Saturday, September 3, 2016

Vacation came and went!

This summer we took our first real family vacation since Dylan was born. He was 5 months old when we moved. The first summer we lived in CT, I took the kids back to IL for a week, and last summer we made an impromptu trip back to say goodbye to Grandpa Stoller. Yes, we have done little weekend trips here and there, but nothing like a week at the beach!  We were all so excited and looked forward to our trip for months! We found and rented a condo, on VRBO, that fit our needs perfectly! Our destination...Hilton Head Island, SC. We left EARLY  on Friday, July 22. We would be driving right through New York City and we wanted to miss traffic. Thankfully our early departure proved to be the smart thing to do, and we were sailing into New Jersey a little after 7 am.  We drove to within an hour of our destination Friday. Saturday morning we were up and on the road around 930. We made it to our condo just before lunch. The beach and pool were available for us to enjoy until our condo was cleaned and ready. We hit the beach first, and ended our afternoon in the pool.
 Collin, Halle, Dylan, Bryce
 First day on the beach!
Sunday morning Halle and I had a little daughter/mom breakfast date. We weren't near any churches, so we had Sunday school together and listened to a service. 
 Halle and me
Dylan, Bryce, Collin
 We ended our day on the beach, building sand creatures or just playing in the sand/water.
 Dylan
 Bryce and Collin
 Dylan, Collin, Halle, Bryce
Lucas' sand alligator
 
The kids sitting by the alligator...it was LIFEsize.
Monday was Dylan's birthday. We had packed up his presents so he would be able to open them on vacation. He was SOOOO excited to have his birthday at the beach. He LOVES the beach. Our morning started with him opening his presents, then we had cake for breakfast! Isn't that what you are supposed to do on vacation, have cake and presents for breakfast! 
 presents
 more presents
 Sharing a popsicle with "Bob"
 Happy 3rd birthday Dylan!!
Don't know what to do with you most of the time,
 but don't know what we'd do without you either!
 
After our birthday breakfast, we headed down the island to catch a dolphin cruise. We saw quite a few dolphins, got a little history, and had some pretty neat things pointed out to us. 
 Collin, Dylan, Halle, Bryce
 
 
 Everyone watching and waiting...
When we got back to our condo, we changed and hit the beach again. Everyday consisted of beach or pool, or both. I felt like a lazy bum...but again, isn't that what vacation is supposed to be...rest and relax!
 The boardwalk to the beach
 Dylan and Halle enjoying the pool.
Tuesday we took a cruise from Hilton Head Island over to Savannah Georgia. It was about a 2 hour cruise each way. We started inside, but ended up on the top deck watching the huge ships go by and visiting with another family on the cruise whose children were almost exactly our kids ages. I was a little nervous Dylan was going to try to climb over the edge. He didn't, but on the way back his sippy cup found a new home in the ocean. 
 Bryce and Collin
Savannah is quite a unique city. There are 14 squares, still in exisitence, throughout the city, from the original colony plans/layout. Most are dedicated to a certain person, or group of people. A lot of the architecture is either original, or restored, and so beautiful. The city is also known for its ghosts. Many, many spooks live/haunt the city. We didn't stick around long enough to encounter any!
 Bryce, Collin, Halle, Lucas on the trolley tour...Dylan was asleep on my lap.
 Bryce and Halle
 Dylan, Halle, Collin, Bryce, and me in front of our boat.
 Lucas, Halle, Bryce, Collin, Dylan, and me on some old stone steps. VERY steep and VERY narrow!!
 
The rest of the week, we mostly hung out at our condo. Swimming, relaxing, beaching it, etc. The temperature was at or above 100 degrees, plus heat indexes. To say it was HOT would be an understatement. But the pool and ocean were so refreshing, so we didn't really notice! 
 Dylan chasing the "penguins!" (seagulls)
 Lucas pulling Halle and Bryce on their boogie boards.
Thursday night we ended up at a show that was supposed to quite family friendly. (I'd say it depended on your family. It wasn't terrible, but not our style!) Here is Dylan with the beach ball that was thrown out for all the kiddos.
Collin, Halle, Dylan, Bryce
Friday was our last day in Hilton Head, so we decided to start at the beach and see how long we lasted. The tide was out and there was lots of tide pools with tiny fish left behind. The kids had a ball trying to catch the fish with their hands!
 Success
We took a walk along the beach looking for seashells for our collector, Bryce.
Here was the first family (all of us) picture of the week.
That evening Lucas and I left the kids in the condo and headed back to the beach for some "us" time. We walked, talked, laughed, and enjoyed the beautiful evening with nobody pulling on us! By the time we got back, they kids were almost all sleeping!
 
Saturday was check out (island wide), and we wanted to get on the road before the majority of Hilton Head vacationers did, so we were aiming for 7am. I decided that I needed to see at least one sunrise, and I wasn't disappointed. The beauty before me was simply astounding. The waves, the colors, the moon still in the sky. Made me think of the song..."Then Came the Morning"-Bill Gaither. Such beautiful words...had me in tears as I stood there watching the sunrise, thinking of the promise a new morning brought so many years ago. Jesus rising from the grave..."death had lost and life had won, for morning had come." 
 

Our trip home was long...we must have followed half of the US population up the east coast that Saturday. Traffic was thick! Our plan was to stop about 4 hours from home, (ten hours into our trip) in Philadelphia, PA, to stay with Adam and Jami Luginbuhl. She and I go way back before our married days, but our families didn't know each other. I was thrilled they wanted to have us! However, our 10 hour day turned into about 14. We finally arrived LATE, and piled out of our van...so happy to see their house and friendly faces! Our children are almost the same ages, and it didn't take long for them to warm up to each other. Sunday we enjoyed a day of worship with their small congregation in Philadelphia. We spent the afternoon with them, then they fed us a delicious supper before we hit the road again around 630. But not before we had to turn around and meet them to get all the loot we had left behind! :P
 The girls on the Wii dancing.
All of us...before we hit the last stretch of road for home.
 
We made it home late Sunday night. We had a fabulous vacation. Rested up, relaxed, made memories, and renewed/made some sweet friendships.  Of course after any vacation, the few days after are used playing catch up. But I was more than happy to wash and fold the laundry as I thought about each day...remembering each sweet moment of the week, with my world!  
 
Hope you enjoyed this peek into our vacation.
 
Lots of love and hugs from CT.