On November 18th we went down to Myrtle Beach for the annual SEDUG conference. The weather was nicer this year and we were able to enjoy the beach more.
Myrtle Beach Hotel
The girls spent one morning on the beach and later on in the day, when it got warmer, they got in the water. It was quite cold, but enjoyed it anyway.
Walking on the Beach
Friday afternoon, once the the conference was over, we went over to another hotel, the Dunes, where we had a reservation for the night. This hotel has an indoor water park, and when we found out they were running winter specials we decided to jump on the chance. Everyone had a lot of fun going down water slides or just floating along in the lazy river.
MD and her cousin spent the most time on the slides. CDF went down one with CE, but they both got soaked at the bottom, so CE decided she would stay in the lazy river. I went down the big twisty slide.
This past Saturday we went out to a farm owned by some friends to participate in their fall activities, especially to go through their corn maze. This is the first time they’ve done something like this on the farm, but they did a great job.
Welcome to the Jones’ Farm
Since the tractor was getting ready to leave when we got there, we went on the hay ride first. It was basically a tour of the farm. We got to see what they were growing and harvesting. We stopped at the first pig field (not a pen, a field), and fed them some corn. Then we moved on past the hen house where they keep almost 500 chickens. Then on past another field with pigs, and a cow on the other side, to the barn where they have goats and a baby calf. One of the daughters brought the calf out to show everyone — lured out with a big bottle of milk! CE wants to go back some time and help “milk” the baby cow.
Just outside the corn maze is a small pumpkin yard. We didn’t get a pumpkin, but took advantage of the decorations to take a family picture.
Fall Family Picture
After that the girls led us through the maze…
The Corn Maze
Yesterday we all went to the NC Science Museum in Raleigh for Homeschool day. We got to select two programs that were being put on by the museum staff. So the girls picked one on animals and one about the butterfly garden outside the museum along Jones St.
The first session was about animals, and after the first stuffed owl, all the others were live animals. They showed us a box turtle, a corn snake, a bullfrog, a cotton-tail rabbit, and finally a chinchilla from South America. After learning about the animal, the staff brought most of them around for us to touch.
First was the corn snake. It was still cold from the night, but was starting to warm up and move around. The girls both touched the smooth scales.
Petting a Corn Snake
After we had seen the other animals and heard stories, they got out the bunny. Then, realizing they were almost out of time, the staff decided to let the children pet the bunny on their way out. Another lady said she wanted to bring out her favorite animal too, and they could pet both on the way out.
So we got to see an animal we’d never seen in person before, this cute chinchilla. One thing I noticed was that its whiskers were vibrating rapidly as it sniffed around. We also found out that it fur is as soft as is reported — one of the softest things I’ve touched.
The bunny was waiting out in the hallway for us as we left.
Petting the bunny
The second class was outside at the front of the museum. The lady talked about all the insects that visit the wildflower garden. The most interesting were the Monarch caterpillars crawling on the milkweed plants and the dragonfly nymph skins that were in the little pond (a lot like cicada skins).
It actually snowed today. The forecast was predicting snow for our area, but we almost never get snow this far south. I was already at work when the temperature got cold enough for the rain to turn to snow. It started out as big, soft flakes, but now it has slaked off. The temperature is still dropping though, so we may see more.
I walked to the bank, as I normally do at the beginning of the week, and had fun going through the flurries. At home, the girls got bundled up and went out to play.
We’re supposed to get around 2 inches of snow in our area, but I don’t expect we’ll get much more than we already have. The biggest thing to look out for will be the ice when the temperature starts to fall again tonight.
Apparently for those of us in North Carolina, snow is getting almost as much attention as the President’s inauguration. The local newspaper noted that our area has not seen snow since 2003! Others were busy blogging with pictures and comments. 🙂
We had a Christmas party at my brother’s house on the 23rd. Then went up to my parents house for Christmas Eve. Then came back to town on Christmas to spend time with CDF’s family and have a Christmas dinner.
Once the Christmas decorations were done at our house — around December 1st — we started taking pictures around the tree, hoping to get one we could send out in the Christmas cards.
Then the weekend before Christmas we went up to Jacksonville to bake cookies and help decorate my Grandfather’s house. The two girls got to help with hanging ornaments. CE enjoyed it a lot — though she tended to hang a bunch of ornaments on a single branch, which is a lot like my siblings and I did when we were young.
Christmas Eve was celebrated at my Grandfather’s house as is the tradition. We got there around midday so I would have time to play a World War 2 game with my Dad and brothers, and also give the girls time to visit with their Aunts who were in town for Christmas.
That evening we enjoyed the usual fare of Christmas treats. My little nephew was also enthused about eating the cookies — though it looks like his Dad was eating more than sharing!
Originally uploaded by jmodule
Last weekend we set up the Christmas tree, and that means it was time for the annual family Christmas picture. On the technical side, I set up things differently this year. To start with I was using off-camera flash, and while I like the lighting, it could use a lot of improvement in brightness and less red-eye. Also I got a remote shutter control for the camera so we no longer have to set the 10-second timer and then rush to get into position.
So the remote is great, the lighting was decent, and once CE had taken a good nap, we got a good picture for this year.
Yesterday we took a trip to Hammocks Beach State Park, or better known as just Bear Island. It was the first time I’ve been there since 1999. A lot has changed with the park buildings (especially since the hurricanes), but the beach is still the same.
The “Long” Walk
We rode the 10:30 ferry over to the island and arrived on the beach during low tide. The girls really enjoyed playing in the tidal pools (except for when the over abundant seaweed got caught around CE’s leg). The sea was calm and we all had a good time swimming just out past the first breakers.
Lunch in the New Pavilion
We ate lunch at one of the new pavilions in the dunes. After that the girls returned to the beach to play and dance in the sand a little longer before we had to head home.
Dancing on the Beach
We made it back for the 3:00 ferry. We were actually got back to the sound a few minutes early and sat on the boat for a while before it left.
Waiting on the Ferry
The girls played around with hats as we waited.
Wearing Wavy’s Hat
We celebrated Pop’s 55th birthday on Friday. We had a cookout (but ate inside because of the heat) and grilled hamburgers and hotdogs. Pop got the grilling started, but my brother took over so he could go spend time with the guests.
Mom baked him a birthday brownie and CE helped blow out the candles.
See more pictures.
Originally uploaded by jmodule
Friday evenings in the summer Mayfaire Town Center puts on a concert near the movie theater. It’s a laid-back atmosphere where everyone sets up chairs and blankets on the grass and listens to whatever music is playing (usually soft rock or beach music).
We’ve been a couple of times. This past Friday I decided to use the red wagon to carry our stuff, and it doubled as a seat for the girls after CDF spread a blanket on it. It turned out to be a really great idea.
We went to the beach this weekend. The weather held out for us, the expected thunderstorms didn’t arrive until Sunday, and instead we had 90-degree weather. The water was still cold and it took me a few minutes to get comfortable. The girls just dived right in though.
We played in the water for a while. CE got tumbled by the waves three or four times, but it didn’t bother her too much. Eventually she learned to run away from where the wave crashed so it wouldn’t knock her over. CDF and MD swam together in a calm stretch between breakers.
When we got back out of the water we tried to build some sand castles, but the tide was coming in and we continued to be forced to move before getting anything built. So instead the girls just ran up and down the beach gathering sand and dumping it in the water.
Technorati Tags: beach, summer