Monday, August 29, 2011

August 29

Well, Aaron is back to Minnieland full time now. If you remember older posts about him at school…he always has a great day but is reluctant to go to school in the mornings and can get fussy. We have a pretty lockstep morning routine and that really helps, but along with that is our reward system of getting an afterschool activity together as soon as we get home if he is a cheerful boy in the morning. He was a bit upset this morning, and definitely tired, but we always ask him the night before what he wants his afterschool activity to be the next day, and we keep reminding him about it throughout the morning to help keep him motivated and NOT whining.
I wanted a “first day of school” picture of him, and since he gets to choose his shirt everyday (and then I get out the rest of the outfit so he is at least coordinating) this Cars 2 shirt from Andrea gets a starring role. He is also doing this thing where if I agree to take one picture of him making a goofy face, then he will give me a great smile for the next picture with no hassle :)
Here’s the goofy one…
…and here’s the great smile :) Well…I’ll take it anyway.

He did not fuss or cry a BIT once he actually got to school, so he did in fact get his afterschool activity. He thought up playing frisbee outside and reading a chapter from his castle book.
One of the things that is emphasized in junior kindergarten is writing first AND last names in correct title case. Ashley got these great little dry erase practice writing strips for Aaron, so we tried this for the first time tonight. he has been learning how to write lowercase with me during our “learning time” but we haven’t finished the whole alphabet, and what’s more, I haven’t even STARTED trying to teach him Karayannis yet. But here is his first effort, copying Ashley’s neat version on the top card. Love that little guy :)

August 28

This is our last day of summer and that is REALLY hard to believe. Not our funnest summer ever, but all things considered we had the best summer we could have hoped for. Aaron’s surgery and recovery were amazing, we got to share the upcoming arrival of our baby girl, and still got to have our beach trip. Here are Aaron and I during “learning time” which we had been doing for about the last month, working on writing letters and numbers and other basic concepts activities. We had a little morning routine down and would spend about 30 minutes working at his desk before starting to read or play.
(note the concentration tongue…)
…and tomorrow, it’s back to school for all of us!

August 27

The many home projects/adjustments we tackled this summer allowed us to repurpose our “fancy” living room into a playroom. The furniture in there was perfectly lovely, but we didn’t use the room much AT ALL and Aaron hasn’t ever had a playroom. So, we passed the nice furniture on to Sarah, brought up the sleeper sofa from the basement and moved Aaron’s toys in. It still has the nice curtains and painting over the couch…but that’s fine for now. There is Aaron playing with his Cars track, which can now stay set up in a space of it’s own. There is a couch for him to sit on, or for us to read on together, and his city rug stays out too. He has already made great use of it as he gets used to the whole idea.
Here is what it looked like outside when I got up this morning at 8…it’s Hurricane Irene day. She should be rolling up in here about 4 this afternoon.
and she did. It rained A LOT, and hard, and it was VERY windy, but that was about it for us. We did not have any damage, downed branches or trees, or loss of power. Many friends who live 30-40 miles north had loss of power, but we just had a rainy day inside.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

August 26

Well we are headed home. Aaron cried this morning as we were getting ready to go and said, "I don't WANT to leave this place. I want to go to the beach and the pool two times every day!" I couldn't agree more. Sigh.

 We tried a different place for breakfast this morning, as it is a bit of a tradition for us to go out for breakfast right before we head home. There are pancake houses lining the streets here, so there is plenty to choose from. We are always trying to find a favorite, just like with the ice cream. As I flipped through my monster coupon book, one ad caught my eye, the Golden Griddle Pancake House, "voted best breakfast on the beach!" Well I don't know who voted, but that endorsement and the 15% off coupon were all I needed. Now my hubby LOVES pancakes but they need to be a certain way, so I am always nervous that when we try a new place they will be the "bad" way, which means he doesn't like them to look fried and have crispy edges like our Cracker Barrel makes them.

The Golden Griddle did NOT disappoint. The food came out really fast, it was very hot and fresh, they gave us plenty of real butter that was softened and warm siri-up (as Aaron calls it). The sausage was delicious, the bacon was crispy and the pancakes were OUTSTANDING! (don't bother with the scrambled's not called the Golden Griddle Egg House for a reason.) Great service, awesome pancakes, good prices, like all you can eat pancakes for 5.95, just a great little place. We have named it our favorite and will eat there every time we visit North Myrtle.


So we are now headed home in front of the storm. It was dark and cloudy all morning, and started raining as soon as we got on the road. Don't think we will have awful weather driving home, and Chris likes to drive on a cloudy day, so we should make it by 5 this evening including our bathroom stops.


August 25

Did you know Vanna White is from North Myrtle Beach? That's my hook, you'll have to keep reading for more.
I didn't carry the camera around with me today because it was our last day, I have great beach pics and sometimes the freedom of not carrying the camera is pretty nice, know what I mean? But we did go out for ice cream after eating dinner in, and here's the spot...
Back to Vanna. Being the avid childhood fan of Wheel of Fortune that I was, I of course know that our vacation spot is Vanna's home town. (that, and it says home of Vanna White on the city sign as you drive in.) Is anyone surprised to learn that the hot blonde with a mega-watt smile is from a Carolina beach town? Every season WoF does a show where she comes home and shows off all her old haunts. One of them is the above pictured Painter's Ice Cream. They have a sundae named after her. Now best in the US is a little much, but we sure have tasted ice cream from more than our fair share of places around here trying to find a favorite, and it is surprisingly hard to find good ice cream here. Painter's is a hole in the wall with no inside, just picnic table seating, and it is always crowded. It is the best ice cream we have had here, but not as tasty as say a BR or Cold Stone. They are famous for their banana pudding flavor ice cream, which I haven't tried. I go with the banana split with butter pecan. After that tasty was back to packing. Damn hurricane.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

August 24

Well, sadly, it looks like that wench Irene is going to send us home from our vacation a full day early. I am bummed, because a whole day less of vacation is kind of a lot, especially since this was our big fun and only travel of the summer. The hurricane is not supposed to be dangerous where we are, just bringing a rainy day with bigger waves. But since we would be inside all day anyway, and it is supposed to bring heavy rains and damaging winds to our home area, we are going to head home in time to get things in order should we lose power there, which we are expecting. The storm will basically be following us home.

In order to fit in (almost) everything we wanted to do with a day less, we headed to the beach this morning, when the waves are actually much better for Aaron to play, and then went on a fun little excursion in the afternoon. It was a beautiful sunny day here today.





that’s Chris and Aaron out there…


Aaron could happily stay at the beach all day, like me. I love that.


my heaven…IMG_5083


At 3:00 we embarked on a Pirate Adventure for kids down in Murrell’s Inlet.

It was really fun for him (wicked hot out on the boat for us), and he was just the cutest daggone pirate you ever saw.


The pensive pirate aboard the Sea Gypsy.


The crew on deck


The crew checking the map for sunken treasure


getting ready to blast stinky pirate Pete, who stole the keys to the treasure chest! He came up along side our ship!





Grabbing his share of the the pirate’s treasure!


A cute, fun little program. Then we headed over to The Giant Crab for dinner. It’s your standard beach city seafood buffet, and had become a bit of a tradition, my favorite part being the all you can eat crab legs. Those were still good…but the rest of the buffet seems to have gotten…suckier, you could say, over the years. It sure wasn’t as good as we remembered it, anyway. We will try another one the next time we’re here, and just wave to Tommy the crab all 54 times we drive past him.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August 23

We had a fun day today, but didn’t really take pictures! We had a nice lazy morning, then went across the street to check out another one of the pools here. It had a wade in area and was really shallow, perfect for Aaron. He is doing a great job in the water. There are also two small lazy rivers, and we tried those out too. We had dinner in, and then went down for the movie night, because they were showing Rio and we have been wanting to see that. It is usually a “Dive-In” movie which is shown on a large screen down by the pool (that you can see behind me in the picture) but it was too windy to put up the screen, bummer, so we watched it indoors. Here I am showing off my baby.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August 22

Ahhh…what a fun day! Well…after the night was over anyway. That storm you saw moving in yesterday made it here and woke me up at 3:00 in the morning with truly the loudest thunder I have ever heard. It actually took me a while to register that it was thunder because it was so loud and sharp and close. It sounded at first like someone out in the hallway banging on a metal vent cover or something. Every time I started to drift off another thunder attack blasted me awake again. That went on for about 40 minutes.

Then, at 3:45, a loud emergency alarm with an announcement came on over a speaker and was repeated over and over. The recording said an emergency had been identified in the building and that we needed to evacuate immediately without using the elevators. It was pretty terrifying, but luckily I was already awake. I quickly got dressed, went into Aaron’s room because I knew he would be totally scared, got him dressed and he wouldn’t leave my side because he was crying and so confused. I packed up my laptop, my hard drive, a towel, my camera, Aaron’s baby Simba and blanket, along with something for him to play with should we be outside for a long time. I grabbed my purse and all three of us were out the door and headed for the stairs. This is a tower with 15 floors worth of people all using the same stairwell…luckily we were only on the third. As we walked to the stairs, I reviewed what I had packed in my mind, having NO idea what was going on, and realized I should have brought some water, and better yet…our room key. Luckily Chris had one of those :) The wicked storm was still going on, lots of wind and heavy rain, and we all waited in the parking structure, which is the three bottom floors of the tower.

Aaron was confused and scared, but I used a little tip I learned from the Imagination Movers, who learned it from Mr. Rogers. When kids are looking at scary situations on the news or in front of them, Mr. Rogers would say to look for the helpers, that there are always people trying to help others in those kinds of situations. So I told Aaron to look for the helpers and he had fun pointing out the security guards and especially the fire fighters who arrived in all their gear. This instantly brightened his mood. After only about 15 minutes from when we left the room, we got the all clear to go back to our rooms. The security guard that we talked to said that there was not a fire, but that during the storm the water pressure in the building had changed dramatically and their sensors had gone off, possible due to a lightning strike. Water pressure?? Really?? If you’ve ever taken a shower at our house, you know we can’t really get worked up about water pressure, but seriously, what is that about? What’s the emergency? There has to be more to it, would love to know.

Once we got back upstairs, having gotten a shot of adrenaline and been awake just long enough NOT to be able to fall right back to sleep, I got Aaron back in bed (he thought that since he was going to bed for a second time he should get milk a second time) but he had a hard time falling asleep too. He had been so shaken up that I wanted to stay with him for a while and snuggle, but after about 20 I figured that was doing more to keep him up than get him to sleep, so I told him Daddy was scared too and I needed to check on him, which Aaron bought. Chris and I were up for another 20 minutes or so until we could fall asleep again.

We all slept until 9! That set our morning a little later than we had planned, but we still had a fun day planned. After a lovely relaxed breakfast, we did some sitting around with Phineas and Ferb, packed up some sandwiches and headed across the street to the beach for a few hours.


We got cleaned up for the fun evening we had planned…a trip to Medieval Times! I had been to the one in California years ago, but Chris and Aaron had never been, and we knew that Aaron would just go absolutely NUTS for it. He LOVES knights and castles and has been studying up on them this summer. He was so darn excited about going to this show that since Saturday when we got a brochure he has been carrying it around and showing it to random people saying, “Look where we’re going!” He was a little overwhelmed and shy at the beginning, all the loud stuff and pageantry and dark rooms and such, but he quickly warmed up.



Yellow crowns…because we are sitting in the yellow knight’s section! We were coached to cheer for the yellow night and to booooooo for the evil green knight!


Chris bought Aaron a cool wooden sword…the boy was thrilled.


Yellow section has yellow lights. Oh well. At least we weren’t in red.


There’s our knight!





Part of the story is that the green knight kidnaps the prince of the kingdom and tries to force the king to name him champion of the ring. At that point, Aaron said, “I hate the green knight. I know I’m not supposed to say that, but I really hate him.” Later on, when it seemed like the green knight was going to win, Aaron got very upset and said, “WHY DID YOU BRING ME HERE!” Luckily, good triumphed over evil and he couldn’t stop talking about how much he loved it. After the show the knights came out and Aaron was first in line to meet the yellow knight, get his autograph on his sword, and take a picture with him. Does that boy look starstruck, or WHAT?



finally, on our way out, Chris bought Aaron the yellow knight’s shield. Now THIS boy is in heaven. He held them until bedtime.


Monday, August 22, 2011

August 21

We have really loved coming down here to North Myrtle the past couple of years. There’s the beach, which we love, and lots of fun things to take Aaron to. We are going to try a couple of new things this summer that we think he will love. I posted pictures from our vacation here last summer. Our timeshare resort is lovely and across the street from the beach.

This is a very special time for us because we are celebrating our anniversary but this year our trip is also very special because when we came here last year, we had just learned about Aaron’s spine. We were shocked and scared and had no idea what the year ahead would hold. We didn’t know much, and that was scary, but we had not yet met with an orthopedic surgeon and had no idea that surgery was in Aaron’s future. We were just reeling from the news that something was wrong. It is so hard to believe that a year has gone by and between Aaron and trying for our baby girl who is now on the way it has been a very difficult year for us. Sitting on the beach and reflecting on our year and being so grateful for how we have come through will be a big part of our trip this year.

Here’s our view…


…which I enjoyed while having my morning coffee with the AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS new creamer I tried…


Good lord. I think I’m going to make a permanent switch.

And here is the place that has become our anniversary dinner tradition…Rioz Brazilian Steakhouse. Thank goodness kids eat free until they’re six! :) This place is amazing! My favorites tonight were the leg of lamb and the top round. I am also a huge fan of the side of fried bananas that they keep replenishing at the table…and killed four of those.


After a dinner like that we needed a walk, so we headed down to the beach, which is across the street from our resort. A storm was coming in (which started about 3:00 in the morning) and the sky was looking awesome. Here are some pictures form the beach, and a look back up at the place where we stay.