Current mood: relieved
So we're back from vacation (:
Mark only got to stay the first night with us, and left Sunday afternoon. We actually had a really good time with him. But I'm going to do this on a day by day basis (;
So here goes: SaturdayWe drove up there--took about 5 hours to get there because the traffic headed to the beach was horrendous! My oldest absolutely loved getting to ride up in the car with his Grandma Judy. And my youngest was well behaved riding with his Daddy and I. We got in after 5, got up into our cabin. You know... it's the first time I've ever been in a lake side cabin! They're up on STILTS! And ours was the big one-- three bedrooms and handicap access. So we ordered in pizza from Dominoes-- which arrived at about 9 (: The boys loved it. Apparently, when Hurricane Ivan passed through Gulf Shores those years ago, it wiped out the cabin to our right--and instead of rebuilding it, they chose to replace it with a playground. Which I think was a good choice! And so did the boys. They got to play out there pretty much from the time we got there at 5 until it was time to eat at 9. Speaking of Ivan--it also wiped out a LOT of the trees. That was a little sad to see the Gulf Shores State Park so deprived of foliage...especially when we were there out in the sun the rest of the week! So it rained that night....
It's the first time I've ever been in the middle of a thunderstorm, on stilts, next to a lake. I'm not going to lie. I woke up mildly terrified and asked Mark "What the hell is that?!?!" It lasted for -hours-. I half expected that in the morning the cars and playground would be gone. And I realized it was the sound of rolling thunder. Now, there's a group in the SCA that plays by that name and I always thought it was kind of cute...but having actually HEARD rolling thunder for the first time in my life, I'm going to say here and now it's -terrifying- and all encompassing. It really is like being in the middle of a stampede that doesn't seem to end.
Mark's cousin Melissa brought her 4 daughters to the family reunion. Hmm... LOL. I guess I should mention that we're in Gulf Shores for a week is that we're there for Mark's family reunion. His mother has 7 brothers of 9 and they've been getting together all over the country every summer since 1992. Last year was up in Washington State, this year was Gulf Shores. The brothers get together and spend a LOT of time golfing (: So anyway! Melissa's daughters are 5, 7, 8 and 10. My youngest really enjoyed the company of the 5 year old, and my oldest the company of the 7 and 8. So on Sunday, we all went to play putt putt. Mark scored a 58. I scored a 66. Mark's Mom scored a 69. We didn't keep my oldest's score, but we should have. He was right there with us. He had a couple of the holes where he had upwards of 8 swings--but he also had a fair amount of them where he did it in -2-! Did I mention my son is good with the coordination and sports?!? My youngest tried it out at the first 3 holes, after that, he wasn't interested anymore, but he tagged along with us. When we all finished playing miniature golf, we went over and played with taking pictures and letting the kids ride the quarter rides outside of the arcade. Then we all of us-- Melissa, her girls, her mom, Mark, his Mom, Me and our boys, two at a time got into bumper water cars and had a six car water fight (: It was SOOOO much fun!!!! And we all got drenched....LOL...or so we thought (; So we've been listening to thunder in the not so distant distance for about an hour while we're there, but we figure we got lucky because it never rained on us. As we're ALMOST back to the cabins, it starts raining--and I'm talking DELUGE!! So we're rushing out of the car to get into the cabin--when my Mother in Law has locked the car doors...and my youngest is out cold in his car seat...and I'm standing there with an umbrella trying to open the door. LOL-- Mark had to come back down with her key and help me get him out and up to the house. The only one of us NOT drenched by it was my youngest (; Mark and I had to strip down before we were allowed in the cabin. And it was raining so hard that even though he was thinking about leaving in the early afternoon, he had to wait for it to stop because we couldn't see through it! So my mother in law figures she'll make him a hamburger before he goes. LOL. Did you know in the state park, the cabins have professional fire alarms systems? Needless to say, my youngest did NOT take a nap (; My father in law calls the fire alarm my mother in law's timer (; After Mark left, I let them know I'd sleep on the couch with the boys and they could let out the other bed to one of the brothers-- it wouldn't be comfortable for a taller person, and all of my mother in law's brothers are 6 ft. plus! Then Mark's Mom and I went grocery shopping to get supplies for the week (:
We went with Melissa's family to the beach. At noon. I should mention that this is only the second time in my adult life I've ever been to the beach...and perhaps only the fourth time in my entire life. My family was never big beach goerers. I know. Hawaiian that doesn't do the beach. Go figure (; So anyway! We're at the Gulf Shores beach-- Miles and miles of white sand. No trees. No shade. Hot part of the day. I get my oldest slathered up with sunscreen and let him head down ankle depth in the water with his cousins while I'm lathering my youngest with sunscreen. Not ten minutes after we get there-- My oldest is running for me crying and screaming. His 8 year old cousin ignored what her Grandpa told her, ignored when Sam told her when he told her that it WAS a jelly fish-- picked it up and slapped it on his bare chest. -VERY- fortunately, another beachgoer who saw the whole thing but couldn't move fast enough to stop her from doing it rushed over to us with a spray bottle of vinegar and immediately started spraying Sam's chest. He lent us the bottle while I rushed Sam up to the bathroom to rinse him off and look at him without the blinding sunlight. After about 10 minutes, it stopped stinging-- but he was covered in red angry welts from the center of his breastbone all the way down to his belly button, with a palm distance wide the whole way down. I asked him how he was feeling and if he wanted to stay-- and he did. So we stayed for about an hour and a half. As we walked down, he asked me why his cousin had done it, and I told him that she'd made a foolish choice, and hadn't meant to hurt him. That if she'd known it was going to, she never would have done it. As we got back to the umbrella Uncle Charlie (That's Melissa's Dad) had set up, his cousin walked up to him and apologized. When we got back down to the beach it was a HIGH jelly fish day-- seriously. They passed the spot we were in, about 4 at a time, every 3 minutes. The kids were all terrified. I stepped out into the waves and watched them. Figured out a "safe" way to move among them-- current was pushing them to the left. And the further you got away from the shore, the deeper the water, the less they were pushed towards the beach. So I took the kids two at a time out into the waves so they could jump in them. LOL-- normally, Mark would have been the one doing this! But since he wasn't there, I became the designated "adventurous" adult (; Between the jellyfish burn, and taking the kids out-- I missed the back of the boys legs with the sunscreen--and my back. We all got some minor sun burns that itched more than hurt. And my oldest had a story to tell about getting stung by a jelly fish.
We chose to spend the day at the lake cabin on Tuesday. But that didn't mean there was nothing for the kids to do (: They played in the sand under the cabins for a good portion of the day. And while I layed down with my youngest for a couple of hours, Melissa took my oldest out on the pier to go fishing. He was casting the line for all of them (LOL). And doing it -really- well. They didn't catch any fish, but had a blast trying and were out there trying for 2 1/2 hours before Kael and I woke up (: When we came out to join them, the kids got into lake, about ankle depth to chase and catch crabs in their sand buckets. And my oldest and Melissa's 8 year old were actually -catching- them this way! They caught about 9 total, but let 6 of them go. So why weren't they swimming in the lake? LOL-- there were warning posted on the end of each pier reading thus: Please do not feed or aggrevate the alligators. OR Please do not feed or molest the alligators. AND Swim at your own risk. And for the first, and only time the entire week, we went out to eat (: We went to the Golden Coral- the entire family. Almost 40 people (: The food was good. The company better! I really do love Mark's family (:
Okay-- so a full week of sleeping on the terrible folding out couch is finally starting to get to me. I started having some minor back problems and some seriously wacked dreams. The big thing that happened on Thursday is that Mark's parents took the boys and I to WaterLand (: We went at 4 in the evening for the remaining 2 hours of the park being open and the boys LOVED it! Absolutely loved it. From the kiddie section with the pirate ship, to the adventure island with water cannons and kid approved water slides and dumping buckets, to the wave pool (: We all had a really good time and it made me realize we're going to have to go to the water world in Dothan this summer because they had such a good time there!
We had the family picnic. And the chance to get family pictures. Grandmother finally left the cabin. Hmm.... I guess I hadn't mentioned previously that she came with us-- she did. I took care of her like I always do. She came out to the living room most days to watch television and visit with the family that came in to see her. But most of the time, she was confused and really didn't know -where- she was, nor what was going on. But she came out for the picnic. It's the only time that she left the cabin. It was great food. Mom chose to make the fruit salad and veggie platters-- and she and I did a great job, if I do say so myself (: Everyone had a blast and a full stomache (:
I couldn't sleep last night-- I was so excited to be coming home. I missed Mark. And I'm -VERY- glad to be back. All in all, my kids had a WONDERFUL vacation and family reunion. And I'm glad to be home (: