Beach bums

We went to South Myrtle Beach for six days the last week of May. Just like last year, we decided against renting a house and went the “resort” route instead.

Zeke, Gabriel & Houston adapt quite easily to the resort lifestyle during our family vacation in South Myrtle Beach.

Stephen found a Groupon deal for a place called Springmaid, which is an older resort that has been renovated. The rooms are spacious enough, modern, and clean, and come equipped with all the basic amenities, including a full-size fridge.

But it was the add-ons and friendly staff that made this place so nice. The resort has its own private pier, a miniature golf course, a lazy river, three pools, and lots of optional planned activities for guests. Plus, the hotel’s design offers a beach view for every room.

Admittedly a tad bummed that our vacation is already over, going to the beach in May really is the way to go. The beautiful, vast beach was virtually empty. Other than a couple teenage church retreats, a smattering of young families with kids, and a few senior citizens, I felt like we had the whole Grand Strand to ourselves.

With a couple new beach-shop purchases in tow, the 3 Amigos chill on Springmaid Pier.

This was our first time to Myrtle since the city implemented its no-canopies rule, so we had to buy a beach umbrella and deal with sharing the limited shade it provided. I suppose we could’ve purchased two, but those things are pretty expensive, considering how cheaply they’re made.

It was a bit of a pain, but nothing that a mama insisting on multiple sunscreen reapplications couldn’t handle. Nobody got too burned, and even Daddy the redhead survived. Plus, our lifeguard, who “enforced” the new law, was a pretty easygoing dude.

Houston and Gabriel really came into their own as far as ocean swimming goes. Little salt water was consumed, few tears were shed during wipeouts, and bravery abounded. They absolutely took like fish to water in tackling the “big kahunas.”

Never one to let a little pain hold him back, Gabriel is the bellyflop-master of the resort!

In fact, they were both thrilled to go out as far into the water as Stephen would allow. Luckily for him, this wasn’t too stressful a task, since the waves were just the right size and force for emerging swimmers, and there were many sandbars to help in keeping the kids from getting in over their heads.

Zeke, on the other hand, was quite content playing in the shallow water. It’s this cautious nature that kept him from ever wanting to learn to swing solo until recently. And he told me just yesterday that he doesn’t really like bike riding, so it’ll probably a good year or so till we even attempt to take off his training wheels.

That child definitely marches to the beat of his own drum. No amount of parental or peer pressure will suffice; Zeke will decide to do something when he’s good and darn ready, and not a moment sooner.

Donning his new shades from Mountain Top Youth Camp, Houston is ready to hit the beach & ride some waves!

This is polar opposite of Gabriel, who wants to tackle anything and everything as fast and as brutally as possible, especially if it’s something that Houston already knows how to do. It’s amazing how different these identical twins really are: two unique humans who just happen to share the same DNA.

But what Zeke lacked in ocean adventurism, he had in spades playing miniature golf. Seriously, I think that boy is a natural, everything from his putting style, to his swing and follow-through, to his competitive edge, to his landing the ball in the hole.

In fact, the 18th hole was a challenging shot, but Zeke actually made a hole in one. The teenage boys behind us were astonished by the feat, as were we. Turns out golf might be just the right speed for our zany Zeke.

Zeke, who lost his first tooth earlier during this day @ the beach, aces his first time playing miniature golf.

The 3 Amigos’ pool-swimming abilities have also improved dramatically. Houston is officially swimming, but just needs to practice to build confidence and enhance his skills. Gabriel isn’t too far behind; he can doggy paddle well and will be treading water any day now. Zeke is slowly, but methodically becoming more comfortable in the pool.

But all the boys love doing cannonballs, and Gabriel is even quite proficient at bellyflopping. I do believe this is the summer when they’re going to finally master the art of swimming … well, at least lessen their chances of drowning. Once we tackle that, then I’ll start teaching them strokes and other cool stuff. Aquatics rock!

Houston finally had the greatly anticipated sleepover at his friend Sam’s on 6/5. His mom, Miss Maria, reported that Houston was very well behaved and that the two boys spent a lot of time just reading to one another in Sam’s room. What homeschool geeks!

Houston snaps this shot of his crazy parents smoking cigars during a walk on the pier.

It was Sam’s birthday the following day, so we picked up Houston after the backyard party and trekked immediately to Wilkesboro to meet Granny. Granny had a jam-packed weekend of adventure planned for the 3 Amigos.

On Saturday, they were treated to a single-engine plane ride at JAARS Mountain Week. The mission organization has an aviation wing (pardon the pun), which focuses on traveling the globe to bring translations of the Bible in languages respective to that people group.

Granny said Zeke was a bit hesitant at first (not shocking) and squeezed her hand tight during the ride. But all the boys were thrilled to take a whirl in a plane, especially in such small aircraft.

Daddy & the dudes had fun building this cool fortress of “drip castles.”

Granny also took the kids panning for gold. Although they didn’t find any of the yellow precious metal, the boys did score lots of other pretty stones, like quartz, amethyst, and garnet. Thanks for making some awesome memories for the 3 Amigos, Granny!

Houston’s spring piano recital was on 6/8, and the performance really showcased his love for playing. I don’t ever have to ask Houston to practice anymore. In fact, I usually have to say, “Okay, step away from the piano. It’s time to do (fill in the blank).” What a joy!

We have back off to doing only bimonthly lessons for the summer really to give me a break from the drudgery of running here and running there seemingly constantly. If it were up to Houston, though, he’d probably go to see Miss Julie even more than once a week.

The 3 Amigos goof off after a morning of hard work & training @ the free baseball clinic on 6/23 @ the Grasshoppers’ stadium.

Speaking of breaks, Miss Christie and I are taking a hiatus at co-teaching spelling. Both of our families have been so busy that I fear rushing through the lessons. I want to make sure the boys really nail the fundamentals of spelling and have plenty of time to do dictation, as well.

We just wrapped up Mercy Hill Kids’ Week, which kicked off with a family cookout on 6/16, and then ran from early morning till after lunch for the next three days. The boys, who are always enthralled when learning about Jesus, had a blast, and I certainly enjoyed some free time.

Gabriel and Zeke are taking Creative Movement & Tumbling, which meets weekly for only six weeks. (This was sort of our gift to the twins, since they were too young to attend youth camp with Houston.) Even though Gabe and Zeke are the only boys in the class, they don’t care a whit, and happily roll and boogie at every lesson.