Lots of factors played a role in this -- the kids are a little older, the weather was amazing, two of our laptops went belly up right before the trip so there was limited temptation to game the week away. On our first afternoon at the beach, all four kids pulled together to build the most elaborate sandcastle one could erect armed with a flimsy shovel and a bucket on the verge of cracking.
They loved it. And I loved watching the four of them at work.Later we stocked up on better entrenching tools and really had some fun.
We biked everywhere. If you enjoy biking, Hilton Head's the place to be. Miles and miles and miles of wide, flat, mostly shaded trails.
After years of clinging -- literally and figuratively -- to a baby seat that she had long ago outgrown, Ainsley graduated to the tag-a-long.
On our last afternoon at the beach, we planned to haul the buckets and the shovels and all the things, so I told the kids to get in the car. I was met with a howl. "Can't we ride bikes," they all wanted to know. Music to my ears.
We spent one long afternoon biking to the south end of the island. John loves nature. I pray, pray, pray that this endearing quality proves to be an enduring one as well. He loves bird watching and hunting for sea glass. He loves turtles and frogs and lizards. Hilton Head was just the place for John. Egrets, deer, raccoons, alligators (including one that got just a tad too close).
Our longest bike ride went a little longer because John stopped at every Horseshoe Crab and Sand Dollar he spied. Eventually he and I ended up w-a-y behind the rest of the tribe. I began urging him forward when he yelled, "Mom! Look at this!"
I rode back to him and looked at the ocean behind him just as a dolphin surfaced six or eight feet away.
And then he found three intact and living Star Fish.
So cool. So worth the wait. So worth the ride.
So worth the trip.