. 
Our humble abode for the week.
Playing in the waves.

The week started off with visits from two cousins who live in North Carolina.  It was great catching up and visiting with them.  We also spent the first few days just playing on the beach.  We tried boogie boarding, built sand castles, searched for shells and tried to find crabs. We walked to the nearby swimming pool a couple times too.  Jackson liked finding the crab holes on the beach and would often be seen with his face stuck over a crab hole seeing if it was occupied.  Luckily, none were!
J looking for a crab. I suggested he not stick his head in the hole, but
he thought it would work this way!
Trying to boogie board.

On Wednesday, we headed out for some mini golf and dinner. We found a great putt putt place and played 18 holes. J scored about a 176.  We would report our scores to the score keeper and when J was asked, he would claim anywhere from 10-30 strokes per hole.  He apparently didn't grasp that the lower scores are better :)  Afterwards, we decided to drive the go karts.  J loved this! He is definitely a speed freak and loved passing the other go karts.  And since I can be a little (okay a lot) competitive, we cut off a lot of drivers too, which he also thought was hilarious!

On Thursday, we chartered a small boat for a few hours.  Captain Phil took us all over the Intercoastal Waterway in search of dolphins, turtles and gators with no luck. But, he did take us to a small secluded beach crawling with Fiddler Crabs.  We also found a few hermit crabs. After fashioning a make shift box, we were able to tote them back to the house and keep them for a couple days.  My dad braved the water in a kayak at the end of the week in order to return them to the wild.  I am sure they were quite relieved little critters!  J loved the boat ride. He loved checking out the shrimp boats, looking for shells and wading in the water. 

Boating crew with our fearless Captain Phil!
We relaxed for the day on Friday before packing up and heading home on Saturday.  We were sad to leave the house, but I was ready to be home.  When we arrived home, J was super excited to see his dad.  I don't think he left his dad's side for the entire first day we were back!  The next day, J came out of his room dragging a tote bag stuffed with books and toys.  He announced that I needed to load them into the Flex because he and his dad were going back to the beach house for another vacation!

All in all, it was a great week. We were blessed with incredible weather (80's and sunny all week!). We had no major problems traveling and everyone made it there and back in one piece! Sure we had a few bumps in the road: Anna had a tummy ailment and fever for a couple days, we battled biting flies on the beach and we all had cranky moments here and there. But overall, it was a wonderful time.   I think J was the perfect age to really enjoy himself at the beach.  He was big enough to brave the waves, loved digging in the sand and everything was an exciting new adventure for him!  Can't wait for our next vacation adventure!

I think this sums up his feelings on the trip! Two thumbs up!

All smiles on the boat :)