north myrtle 2017.

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Hello friends! We just finished a lovely week at North Myrtle Beach. Here are a few highlights . . .

1.Our condo was the best. David found us a three-bedroom this year at a great rate because it’s off-season, we even got upgraded to oceanfront since we arrived right after Hurricane Irma passed through. No damage there, but the place was pretty sparse those first few days.

A three-bedroom allowed us to spread out comfortably without being on top of one another … nice big kitchen and living space. Two bathrooms, and two bedrooms for the kids. We logged many hours right there on the 12th floor. We brought toys, books, Lego’s, books, and games. We cooked all but one of our dinners in and brought some pretty epic snacks from Whole Foods.

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2. One of the things I love about a whole week away (a new-to-us experience last year) is the way we settle into a daily vacation rhythm and the real world becomes far away and life feels very simple. The most important question of the day is, “Do we eat dinner in the condo or grill out by the pool?” We spend all morning on the beach, come up for lunch and some rest time, then head to one of the pools in the afternoon.

I soaked up a week of just our family, the freedom to focus all our attention on one another and on making new memories.

Our favorite tradition this year was grilling dinner at Tower 4 poolside. It’s the tower across the street from the beach, so the pool area is a hidden gem. There are two hot tubs, a playground, and gas fire pits.

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3. We read lots and lots. David and I each brought several books, and I also brought a big stack of beach-and-vacation themed picture books from the library for the kids.

I tried to specifically choose books for vacation that felt restful. That meant no harrowing war or immigrant memoirs. I’m reading through the Bible this year, and was in Proverbs all week. There’s much I need to learn from those words. Every afternoon I read a chapter of a book on sanctification, and wrote about it in a notebook.

During afternoon rest time, Judah and Amie and I read The Penderwicks and were enchanted. I felt blanketed in strong, comforting words all week (who isn’t inspired to be the best the best version of themselves after reading Little Women?), and came home wanting so much to grow into the kind of person I read about over and over.

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4. We chatted on the elevator and on the beach and at the pool with many retired folks here on their vacation, and a few families. I love how outspoken older people are. I guess that’s a privilege of living through years and years of holding your tongue. No one seems surprised when you speak your mind. We had many sweet comments about our large family (many astonished comments, Wait! You have four!?), and one lady who was my favorite floated my way in the pool and said, “Look at all those kids! You must be Catholic! Do you homeschool?”

Near the end of our time we met a family with five kids who homeschool, and two of their children are siblings, just adopted from foster care. We were complete strangers but suddenly had a million stories to share and advice to ask from one another. And our kids loved swimming together, whether at the beach or pools. I have the utmost respect for them, who are suddenly figuring out life with five children ages 9-13, and I’m so happy that our paths crossed.

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5. We went to the boardwalk twice, once at lunchtime for pizza and arcades, and once in the evening for ice cream and arcades and glow sticks. We decided we much prefer the boardwalk in the evening, rather than baking in the midday sun (apparently everyone else figured that out before us).

We enjoy the Fun Plaza boardwalk arcade because it has old school games like Skee ball, air hockey, and Pacman. A nice man gave the kids 1500 tickets as he was leaving, so at the end of the night they had a shopping spree at the prize counter.

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6. And finally, David dragged us all out of bed at 6:45 on our last morning (by then the boys were actually sleeping in due to a few late nights), and we took donuts and coffee down to the beach to watch the sunrise. We were all a bit grouchy at first, but it turned out to be one of the best things we did.

There’s just nothing like seeing the glowing orange sun rise over the ocean, a cool breeze in your face, and the kids all sat and made sand castles for an hour while we sipped our coffee.

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We’re so very thankful to once again be able to take a 7-day vacation. It was restorative for our whole family, and we felt ready to return to our home and life in Columbia at the end.

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