Thursday, September 29, 2016

Myrtle Beach {Days 4-6}

Yesterday I shared the first half of our Fall Break vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Today is all about the second half. 

~ Day 4 ~

We started off nice and early on this day. All week we had been hyping the pool that contained Splash, the onsite water park, and today was the day it was scheduled to open for the first time since we arrived. The kids were so excited they woke up waaaaaaaay too early. 

We headed across the street to the resort again for breakfast and by the time we ate the last piece of omelette it was 7:32a.m. 

Yikes! We still had hours to kill before the park opened at 10:00a.m.

It was also kind of mist/raining so we were a little nervous if they would even open it. Rather than sit in our villa and go stir crazy I  rounded up the family for a little walk to explore the pier we could see from the resort. 

We read that the Apache Pier is the longest on the East Coast. It offers fishing and has a camp ground at the entry to it that seemed to be quite popular - even in the off season. 

From the resort it is at most a ten minute walk. There is a beach side walking path that connects all the condos and hotels leading almost right up to it.

We didn't realize how big it actually was until we got on it. It was huge!

The kids loved it and thought it was so neat to see all the way up and down the coast from both sides. They wanted to go fishing, but we promised them we would go another day when it wasn't so rainy. 

On our way back we passed Splash and it was open! 

Rain or shine, the kids were not going to pass up the chance to go in the water park. We quickly changed into our suits and with in moments were water sliding with the best of them. 

Now the lifeguards at the park we learned were super strict (a good thing of course!), and while I thought I could sit on the sidelines and watch the kids - no chance. Little Cute doesn't turn three for another month and even with her swim float on they wanted a parent with her at all times. Like hands on her - literally if she was in the water I had to hold her hand. 

And if you think they don't notice, I let go a few times and I was whistle blown with in seconds. It also distracted me a few times and that large bucket got me. And let me just tell you, that water wasn't the warmest water a person could swim in...or have 3000 gallons of water splashed on you. 

So when it thundered a slight bit off in the distance, a million whistles blew for all 7 of us that were in the water and that place was shut down for the next 30 minutes. 

We decided this was a great time for a break and a snack. 

And by snack, I mean for mommy and daddy to test out one of the fruity beverages. 

The Cutes found friends to play with and share Goldfish with and everyone was happy for the entire half hour. 

Then it was back to the grind. 

And for this moment I might need to pray to Jesus a little bit for some forgiveness. I saw that the big bucket was about to tip over. I warned the mom next to me, and then I bailed. I risked a whistle blowing because I left The Cutes behind, but I'd already been hit four or five times and they loved it. Cute would hear it starting to tip sometimes and dive into that mess. 

After a few more thousand times down the water slides, I tapped out and let Mr. Cute do some hand holding while I enjoyed another Peach Fuzz Buzz. 

And then this little darling let me snuggle her to sleep again!

 It was already late, but we were having so much fun we shut the park down, ate a quick dinner at the resort and then it was lights out. 

~ Day 5 ~

We did our morning routine and then we decided this would be our special pier fishing day. The kids were so excited and couldn't wait. They both proclaimed they were going to catch "the biggest shark in the whole wide world"

After about thirty minutes they were able to help Mr. Cute reel in this big guy. 

Needless to say after about an hour it didn't hold their attention, so I left Mr. Cute to enjoy some peace and quite and I took the kids to the base of the pier to play and swim. 

We had the entire beach to ourselves for the most part. It was probably the coldest day of the trip and it was extremely overcast and rainy at times, but it didn't stop us one bit. 

After some serious seagull chasing by the older Cutes and some serious sand eating by the caboose, Mr. Cute surprised everyone with ice cream treats he found at the pier restaurant. L.C. literally ate hers in five seconds. 

We realized how late it was and thought the kids might be hungry so we packed up and headed back to the villa to get warm and dry. 

Note: When I say it was the coldest day it was 81 degrees. We've lived in 95 plus for so long the poor kids think 80 is means to break out a down jacket! Bless their hearts. 

Mr. Cute decided he wanted a little change of scenery and corralled our kids up for some putt-putt. Now we noticed Myrtle Beach is packed with putt-putt places. Literally there is one almost every block. 

Cute was set on having a pirate themed place, so...pirate themed it was. We had a blast. It was probably one of the best putt-putt places we had ever been to. 

After putt-putt we headed to what was probably our family's favorite restaurant out of the week - Mr. Fish. We literally just picked a place we saw from the road, but the food gods must have been looking out for us because it was fabulous. 

The food was so good, but the customer service was excellent! A manager came right up to Cute and started telling him all about the fish tanks and the lobster tank. Cute was riveted so she even pulled one out to hold. 

L.C. while quite adventurous wasn't about to touch it so Cute handed it to me. I think there is a picture floating around somewhere but I couldn't find it. And then it became a game of make mommy hold the moving lobster and see her face. 

If I find the photo I will share. It's not nearly as awesome as Carrie Beth's from her Key West trip a few weeks ago, but I laughed thinking neither one of us are the lobster holding type but within weeks of each other we were now "pros". 

If you are in the Myrtle area, I would highly recommend Mr. Fish as a must eat on your itinerary. It has a fun history to it, and interestingly enough has even been in Southern Living a time or two. Definitely worth checking out!

~ Day 6 ~

Hallelujah! The sun is full on shining! We couldn't believe for our last day we were so lucky. 

We did the normal breakfast thing one more time, and then we headed back to the beach one last time. 

Again, thank goodness for the beach cart. Now that the sun was shining and the sand was a little dryer, it was definitely a little tougher to pull the wagon. 

We enjoyed our last morning on the beach immensely. It was sad knowing that we were going to be back in "real life" in a few hours, but we made sure to make the most of that last little bit of vacay. 

We decided to split our time between the beach and the water park to maximize the last day fun, so after lunch we were back at Splash. 

And since the sun was shining and water temperatures were now a little warmer than a polar bear swim, Mr. Cute decided he would get in on the action this time. 

It was such a fun day! 

We closed the park down again and then headed to the villa to change and go to dinner. We decided to leave the resort for dinner, but then saw there were restaurants right at the beginning of the complex. We popped in the Italian restaurant and decided to grab some pasta and some pizza. 

The kids were in heaven!

They also thought this was so funny - a wall of cards! This kept them more entertained than the iPads. They loved it, and we then became the proud owners of pamphlets from every place along the beach. 

After dinner the kids were so wiped out they fell asleep in two minutes tops. We woke up the next morning not quite ready to face everything we had been ignoring for the last week, but so grateful for such a fun family vacation.

That wraps up our trip for Fall Break! 

Now...where to go next? What are some of your favorite Fall destinations? 

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Myrtle Beach, SC {Days 1-3}

I am a beach girl through and through. We just arrived home from our Fall Break trip to North Myrtle Beach, SC on Sunday, and I already look forward to the next time I am able to feel the ocean breeze on my face and dip my toes (and because I am a mom, every other body part) in the sand.

This year's Fall Break couldn't have fallen at a more perfect time. These last few months have been a such a roller coaster ride, and our little family badly needed a break to just "check out" for a bit. 

September and October are my favorite months out of the year to visit the beach in the South. It's usually still warm enough to spend all day on the beach, but without the humidity.  While I hate that our kids go back to school when it is this hottest time of the year, I love that they get a full week's break during this gorgeous beach season.

Living in Atlanta, we are so fortunate that we can get to a ton of great beaches within just a few hours. This was super convenient this time around in our travel planning because it gave us a lot of options to look at and we were able to make a decision pretty quickly on short notice. Mr. Cute and I literally sat down and planned the whole vacation in about 15 minutes.

Even though we have grown up in the South, neither one of us had ever been to Myrtle Beach before. We had no clue what to expect, but the moment Fall Break officially kicked off we were ready to get there, and start our week of relaxing.

~ Day 1 ~

We're off...

And six and a half short hours later (filled with a lot of "she/he's touching me!"), we've arrived...

Mr. Cute travels a lot for work and we have an obscene amount of points saved up, so when we were planning on where to stay we just flipped through the Hilton Rewards options and choose the most family friendly place that we could find. Our only requirements were separate rooms for the kids, and a fun pool area.  The Hilton properties offered two options that seemed to fit our needs, but we ultimately landed on a villa/condo at Kingston Plantation. The accommodations were a little older than at the Hilton itself, but we wanted to be on the ground rather than 20 stories up with small children. 

Our villa was right across from the main resort where all the restaurants, water park, and entertainment was. It was less than a minute walk to the beach and perfectly set up for a family. 

The kids room had twin beds, a large closet, a flat screen tv, several dressers and was located right next to a large bathroom. 

The kitchen had recently gone through a renovation and was perfect for what we needed. I loved that there was tons of storage (not shown) for all our snacks and groceries. 

The living room and dining room view. A little older, but plenty spacious and the couch folded out in case you needed more sleeping accommodations.

There was a large master suite with a full walk-in closet and large bathroom. I forgot to photograph the remainder of the home, but one of my favorite spots was this outside screen porch. You know we love our screen porches!

After we did a quick unpacking, we headed to Coastal Grill at the resort for dinner. There was a fun happy hour going on and the staff was quick to grab the kids snacks as well as things to color and play with. I was so glad because I was nervous after sitting all day that they would be wild during dinner. 

I was so thankful for their help, and their willingness to bring me free wine from the happy hour going on. They knew the way to this girl's heart. 

After dinner we were able to catch a quick ocean side walk just before the sunset. It was the perfect end to a long day of travel. 

~ Day 2 ~

The next morning we woke up nice and early (gotta love that early school wake up time). We headed to the resort for the breakfast buffet and the kids were so excited to drink their water out of their very own coffee cups. Each day moving forward they requested to drink out of their "coffee mugs". Funny only because we aren't coffee drinkers, but they thought this was awesome. 

It was rainy so we were in no rush to get anywhere, and weren't desperate enough to Google for a back up plan. So we wandered the resort for a bit and stumbled upon an arcade. 

We gave each of the kids a dollar and they were so excited! They had the whole place to themselves and loved getting to check out all the games. 

The racing games were their favorites. Mr. Cute might have given them a whirl too. 

After we made our way back to the villa, the rain stopped. We scrambled to put on our swimsuits, quickly sprayed some sunscreen on and made our way across the street to the beach. We were going to soak it up as much as we could. 

Let's pause a moment and pay tribute to the beach cart. Still one of the best beach purchases we've ever made. Without the cart it would have been tough to keep up with all of our stuff so easily, and even though we brought a double jogging stroller that usually works great for the beach, we noticed we had some trouble pushing everything in the sand. Many people we saw struggling with their coolers and regular strollers. I did see one person with a beach cart that had larger wheels, and something about it looked goofy, but it worked great in the sand. Logging that for the future if we return one day. 

The moment we hit the sand the kids were off and running. 

The beach was pretty empty, but the quickly found a few friends to play with. They boogey boarded, built sandcastles, and dug holes for the entire time we were there. 

 Even Baby Cute got in on the action. She was so young for her first time at the beach, but it didn't take long for her to roll around in the sand, eat the sand, splash in the water and squeal in delight. I think it's safe to say I have three total beach babies.

We finally dragged the kids away from the beach sometime after lunch when the skies were looking dark again. We made the executive decision to change out of our swim suits and check out some of the rest of Myrtle Beach. Thanks to the suggestion of a sweet reader, we made our way to Broadway on the Beach

It's kind of an outdoor shopping and entertainment area with large attractions mixed in.  There are some water themed attractions and The Cutes thought they fish feeding was hilarious. There were so many fish!

There was a large playground on site as well, but due to the rain it was completely flooded. In fact, so much so tons of ducks were swimming in it! The Cutes couldn't stop laughing at this. 

We did a little exploring and a little shopping. Cute was so thrilled to find a place that sold "real" sharks teeth. He spent his own money to buy both he and L.C. one. They carried these things around the entire rest of the trip, and even slept with them each night. 

The skies started to turn black again, and we knew we were going to get caught in some major rain. It was still too early for dinner so I made a quick decision and we ducked into this Wonder Works museum. 

We had never heard of it before, but apparently there are several around the country.

We had no clue what to expect, but from the moment we walked in we knew it was a good decision. The best way to describe it is a unique, and interactive, science museum. Very hands on and perfect for kids. 

And maybe big kids too. I was testing out the 85mph hurricane wind simulator. 

Checking out what lighting "feels" like. 

The answer - pretty big. :) 

I think it is safe to say that Mr. Cute by far had the best time out of all of us. I almost felt like I needed to buy him a return pass, he was so entertained. 

Between the bubble section and this giant piano, L.C. was a happy camper. 

Wonder Works was definitely a lot of fun and a great way to pass the time when weather isn't cooperating. I am not sure if all locations feature the same attractions, but this one was filled with tons of fun activities worth going back for. 

Broadway at the Beach has a ton of restaurants. Everything from themed to standard chain restaurants. I kept pushing for the fun looking pirate themed one because we were already doing touristy things so why not? But Mr. Cute saw this and determined Roosters it was. 

The atmosphere was good, but that is where I will leave it. I would say maybe check out one of your other options first - definitely not my favorite meal and that is all I will say about that. 

By this time we are drenched and Mr. Cute and I just gave in and got wet. 

The rain was unforgiving and I love that it didn't bother my little family one bit. 

~ Day 3 ~

A new day, a new coffee cup. 

Day 3 was pretty much a repeat of day two. We woke up and it was misty raining, but the moment it stopped we headed to the beach. The tide was different when we arrived, and the kids were so excited to see the thousands and thousands of sea shells on the shore!

The kids did their beach thing and we were more than okay with that. 

Baby Cute played and played and played.

And then she slept. 

I was in heaven because rarely does she fall asleep on me. I could have stayed there all day snuggling. 

We went home for a quick lunch on the screen porch and then made our way to the pool behind our house for some more fun. The kids had the entire pool to themselves, and after I did my mommy swimming duty, I warmed up in the SUN (hallelujah!) while sneaking in a little reading

While we were showering and making ourselves presentable for dinner, I decided that we needed to have a little date night and give a try to the nicer restaurant on the property. I took this as an opportunity to wear my new favorite dress from the After Party Sale

Vintage Twelve just sounded tasty. That and the vibe was so neat. 

I wanted one of everything on the menu. 

And the atmosphere wasn't bad to look at either. 

And then I was quickly reminded that it wasn't date night. :) 

Love our little ones! 

Vintage Twelve was probably the best meal I ate all week. It was just SO good. From the moment they brought the warm zucchini bread I knew I was in for  a treat. And speaking of, now I am craving zucchini bread (does anyone have an easy, yet awesome recipe???). 

After dinner we took a "we survived a 5 star restaurant with three crazy kids" selfie and called it a day.

If you've made it this far be sure to tune in tomorrow to see more of our Myrtle Beach fun and get a peek at the second half of our trip.

Have a great Wednesday!
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