Family Beach Vacation 2021

We spent 10 days at the coast on our first big family vacation since having Graham. It was lots of fun and family time! Graham was such a trooper in the car on the way there and the way back, such a great treat for us! We spent the first weekend with Aunt Jody and Penny. Graham went to his first restaurant, Provision Company! Sunday afternoon we left for the night to go to a wedding. It was so much fun to be with friends celebrating again! There were about 100 people at the wedding and it was absolutely gorgeous. All but 3 or 4 guests were vaccinated and it it just so great to finally feel safe gathering in groups and to see other people celebrating big milestones safely! We spent the night away from Graham for the first time and he did great with his Aunties. We came back from the wedding and ventured out to another restaurant! We enjoyed the view and the food and Graham was well behaved again! We spent the next couple days by ourselves out adventuring and checking out places we hadn’t seen before. We even attempted a hike, but it was too much even for the Bob. At the end of the week Sean’s family joined us. We celebrated Sean’s birthday. Graham finally got to meet his Aunt and Uncle. We had a fun pool day and a great beach day. Graham put his toes in the ocean for the first time. There were lots of lap naps and walks around town which we all enjoyed. And at Dadima’s insistence we had a family photoshoot since we had everyone together for the first time in over a year and a half. The pictures turned out well, and Bertie is quite a mood in them. She cracks me up. We’re looking forward to our next trip already. I hope Graham will grow up loving the water like me.

Graham is Six Months Old!

21 weeks – back to swimming lessons after a month off

21 weeks – First swing ride – not a big fan!

22 weeks – Mommy’s First Mother’s Day

22 weeks

23 weeks – last night in a swaddle

24 weeks – Rolling Boy

24 weeks – I spy teeth!

25 weeks – Mom and Dad’s First Night Away!

25 weeks – Family Beach Week

26 weeks – loving bath time and two teeth!

Wow! Six months! Half a year with you! How can than be!? You are an absolute joy now! You are the happiest baby and everyone we come across comments on how smiley you are. Quite the change from your first few months. We celebrated Mommy’s First Mother’s Day this month. After almost three months on and off with us Dadima and Papa Bob went home to their house as you are officially adjusted to daycare now. We are still loving your school and teachers and see you learning so much already! You spent your last night sleeping in your straight jacket swaddle, we spent almost a week transitioning out. These swaddles saved the day when you were first born, so we were a bit sad to see them go. You’re doing well sleeping in a sleep sack now. You officially mastered rolling from back to tummy and back onto your back this month (23 weeks). You got your two bottom teeth (23-26 weeks). We spent 10 days at the coast and had lots of first. You were EXCELLENT in the car on the way to the beach and the way home, which was quite the treat for mom and dad! You met Uncle Penny, Aunt Shannon, and Kaka. Mommy and Daddy spent their first night away, you did great with Aunt Jody and Uncle Penny. You went to your first restaurant; Provision Company was an excellent first restaurant choice. We celebrated Daddy’s birthday while we were there. We did have a few bouts of sickness this month. You developed a pretty severe cow milk protein intolerance and it made you feel pretty terrible, but once we figured out the problem you were back to your regular happy self. On the last night of our beach trip you woke up with a fever and felt pretty miserable. Overall I am totally amazed at how far you have come in six months and how far we have come as a family in six months! We love watching you grow and learn so QUICKLY! We love you big little one!

Visiting Hilton Head Island in the Fall

Okay, gather round closely, because I’m going to say something controversial here. Are you ready for it?

We went to Hilton Head Island, and we didn’t love it.

It was fall, so it was off season, which may have affected our experience. But y’all I don’t know what all the hype is about.

We stayed at the Marriott SurfWatch property, which really couldn’t have been nicer. We had a really nice room with a view of the ocean. The rooms are actually more like condos, with a full kitchen and living room area. I think they would be great with a family. The resort had really nice pools and a beautiful beach area. Even in the fall we found that the water was still warm enough for the outdoor pool. There was a beach bar with good drinks and decent food. The resort is also conveniently located to grocery stores and other things on the island. I think our mistake was leaving the resort property. We like to go out adventuring and check out the local restaurants when we visit somewhere new, and this is where things went downhill.

We headed out to see the famous Hilton Head lighthouse. The lighthouse is in the Sea Pines Resort community. We didn’t realize we couldn’t just drive right up, the community is gated, and they charge an $8 dollar (cash only) fee for a day pass. They advertise this as a luxury gated golf resort, and while there were some gorgeous homes it was mostly condos that were built in the mid 80’s and nothing special.

We finally made our way to the lighthouse and found a bunch of kitschy t-shirt shops all selling the same thing in the area. For an additional $4.25 per person you can climb the 90 foot lighthouse and take in the view (and another t-shirt shop at the top). We opted not to do this, instead walking around and checking out the scene. We drove around the resort area and checked out several different shopping spots and restaurants hoping to find something less cheesy, but no such luck. We did make our way onto the beach here, and it is beautiful. The beach is wide with plenty of room for running and playing, so that’s a pro!

We ended up having lunch at Fishcamp on Broad Creek after leaving the Sea Pines area and doing some driving around the island. This was probably our best find of the trip. The atmosphere was great, we sat outside, the weather was perfect and the food was good.

Based on the recommendations of several people we made a dinner reservation at Il Carpaccio. I’m not going to go into to much detail about this place, because some people clearly love it, but we left. After they served our bottle of wine and salad. We paid for it and wasted a full bottle of wine. I have never ever left a restaurant after placing my order. EVER.

We found ourselves in the parking lot of the restaurant starving and with no plan for dinner. OKKO, a hibachi restaurant was close and seemed like a safe choice, so we went for it. The food was standard hibachi, good but nothing special. The family at the table with us were locals and they told us about the Purple Cow Bakery next door, so we picked up a slice of cake on the way back to the hotel. We figured we had earned it. It was really good cake, which we obviously ate for breakfast the next day.

After returning to the hotel, we discovered what was probably the best part of the trip. The island has what appears to be very strict lighting codes, so when you’re out at night it is super dark. When we ventured out onto the beach at night, we realized this made for the BEST stargazing. We sat out on the beach for a long time enjoying the fact that we could see so many stars.

The next day we ventured out looking for some other things going on on the island, and mostly found more t-shirt shops. We decided to abandon looking for the fun spots on the island and head back to our resort to just hangout. We rented bikes from the resort and rode down the beach and had a great time. We spent the afternoon at Sea Salts, the resorts beach bar, watching college football and eating. We had planned to venture out for dinner again, but after striking out so many times, we decided to order Carraba’s take-out, because it was right at the entrance to the resort, and at least there would be no surprises.

While the beaches at Hilton Head were beautiful this really just wasn’t our scene. We loved the resort, and had we gone in with a different mindset of just hanging at the resort and relaxing instead of trying to explore somewhere new, this may have been an entirely different experience.

Here’s the thing… I think if you planned to golf all day there may be a lot for you here. If you have a family and you plan to stay in and cook, there were plenty of nice resorts with big pools and beach access and you would never have to leave. Sometimes hanging at a nice resort and stargazing is just what you need, so it definitely isn’t all bad.

However, there really is not much in the restaurant scene, which is probably one of our top things about going on vacation. Hilton Head is VERY commercial with all the chain restaurants you can imagine and a huge outlet mall with ALL the stores. Obviously, this sounds perfect to many people, or it wouldn’t be such a popular spot. So to each their own I guess.

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Have you been to Hilton Head? What did you think? I’d love to know!