Sunday, September 09, 2007

Myrtle Beach or Bust!!!!

STAGE ONE: The Arduous Trek South

(written en-route to Myrtle Beach)

The only apt description I can think of to best describe the fine art of traveling with young children is WORK. WERY, WERY HARD WORK. I was pretty sure I burned a good extra 300 calories at least in the first few hours, what with wrenching around repeatedly in my seat to fetch toys, dole out pieces of cheeseburger buns, hanging over the back of the front seat to hold a bottle for and smile happily at the crabby one located directly behind me (we took out the back seat for more room and put both kids in the middle seat), and lumbering over the front seat to thrash around busily in the back searching for varied and sundry items. That's why I had TWO McDonald's Apple Pies for lunch instead of one. Heh he.

"Gabriel, stop whacking the baby with the measuring tape!"
"Yes, Gabe, we are going to the beach."
"Tim, the baby has been crying/fussing steadily for 20 minutes - should we just stop?"
"Oh, STINK!!!! The air conditioner quit working again!!!"

And oh, yes, it had. For good.

My friends, what a joy and a delight it is to sail down the steamy blacktop toward Myrtle Beach, SC, hair whipping in the wind, clothes sticking to one's back, a steady trickle of sweat dripping down one's chest. :) Guess it just makes life that much more of a sensory experience.

It also makes you thank Jesus that much more intensely for a sleeping baby, for when your AC does work, and for even that icy blast of AC from the gas station. One has never relished entering a gas station bathroom more than in this time. :) When, exactly, is the last time you savored your last gas station john, eh? Add all this sweet joy to the fact that Israel is cutting another tooth and sick with a cold that his hacking, phlegmy brother and sneezing Daddy have also appropriated. Anybody wanna join the fun? At least we didn't also have the dog, praise the Lord, HalleLUJAH!!!! And thank you Jon Charles. You are a blessed, blessed man.

We got to the hotel that night to discover that at some point along our breezy journey, Gabe had spilled a carton of apple juice in his seat and had been contentedly sitting in it, eyes glued to his new "Cars" DVD. He then proceeded to accidentally dump a sizeable cup of water onto the direct center of the roomy (oh-so) double bed that Tim and I were sharing, leading me to lie perched on the edge of the bed, curved around the water, with one shin slightly damp. I didnt' discover the spill until the lights were off and both kids were snuckering down for the night and didn't feel like changing my clothes and trudging out to the front desk for a whole new set of bedding, waking everybody back up in the process.

Hotels are not quite as much fun as they used to be. Used to be I'd sprawl lazily in my comfy bed with my mountain of soft pillows, meandering at ease through the luxury that is called cable television that we do not currently own, nor particularly desire (well, maybe I kind of do after all after this week), but is nonetheless fun to enjoy...taking a leisurely shower, savoring a tasty and free (sort of) continental breakfast.

No more.

These days one watches boring things like golf or cartoons, with only a brief, wistful glimpse of E! as I race off to slather clean babies in lotion and clothes so as to plop their fussy eye-rubbing selves into bed. Then lights out for everyone. Breakfast involves me precariously balancing plates of food and cups of drink down the hall towards the crawling baby and bouncing boy, feeding them as we change diapers and repack pack-n-plays. Phew. One of these days when Baby Israel gets older, I'm going to dump the kids on some nice, unsuspecting grandparent and scoot off to a hotel where I watch E!, Talk Soup, and VH-1 to my little heart's content and Tim's great chagrin. :) :) :) (Note: Courtesy of the 4 televisions in our condo, I had quite an enjoyable television experience in the following days. Heh heh. I needed to get caught up on important issues like Angelina J@lie and makeovers and such things.)
Gabe and Israel "help" Daddy as he slavers away in an unsuccessful attempt to repair the air conditioner.Daddy's little wrench monkey. :)Daddy's little helper. Is that cute or what?
Israel occupies himself during a bored moment. :)
Taking a snooze break.


We arrived in Myrtle Beach on Saturday afternoon, and promptly proceeded to enjoy ourselves. Wayne and Melody arrived that night. We had a great time of swimming, shopping, body boarding, and going out to eat at night (thanks Norm and Carol!!!). It was so nice to have additional hands to help with the boys.
A view from our balcony - this shows the rest of the hotel.
This was the pool area on our side of the street. You can see Gabe swimming around with his inflatable duck in the kiddie pool, Carol sitting on the side of the kiddie pool, and Norm on the chair by the kiddie pool.
View from the 13th floor.
Gabe's first experience of the ocean, with Grandpa's assistance. Gabe LOVED the ocean. He was pretty fearless, and would splash on out in a hurry.
Israel dips his feet in the Atlantic.
The cutest little buddies ever. Gabe and his cousin Tyler sharing a hat moment. They like each other so much and played so well together. Tyler was due a few days before Gabe was, so they are almost the exact same age. Gabe was born about 3 weeks early, though, and Tyler was born about 2 weeks late!
Enjoying the balcony. Israel cuddles with Grandma.
Grandma and Gabe digging in the sand. This was another activity Gabe really enjoyed.
Daddy and babe.
All tuckered out. Gabe and Tyler both did really well on edited nap schedules.
Da boyz and Grandma Carol watching Wace Cohs. (Race Cars, ie. Cars, the animated movie that we gave Gabe at the start of his trip as an early birthday present and that he watched approximately 756 times during the trip entirety.)
Tyler and Gabe staring out to sea. :)
The wind-swept Miller family. :)The wind-swept squirmy Tyler-ed Stuckey family. :)
The bee-yoo-tee-full ocean.
STAGE THREE: Happy Third Birthday Gabey-Baby!!!

We celebrated Gabe's third birthday on Friday, since everyone was leaving on Saturday.
Gabe's cakey-wakey. I'm describing this in rhyming terms so that you may best appreciate the rhyming stage that Gabe has been in the past few weeks. Last night he asked me for a sippy-cuppy-wuppy-buppy. :)

We enjoyed some tasty Mc'y Dee's for a little boy treat, courtesy of the grandparents.
That's three generations of boys right there.
Tyler Wayne, the cutest little buddy ever.
Gabe huffs and puffs to blow out the candles. Then Tyler had to blow them out too. :)
Gabe got a Thomas the Train set from Aunt Melody and Uncle Wayne, some "wace cos" from Grandma and Grandpa (along with some Bible Adventure illustrated story books that arrived at home in KY), some Cars sippy cups, a minature etch-a-sketch, and rainbow colored Goldfish from Mommy and Daddy.
Gabe and Tyler playing rowdy boy balloons in the birthday aftermath. :) It called for lots of laughing and racing around.

STAGE FOUR: The Equally Arduous Trek North

Apparently, the traveling got no easier in a week. Our first event in our travel north-west towards home was an hour-plus stop. A tractor-trailer had burnt out. We stripped the boys down and sweated.
After that, we needed a pit stop. So we cooled off in a McDonalds, and then let the boys play in the play area for a while.
A silly Daddy.

A goofy boy.

We stopped at Asheville, NC for the night at a comfy Comfort Inn, and after enjoying some tasty Thai take-out, settled down for a night that included Gabe have coughing spasms from about 2:15-3:30 AM that included some episodes of vomiting (he would cough and then gag), followed by Israel waking up wet at 3:30 and not going back to sleep until about 5:30 despite being painfully exhausted (along with his bleary-eyed parents). I trudged out to the minivan at about 5 AM to get the humidifier and extra blankets for him, where the hotel lady wished me a cheery good morning. Hah.

The thought occurred to me as we zipped on down the interstate - I used to always enjoy trips! I liked the traveling down the road thing, and the stopping for food, and the opportunity to read. This is no longer the definition of trips, however. Now it is a constant process of trying to keep the baby happy, feeding him toys one after the other, craning my arm back to hold his bottle; then the baby crying because it is hard for him to go to sleep in his seat, then he finally goes to sleep and Tim needs to stop for some caffeine, and I'm super cranky about that because I'm SURE the baby is going to wake up and guess who gets to ineffectively pacify his cranky self if he does, and then I'm breathing a sigh of relief because he is still asleep and I can enjoy some relaxed travel...until he wakes up again, to repeat the above process all over. Gabe does great. But we made it home FINALLY, safe and sound, which is all that really counts in the end, praise God!! And I must say that the week of fun was well worth the there-and-back process.

Thanks Norm and Carol for such a great week!!! We had such a great time being with all of you guys! p.s. Missed you, Lynette and Rusty... :(


Cottonista said...

Welcome back Willis. Looks like you had fun, all said and done. Traveling for us is not as fun (or as fast) as it used to be, either. I USED to read and sleep all the way to our destination. Ha! And now, if and when the kids are sleeping, I can only manage to stare out the window blankly.

Carrie said...

Joyce, LOL. That is so true for me too. Lots of blank window gazing for me, too. I can't quite muster up the emotional energy it would take to pull out my book and be prepared to put it away after I finally get into it. I just take my moments to breathe while I can. :) And yes, we had a great time.

heidirhodes said...

well myrtle beach sounds like fun despite the trips there and back. we had talked about going there this summer (my aunt has a condo there) but were kinda turned off by the thought of the 8 hour trip with the kiddos. ill just live vicariously thru you. =) i thought cars was such a cute movie to and i dont blame gabe for the 30987 times he watched it. you see something new each time. (well at least you do the 2nd time)=) anyway glad you had a fun vacation. ive missed your posts this week. i always look at your page when i need a smile. your posts always make me laugh. =)

joy said...

Looks like a fun vacay. If only you could somehow do the driving part twice at the beginning and end on all the relaxing fun stuff... Let me know if you ever figure that one out.

Anonymous said...

Hey you! wow, that was a massive catch up attempt there! I was pretty impressed! I'd been missing you in blog land and it was fun to see all the pics of your vacation. We just got back from doing our visa thing in Laos- also fun once we got there but not a fun 8 hour overnight bus ride followed by immigration. Anywho...I'll try to be inspired by you and post my pictures soon. Let's chat soon...Candice

Carrie said...

Heidi - pretty sure you were right about the 8 hour trip. Oh man. If I didn't have people to help share the kid load at the end, I totally wouldn't have done it. I hope you had a good vicarious vacation. :)

Joy - yyeeaaahhh. Good idea. I might make lots of money and get real famous when I got that one down. :)

Candice - thank you, thank you. I'm glad that my extensive effort was recognized and appreciated. It is so much easier since we got DSL at least. Still took a while, though. Sick. 8 hour overnight bus ride...??!!! Oh man. Good, I'm glad you're going to post, because both you and your miss sis have been lagging in the posting department as of late. I'll be checking... Love ya!