Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Andrew's birthday getaway

Mid-November is a fantastic time for a getaway.
Last year, we snuck away for a long weekend for Andrew's birthday.
We decided to go again this year.
It is perfect.
We went to Myrtle Beach and 
stayed at a place that was new to us, Long Bay Resort.
I got a good deal on it.
But we didn't love it.
The location was fabulous and the view was amazing.
But the service was poor.
And we had a guy below us who loved to smoke
cigars on his balcony, which made it so we couldn't 
enjoy our balcony when he was out.

Andrew was meeting us there from a work trip, so he actually flew in to Myrtle.
I waited for the kids to get home from school on Thursday afternoon
and then we took off!
Caroline and I got up early on Friday and enjoyed a walk on the beach.

Then we all changed into swimsuits and headed down to the pool area.
They had a lazy river,
a couple of pools,
and several hot tubs.

We tried out all of it.

After lunch, we headed down to the beach as a fam.
It wasn't as warm as last weekend during my tennis tourney,
but it was still pleasant.

The girls still frolicked in the waves.

This girl!
Don't mess with her!

After we all showered, I had us head back to the beach
to take some family photos.
It was the PERFECT lighting and I was so happy with how they turned out.

When I had snapped every possible picture that I could,
 we headed down to Fun Plaza,
our favorite old-timey arcarde.

We love this place!

We had fun playing their baseball-pinball game,

and C rode the bucking bronco.

The next day, we got to have the coolest adventure.
We had a little bit of money left over from one of my 
"slush funds" from tax refunds or bonuses from the year.
I told the kids we could choose a fun activity that we hadn't done before.

My proposals: a helicopter ride over the ocean, a boat ride out to
watch dolphins, or swim with the stingrays at the aquarium.
We discussed it and decided to swim with the stingrays!

Ripley's has an aquarium in Myrtle. We had seen it from the
outside, but had never visited.
We had an appointment set for our excursion,
but got there early so we could explore the aquarium.

It was VERY cool.
Our little aspiring Marine Biologist was in her element!

We got to touch jellyfish!

After touring all through the aquarium,
it was time to meet our tour guide.
We got to go on a behind-the-scenes tour.
It was so great, very informative, and entertaining.
No photos allowed, though.

Then we were led back to a locker room to change into wet suits!
Ooooh la la.
Don't we look professional?

Ready to swim!

The excursion itself was interesting.
We just basically climbed the wall and hopped into one of the tanks!
It felt so rebellious!
A diver was in the tank with us.
She would feed the rays and teach us about them.

We could touch them as they went by.

They were big!

 Oh, and did I mention that there were also SHARKS in the tank with us?
This bonnet head shark (similar looking to a hammer head),
swam right by us! 

Do you see her behind Whit?
I'm keeping my eye on her...

The part that was a little awkward?
The exhibit was still open and people were watching
US like we were part of it.
Andrew felt self-conscious about that!

After several minutes in the shallow end,
they gave us vests and snorkels and we got to swim 
in the deep end where there are other sharks and rays.

Care Bear was a little hesitant.
She said she wanted to just sit on the ledge.
The rest of us LOVED it.

And Care Bear even came out for a little while.

Such a fun adventure.
I'm so happy we had the chance to do this together.

We all got T-shirts at the end, 
and the photos that they took
were included with the package.
It was a great value for what we got.

Then we headed back to hotel.
The girls swam again.
Both indoors...

and out!

We went down to the boardwalk again that night.

Stopped at I LOVE SUGAR for some treats.

And spent some more time at the arcade.

I won a T-shirt from the baseball game!

And Andrew and I won the bonus on Down the Clown.

Andrew requested seafood for his birthday dinner.
I looked up a locally-owned place called Bimini's.
When we got there, we found out the owner was a 
Ragsdale graduate. He let us jump the line for a table. Woo hoo!

The food was great.
Brandon and Whit shared a huge pot
of seafood delights--shrimp, clams, mussels, and crab.
So fun to watch them shelling all their goods.

We had birthday cake when we got home.

The big 4-3! He's approaching his MID-forties now. :)

So grateful we could have this fun family getaway.