Sunday Snapshot {Sunset Beach 2010}

Sunset Beach, NC.  I can honestly say it is one of my very favorite places on Earth.  I spent my first week there when I was fifteen months old.  I've been back for at least a long weekend every year since.  

 sunset over the marsh

I love the island for what it isn't just as much as I love it for what it is.  No high rises, no nightlife.  There is one "rinky-dink" motel, an inn, the island grocery, the pier, the arcade, and a handful of small shops.  Other than that there are houses to rent and wide, white sand beach.  And sand dunes.  Lots and lots of sand dunes.

One of the last places left that really promotes a family atmosphere.  It's fitting then that I get to relive my own childhood memories of playing in the sand and surf at Sunset with my own children (and now niece and nephew too). 

Our family week went by in the blink of an eye ~ as it usually does ~  but man, oh man, was it full of memories.   Some of which I was lucky enough to capture with the Canon, many of which I'll have to rely on mental images to relive.

There was a rushed unloading of the car and claiming bedrooms.  Then a dash up the many stairs to our widow's walk to catch our first glimpse on this trip of the Atlantic.

Being silly with Daddy and standing guard to watch for cousins "Pier-swen and May-yin"

Squeals of excitement as my trio spotted their car turning onto our street.  Hugs and kisses exchanged followed by a ride to the Seafood Hut for a plate of Calabash style shrimp and hush puppies.  Huge smiles in reaction to the first tastes of fried shrimp.

At dusk five kids racing with reckless abandon, arms wildly waving, across the low tide sand to reach the expansive ocean.  (Two of whom had the unabashed excitement of seeing the ocean for the first time).  All five getting soaked and stripping down to their undies for the walk back across the dunes to the house.

The next day ~ and the five days following ~ playing in the gentle waves of the Atlantic.  Catching waves on boogie boards.

click on this one to see joy defined on my son's face!
Cousins playing together.  In the waves, in the sand, at the beach house, dancing to the music at Joe's Crab Shack.  Working on sandcastles.

First candy necklaces.  (Enjoyed when you don't have to worry about getting your clothes sticky!)

Post nap returns to the beach when the way was familiar and energy levels were high.

"The truck" still being a favored item.

My nephew experiencing his first "summer love" crush on an older woman from the mid-west.  Watching them interact and play together several afternoons.

Barbie, Buzz Lightyear, Lightning McQueen and Hello Kitty flying high in the sky over our beach tent.

Enjoying "ice-cy cream" four out of seven nights.  Satisfied smiles after five cones of "smurf blue" cotton candy ice cream at Calabash Creamery.  Having all five kids ~ three were still in Asia for Sunset week 2009 ~ at our yearly height marker, "Scoop the cow."

Spending extended time without outside interruption with my mom, Ian's mom, my sister and her family.  Cousins learning to play together.  Bonding time with my precious niece.

Enjoying our time spent in our beach house.  Mornings trying to keep five kids quiet as we waited for all the grown ups to awaken.  Noshing on "beach cereal" ~ known to the outside world as Lucky Charms.  Laughing at how tight living quarters were in our family's room.  Wondering how many more years our family will fit into one room.

Hours spent in "the baby pool."  Discovering hermit crabs and baby clams in the tidal pool.  Relaxing on floats.  Playing bocce ball.  Fancy sand treatments for Uncle Adam at the Sunset Beach spa.

Wandering aimlessly around Barefoot Landing with bellies full of crab legs.  Watching with delight as peanut butter chocolate salt water taffy was being made.  Stepping inside and getting a free sample.

Siblings tightening their bonds.  Catching myself wondering if it is possible that our youngest has been with us less than six months.  Forgetting what life was like before she added to our ranks.  Sisters just being sisters ~ side by side.

Wondering at the beginning of the week how in the world we would finish our bounty of snack food.  Munching on our glorious assortment of snacks.  Laughing at how quickly two quarts of strawberries, one quart of blueberries, ten bananas, five nectarines and eight plums disappeared.  Being amazed at week's end on how much we did eat.

My big girl taking steps in overcoming her fear of the waves.  For the first time in her four years of beach trippin' to Sunset wanting to go out in the big water.  Deciding that big, strong Daddy was indeed going to keep her safe.  Smiles while being in water up to Mommy and Daddy's waist.  Asking to go back out the next day.  Wanting to turtle surf like her siblings and cousins.

more turtle surfing pictures to come

It was a glorious week.  The TV was never turned on.  Computers were used for uploading pictures.  Responsibilities for cooking and cleaning were divided.  Food was bountiful and delicious.  

I'd be lying if I said there were no skirmishes.  With five children under the age of six they were bound to come.  But each one passed as quickly as a beach thunderstorm.  Almost as soon as they would start, the storm clouds parted and sunshine was restored in the house.  

Crossing the pontoon bridge on our way off the island today I had twinges of sadness.  Going home already?  No more lazy mornings and sandy afternoons?  How could the week have gone so quickly?  

But then the anticipation of Sunset Beach 2011 started and I knew that we'd be back...

Ni Hao Y'all


Martha B. said...

looks like great fun

Tina Michelle said...

That looks amazingly fun!!!!!! All those cousins playing so happily just melts my heart!

Kathy said...

There is nothing as heartwarming and satisfying as a week at Sunset Beach with my family.
Thank you everyone - NaiNai

Laurie said...

AWSOME!! I loved reading all your reflections and imagining what fun you guys had. Loved all the pictures and can't wait to see more! :)

Daisy Dreams said...

How wonderful!!! My girls want to visit the beach so wonderful it would be to do it with family!

Lauren said...

This reminds me so much of my family trips to our middle of nowhere beach in Alabama :] You're kids are going to love to read this and remember their summer days together.

Stefanie said...

Sounds positively dreamy!! We spent many summers at a similar beach in South Carolina... some oft favorite childhood memories were from those trips :)
How cool that you can enjoy the same spot you loved souch as a kid... now WITH your kids!!!
Happy Sunday, Kristi :)

The Ferrill's said...

I love this post, now I feel like I've been to Sunset Beach myself!
I'm so glad yall had a GREAT relaxing refreshing trip!
May re-entry into real life be smooth turtle sailing this week!
Big hugs to your beautiful brown crew!

Nancy said...

What a great vacation! It looks like a wonderful time & you did a great job documenting it. Your children will have as many fond memories as you did!

Jen said...

These are the days you and they will remember...and talk about when they are older...LOVE IT!

Amy Murphy said...

Amazing pics!!! Looks like a lot of fun.

Our Journey to China said...

Looks wonderful! Happy times for everyone enjoying God's wonderful blessing of the beach!!! So glad you all had a great time. :0)

C.C. said...

Wonderful post. Beautiful pictures. So glad the week was great!

Sharon said...

heaven on earth I think!!!!

Larry and Carol said...

So happy it was a magical week for you.

Football and Fried Rice said...

What an amazing trip! Seeing all those matching outfits - ADORABLE!!! And sleeping in the same room - so precious - glad you are capturing these memories while they are still little!

Traci said...

Oh what a glorious trip it was! :)

Audrey @ said...

you really got some great shots. I love the one of your little girl in the air with daddy. and the kids on the pierre!

zentmrs said...

Fun in the sand and sun - does it get better than this? Thanks for sharing!!

Heather said...

Welcome Back!!! Sounds like a wonderful trip and the pictures, beautiful! Thank you for clearing up WHERE I "know" Donna from, ha! I saw her blog and kept thinking .. so familiar??? Ah ha!! It was likely from following YOU guys all that time ago. :) Hoping we will get to meet here pretty soon in China. If you have her email I would love to touch base with her or you can send her mine. Hope getting back into the swing of things is easy!

Melissa said...

Oh, I so felt like I was right there with you smelling the salt water, running through the waves, giggling, eating - all with smiles everywhere!!!! What a blessed trip Kristi!!! So glad it was wonderful!!!!

Ally said...

You could not have said it any better! I know it must have been a great week of "first" for you all. Love It!!!

Anonymous said...

I love the beach! And spending it with family, there is nothing better!

I *hope* ours run hand-in-hand one day soon. Still trying to find our new normal. Life is good nonetheless!

Thanks for sharing some great memories!

Grandma Shultz said...

What an amazing week! Beautiful weather, gorgeous children, fun adults. I can still hear all of laughter. Pierson actually stopped in his tracks and said "WOW" when he got to the end of the boardwalk and saw the ocean for the first time! Our God is so amazing! How does the ocean know where to stop on the beach?