For years my family has gone on an annual beach vacation.  My parents, siblings and spouses, nieces and nephews – as many people who were able to would gather in Myrtle Beach for a week of fun at the pink house.

There was always an abundance of sand…in the kids’ hair, stuck to sunscreened skin, dropping off beach chairs, inside bathing suits, in unmentionable places.  Just…everywhere.  But I love the memories.  Pre-kids the week meant endless hours to read and late night conversations with my siblings.  Post-kids it was filled with exhausting demands for beach time, but our “it takes a village” environment made the week not just possible but enjoyable.  And the kids loved having so much family around them.

We did that for a good number of years but eventually the travel got to be a little too much.  It was about a five-hour drive for us, and I’m the first to admit I get a bit squirrelly in the car once we pass the two hour mark.  Plus the trip to Myrtle Beach has this weirdly deceptive final leg to it that, no matter how many times we went, I couldn’t adapt to.  We’d get there – at least I’d feel like we were there, but then we’d have another 30 minutes to go.  That last half hour just about killed me every single time.

At any rate, my family still gets together in the summer, but we’ve changed locations.  For the last two years we’ve gathered for a week at a lake that’s about an hour from our house – SO MUCH BETTER on the drive time – and it’s turned out great.  Our family as a whole has always been filled with beach people so there was a bit of concern the first year that we’d miss the ocean waves, but it turned out the lake was just as wonderful (and, as a plus, less sandy).

There’s plenty of sun, and a dock for lounging while you read.  If you don’t feel like walking down to the dock you can sit on the deck, enjoying the peace and quiet while looking at the water.


The kids like to swim at the house (jumping off the top level of the dock is a favorite, though nerve-wracking, activity to watch), and they love taking the boat out for water sports.



I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised T-man and Bear would take to the lake like this.  They are water babies at heart, be it ocean, pool, or lake.  Water=fun.  Big Time Fun.

They like tubing, though BrightSide walks a fine line between giving them a fun ride and terrifying them with a spill.  Most of the time he ends up with grins on dripping wet faces.




We also got a “water couch” last year – I had no idea what this was until we showed up at the lake, and it turned out the name describes it perfectly.  A giant inflatable couch, big enough for four to five people, that you tow behind the boat.  Catch a wave just right in that thing and it goes air bound – now that’s something to see!  T-man and Bear were horrified that it was out of commission for repairs during this year’s lake week.

The kids mastered knee boarding and have moved on to the wake board now, a sport that seems uniquely designed for T-man.  His core strength and balance from Tae Kwon Do helps in general, and his skater instincts pushed him to try tricks this summer.  He had a blast!


Bear struggled a bit even though she’d gotten up on the wake board last summer.  T-man had been skating all winter, but she’d lost the muscle memory of pulling up out of the water and balancing.  She was so determined, though.  She just kept getting out there to try, and on our last day she finally made it up to ride.  Bear even hung in through several wipeouts – we were all so proud of her!


So the kids still have their fun in the sun, and I still get my time with my extended family.  There really is nothing quite like those late-night talks.