At the beginning of the summer, I made two lists. One was things we needed to do around the house (clean pantry/closets, paint deck, landscape, etc.) and the other was summer activities just for fun! I can definitely report that we crossed off more of our fun items than our work items! So while our house may not look in the best of shape (especially with all the kitchen and living room repairs going on), we have managed to have quite a few exciting excursions!
Here we are at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia. We headed down on a semi-cloudy day (hoping to avoid the heat, but ended up sticky with humidity). Nevertheless, Riley had a blast seeing all his favorite animals in a zoo for the first time! The highlight of our trip was when Riley saw the giraffes and went up on a landing to feed them. He found pieces of lettuce (people had left behind) and fearlessly fed the giraffes as they poked their heads through the railing. He got such a kick out of it; we had to come back again a second time before we left! Other sweet moments included when Riley "hugged" the gorilla through the glass cage, waddled like a penguin at their exhibit, and tried Dip 'N Dots icecream for the first time!
A few weeks later, we had to evacuate our house so that workers could sand, stain, and finish our hardwood floors that were also damaged by the refrigerator leak. So luckily, we were able to make a family vacation out it and headed to Charleston for about a week. We arrived on Monday and went to play with Amanda, Liam, and Tripp before checking into our hotel in Mt. Pleasant. Then on Tuesday, as you can see by the picture below, the weather was rainy most of the day so we took the kids to the Children's Museum.
The boys all had a grand 'ol time playing in the pirate ship, shopping area, ball ramps, water table, craft center, Medieval castle, and the toddler area. It was the perfect rainy day activity!
The following day we were hoping to go to a water park in the area, but the weather chose not to cooperate again. So we made the best of it and headed to the Aquarium instead. We'd been once before, but now Riley is really able to appreciate it more. Our fearless little man loved touching the shells in the touch tank and liked having his picture made holding a starfish. Can you tell that he is now saying "Cheese" for every picture? Hence the wide eyes and slightly open mouth! :O) We loved having Tripp, Liam, Edward, and Amanda along to share in the journey! Maggie, surprisingly, was actually awake for part of the time this time! We ended our time at the aquarium with a 4D movie that lasted about 15 minutes and was full of special effects (water, bubbles, smoke, snowflakes, etc.). Riley loved it so much that he actually cried when it was over and kept saying, "More movie!"
Ah...the beach!! This is by far my favorite vacation spot and is a family tradition! This year, we headed to Folly Beach and had a blast digging in the sand, making homemade peach icecream, playing games like What's In Your Milk? (ask Kelly!), Categories, Greedy and Stickem (a very complex, yet intriguing game that Edward taught us), and eating out at places like the Crab Shack and the Taco Bar (yum!!). Most of what I enjoy the most about the beach is just the fact that we can all hang out together and enjoy each other's company and the craziness of the kids. In fact, Chris and I gave up one night of our hotel stay to camp out on the condo couches and be near family. It sure was a nice week and we were sad when it finally had to come to an end. Oh well, there's always next year!