Like every-other weekend a lot. In the summer, since I was out of school, camping was a cheap and easy getaway. You can't beat $15 a night with the ocean only a mile away - - hot showers and flushable toilets even! We would beach-bum all. the. time. We love the beach. Listening to the crashing waves. Laying in our beach chairs reading our latest novel-addiction. Lazing around in the water on our boogie boards. Munching on grapes, Pringles and beef jerky from the cooler, never really paying attention to the time.
So how much more fun would it be to take our 15 month old camping at the beach?! We were inspired to give it a shot. I mean, we camped in the bush of Africa for three days, surely we could survive two nights in a beach town of the Carolina coast!
So off we set on a Saturday morning, arriving mid-afternoon to our campsite we quickly got busy setting up our (borrowed) tent. We have a tent of our own, it's a four-man tent and very nice, it has lasted us more than 5 years, but when our (very gracious) friends offered us their ten-man tent that had three rooms, we had to accept. That meant we could bring the pack & play for Owen to sleep in, rather than him being on the air mattress with us.
So we set up camp - Owen was an awesome (albeit, very dirty) helper.
He's very into that these days. Helping. It's sweet. And cute. And usually helpful.
So off we went to stroll the beach. It was about 3:00 in the afternoon, so we slipped on our suits (we were all hot and sweaty from setting up the tent) and figured we'd take a dip in the water to cool off.
When we got to the board walk and we could see the ocean, Owen was very... hmmm interested? intrigued? leery? Yup. All of those.
He wouldn't take his eyes off it.
So we picked him up, reassured him that it was okay and started walking toward the pier. Once under the pier we put him down again and he was okay. He got to see a bunch of seagulls up close and he thought that was pretty cool.
Next we went up on top of the pier. He much preferred the ocean from that viewpoint :)
We headed back to camp after walking the pair so we could get the fire going and make dinner. Owen did a great job around he fire - he kept saying "hot hot hot hot hot" and blowing on it (like we do when his food is hot).
The next morning we headed to a different part of the beach to set up camp. Some (other gracious) friends of ours let us borrow their kid-beach stuff. They let us take their little kiddie tent, kiddie pool and an umbrella. So we lugged all our stuff to the beach bright & early Sunday morning.
Around 1:00 we saw some clouds rollin' in, and Owen was getting tired so we packed things up and headed back to camp to get showers. On the way to camp (which is 5 minutes from the beach) Owen fell asleep, so Bill & I took turns taking a shower while he slept in the car. Afterward we decided to drive back down to the beach and maybe walk around, but what we saw was this:
So we decided to drive around instead. I got some pretty neat shots in the process:
So for the rest of the afternoon we drove up to the local mall and let Owen play and run around the play area. He had a blast climbing on all the cars and trucks that cost $1 to make them spin or move, and he didn't even care that they weren't on! We ended up eating out since our fire pit was quite drenched from all the rain.
The rain lasted all night long, and it was quite the storm. We stayed pretty dry in our tent, but Owen didn't love the sound of the rain on the roof and ended up in bed with us. It was a long night for us, but he slept pretty well. In the morning the clouds still looked a little threatening, even though it wasn't raining, so we decided to go down and walk the boardwalk for the sunrise, then head to the NC Aquarium.
It ended up being a beautiful morning, but we decided to head to the aquarium anyway, because we knew Owen would love it, and there isn't anything like that close to us in Charlotte. We were right on, he LOVED the aquarium. He was so adventurous an would touch anything that he was allowed to. His favorite: the turtles.
Although he didn't get to touch everything at the aquarium - I was impressed with how much he was able to see and focus on. He loved looking at all the fish, and was even able to spot the seahorses, though they were pretty camouflaged.
We got to see a lot of really neat little creatures!
When he was tired of looking at all the fish (I mean, they kind of start to look the same after you see so many (-; ) we headed to the playground outdoors. They just opened it this past spring and it's supposed to be this state-of-the-art playground - Owen didn't care how state-of-the-art it was - he had a blast!
I think this one is the look of shock on his face that he made it to the top of the slide all by himself and was about to go down :)
After the aquarium we decided to hit the road and head back home. We spent a good 2 hours there before following the winding path through the trees, bushes and past the pond back out to the parking lot. Right before the exit into the parking area we met this little guy... Owen was very excited to sit on him. :)
But the best part of the trip were the memories we all made. I'm not sure Owen will remember it all, but he has at least 348,379,874 pictures that momma took to help jog his memory one day :)