Monday, January 07, 2013

Hello, old friend

The Carolinas are both so beautiful. I'm happy to call the north one home but the south one was might be a little more favourite right now. That might have to do with the fact that we were only there on vacation. It could also be that I grew up on the coast for a while—only the northwest coast, not the southeast coast—and I simply love the beach.

Andrew tried to make things fair between North and South Carolina after I gushed to him about loving South Carolina—the beaches, the ocean, the trees!—by reminding me that North Carolina is also a coastal state and that we don't live terribly far from the beach ourselves. I told him that was something I'd have to see to believe. North Carolina is beautiful and full of trees (from what I've experienced) but I've seen no evidence of it being coastal, aside from a map or two (or every map). Mostly I was just goading Andrew into taking us to the beach.

The apple—or nut, in this case—doesn't fall far from the tree and the girls and I couldn't resist the waves and ended up getting soaking the Atlantic December.

I tried to use the guise of 'parental supervision' for my soaking wet status since Rachel saw the water and took off running (somebody had to follow her) but Andrew saw right through that, reminding me that although this was my first time meeting the Atlantic Ocean from this side of the world, I had a fleeting encounter with it on the other side of the world, also in the dead of winter, and I also go wet then. But in my defense...Rachel got wet that time, too!

Miriam went wading in her boots but she's so delicate that I didn't want her to go splashing into the cold water—I was afraid the waves would knock her over or at least get her soaking wet and make her cry (and we hadn't brought any towels or spare clothes or anything because "it's December"—when will I learn that if there is water we will be going in it?) so I carried her into the ocean while Rachel and I hopped waves (but I let her splash in the tide pools...if that's what you call them when they're only in sandbars and not rocks; these sandy beaches are kind of different).

We ran through the waves until our feet were so cold we could hardly feel them. Rachel's laughs rolled over the waves and lilted through the winter breeze the whole time. She was soaked to her waist, damp past her ears, and happy as a clam.


Our poor feet were red with cold:

Miriam cared about the cold the most...which is why I didn't let her splash in the waves as much as Rachel.

The beach was beautiful, romantic, and all ours.

I asked Rachel if she wanted to take a picture of Mommy and Daddy kissing in the sunset. "Yes!" she exclaimed, so I handed her the camera and Andrew and I posed...and posed...and posed...while Rachel figured out how to work it.

"Don't stop!" she hollered at us. "Keep kissing! Almost got it! There!"

She then asked if I wouldn't mind taking a picture of her and Miriam in the sunset. I agreed and they put on a ridiculous display of mutual affection. I unfortunately missed catching them when they each had a leg up in the air. It was hilariously adorable.

And then they spotted the gulls...

...who were a little less timid than the girls were expecting.

The gulls chased the girls quite a ways before going back to whatever it was they were doing. I suppose it's only fair—the girls had gone to chase the girls and ended up getting chased themselves. It's not as if either party ever planned on hurting the other but they both managed to give each other a little scare.

Now the girls were cold, wet, tired, and scared so we decided to call it a day and headed back to Grandma, who'd been shivering in the wind (and holding our shoes) the whole time.

It's impossible to walk along the beach without stopping to investigate something or other every few feet so it took us a while to get back to her.


On our way we were intercepted from some apparent locals who looked us up and down, noticing our soggy state, and remarked, "You must be from Boston!"

I've never even been to Boston, let alone had anyone think I was from there, but I just grinned in sheepish acknowledgement. What they meant was, "You're not from around here." And obviously we weren't since we're treating this winter as good as a prolonged spring—even in North Carolina we've seen no snow and are still comfortable in sweaters by mid-morning (though the early mornings are somewhat chillier).


Grandma asked Miriam how the water was and Miriam told her that it was cold while making this face:

Despite the cold she was reluctant to go and grabbed a handful of sand to take with her (but fortunately it all trickled out of her hand before we got to the van).

The beachfront properties were quite a distance from the actual coastline and were separated from the beach by scrubland.

We had to walk on a little boardwalk to get to the beach at all:

Rachel looks like such a ragamuffin—soaking wet, with one pant leg up and one pant leg down.

The "beachfront" houses were gigantic mansion-like properties (likely vacation rentals) and were built up on stilts so that when the inevitable hurricanes come they have better chances of survival.

The whole first storey of every house was just the "crawlspace" and was covered with slatted boards in order to let water rush right under the houses, should the need arise.

We had a fabulous (and freezing cold) time at the beach—we can't wait to go back...since we live in a coastal state and everything.

PS. I suppose it should be noted that Grandpa and Benjamin spent beach time napping in the van together.


  1. Ahh... the beach! Remember San Diego in January, taking the kitten to Mindy, and how we all went in the water, and Alexia kept saying "Bad, bad, bad!" You should KNOW...if you or Josie is near the ocean you WILL go in it. It was the stormiest day of our stay in Adelaide in the winter and of course Josie still went in the water. That is what you water babies do!

  2. I always take a change of clothes with me to the ocean. Doesn't matter the month or the latitude. I always go in.

  3. I love the beach too, though I do prefer warmer water and less chilly winds. ;) What a great chance to play in the water though and at a beautiful beach at that!

  4. I love the kissing pictures - especially of the girls. Ha! So cute!

    Yeah, a lot of snowbirds go to the Carolina coast during the winter months so the locals probably thought you were one of them. :)

    You are indeed close to the ocean. Travel interstate 40 east and you'll be in Wilmington in fewer than 3 hours (most likely). Wrightsville Beach is nice, and Carolina Beach and Southport and Oak Island aren't far. (There are other beaches, too, including the Outer Banks). You could even go for a day trip to some of the Wilmington-area beaches if you wanted.

  5. LOVE it! It all looks so idylic (sp?). I love the beautiful sky and the ragamuffin Rachel. I love that she told you and Andrew to keep on kissing! So cute!

  6. I feel so lucky not to have to walk barefooted in the sea in December because for me, the sea is (almost) always within (leg's) reach.
    It is 52°F in Brittany right now... on the beach and in the water! Interesting weather...
    Lovely pictures!