Thursday, July 7, 2011

Happy 4th of July! - Charleston Style

We arrived in Charleston on Sunday night and on Monday morning it was the 4th of July! We got up early, got our suits and sunscreen on and headed for the beach. We had heard of several beaches in the Charleston area and chose the most family friendly one - Folly Beach. It was 15 south of where we were staying and we got there before things got really busy. We laughed later because we noticed the parking prices in our lot got higher as the day went on and parking became scarce.

There is a joke in our family that the person who carries all the gear is the "mule." My dad has been our mule for years and now that we have
Brady, Andy has become our mule. Fortunately for Andy, I'm not too keep on carrying the gear myself when he reaches his limit, so I got us a nice beach cart that can carry everything in one trip and is specifically made for sand. We staked out a nice spot on the beach and set up our umbrella. When I put Brady down, he was intrigued by the sand and kept leaning down to touch it. The last time he was at the beach, he was 4 months old and of course doesn't remember. As soon as things were set up, we let him loose and he headed for the ocean. Fortunately, South Carolina beaches have a very gradual slope that stays shallow for a long time, so there wasn't much fear of him getting in over his head before we could get to him. He's very used to the pool where he enters on a slope, so I'm sure he thought this was the same. He was very surprised when a wave came up and knocked him down. He looked around and got back up to head back in. The water was 85 degrees and felt wonderful. I could have laid in that water all day.

We got Brady his beach toys and started to show him the molds. In typical toddler fashion, he took his shovel and knocked them all down. When the tide started to go out, shells became very visible and Brady started to pick
them up and collect them. The first one he picked up, he did try to eat, but we caught him and showed him that we pick them up and hold onto them. We found some really nice ones that we kept to put in a little jar for Brady.

After a couple of hours, Andy and I were starting t
o feel the effects of the sun and felt like it was time for lunch and a little souvenir shopping. There was a pier not far from our car, so we put all of our gear into the car, changed, and headed up to the pier to have lunch. After lunch, we walked up and down the main drag and checked out all the little shops. Andy and I got T-shirts, but they didn't have anything that I liked for Brady. Andy got himself a new pair of sunglasses since his were breaking and all scratched from years of use.

We headed back to the hotel for showers so we could get ready to head out for fireworks. We went to Patriots point which is across the river from downtown Charleston and houses the USS Yorktown, which is an aircraft carrier used in WWII. They were going to shoot the fireworks off of the carrier and we had heard from other people that it was a great show. We got there at 5:30 and the fireworks weren't
set to start until after 9. Brady's routine had been so disrupted the past couple of days and he would always been good until it was time to do something, and then he'd want a nap. He went on several walks with Andy to entertain himself and when it started to get dark, I brought out the secret weapon: a flag glow stick. He amused himself with that for a while, but was getting really tired. He kept walking up to a minivan parked next to our spot and trying to pull the handle to get in. He was trying to tell us he wanted to go. As soon as the show started, he calmed down and watched. We had a great spot and the grand finale was incredible. Probably the best I've ever seen. We saw about 30-40 fireworks shoot up and knew it was going to be awesome when they went off and it was. We had a great 4th even away from family and friends. This time next year, we'll be in Germany where the 4th of July is the same as any other day. It will be weird.

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