Road Trip Day #25 - #26 of 26

Tuesday, July 7, 2009
So, we finally left paradise and had to head home. We decided to catch up with David's brother, Billy, and his wife, Carmen, when we passed through Atlanta. We met them at the Perimeter Mall and had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory and had a great visit while we ate. The girls thought their Aunt Carmen was unbelievably glamorous and that Uncle Billy was a jungle gym made for their climbing pleasure. We got some fun pictures of them while we were there.

We left Atlanta with David, Raleigh Jo, Reese, Katie and me, but lost one person in Birmingham, Alabama. We checked into our hotel in Birmingham, Alabama, the Sheraton Birmingham, and were amazed at how big the hotel was! We had a small but comfortable room, and were soon settled for the night. David had a very early flight the next morning, so we didn't want to keep him up too late. The fates were conspiring against him getting any sleep, though. We had been in bed about an hour when Katie made a run for the bathroom. Unfortunately, she didn't make it. She managed to vomit in the floor right before she got to the bathroom, so David and I spent the next thirty minutes holding her hair out of the toilet while she finished getting sick and cleaning up the mess. It was awful, but after we settled down again the rest of the night was uneventful. David got up early and left for the airport and the rest of us slept in. We slept so late that we barely made it down to breakfast on time, but the Sheraton employees were amazing. They were beginning to close the breakfast buffet, but they made sure we got everything we needed and were so polite and helpful! I would return to that hotel again just to receive that kind of service. Believe me, it's very rare. I wish I'd gotten the names of the women who served us. I'd love to write a letter to their manager praising their service.

Anyway, we trekked through the badlands of Alabama and even found a politically incorrect sign for Raleigh Jo to pose beside. I will post a picture of that as soon as I can find it! If the ants hadn't eaten her alive it would've been really funny!

We made it home pretty late on July 5th, but we did make it! All in all we had a wonderful road trip, and can't wait to do it again next summer!

Road Trip Day #21 - #24 of 26

Monday, July 6, 2009
Tuesday finally came, and at the end of the day we had to take the Smith family back to Savannah so that they could catch their plane early the next morning. After dinner we dropped Angela and Grant off at the hotel in Savannah, but managed to talk Raleigh Jo into staying with us the rest of the week and riding home with the kids and me. I was so excited! I knew she'd be a lot of help with the kids, and let me tell you, that girl is crazy! I had so much fun with her! She cracks me up!

We were beach bums the rest of the week, then on Friday, July 3rd, David's brother, Michael, came up to see us and stay the weekend. We had dinner at the hotel and waited for him to get there, then pretty much crashed for the night soon after he arrived. All was well until David and Michael fell asleep. Then the snoring symphony began! I tossed and turned until about 6am, then I picked up my pillow, grabbed some cushions off of one of the chairs and went to sleep on the balcony! I got a couple of pictures of the sunrise, but that was the highlight of my two hour nap. We were up and at 'em early that day!

We celebrated Independence Day after another day basking on the beach. We couldn't decided where to go for fireworks, so we decided we would walk down the beach to a show that turned out to be a lot further away than we expected. We walked a LONG way down the beach, but never made it to the show. Katie was SO mad! At first she was hurrying us along thinking we could make it if we rushed. We managed to lose Michael, David and Reese in our rush. They told us they would just catch up. That never happened because Reese, who was riding on David's shoulders, promptly fell asleep on top of his head and was too heavy to carry. Raleigh Jo, Katie and I took off at a very fast pace trying to make it to the end of the beach where the fireworks were being shot off. Needless to say, we didn't make it before the show, and Katie was whining and crying before we got halfway there. We decided to just stop and watch from afar, and Katie was mad about that, too. She didn't want to walk, she didn't want to sit, and even breathing was a reason to complain by then. Raleigh Jo and I started singing show tunes just to drown out the complaining, and that really ticked her off! All in all, Independence Day was a loser for Katie, but I got some cool pictures of the family and the moon beams on the ocean!

We eventually made it back to the hotel, and since the snoring symphony was sure to start as soon as the lights went out, Raleigh Jo and I decided to pull our mattress out on the balcony and spend our last night on the beach out there. It was wonderful! We could hear the waves, and the breeze was cool. There were a few kids still popping firecrackers at 2am, but overall it was great! The sun woke us up the next morning, but we needed to get moving anyway, so we could start the long journey home.

Family Photos GONE WRONG!

Sunday, July 5, 2009
We attempted to take family photos on the beach while we were in Hilton Head. Here are a few of the more humorous ones, and a couple of good ones, too! My favorite one is the last one. It looks like Reese is trying to escape the paparazzi! We all got a good laugh out of that one!

Road Trip Day #16 - #20 of 26

We hit a few snags trying to get to Hilton Head, but we managed to smooth them out and get on our way. Our "smoothing" included going to Wal Mart and buying a hitch rack to fit on the back of my Pilot so that all of our luggage could go with us! We had seven people total in the car, so that didn't leave much room for cargo. Of course, the rack had to be assembled, so David spent about an hour sweating in the sun to put the rack together and get it on the car. I am so glad that I married a patient man!

After we got on the road everyone got excited! We were amazed by how lush and green everything on Hilton Head Island looked. It was beautiful! We stopped for a bite to eat at Subway, then we went on in to our hotel, the Westin Hilton Head Island. We were greeted at the door by a bellman, and unpacked our car in a flash. Since we are lucky enough to travel with my hubby, who is a platinum member with Starwood, we were able to have our car valeted for free, and we were off to our rooms. David, the kids and I were in room 4005, the Smith family ended up in room 4008. They weren't very far apart, so it was nice.

Our balcony looked straight out onto the beach, and we were thrilled about that! The Smiths room had a partial view of the beach, too. Of course, about the time we got into our rooms and got settled a big storm blew up. That beach cleared out faster than you could imagine! The girls were disappointed that we couldn't go down to the ocean right away, but we just couldn't... There was no way I was going to brave that storm!

After the storm we set out to explore. The beach was great. The sand was pretty packed, so it didn't needle you to death when the wind blew. It wasn't crowded, which was great! Katie was boogie boarding like a pro within minutes, but it took Reese a few days before she would go in the water without being scared. We were in Hilton Head for nine days, and we made great use of that beach! We would usually go out right after breakfast and not go in again until late that afternoon. I took a few pictures there, too.

Breakfast each morning at our hotel was wonderful! We managed to get that for free, too. That saved us over $20 per person, per day, so that was great! Our waiters were always top notch, and the food was fabulous. The best thing about breakfast was that it wasn't over until 11am, so we were able to sleep in every day! That was perfect for vacation!

As you can see in these pictures, both of my girls still have sleepy eyes at breakfast. It was lovely to be able to sleep in for a change and still get a good hotel breakfast.

Our beach vacation was off to a great start!!!