Friday, July 18, 2008
We have just returned from the most wonderful vacation imaginable! When I think of what vacation should be, I always think of freedom from obligation, no cell phones, no computers, time with good friends, good food, and time outdoors, connecting with nature. This last week was just such a vacation, and we are now home, at ease, and very refreshed.
We spent the better part of this week with our dearest friends, Doug and Kate, and our godson, Joshua in Wilmington, NC. We had time with both families thoroughly enjoying each other (in spite of the numerous toddler struggles), time alone as families, time just us grownup couples, and girlfriend time shopping! What more could you want?
On Monday we took the kids to Wrightsville Beach for a picnic, then took them (dressed) down to the water. Half-eaten food and sandy, wet clothes later, we took them home for naps and Auntie Kate and I went shopping at one very cool consignment store. Grilled salmon for dinner, kids to bed, grownups played darts (if you could call the way we behaved “grown-up").
Tuesday morning we basically loafed around, made pancakes and bacon for breakfast, broke up several toddler squabbles, ate lunch, then took off on “Miss Polly” for an island adventure. We dropped anchor in a low tide off of Hutaff island and jumped in. Joshua at this point was in desperate need of a nap, and so Kate and Doug hung out at the boat and the Mine family ventured onto the island. The kids played, collecting hermit crabs and chasing the fish, swimming and doing flips off the boat. After a while of doing that, we crossed the dunes and went to the other side of the island. As we crossed over, I was taken aback by the view. Behind us, the dunes we had just crossed were graced with sea grasses, waving in the ocean breezes. Ahead there were clear, blue skies with puffy clouds reaching down to a lovely, clear blue ocean with white surf breaking in the distance. Near in there were smaller waves which were delightful to play in and a huge adventure for the kids. We took them in and jumped the waves until the rising tide brought currents and bigger surf, so we got out and headed back to the other side. The whole time we were there, there was not another soul on the beach...it was just the four of us, playing on the beach together as a family. Once the surf got too rough, we decided to cross back over to the sheltered side of the island and rejoined the Fears and swam and played just a bit more until we heard thunder in the distance and decided to weigh anchor and head home...after all, we had a babysitter coming and we had plans to go out for SUSHI!!!
Babysitter came, went out for sushi at The Bento Box (if you are ever in Wilmington, NC and love sushi, you HAVE to go here!) and had a wonderful time just us grownups. I was feeling just a little dubious about the place at first look—Glen’s mom once long ago dubbed the bag of cat poo taken from the litter box “bento,” so we had a chuckle over that. Having an inherent distrust of non-Japanese sushi chefs, we walked in to discover there were two white guys behind the bar. Didn’t know the owner was a 5-star chef who would make us the best sushi I’ve ever tasted, not to mention come over to our table and talk to us personally! Wow...that was such a good meal that I lack proper adjectives to describe it.
I requested a stop at Barnes and Noble after dinner (my idea of a perfect conclusion to an evening out) but Doug abused me horribly for wanting to go and browse in my own little world rather than be social, so we headed back. With kids in bed we four (Doug, Kate, Glen, Kelly) were again engaged in a game of darts in the Fears garage. Team Mine prevailed for the second night in a row...looking forward to the revenge match!
Wednesday morning after breakfast we packed up the kids and gear again and headed down to the public beach. We played on the beach for the better part of the afternoon and then headed home with sleepy little ones. Kate and I went off for a little more shopping. That evening we took a picnic cruise on “Miss Polly” and Matty had his first lesson driving a boat down the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway). He said that was a highlight of the trip for him.
Thursday morning it was time to pack up and head home. We got all of our gear together and loaded up the car, but before heading out of Wilmington we stopped downtown to where USCGC Diligence ties up when not on patrol. Doug (who happens to be the CO of Diligence) gave us a wonderful tour of the ship. I would say this was a highlight of the trip for me. I am always touched by the sacrifices and hardships that the men who serve our nation endure. As we walked onboard, the bells rang and announced Glen, saying “USCG Commander, retired now arriving” an acute reminder that we too have served this nation, and now he is taking his leave after 20 years. There are mixed emotions in that...it’s the beginning of a new life for us. I’m so proud of him.