Todd and I were wondering why we take the kid(s) to the beach year after year. There is NOTHING relaxing about young children and water! Actually - there was about 1/2 an hour of relaxation on Todd's part this trip (see photo). 1/2 an hour. That's it! :)
These smiles say it all, though! In the end - it was worth it.
Isabella was nervous at first to get into the waves. Later... she was fearless! She would get knocked down, but still absolutely loved it!
She also had a lot of fun playing in the sand. It was interesting to watch her as introducing each new item: bucket + shovel. Water. Make a sand bucket tower to smash. Add watering can and watch the water sprinkle the sand. After an introduction of each activity - she would practice that new skill over and over and over again!
Mercer was pretty into the waves as well -- wanting to ride boogie boards most of the time we were at the beach. (no pics of this) He was constantly active when not in the waves too -- playing paddle ball. Wanting to go for early morning bike rides. And - in a lazy river loop at the condo pool - he was swimming lap after lap after lap instead of floating on foamy things like the majority of people there. He's like the energizer bunny!
This trip, we rented a tandem bike for Mercer to ride. He still needs a little help on the bike, so we thought this was a good way to do it. The first few trips, he leaned over a lot - making both riders unsteady. After awhile, he got the hang of it. Mercer had a *FANTASTIC* quote while riding bikes one morning. After I told him it was hard to petal a bike on the sand, but we should try it anyways..... he yelled out after awhile "hey mom - I'm smiling this big because we didn't think we could do it -- but look at us. We ARE doing it!" I had to stop the bike and ask him to show me that big smile again.
Mercer and I took another early morning bike ride at one point - to search for a letterbox stamp. This sculpture is in a park that we drove by several times. I'm glad the clue led us here and we got to explore. The man (Charles Fraser) was an early developer on the Hilton Head Island. Supposedly he was written up in the New Yorker in the '50s for walking an alligator across the golf course.
We spotted a real alligator several times in a lagoon that we bicycled by every day. We saw turtles sunning there too. And... we saw a long-legged white bird (a tern?) sitting in a different lagoon quickly dipping his beak in the water over and over again. After a few tries, he caught a fish! (I'm really glad that Mercer and I stopped to observe the wildlife while we were riding.)
Isabella did great on her first series of bike rides. (Mercer bawled the first time he rode -- he hated the helmet.) Isabella didn't seem to mind. She rode in the back of a "toter" along with towels, beach toys and boogie boards. She was pretty patient considering she was crammed in there with all of the stuff! She actually fell asleep on the short ride home from the beach a number of days..
Hilton head was quite crowded. We really missed our low-key Edisto beach trips. but there were some things that HHI had that Edisto does not: a giant playground for the kids and pirate putt-putt golf. It is interesting that the tree that is low to the ground is one of the most popular things to climb on at the playground despite all of the equipment that's there!
Todd won a free game of putt-putt because of a hole in one in his first round. He and Mercer played a 2nd round after our family game was over. Isy didn't play, but I got some nice pics of her while the boys played. (Here's a good shot of Mercer without his two front teeth.)
She is wearing a dress that Aunt Tonia brought her from Greece last summer.
We took a couple of day trips to escape the crowds. One was definitely remote! We took a ferry (courtesy of some former neighbors) over to Daufuskie Island which is between HHI and Savannah. The boat ride was nice. We even spotted some dolphins on the way over.
We spent a bit of time exploring the island via a golf cart - visiting some of the historic sites as well as the amenities of the community in which our friends live. Isabella is such an animal lover and enjoyed visiting the horses. Mercer thought they were smelly! When we met back up with our friends, we went to the beach. Between our two families and the other families that were on the beach... there were maybe 20 people as far as we could see. (It was wonderful!)
Here is a photo (posted on our blog in 2008) of Mercer and Brody when they were babies.
And.... here they are now!
They are all a part of a historic roundhouse complex which is one of the last in existence in the country. Currently, it's only an outdoor venue, but the museum is fundraising for an addition / renovation inside one of the warehouse buildings. Todd went to meet a client after awhile while the kids and I stayed to play.
We met back up with Todd in the afternoon and explored some other areas of this amazing city. We showed Mercer where we lived in college, where we were married, and River Street. It was kind of interesting to share our past with Mercer. Isabella just chilled in the stroller while we walked around. Later, we met friends for dinner.
Here's another shot -- this is one of my favorites from the whole trip! (Look at that mouth full of teeth!)
And - I'll wrap with a family selfie from the top of a light house on Hilton Head. (Promise we were at the top!!)
Despite the crowds, we are glad we went to Hilton Head... it afforded us the chance to visit some folks that we don't get to see often as well as check out the changes that have taken place in Savannah. We may go back to the low country in the spring. We'll see!