Monday, October 17, 2016

Vacation from my problems!

Bonus points if y'all know what that quote is from! lol...only one of my family's favorites...I have the entire movie pretty much memorized!

So my last post I talked about most of August. The rest of August was worth a whole 'nother post! lol... I have a very dear friend from childhood that I'm still good friends with (who asked to remain nameless). It's one of those friendships where we might go months or more without talking, but then we'll reconnect and it's just great. Anyways, she messaged me out of the blue in July to see how things were going. I hadn't talked to her since maybe January or February. So she knew about David's last surgery, but didn't know how tough his recovery had been, that he wasn't able to work anymore, that he was going on disability, his new diagnosis, etc. So of course we were catching up on everything. We started talking about the lottery of all, if you had an extra 50 bucks what would you do. What about an extra 500.00...and so on. Completely hypothetical at this point. Then she drops the bombshell on me that she's felt that God has been telling her for months to give me and my family $$$. Very specific and very generous. With absolutely no knowledge of what had been going on in our lives. Talk about providential!!! I was pretty much dumbstruck. I mean, WOW! David had been talking about getting away with the kids for a few days over the summer. He really wanted to take a mini vacation and make some memories! But it just wasn't going to work out. We didn't have the money for it...and didn't realize how long it would take for disability and pensions to kick in. So this was completely and totally the most wonderful answered prayer! As you might imagine, I was in total shock! just overwhelmed with emotions...thankful for my loving, generous friend who was open to the Holy Spirit's prompting, blessing us tremendously! I know I've mentioned it before, but this summer was tough. Like, so tough. Bad news on top of bad news. Constant worry and fear...trying to turn it all over to God, but struggling. But time and again, God's provision through His people just amazed me! Long story short, I get a bank transfer, on my birthday! (hahaha, again, the timing!) and the vacation planning commenced!

We thought about flying somewhere, maybe Puerto Rico (somewhere you don't need but finally decided that flying would be too much for David. I just couldn't see him walking all over the airport, being stuck in an airplane if he started feeling sick...just no. Then I started looking at places within driving distance. First I was looking at North Carolina, but then I remembered Myrtle Beach. I'd heard it was a great family vacation spot...and started researching it a bit. Wow, it looked really fun! I wanted to try to find a resort type place that had a lot to do so if David wasn't feeling good he could just hang there and there would still be lots to do. I found this one hotel with like 7 pools, 3 lazy rivers, kiddie splash pad, water slides, a bunch of hot restaurants and a suite, so the room had plenty of space. Sounded pretty awesome. I wound up booking it for the last week of August (which got us a good deal! lol)...right after the kids got back from camp, and towards the end of David's chemo I was hoping he'd be feeling as good as possible. We told the kids...they were SO excited!!! They couldn't believe someone would be that generous...they were just in awe! We've pretty much only gone on one vacation, and that was last year to Cape Cod for like 3 days. Other than that, we've never gone away for a real vacation! I mean, we've traveled with David when he would work out of town...but he was working...not quite the same thing. A week of nothing but fun??? Yes please!

The kids got home from Camp Kesem on Sunday, and we left for vacation on Tuesday. So much laundry! lol... My mom stayed to watch the dog for us...which was super helpful! Made things a lot easier.

Day 1 - Myrtle Beach is about a 13 hour drive, so I was planning on just punching through and getting it done in one day. I don't mind driving, but I like to try not to stop. Of course, with kids, that's just impossible...and David is pretty bad felt like we were always stopping for the bathroom, or food, or gas. ARGGHHH!!! hahahaha...All told, it took about three hours longer than the GPS said...16 hours! But I will say, it was worth it to stop at Waffle House for lunch! Yum! But the worst was the last stop, literally less than an hour from the hotel. Like, seriously???? We're SO close! lol

Everyone was sleeping! Rest stop selfie!
Rest stop in VA...about the halfway mark, near Fredrickburg
Made it! bed. comfy. sleep.

Day 2 - Recuperation! lol...the plan was after the long day in the car we would just stay around the hotel...swim, lounge, etc. It was a good plan ;) After sleeping in, we hit the hotel Starbucks up, then set out exploring.

my view out our balcony!
wow...I got to look at that every morning!
All those pools, etc are part of the hotel had 3 buildings!
Buddy was ready to go!
giant chess and checkers!
water slides! These were a big hit, especially for Buddy!
these girls floated the lazy river for over an hour!

 Then we made our way to the beach!

Look at that sky! 
crazy hair! lol

Once we had our fill of the water, we headed back to the room to get changed. David was waiting for us, hungry! He was hankering for some seafood, especially crab legs! There were so many restaurants to choose from...we finally just picked one! Seafood buffet, with unlimited crab legs! Yum! I haven't had them in probably fifteen years! so good! messy, but delicious!

David was a happy camper!

Then we dropped the boys back at the hotel, and the girls went out for pedicures! I found this one place that let you set up your appointment via text! That was awesome! lol...y'all know about my phone phobia! Glitter had actually never had one! It was a hit!

Can you guess whose is whose???

Then back to the hotel for a movie (they had free dvds) and to plan the rest of the fun! Yes, I made a list! I gotta have a wasn't set in stone or anything, but I wanted a game plan, so we knew what all we wanted to do. Basically our daily plans were hang at the hotel pools in the morning, then head out in the afternoon for some sort of excursion...David mainly stayed at the hotel, but would go with us for dinner.

fiery sky
enjoying his comfy bed

Day 3 - We checked out a different lazy river...this one was half inside half outside.

Then we checked out the submarine splash pad.

Poor Fluffernutter started feeling not so great :/

After we grabbed Daddy and had some lunch (Bojangles...fried chicken!), the kids and I headed out for some sightseeing at the boardwalk and souvenir shopping. We even hit up one of the outlets. Poor Fluffernutter started feeling pretty crappy, but she soldiered on. We found some cute turquoise beaded necklaces...some Myrtle Beach apparel...just fun stuff like that. I even found Fluffernutter some great birthday presents too...which she didn't even notice...that's how bad she felt :/

The Skywheel
giant candy store
Glitter scored some adorable panda ears...she basically didn't take them off the rest of the trip!
Seeing as it was national burger day, we had to try out this cool burger and milkshake was a hit!

Day 4 - Lunch at The Grumpy restaurant name ever!

love how the older girls are the same and Glitter's expressions go from derp to
Glitter got sushi
I got a delicious chicken waffle sandwich!
water fountain made out of beer taps!
random King's for the wax museum...seriously, there is SO much to do! We didn't even hit a fraction of all the entertainment possiblities!

We were all gonna go Ripley's Aquarium after lunch, but David wasn't feeling we dropped him back at the hotel then headed there without him.

And here is where I must tell you of the tragedy that struck suddenly. See this petting tank. See the beautiful, clear pictures. Now see the picture following...the lack of clarity? lovely Nikon SLR camera bit the dust...well, more accurately, splashed to a watery doom. I had it on my shoulder and I leaned over and...PLOP! into the petting tank it went...and there went my stomach...NOOOOO!!!!!! I tried to pop the battery out and dry it, but was no more. sad!

Manta Ray
Mermaid show!
Sea Dragons
Hard to see, but that's an octopus in the barrel
I found Dory!

They had the coolest exhibit! A shark tunnel! You literally walked through and under the middle of the shark was awesome!

Moray Eel
Jellyfish petting tank
giant sea nettles
love the way they capture the light!
look at my cuties!

The aquarium was in the middle of a neat shopping/entertainment district, Broadway at the Beach! Fluffernutter was still feeling yucky, so she was pretty tired by this time, so we only checked out one store...but what a store! They had warm praline samples...were making taffy in the smelled divine! and tasted just as good! I wish we had been able to go back and wander looked like there were a lot of fun things there!

taffy puller
then back for an evening swim!

Day 5 - Next on our list was checking out the Brookgreen Gardens Native Wildlife Zoo. Poor Fluffernutter was not up for it, so she stayed at the hotel with Daddy and slept. But the rest of the kids and I set out. Not only did the gatekeeper give us a deal on the admission, but the shuttle driver let the younger kids sit up front with her. As we were driving in, the grounds were just gorgeous! The landscaping was beautiful, and there were hundreds of amazing sculptures all over the park. I wish it hadn't been so crazy hot! I would have loved to wander the grounds and see all the artwork! As it was, we barely made it through the zoo!

Shift's face after she discovered this!
These ginormous golden silk orb spinner spiders were everywhere!!! the kids were totally freaked out!
It's hard to tell, but these suckers are at least 3-4 inches big!
This lego version was about 3-4 feet! lol...they had a lego scupture exhibit throughout the zoo...super cool!
I loved all the Spanish moss on the trees...made me nostalgic!
still can't get over those spiders!
wolf sculpture
hahaha...this sign...Shift really wanted to skedaddle...first the spiders, then this?!?!?!?
marshland aviary
otter family
this otter didn't stop backflipping the whole time we were watching!
I had to take a picture of the fox for Fluffernutter, since she couldn't come...they're her favorite!
wolf and wolfhound
Spanish goats
a pullout beehive...just a little freaky
break time!
cooling off in the mist
followed by lunch at Applebees...with a giftcard!

David and I wanted to get out by ourselves for a little date we headed out to find a good restaurant. The first one we tried had a crazy line, but then we found the Noizy Oyster. oh. my. goodness. Best food yet! First we got the seafood nachos some oysters, of course! lol... I got the steam pot...crab legs, crawfish (haven't had them in ages!!!), shrimp, potatoes, corn, and andouille sausage...amazing! David got the shrimp and grits with andouille...seriously, the best meal ever! Of course, we mixed and matched...

serious business
messy, but so worth it!

Day 6 - Last day :( We hit up the beach one last time. 

only day that wasn't bright and sunny...the weather was just perfect all week!
one last dip in the pool too
until they made everyone get out because there was lightning.

Of course, we had to hit up Waffle House again! I just do not understand why we don't have any around's the best!

The kids had really wanted to do a ropes course. There was one near the hotel that looked super cool...until I checked out the cost...almost $50 per person! Um, no thank you. But then I looked at this place called Wonder was like a souped up science museum, that also had an indoor ropes course and laser tag included...and it was less than $30 per person! Much better! Plus, the weather was a little iffy, so it was perfect! The kids said that it was actually their favorite thing that we did...out of all of them, this was the best!

the building looks upside down!
Then you enter through this spinning tunnel that really make you feel like you're walking upside was the weirdest thing! It really worked!
hurricane shack
tesla coil
360 bike ride
waiting for the virtual roller coaster
flight simulator
rover simulator
getting ready for the ropes course
proud of himself!
waiting for laser tag!
I got 5th place (I think) and Fluffernutter got in the top ten I think...
it rained while we were inside...the only time it

We were gonna try to go out with the kids back to the Noizy Oyster again, because it was so good...and ride the SkyWheel, but David wasn't up for going out. So we ordered in some Chinese, I think...I forget...;) We needed to head out early the next morning, so we were trying to get all packed up and ready. David did pretty good overall...I mean, he stayed at the hotel 90% of the time (so thankful it was a nice room and comfy bed!) but he felt pretty decent, and had a good time when he did leave. It was just nice for him to get away, and hang with the kids whenever we were back in the room. It was totally relaxing and awesome!

Day 7 - Driving. All day. Again. lol...we actually just drove to NJ, so it wasn't the full drive, but almost. David had an MRI, appointment, and treatment scheduled for the next we drove to Secaucus and spent the night there. David made it almost to NJ before puking. That was pretty good...the whole trip, he did awesome...felt decent. But that last drive (and all the junk food)...too much. Thankfully, I was prepared...bucket at the ready! lol...poor babe.

Good bye beautiful beach!

I was a little worried about how the kids would do with all day doctor appointments, well...really, just worried about Buddy. I knew the girls would be good...entertain themselves...but Buddy was another question.

Made it to David's first appt, mri, on time with no hassles! Yay for waze! Lol... Here's hoping the kids (buddy, I'm looking at you!) behave... It's gonna be a long day! Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, I'm not wearing gray... Forgot to pack it!

I asked Buddy what the rules were for the doctor's office... He said "no being super crazy?" I said "yeah, what else?" he said "no being 'noxious?" (obnoxious)... Lol... That's my boy... See? He does know better! 😆

August 30
Chemo suite was running behind... Finally got called back for treatment... It'll be another hour and a half before we can get out of here... Caden is SO stir crazy! At least the waiting room is fairly empty now...

I think we finally walked back in our door around 10 pm that night. Not the ideal way to end a vacation...but what a vacation!!! We honestly had the best time. It was wonderful to relax, have fun, eat great food, take the kids to do whatever they wanted. They have been the best troopers. Even though we weren't able to do much over the summer, they never once complained. They never asked for things, or to go do stuff...they knew our situation. It broke my heart and made me so proud at the same time. So to be able to spoil them for a week??? well, it's all this mom could ever ask for! Thank you so much my dear friend. You blessed us more than you could ever know! My heart could never express what it meant to us, but I am forever grateful!

One of my souvenirs!

Of course, reality hit with a thud. The next day I had to take David straight to another doctor's appointment...then to a school open house to meet the younger two's teachers...and the day after that, the kids went back to school! Life carries on...but our memories of our fantastic time will stay with us forever!