We haven’t even been at the beach 48 hours, and I already feel more at ease. The sounds of the waves combined with the breezy, salty air is like a magical elixir for relaxation. We’re lucky that the weather isn’t supposed to break 90 this week. It’s the perfect temperature for running on the beach in the morning and hanging out on the beach all day.
When my grandparents were young, they called the beach “the seashore”. I like that phrase. It sounds more poetic than “the beach”. When I think of going to the seashore, I think of women in striped 1940s swimsuits and men with James Dean smiles and hair styled with Pomade. I think of shag dancing and Otis Redding. I think of Ferris wheels on piers where passengers feel as though they’ll wheel right into the ocean below. I think of classic Chevys or Mustang convertibles cruising down Ocean Blvd.
I’ve decided, though, that no matter the generation, the beach is a magical place to be. Those of us from the Carolinas have a special fondness toward the seashore. It’s part of our heritage and history. Most of us Carolinians grew up either going to the North Carolina or South Carolina shore. I have hundreds, maybe thousands, of my own beach memories. I could write a novel chronicling the many summers, spring breaks, and weekends spent at the beach with family and friends.
Now as I watch my boys make their own beach memories, it makes me smile. I know when they grow up, they’ll look back on these very moments. They may even come to love the beach as a place of refuge, of wonder, like my husband and I do. The seashore is a special place that, for me, holds a large piece of my life and my heart. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is that makes it so unique. I don’t’ know if it’s the vastness of the ocean, the sounds of the seagulls, or the healing nature of the sea air, but whatever it is, I always leave feeling refreshed and inspired.
“After a visit to the beach, it’s hard to believe that we live in a material world.” – Pam Shaw
I’m back for the weekly SOC Saturday link-up with Jaime at Love, Jaime. Each Saturday (or Sunday), folks can link-up and free write for 5-7 minutes, so here goes.
We leave for the beach today, in one hour and 33 minutes to be exact. Both of my boys have been trying to wake up since before 6:00 am (right now it’s 6:27). They are so excited; they can’t even sleep. Daddy and I, on the other hand, would love a little extra rest, but we parents know how that goes. I decided just to get up and blog until the time comes when one of the boys won’t go back to sleep.
We’re leaving for a seven-day trip to North Myrtle Beach with a huge group of family members. We’ve been packing for three days straight. There’s just something about anticipating a beach trip that’s so exhilarating. We pulled out all of our cots and sand toys and different types of sunscreen. I bought everyone a new bathing suit just for fun. The boys have a new movie to watch in the car, and I have two new books waiting for me. We even watched home videos of last year’s beach trip.
I’m ready for a week of fun and relaxation. I’ve been longing for some time to run on the beach, walk on the beach, read on the beach, play on the beach, sleep on the beach, take pictures on the beach. Well, I think you get the point. I’m ready for some beach time.
I know that when the trip is over, I’ll be ready to get home and settle back into our regular routine and catch the boys up on their rest.
But for now, we are beach-bound and couldn’t be more ecstatic.
The toddler is currently chanting, “Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy” from his room, so I think it’s time we just all get up and hit the road. Sun and fun, here we come!
In our world of selfie photographs, this product is seriously cool. How do you currently take a group selfie? Is that called a groupie? Have smartphones made the word groupie a homonym? Jimi Hendrix and Jerry Garcia would be so disappointed in us. Or maybe not. This product would have certainly enabled some awesome concert shots. Anyway, if we’re going to take these type of photographs, we can at least include everyone in the group, right? The XShot allows us to do just that.
I learned about this product recently at a blogging conference and was totally captivated. What a great tool, and it’s so easy to use! Why didn’t I think to invent it? When compacted, it can fit in your purse or backpack. Then when you’re ready to use it, you just pull it out and snap on your camera or phone. Not only does it work for any type of group photo, but it’s also great for outdoor shots when you’re trying to capture a scenic background or when you are taking a city shot and want part of the city in the background.
Because many folks these days take all of their photographs with their phones, XShot created a phone holder that screws right on to the XShot extender. My husband has a Samsung phone, and I have an iPhone. Both easily fit into the phone holder. It’s seriously even simpler than I can explain. To take a photo on your phone, download the Timer Cam App. It’s free and allows you to set a timer so the group can get settled for the photograph.
Zealous Mom has partnered with XShot to host this giveaway. One winner will win both the XShot extender as well as a phone holder. The giveaway will run for one week. The winner’s name will be announced on the blog and Zealous Mom’s social media channels. The lucky guy or gal will also receive an email so they can be expecting their XShot products in the mail. Good luck! This product is truly awesome.
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?
Maybe I was a bit melodramatic last week about leaving my toddler to make a trip to DC with my five-year old and my mom so that we could spend time with my sister’s family and take care of my niece for a week while her parents worked. I don’t know what caused me to be so sad about leaving my two-year old, but the mom guilt over it was real, and I’m so happy to now be home with him showering him with affection.
My littlest boy had a wonderful time at home with Daddy and my mother-in-law. They took excellent care of him and kept him in his regular routine. I recorded a storybook for him which he played all week while I was gone (so cute), and we Face Timed every night, so we kept in contact. As much contact as one can with a toddler.
We had an amazing time in DC, and my two-year old seriously could not have handled all of the activity. I am also sure I was annoying everyone by talking about how much I missed him. They responded with, “It’s only four days” and “It’s good for him to have a little change of pace” and “Brooks deserves some alone time with you” and “He’s having more fun at home in his own environment.” Even though these comments didn’t ameliorate my melancholy feelings entirely, they did help a little
After reflecting upon it, I’ve decided two things made it extra hard this time to leave town.
1). My toddler was separated from his brother. Even though they argue as siblings do, they love each other and the little one looks up to the big one in a fierce way. Last year I went to a blogging conference for four days and though I missed my family at home, I didn’t feel guilty whatsoever about leaving. I felt calm that they were all together and that I was the only one gone. I didn’t feel like I was leaving one of them and doing something special with the other. During last week’s trip to DC, not only did my little one have to wonder where I had gone, but he also had to wonder where his brother had gone. He’s old enough to feel jealousy because at home, he doesn’t want his brother to sit in my lap or get any type of attention that he is not getting. I worried that he was experiencing jealousy last week which we adults know is a horrible emotion.
2). My toddler is at that age where he’s too young to understand exactly where I’ve gone and what I’m doing, but he’s old enough to know that I’ve left and to wonder where I went. Does that sentence even make sense? Anyway, he’s at that phase where he’s very attached to me, and quite frankly, I’m very attached to him. In contrast, my five-year old understands where I go when I leave and though he may miss me, he enjoys whatever it is he’s doing in my absence.
It truly seems like being a mom is an emotional roller coaster. That’s okay, though, because when things have meaning, life is so much more fulfilling. My husband and my older child drove my mother-in-law back home this past weekend, so I had some alone time with the toddler. It was very much-needed and so fun. Now our family of four is finally back in one house, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Do you remember journal writing in middle or high school? When your teacher said, “Okay, I’m going to give you ten minutes, now just write.” Or maybe you unknowingly did this type of writing in your adolescent diary. No matter the reason, I haven’t written like this in quite some time but remember finding it freeing for the mind.
My friend, Jaime, who blogs at Love, Jaime has started a weekly link-up called ‘Stream of Consciousness Saturday (or Sunday)’ where folks can write about whatever is on their minds for 5-7 minutes. So here goes…
Yesterday, I had an issue with the server on my computer, then five minutes later my social media icons were not showing up on my blog. I tried everything to fix it. Then I found out that it was only happening when I was using Firefox as my browser. When using Explorer, the icons were showing up. I updated the plugin, deactivated other plugins that have caused issues in the past, downloaded the latest versions of Firefox and Java, updated my computer, restarted my computer, etc. I spent a good hour trying to fix it. And what I noticed most was the mood it put me in. I started snapping at everyone in my family and delaying getting ready to go out. I just wanted to find a solution! I became an evil barracuda on a war path to fixing this problem.
When I finally just had to leave it alone and get ready to go out, I felt so much better. My mother-in-law is in town, so we all got dressed and headed to Asheville to dine outside, watch some street performers, and eat ice cream. I never fixed it. It’s still not showing the icons in Firefox, but once I got out of the house and started focusing on the real world instead of my computer, all was well.
This small experience brought out an ugly side to my personality. I know it’s there, but I don’t like when it comes out. I get really frustrated when I can’t find a solution to something or when something is not working correctly and I can find no reason whatsoever as to the cause of the problem.
It also reminded me that nothing can replace experiences in the real world with people I love. Next time I start to get bent out of shape about something that’s totally out of my area of expertise, I am going to stop worrying about it, shut down my computer and step into the real world, the one with kid laughter, birds singing, and people talking. It may not solve my problem but it sure puts things into perspective.
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?
I swear, sometimes years fly by like minutes and other times, days creep by like weeks. The big boy and I have been away from home for about 30 hours, and I already miss my toddler terribly. We face-timed last night with him, and I’m not sure if that made it worse or better. I really just wanted to jump through the screen and squeeze his little face and cover his neck with kisses.
At first, he looked perplexed that I was inside the phone, but then he seemed to get used to it and began chattering away. He had a big day with my husband, Todd, and my mother-in-law, “MeMe”. Selfishness aside, I know he’s going to be fine. I’m more than lucky to have a husband and a mother-in-law who will spoil him for five days so I can spend some quality time with my big boy, Brooks.
Okay, so enough with the “woe is me” mentality. Other than missing my little monkey back home, Brooks and I are having a blast. We flew in early yesterday morning. So that we could get settled during our first day here, we didn’t make any big plans. We asked Brooks and my niece what they wanted to do, and they said “go to a park”. Of all the things to do in DC and they want to go to a park. Anyway, we ended up going to three different parks in three different sections of the city. Sliding and swinging and climbing surrounded by city buildings, historic homes, and fire truck sirens was much different than frolicking about our hometown playgrounds which are nestled amidst lakes, creeks, and mountains. It was cool for Brooks to have different type of park experience.
Mingled in with park hopping, we sat outside and ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant then later went to a different restaurant that had a rooftop area. There, the kiddos played ping pong and ate ice cream. Then we came back to the house, cooked out, played corn hole, and let the kids run amok, play hide-n-seek and splash around in an inflatable pool. At one point, I was even able to sit and read a chapter in my novel. It was crazy!
Our agenda for the rest of the week is jam-packed with activities. I’ll still be packing snacks, sunscreen, and drinks for two kids, but instead of a two and five-year old, I’ll have a five and eight-year old, which will be fun and different. Right now I can hear the kids upstairs running back and forth between rooms playing. They don’t know I know they’re awake.
I don’t know what it is, but whether it’s my children, or my niece, or my friends’ children, I just love being around little people. Though they can be exhausting, there’s just something about the way they experience life with full emotion and energy that’s truly inspiring. With that being said, I’m going to get off this computer and go interrupt their imaginative world so we can get ready for a fun-filled day in the city.
My sister and I were once baton twirlers. It was the 1980s and twirling the baton was pretty cool. It may still be. I don’t run in the baton twirling circles anymore, so I’m not sure. I just know that every summer, she and I performed our routines to a patriotic song during the July 4th celebration at Ocean Lakes Campground in Myrtle Beach, SC.
I found this picture the other day in a stack of old family photos. As I looked at it, two things happened. First, I was flooded with memories of my childhood and the many, many July 4th holidays spent at Ocean Lakes. Second, I chuckled at the randomness and humor in the photo which includes a strange man headed straight for us, my blue Keds which are now back in style, and the fact that walking around in our baton costumes was commonplace.
Seriously, though, my childhood Independence Days were quintessential, in hindsight anyways. My sister and I slept in bunk beds nestled into a wall of our blue and white camper. We would wake up early, hurriedly eat some Cocoa Puffs, then play cards or bounce a ball back and forth in the street outside of our camper’s lot. We had a black and white TV that’s screen was much smaller than my laptop screen, so there was really no point in trying to watch it. Interestingly, watching TV didn’t cross our minds because well…there were too many other things to do.
When my parents woke up, we would dress in our July 4th attire and head into the heart of the campground to watch the golf cart parade. Everyone would doll up their golf carts with red, white, and blue. You couldn’t look in any direction without stars and stripes flooding the retinas. Later in the day, my sister and I would twirl our batons to tunes like “Yankee Doodle” and “In the Navy”.
In the evening, we would stuff our faces with hamburgers, barbeque potato chips, and watermelon. Then the family would walk to the beach and watch fireworks until late into the night.
Summertime memories made at Ocean Lakes Campground are entrenched in my heart and mind like other people’s memories of summer camp or days at the local pool. For me, July 4th meant family, campground fun, and twirling my baton. There is a very real possibility that my sister and I did not want to twirl our batons for a bunch of vacationers we didn’t know. I mean, we were kids. We probably wanted to spend the day splashing around in the ocean or building sand castles, but as I look at this picture, I feel only warmth in my heart and fondness toward that time in my life.
It’s funny how the brain does that. It’s like when I look back at pictures of my five-year old when he was a colicky baby and remember very little of the stress it caused. I simply remember the joys of having his little body in my arms and the indescribable feeling of being a new mom.
What are your childhood memories of the 4th? If they were good, cherish them. If they were not so good, you have time to make up for that with new memories. I hope my boys look back at pictures of them in red, white, and blue and smile like I do when I look back at this snapshot.
Have a safe and happy fourth, everyone! Someone will be remembering this day years from now, so make it a good one.