All posts in Vacations

The Locklairs Go to the Fair

Penny, Merritt, Erin and I had a great adventure recently: we went to the Coastal Carolina Fair in Ladson, SC. Nanny kept Logan for the night and we went to the fair for nearly 7 hours!? I didn’t know that was possible. Here are some observations from our adventure:

  • Kids can stay at the fair for almost 7 hours and still have unlimited energy.
  • Pretty much all food at the fair is fried…even candybars? Who thinks of these things?
  • This 44-year old man’s “irrational response” to heights does not diminish with age…
  • nor does the extreme disappointment in dropping a spoonful of  Dipping Dots on the ground.
  • Somewhere along the way, we, as adults, lost our ability to handle the raw G-forces exerted on our bodies from even the kiddie roller coasters.
  • It’s best not to sit in the second row of the Elephant Encounter show — trust me on this.
  • Just because the sign says “Parents Can Also Ride,” it doesn’t mean that parents SHOULD also ride.
  • Hand stamps are the way to go for rides, even if they do read  “Carolina Waste” in orange… on your hand… for a week.
  • It’s best to trust your gut when sizing up a roller coaster by watching the previous people come off the ride.
  • Above all, the greatest joy the whole time is watching your kids laugh uncontrollably.

Take a look at a few more photos of our adventure here.

Sandcastle Therapy

We went down to the beach at around 9:30 this morning. Beautiful weather. Lots of shells. And perfect sand for building a sand castle. I had bought a $2 shovel about 3 feet long at Walmart yesterday, so that gave us a heavy duty tool to start big. We dug a nice moat about 4 feet in diameter and piled the sand in the center. Then we shaped the pile of sand into a nice base and started adding our turrets to the top with our sand buckets. Then there were the endless trips to the surf with our buckets to get water to fill our moat. Finally, we decorated with abundant shells we found laying around us. I didn’t have a camera with us, but we’ll build another and take a picture.

There is something so relaxing about building a sand castle. I don’t know why really, but I suspect it is because there is no lumber math involved… there are no plans… and it’s very loose and flowing, like a 3-D sketch of something. It is built with by eye and whim, and not so much the brain. You can change your mind in an instant and add a bridge, wipe out a section and rebuild it — and it doesn’t really matter.

After we finished our sandcastle, I swam a bit with Merritt and let Erin play with Anna in the sand. When I came back, I picked up the shovel and just started digging a hole in the sand. I had the thought, “I wonder how deep I could dig a hole with this little 3′ shovel?” Well, Erin came over and asked what I was doing. She wanted to know why I was digging a hole and didn’t seem satisfied with the answer, “I’m just digging a hole.” She asked, “What are you going to put in the hole?” I stuck with, “Nothing, I’m just digging a hole.” By this time, she wanted to buy in to my mission of hole digging and began helping. I don’t really know how deep we could have dug our hole in the sand, but we stopped digging at around 4 feet. When Erin got in the hole, the surface was about even with the top of her head.

It was a great morning…

Sanctum at Surfside

We are at our annual vacation here at Surfside Beach, SC, where Penny’s folks graciously give us a week every year. It’s only two hours away, but we are transported body, mind and spirit, every year we come here. I think it’s the… intentionality of it all. We drove up yesterday morning with our Odyssey van (a white one and, yes, we DO always have fun trying to find it in the Walmart parking lot). The van was packed flush with the windows, as was the borrowed cartop carrier, but we were determined to drive only one car this year — especially with gas prices at $4 a gallon.

We arrived, unpacked and went down to the beach immediately — the weather was perfect. The salt air, the smell of the 1950’s vintage beach house, the sound of the surf and the feel of sand between our toes — all are stimulants to our senses and to our memories of the past 11 years that we have spent here as a family and even longer for Penny, who has been coming here since her childhood.

Every year, on the last day of the trip, we go to the Arcade at nearby Garden City and after a few hours of pinball, skeeball and rides, we have our photos taken in an old Fotomat booth at the Arcade. After 3 minutes, it magically spits out a strip of 4 black and white memories of another year on vacation. Last year, for our ten year anniversary, I scanned and created a collage of our 10 years worth of Fotomat pictures.