Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sunny Days

We just spent a week at the beach. With three small children. And we loved it.

In what was possibly the most enjoyable vacation since Costa Rica '08, all 13+ of the Greater Shaw Clan traveled on the annual pilgrimage to historic Pawley's Island SC, arrogantly shabby, home of the Grey Man, land of sun & surf but with none of the crowds of Myrtle or the uppityness of Wild Dunes. We have been going to Pawley's for about 23 years - hard to believe - and every time it feels like a little sliver of home. There are those that would argue it is better to rent than own at the beach, gives you the flexibility to go when and where you want. But there is a counter argument of the value of permanence, of tradition, of timeliness - of having Bud's grandchildren play in the same sand and on the same stairs that Jupe's grandchildren once did. Regardless, this is where we go, and it suits me just fine.

This year, in addition to our 13+ (Jim, Janet, Stephen, Kim, Jack, Caroline, Sam, Sara, Pete, Sidney, Alex, Drew, & Anna+), Granny had a whole host of Other Shaws down for the big celebration. Bob and Sue, Kena and Robin and Audrey, Rachel and Dave, Dee, Jere, even Tim Debbie and Roberta for a day.  So the Other Shaws stayed at the big house this year, and the Greater Shaws holed up in some very nice condos at the Pier Village - which worked out great. The kids loved having the pier and the pool in addition to the beach, Mom and Dad got a great cabana for some shade, and we could not have been closer to the beach. Nearly as important, in our condo at least - all of the kids slept through the night for the most part, despite all sharing the same bedroom. Actually, I think they kind of liked having their own little den of iniquity, and Sam definitely liked being able to wake up and see his siblings. 

On Sunday, once everyone was down and settled, we celebrated Granny's 90th Birthday. 1923 she was born, and she is still dancing and flitting around and smiling and laughing as if she was still 21. The party was a blast, it was great to see everyone and we had a huge shrimp boil and all the cousins (from three different generations) loved running around together. 


Robin and Rachel put together matching t-shirts for everyone, and Anna and Drew brought our koozies that said "Shake your hiney, Granny's ninety.". In particular it was great to see Tim and Debbie and Roberta, who we definitely don't see enough and who are boatloads of fun. We also got to celebrate Caroline's Third Birthday, and had a baby shower for Anna and Drew's new bundle of sex-indeterminate joy.

I was amazed at how much fun the kids had, and how agreeable they were. They really got used to playing on the beach, getting suited up and greased up and heading out in the sand and the water. Caroline did great, floating way out beyond the breakers with Dad and I, and seemed to show a lot of potential as a little fish. I think once Caroline figured out she could jump off the side of the pool with enough floaties to pop back up like a cork, she must've done 200 cannonballs.

Jack loved building sandcastles and then jumping on them, or finding shells with Nana, or darting in and out of incoming waves like a little plover. Put Sam in a big hole full of sand and seawater with a shovel and a bucket and he was good to go for at least an hour, until he noticed the breakers and started running headlong into them. Sunscreen and rash guards worked great, no one got burned or even a little more than a light tan.

Once we'd had enough on the beach, we'd roll in to the pool and grab a snack and jump and splash. The first couple of days, we skipped naptime and tried to push through to dinner, thinking that would buy us a better night time experience. But after a few days, the older kids started dozing off in weird places and we brought naptime back for everyone. That way Doc could nap and it gave me some time to catch up on work stuff, which was unfortunately very crazy at the time. Next beach trip, I hope to just unplug and not worry so much, but this time there was just too much stuff going on at the office.


We got to go to the hammock shops and eat fudge and get silhouettes, and all the middle cousins (i.e. young adults) took off to Georgetown one night sans rugrats to enjoy the fine dining of The Rice Paddy. We got to take the boat out a bit, and fish from the pier. And you would not believe how easy BOTH car trips were for our crew (although I know Sara and Pete had a little less fun on I-95).

I really love our family, big and small. What a good vacation - one that actually felt like a vacation, and one that no one wanted to end. I can't wait to go back.

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