Saturday, August 29, 2009

Introductions Please

I have this habit of introducing people to my husband multiple times. I tend to forget if I have introduced him to people that I know even if I have known them for years. Many times I have said "Have you met my husband, Mike?" and both Mike and the person I am introducing him to say "Yes, we have met several times." It has become quite the joke now:). I believe I have passed this trait on to Lydia.

Today I took the kids to the library in the morning and then we stopped by Wal Mart on our way home. While walking through Wal Mart, we ran into Lydia and Emily's Pre-School teacher. Before today I had not officially met her. I had seen her a few times last year while volunteering in Ryan's class and seeing her in the hall, but had not been introduced. We were on vacation during orientation so we did not have the opportunity to meet then. Lydia and Emily were very excited to see her and (Lydia in particular) began to dance around and became very giddy to see Ms. Warner there! After Ms. Warner talked to the girls for a while, I said
"You must be Ms. Warner. I am Stacey." and extended my hand.
She looked up from her crouched position and said "I am Therese" and extended her hand as she stood up.
Lydia and Emily were standing near her and Lydia said "This is my sister, Emily."
Ms. Warner said "Yes, I know. Remember, she is in class with us everyday."
I laughed so hard! I guess if you are going to pass something on to your child--make sure it is good manners :).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

No More Babies

We decided to put Lydia and Emily into the Pre-K program in the public schools this year. Today was their first day of school. Ryan started 1st grade on Tuesday, the 25th, but I was at work that day and did not get to see him get on the bus. There is a picture at the bottom of this post that Mike took of him getting on the bus that day. Lydia and Emily happily followed Ryan onto the bus this morning and sat in his seat with him. As you know from last year's posting of Ryan's first day in Kindergarten, we live within walking distance of the school, but depend on the bus during work days. . . . so we ran across the subdivision and through the ball field to see the bus pull into the parking lot to let the kids off the bus. Last year I was not able to see Ryan get off the bus that first day, but today we were able to see all of them get off the bus and go in the door. In fact, the staff pointed us out to Lydia and Emily as they saw us standing on the hill. Guess it was good that they knew it was us and not some psycho people there stalking children :). We waived, but Lydia and Emily did not miss a beat--they kept walking and went right into the school. They take the Pre-K kids off the bus first and keep them separate for the first few weeks until they know where they are going and are comfortable with the goings on with everything. They then let all the other kids off of the bus and we saw Ryan getting off the bus and was able to get a picture of him this year.

After all this occurred, I thought about how great it was that they had Ryan with them. After all, they are only three years old. They will be 4 in a couple weeks, but still just 3. But then I realized, I put my 4 year old son on that bus last year by himself--he had no one! I guess they all do just fine in the end :). I can't believe all of my babies are in school. When does the crying stop? Lydia and Emily
Emily, Ryan and LydiaGetting off bus at the school
















Ryan's first day of 1st grade

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sad Ride Home

Well, we are on our way home from the beach today. The kids have been watching The Transformers and napping a little. This is always such a sad day for me. I always hear people say, my husband included, “I love vacation, but I am ready to come home.” I WISH I could feel that way! I have never WANTED to come home from vacation:). I wish, at some point, I could stay on vacation long enough to get tired of being on vacation.
Our trip was absolutely awesome! The weather was terrific and until the end of the week the ocean was so calm. Ryan decided he wanted a boogie board so we found some on sale for $5.99 and the girls got some goggles (which Lydia did not end up liking—so Ryan has a pair of those too :). He could not really get the hang of the boogie board in the waves, but in the lazy river he really took off with it. In addition to the lazy river, our condo had two pools, three Jacuzzis (or "hot pools" as Emily called them) and two kiddie pools. Emily became a lot more confident in the water. She started jumping in and actually going all the way under and then swimming with her face in the water. Very exciting!
On our way home we stopped in Raleigh NC for a birthday party. Stacey’s Uncle Freddie turns 70 this month (click on the Storz family on the labels to the right of the blog). His wife and kids surprised him with a party inviting close family and friends. Because of some weird way our GPS has taken us it is taking us an extra hour and 1/2 to get home from Raleigh as it normally does. Enjoy the pictures. Oh, one more thing . . . . the family pictures on the beach . . . . we are pretty proud. . . . we set up our tripod on the sand and took several pictures with our camera remote. Couldn't believe they actually turned out :).



"Can you hear the ocean in this one Lydia?" The funny part about it was he was holding up a clam shell :).Bathing BeautiesOur view at dinnertime each night. Could not get enough of that view!! On the Cherry Grove Pier, looking back at our condo.We tend to corner the market in free entertainment. Once we get up enough money to go on vacation, we don't have much money left to do much else. :) We took the kids out for some fun one day. They had such a great time and we did not spend a dime! We took them to Bass Pro Shops. They have a huge fish tank with salt water fish in it. The kids looked at the fish for a long time. They spent a great deal of time sitting on the boats and "driving" the 4-wheelers.



We went to the mall that was attached to Bass Pro Shops. In the middle of the mall they have the little kiddie rides that you put money in. We don't ever put money in those, but the kids still LOVE climbing on them. Every so often they ask for money, but when we say no they still enjoy. The really surprising thing this time was a rack of shopping carts that were next to the kiddie rides. They were all chained to the rack so you had to pay to use them. Emily and Lydia spent a great deal of time playing in the cars of the carts. Ryan did a little bit, but not much, but Lydia spent almost 30 minutes playing in a shopping cart--A SHOPPING CART!! Amazing!

Broadway at the Beach--The Disney Store


Broadway at the Beach



Uncle Freddie's 70th Birthday Party

To expand on our free entertainment, Broadway at the Beach has an area with spraying water. Anytime you go past this area on a hot day or evening there are kids running in and out of this water. We went past this water and Emily decided she wanted to go through the water. We were not sure if she should let her since we did not bring a change of clothes, but let her since we were leaving soon. Ryan really wanted to go in, but debated and debated before actually going in. He loved it once he actually bit the bullet. We never actually talked Lydia into going.






Emily and her water tricks




This is a movie from Uncle Freddie's Birthday Party. Aunt Kathy got the kids little party hats and horns. You had to blow the horns pretty hard to get the sound to come out and the kids had to get the hang of them before they could get them to work. Adella was never successful getting any sound to come out, but she was so adorable looking as if she was part of a Mardi Gras street show with her horn--but no sound. Too funny!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What a Day!!

What a day! All I wanted to do was to try to collect some sand dollars while visiting here at Myrtle Beach. Yesterday we went looking to try to find Hogs Inlet. In our journey we found a great little park in Cherry Grove where locals come to "go crabbin." We were taught how, with a cheap pack of chicken necks, a crab weight and a fishing net, you can catch your dinner. Think we might try that next year. Can use crab pots too, but this seems like it is more family involvement. :) While we were there, the kids got to see all these great fiddler crabs too--hundreds of them! I wanted to get better pictures of them, but if I got closer they would go into their holes--better than "ghost crab" hunting any day!







Anyway, after leaving this park, we continued on our journey and found a public walkway to Hogs Inlet. It is part of Cherry Grove, but about 2 miles from where we are staying. It is incredible! The water comes up in between 2 pieces of land. When the tide is low, you can actually walk across to the other side. The best part, there are tide pools EVERYWHERE and it is perfect for the kids to play! No worry about current or waves, etc.










So, this morning I announce I am going there to dig for sand dollars. Immediately Emily announces she is coming with me. She is DEFINITELY our swimming child! Ryan says no he wants to hang with Daddy and Lydia thinks about it for a minute and decides to come with me.

The girls spend a long time playing in one of the tide pools before Lydia announces she needs to poop. This is not good and not possible! Since we are two miles from our place, Mike has driven us down and has instructed us to call him when were ready to come back. I DID NOT want to go all the way back just to turn around and besides, I didn't think she would make it. I know this will gross some people out--particularly my mother--I quickly emptied my cup of tea and helped her move her bathing suit to the side all the while trying to conceal her from the population. Luckily this was not a populated area! I then found a trash can and disaster seemed to have passed us by.
"Let's go over here and let Mommy dig for Sand Dollars" I said to the girls. They picked up a sand toy a piece and followed me across the sand to the area where the water comes "inlet." In walking there we walked through another tide pool where we spooked a Stingray who was trapped in the tide pool and laying in the sand. I wanted a picture, but when I took my camera back to get a picture I couldn't find him again.

I was digging for a little while Lydia and Emily were playing in the shallow water, found a few sea shells (small ones) when Lydia gets stung by a jellyfish! Couldn't believe it!! It was a baby jellyfish, but it hurt her! We rubbed it with sand, scratched it, spit on it, everything. Finally the pain began to stop, but that was the end of my sand dollar digging. We went back over to our original tide pool where we made some friends, Cannon (7) and Reggie-Caroline (almost 5) from South Carolina. After they played with the girls in the sand and tide pool for a while they drove us back to our place in their Polaris and swam in our pool for a while. Very cool! Daddy was jealous!! :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Beach

The Beach. I honestly don't think there is a better place to be on earth. A lot of people I know would disagree with me and say the mountains are better. I walk out of my front door, at home, everyday to see the Massanutten Mountain range and don't ever even notice them. I do, however notice the smell of the salt water, the feel of the ocean breeze, the squish of the sand between your toes, and the relaxing sound of the waves as they break on the shore. I would live at the beach if I thought I could make a living while still coming to the beach on a regular basis. I even love watching all the people play in the surf, walk along collecting shells, taking family walks, and reading in their sand chairs while sitting right in the most shallow part of the surf--keeping themselves cool while getting completely lost in their book. My mom used to do that. Well, she still does that, but I don't get to be with her as often now, so I am not able to notice.

Mike, the kids and I are in Myrtle Beach this week. I have been coming to Myrtle Beach (North Myrtle) since I was about 8 years old. May have been longer--I can't remember not coming, but I think 8 is about right. My parents would bring my brother and me every year. My parents brother and I have come by ourselves, with family friends, and as we got older, mom and dad would let each of us bring a friend. My parents are pretty cool that way! My mom taught us how to build drip castles in the sand (no one else EVER knows how to make those!) and how to fish on the pier. My dad would take us putt-putting and out for ice cream. We would go to dinner most nights, but as I got older mom and dad would let us stay in the condo and order a pizza for us while they would go out. At the time I thought it was something special for us, but now know it was something special for all involved :).

We are staying in a different area in Myrtle Beach this year. It is called Cherry Grove. It is the northern most tip of Myrtle Beach and is just a few miles from the North Carolina border. It is a little smaller and a little less busy in Cherry Grove which has been quite refreshing. During our stay I have been noticing a lot of cottages and not so many high rises. This has been creating some breathtaking views from our high rise condo!

As we drove down Highway 17 (the main drag through Myrtle Beach) today I was saddened by all the changes that have taken place over the years. Where the Jungle Golf putt-putt was, is now a CVS (I always got a hole in 1 there). Where we used to ride the Water Boggan water slides over and over again for our 1 hour paid time slot is now a bank (the Water Boggan was so great! There were no steps, you climbed a ramp to get to the top of the slides. Though much younger and thinner , I don't remember it being a big deal to do. My dad would take us and sometimes I think he had more fun than we did. :) During the days of us driving the "submarine" we would get in that car and our exposed legs and backs would literally melt on to the vinyl seats :). To this day, that car is the reason why I will never own anything but upholstery in my vehicles!) Ole King Cole's Ice Cream, which was better known for its water, is now another random putt-putt place. But I the saddest change has to be Outriggers. Outriggers is a family restaurant where we would eat each year on our first and last night in town. We noticed they closed down a couple of years ago. We can only assume the owner passed away (he was an old man 20 years ago), but we were surprised no one else took it on because you never went by it in the summer months that people were not waiting outside. Since we were here last year, it has been torn down and a Bargain Beachwear has been built in its place :(.

Now, to finally bring me to the conclusion of my story . . . in the midst of all these changes, there is one thing that has stayed the same. There is a fishing pier in Cherry Grove that has not been ruined by all the hurricanes. I have been fishing on this pier as a kid, as a teenager, as a young adult and as a parent with my children. It is called Cherry Grove Pier and we are staying at the Prince Resort at the Cherry Grove Pier. I have been to this pier 100 times, but have never stayed here. The resort is only 3 or 4 years old, but there were cottages and houses here for years.
Even though I do get excited to think about what the future holds for my family and me and love the idea of creating traditions with my children, I think I will always be a sucker for memories!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Memories

I continue to wonder what makes kids close to their parents and hope that Mike and I are doing a good job creating a good relationship with our children so when that crucial moment happens that they can either come to us or go to their friends, that they come to us.

My family did not camp when I was a kid. Once my brother and I moved out, our parents purchased a nice used motor home to see how they liked the camping/traveling thing. They loved it and have since graduated to a new, much nicer model RV. Mike has so many fond memories of camping with his grandparents when he was little. It is such an important thing that our kids have these same great memories.

This past weekend we went camping with my parents and my brother and his family. We all met up at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park in Luray. We had camped at the Jellystone Park in Natural Bridge, but not in Luray. It was such a great campground!! It had so many great things to do that there was really no time for the "sitting around the campfire" type of camping that we enjoy :).

They had these great jumping pillows. They were these huge plastic/canvas pillows that had air constantly being pumped into them. You could jump on them just like you would a trampoline. We all loved it!! Particularly Mike! The early teenage kids kept asking him to come back over and jump with them because he would jump so high and it would cause them to jump higher and higher. As my brother described it, he looked like a rock star with all the kids hovering around him :). Lydia did not like it if there were a lot of people jumping at the same time she was--particularly big people (mainly Mike :)). She did not feel secure while jumping so she would wait until there were just a few people jumping and then she would have a great time. Emily jumped and jumped and when we were not at the jumping pillows, she would ask to go to the jumping pillows. Ryan liked it a lot, but he preferred riding his bike. We allowed him to ride just down from our campers and over in front of the pool by himself. Needless to say, he thought he was something else and spent most of the weekend doing just that. My niece, Adella, was kind of hit or miss. She liked it, but only if she was jumping with someone else, but she too felt a little uneasy if lots of people were jumping around her.



As most campgrounds do, this campground also had a playground. We usually spend a lot of time at the campground playgrounds, but there were so many other fun things to do here that we only spent a short time there.
If you purchased a wristband you were able to have access to several activities without paying extra. We took full advantage. Mike and Ryan purchased a wristband and Lydia and Emily were free on everything that they were able to participate in (according to their age they were not able to go on the water slide at all). I did not purchase a wristband because I had to stay with Lydia and Emily when they were not able to ride. The paddle boats were part of our "free entertainment." Mike, Ryan and Lydia started on the paddle boats and Emily was a little scared. Once she saw them paddling and having such a great time, she decided to join in. She had to sit in the back though because the front was full :).






The water slide was included in the wristband price as well. Ryan went down the first day, but he was not able to touch the bottom of the pool at the bottom of the water slide and did not want to go again the
next day so I don't have a picture of him.


Lydia, Emily and I went on a wagon ride that Boo Boo and Cindy were hosting. Just prior to us getting on the wagon, they took Boo Boo away on a golf cart. We can only assume he was getting ready to pass out since it was 92 degrees and he was wearing a fur suit :). It took us around the campground so we were able to pass our campers where Grammy and Aunt Allison were sitting outside and waived to us.

The pool was really great! They had two kiddie pools and a regular pool. We stayed in the bigger kiddie pool. It started at 2 feet deep and gradually went to 4 feet. Everyone was able to touch in the majority of the pool. Plus, there was this great mushroom waterfall in the middle of the pool that everyone just loved.

S'mores were a big hit with Adella as well as Ryan and Emily. Lydia passed out before we could get the marshmallows out. It was a big day for everyone!


On our last morning there, we hit the pool and the jumping pillows one more time before packing up and heading home. It was a great weekend!!
The following movies are of the putt-putt game that was also included in the wristband price. We don't have any golfers on our hands at this point I don't think. :). Also, a movie of Ryan riding his bike past the pool and a movie of the jumping pillows. This will give you a better idea of how cool they were. Oh, BTW, you are not seeing things . . . yes, Ryan has a Mohawk! We will be shaving it off by the end of the week!