Monday, June 29, 2015

Myrtle Beach

Post conference, we jumped in our rental and drove south to Myrtle Beach. It was unseasonably wet and cold most of the time we were there, but it's a good thing the Gaertners don't need sunshine to have fun.

First item on the agenda was to stop at a battleship. Because it was on the way and Jon loves this kind of stuff.


Next, go to Walmart for a kite.


Then turn into pirates and hunt for treasure (seashells) on the beach, make a fort out of your treasure, bury the fort so no one else will find it, laugh until it hurts, and get insanely sandy.

Then take a nap on the beach.

Then, when the rain really comes down find random indoor activities in Myrtle Beach. Such as:

An interactive aquarium where you can pet a stingray;

A pirate dinner theater owned by Dolly Parton;

And a place that let's you hold baby animals like chimpanzees, wolf pups, and tiger cubs, for a nominal fee.

Jon: "I held a baby monkey wearing UNDIES!"

Like I said, who needs sunshine to have fun on the beach?

But possibly the best part for me was at the end of the day, when we'd put these two tuckered-out puppies in the bed and watch them sleep.

Chapel Hill

After our perfect week with the Lawlers, we hung in a fancy old house-turned-hotel while Fabio worked at the tax conference next door. I winced when I first realized how nice this place was, bringing my two sidekicks in tow to a place that was clearly not designed with them in mind. But I was pleasantly surprised. The staff could not have been more gracious or accommodating.

The open guest pantry full of Ben & Jerry's, Magnum Bars, and popcorn definitely helped pass the time. As did the perfect weather, beautiful grounds, and buffet breakfast...

Especially since I had such great buddies to share it all with.

Not a bad way to spend a work weekend, if you ask me.

Durham with the Lawlers

I almost jumped out of my skin when Fabio told me he was going to North Carolina for work. The was no question--the boys and I simply had to go with him and hang with some of our favorite people. The Lawlers are part of our Singapore family, in Durham for Nate's MBA, and you can't not visit family, you know.

So when April finally came, it brought us a botanical garden full of spring blossoms,

Ring-around-the-Rosie after farm fresh ice cream on rocking chairs,

If arranged marriages were still a thing...

afternoons full of book reading,

and bike- and scooter-riding good times!

Sage: "Jon, be careful and slow down. You don't want to fall in the street!"
Maybe he'll listen to her.

We explored Durham's old industrial now-hip-restaurant-y area, and naturally played in the chilly fountains.

Look at that fun mom!

It was so fun to see Sage and Jon reunited. They were little baby best friends in Singapore--mistaken for twins because they were the same age and white--and it didn't take them long at all to pick up where they left off!

I simply adore that little girl!

And I couldn't wait to finally meet and get to know this little beauty...

Sweet, sweet Nora is just the cutest--no surprise

Sage and Nora gave us a first-rate education on all things girly: Frozen, Barbies, baby doll etiquette, and holding hands.

And I'm afraid we gave them a crash course in the rough-and-tumble world of boys!

Between delicious food, day and night playmates, round after round of "Willaby Wallaby Woo," children's museums, snow cones, "Mother May I?," bikes, and scooters, the boys were super sad to leave.

And those post-bedtime Mommy talks into the morning hours made it awfully hard for me to pry myself away, too. I always get some of my best parenting/life ideas and insights from this amazing mom and great friend. She is the best!

We really do love these people like family... guess we'll just have to find a way to visit them in Cali, now!