We are back home after a 10 day trip half way across the country to the land of sunsets, sea shells, and tropical drink concoctions.
I don't know what we were thinking when we decided to drive the 17 hour journey, but we were very lucky.
The girls did as well as can be expected and there were only a few minor hiccups. Once was when Mira absolutely refused to stop screaming unless we took her out of her car seat. In her defense, she had been sitting in it for almost 12 hours, so we made the very wise decision to stop at a hotel at 1:30 am and then immediately decided to book another for the way home.
The other was when Granny forgot her purse at a restaurant and realized it 30 minutes down the road, adding another hour to our drive. In her defense, it is hard to remember everything when there are three small human tornado distractions around.
Thanks to Children's Dramamine, Ina didn't get car sick once. She had been dreading the trip due to the long drive, and was convinced the fun wouldn't be worth the time in the backseat. She quickly ate her words once she saw the beach, pools, and - the Kendrick girls most favorite part of the trip - the hotel elevators, with all of their button pushing potential.
As soon as they gave us our key cards, we barely had a chance to enjoy the amazing ocean front room we were upgraded to before we threw on our swimsuits and headed to the pool.
I woke up every morning and immediately dressed in workout clothes and no shoes for a walk or jog on the beach to watch the sun rise. This, my friends, walking next to the water as the sun rises or sets, is my favorite place to be.
Those few hours alone were worth the trip. I even did Murph on Memorial Day, minus the pull ups because the beach was fresh out of racks.
We played in the sand for a few hours one morning, building sand castles and sifting for shells.
Another morning we mastered boogie boards, Dan standing next to Ina as she bravely attacked each wave and Cora on my back as we flopped along.
Mira firmly decided she wanted nothing to do with the ocean early on, so she mostly stayed in the stroller, which she climbed into herself, puddle jumper and all, when I suggested she join me in the water. Because of this, the determination of sand to get everywhere, the choppiness of the waves, and the general safety threat of the ocean, we spent the majority of our time at the pools.
One pool had a splash pad and a water slide, which we never could convince Cora to go down. Another pool had a bar that made the best virgin "volcanoes", which Ina conveniently learned to charge to the room.
Ina and Cora made the sweetest friends and swam with them a lot while Dan and I sipped on our margaritas (made in the hotel room blender) and played with Mira, who mastered the puddle jumper.
Cora thoroughly enjoyed switching back and forth between pool and hot tub, but repeatedly told me that I was wrong when I had previously said Myrtle Beach would have a lot of hot tubs because it "only" had five, that she could count.
We left the hotel a few times, mostly for food. Dan and I enjoyed a date night at Sea Captain's House
(highly recommend - the scallops and grouper and she crab soup were everything) and we had a family date at Bimini's (also a strong recommendation - I wanted to order 10 pounds of the shrimp), but Ina and Cora were so tired from swimming all day they could barely keep their heads off the table.
We also went to Margaritaville and Pier 14, both of which were just okay. We did, however, meet a very fun family the last day and after Dan didn't give them much of a choice, they joined us for dinner!
We cooked most of our meals at our hotel - grilled hot dogs, steaks and corn,
made nachos and ate multiple rounds pool-side,
spaghetti, tacos, biscuits and gravy,
and kale salad (you know I had to).
After a lot of persistence on my end, we rode the Ferris wheel/Sky Wheel, which the girls and I loved and Dan (who isn't a fan of being off the ground) merely tolerated.
The view of the ocean was beautiful from way up high, although I think rebel Ina was more excited about the fact that the conductor told us we were allowed three times around and we went FIVE.
I surprised Granny, Dan, and Ina with a deep sea fishing excursion, but forgot to send the Dramamine, so poor Ina was only able to catch one fish before they spent the rest of the time grabbing their stomachs and trying not to puke.
We ended most of the days with a leisurely walk on the beach, walking in the waves and looking for seashells and/or sea creatures.
Ina and Granny found many beautiful shells and we saw many (likely deceased) jelly fish, baby fish, crabs, snakes, and name-unknown-shell creatures.
We had an all around wonderful time, but I also have to say that there were some tough moments, as I assume all family vacations have. There were a few arguments, a lot of whining, and sun burns despite the 4 bottles of sunscreen we went through.
There was also an incident that involved a hot tub, a swim diaper, and a zip up swim suit that made me so jealous of the kid-less people lounging at the pool and reading a book.
That jealousy, however, was fleeting as I reminded myself that I will likely have years to read books and only a few precious to enjoy my family.
We are now home and back in the full swing of things with an open pool (woohoo!) and dance recital week. As my anxiety is directly proportional to the number of outfit changes requiring my supervision, and Ina and Cora are each in four dances in two shows, pray for me on Saturday.