Thursday, June 26, 2014


When I go to the beach, I do not go to primp and be fancy.  I go to get away from home and chill out!  I love having time away from the normal routine and stresses of being at home.  I enjoy using this time to refresh my soul in many ways!

Mom and I left home at about 4:00 am on Sunday, June 8th.  I got up around an hour before to do some exercises and make sure that I had everything ready.  I was looking forward to hitting the road!  For now, it was only Mom and me, but Dad woke up to tell us goodbye.  Mom doesn't like having to go through the mountains by herself early in the morning when there is so much fog, but luckily this year was not near as bad as last year!  I like to sleep, so that is what I did.  Laid out across the whole back seat, I slept until we got to Spartanburg for a bathroom break and then farther to Camden for breakfast.  Mom got a McDonald's oatmeal and coffee, while I got a milk and coffee to have with a travel sized cereal I brought.  After that we only had a little over two hours to go, and I sat up and read my Bible and did little word and cell phone games until we got there.  Driving to the beach is even exciting for me!  When we got there, we changed in the bathroom and went on out to the beach, because we knew at that time the check in desk would be crazy.  Our hotel, the Long Bay Resort in Myrtle Beach, has a Starbucks, so I used a little giftcard money to get a blueberry, nut, seed, honey and spice oatmeal for lunch and took it out to the beach.
That night we did our Walmart shopping for perishables and other things that we didn't bring along for the ride.  That shopping center that is also across from the Tanger Outlets has a Cold Stone Creamery!  Last year I decided to try it one of the last days of our trip just because I hadn't been there before, and boy did I find out what I was missing!  I have never tasted ice cream like this in my life!
The only negative thing I have to say about the beach is the wind.  It was always blowing South to North, at least for our trip's majority, so at least it was predictable.  It helped me hold up my hat with no hands!
I am not a fan of pizza that you order and get made from anywhere; they are all so nasty and greasy and usually poor quality.  However, I love this place!  It is not like that at all!  I ate it three times during our two-week trip!  We ate at the Ultimate California Pizza location at Barefoot Landing.  They have specialty pizzas on the menu, or you can personalize your own, personal, medium, or large, any way you want with all kinds of toppings and choice of white or wheat crust!  They also have many more things besides pizza, like wings, lasangna, sandwiches, and salads.
I got wheat crust, Ultimate Red Sauce, roasted chicken, onions, red bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, and some spices.
The first morning, the tide was low, so I ran on the beach for 8 miles.  This was my longest run in a good while, so even though it was flat, it felt really tough!
A lovely post-run bowl of cereal on our balcony
"Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow."
I loved this picture Mom took of me on the bridge at Barefoot Landing our first night out!
This trip I was so proud of Mom for being an active little mother!  All but three mornings during the first week of just us two, she followed me on her bike while I ran!  She actually enjoyed getting to ride around and see all the pretty houses.  She threw the volleyball to me some, too, so I could hit it back!
One night, I decided to get crafty and make some crunchy peanut butter and honey rolls.  As you can see, one flattened out in the oven like a cracker, but it still tasted great!
First I cut the crusts off slices of bread, then cut them in half and flattened them out.
Then I spread on the peanut butter then stuck on the peanuts, then drizzled it with honey.
Next I rolled them up and stuck them in the oven to bake until they got crispy.
When you take them out, they have a nice crunch, and the flavors are roasted together wonderfully!
One of my favorite reads:  Runner's World Magazine.  We've been subscribed to it for a long time, and I always look forward to when a new one comes in the mail each month!  Every issue contains stories, humor, advice, recipes, training programs, race info, special articles, featured athletes, and tons more!  My favorite section of the magazine is around the middle, in a part called Personal Best
This is another outfit that Mom got to surprise me, and it was a good one!  I love this dress she picked out and got me for Easter.
While browsing Salsarita's website, I saw a link for the Cantina Club and thought that is what I need!  Salsarita's is my favorite, and we end up there a lot with cross country, track, and travel.  They are so tasty and convenient.  All I had to do was pick up a card at the restaurant and register it online; now I'm earning points towards free food there!
The Salsarita's we go to at the beach is South from our hotel off of the 17 bypass in a shopping center, 3731Oleander Drive, 38th Avenue.
They have outdoor seating which is relaxing to enjoy dinner out in the warm, especially since in the summer anywhere you go is blasting the air conditioning.
It's not a trip to Myrtle Beach without going to one or both of the Ron Jon Surf Shops.  This is a new color shirt out for this year.  (I got a long sleeved one)  A lot of the brand name items are very expensive, but there are some things that aren't.  Like any good store, they have clearance racks!
I also got a new Sex Wax (a brand of surfboard wax, I promise!) air freshener for my car and sunscreen chapstick-both coconut scent!
Mom and I enjoy going in Tiki Jim's at the beach, too, to look at souvenirs, hilarious shirts and accessories, and the Life is Good items.  You never know what you may come upon in there!  This was on a lunch box, and I had to snap a photo because Snoopy is my favorite!  I was also definitely feeling a crabby stomach this week so far.
I ate some really good desserts while we were gone.  I mean, big, rich, top-quality, expensive, any-way-I-wanted-it, desserts.  Most of them were frozen yogurt, which is my absolute favorite.  Broadway at the Beach has a Froyoz, and this was the first of 2 times I went there.  This one had a big "wheel of fortune" like wheel outside the door to get discounts of differing amounts.  In my opinion, this was the prettiest dessert picture I got.  Not sure what all flavors I for sure got, but I know there was pistachio and some kind of cake and peanut butter with cocoa krispies, recee's pieces, and butterscotch chips on top.
After a morning workout, I got another Starbucks oatmeal to enjoy out on the beach for breakfast.
Our lifeguard doing his job well!
Why on earth this kid ran around for over an hour around our hotel one evening wearing a unicorn head, we will never know...
I was eating seafood on the beach!  Not fresh, though...

Mom and I stayed on the beach extra long a couple days so we could relax and enjoy it all day.  We went up to the room just to grab a couple things.  I warmed up tomato soup, cornbread, and vegetables while Mom ordered a grilled cheese from the café.  Then we headed right back outside to eat it.  After we ate our dinner, Mom loaded up the laundry, and we went out to the Starbuck's patio to sit, read, and eat a treat!  She got a cream cheese danish, and I got a Breyer's Blasts Reese's ice cream.
Another beach breakfast:  Cheerios!
The night we went to Salsarita's, I told Mom that we should drive through that shopping center to see what else was there (I had thought I saw a cute sign that was like something a yogurt shop would have, but I couldn't read it), so we did and I found a new place I'd never heard of:  Yogurt in Love.  I had a really hard time finding any information on it at all on the internet.  All I found was franchise information and addresses of existing shops.  On our way home from the Coastal Grand Mall, we stopped by to get a yogurt for me.  The store was really nice inside!
 I found a new place to eat.  I am upset though, that we don't have one anywhere near where we live!  Friendly's is a great family place to go!  The prices are not bad at all, the staff is very friendly, helpful, and patient (imagine that), and the food is terrific with tons of options!  The waitresses will bring you spoonful samples of any ice cream you would like to try.  For my meal, I got a burger on wheat with any toppings I wanted, then I got a build-your-own creation with five flavors:  Hunka Chunka Peanut Butter Fudge, Reese's Peanut Butter Fudge, Vienna Mocha Chunk, Butter Crunch (like butterscotch), and Pistachio, topped with lots of cool whip.  On our way to pay, I saw a sign with even more flavors than were listed on the menu (I hate when places do that!)  It was just irresistible to me-two of my favorite things:  peanut butter toasted marshmallow, all in one!  I had to get a cup when we paid to leave!
I got Mom to pose for me.
A quote I once read in my devotion said, "Faith is not knowing where you are being led but trusting the One who is leading."
Here's Mom and me sitting outside Starbucks on the patio one night after dinner and dessert in at the hotel again!

I took this one morning before a run.  God's creation of the earth and all it's amazing natural beauty is just so peaceful.  I think it's important to take it in and appreciate it.  The sun always rises there and sets on the other side.  The tides only come up and go out so far.  The things in God's plans will last; our man-made lives and materials will not.

Here's a collage of some things from the week of Mom and me!  I really love spending time with her.  We disagree on a lot of things, but we both love the beach and also find many things we agree on or can at least deal with each other!  We had a lot of fun, and it was very relaxing getting to do so much away from the stress of home.

Sunday afternoon, June 15th, Dad arrived!  We all went inside not long after he got there, and we cleaned up to go back to Barefoot Landing to eat at the delicious Joe's Crab Shack.  I love my seafood.
I got blackened redfish with black bean corn relish, fresh green beans, and an ear of corn!  So tasty!
I had always passes the Kohr Family Homemade Ice Cream Shop, but never tried it, so when we went past that night, I sampled, and loved!  I got a cup with coffee on the bottom and soft serve swirl peanut butter and chocolate on top!  Homemade is always so good and creamy!  Mom and Dad got a block of fudge at the Fudgery, and I got a cup of Happy Tracks and Coffee in there, too.  The Fudgery carries Blue Bell Ice Cream.

Happy Father's Day!
We had our umbrella reserved for two whole weeks!  Mom says we are locals.  
Colby, on the left, has been our lifeguard for the past three years, and we've become good buddies!  We had the chairs and umbrella right next to him this trip, so we all got to talk even more.  He is so nice and fun and always helpful to our family.  This year, I also got to talk to the lifeguard from one stand north, 73, named Erik.
It is hard to read here, but on my phone and instagram you can see my little armor of God man I drew in the sand!  From Ephesians 6:10-18, we have the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. 
 "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."
(Ephesians 6:11)
Fast food hamburgers are also on my "Ew" list, but not when you can get them done right!  Fuddruckers is one of my favorite burger places because like this sign says, "We grill it; you top it," and there are no limits on those toppings! We ended up going here twice during the vacation, too.  The first time I got a buffalo burger made with, as you might guess, buffalo meat!  It is super lean and tasty!  I got it on a wheat bun, topping it with tomatoes, lettuce, salsa, pico de gallo, onions, pickles, mustard, and black pepper.
The next time we went, I got a beef burger on wheat with guacamole, added the same toppings along with cinnamon chipotle spice!
Since you can get all the toppings you want, I always got a load of tomatoes, salsa, and pico de gallo to eat on the side because I love that stuff, and if it's unlimited, why not?

That night, we went shopping at the Tanger Outlets then to Cold Stone for some delicious dessert!  Dad took this picture of Mom and me.  She loves their cheesecake flavor, too!

A recap of the day:
A great run with Dad
(Not pictured:  fun in the sun, of course!)
Tasty dinner
Shopping (but not dropping!)
Delicious dessert-Salted Caramel Froyo, Cheesecake (mom got it, too), and Marshmallow

The beach is a beautiful place to take in God's creation, so I drew several things in the sand!  Anchors go well with oceans, too.
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."  Hebrews 6:19
We had some new things go on while we were at The Long Bay this year.  They had music with the poolside bar some days, and they had entertainment come some days!  Once there was a DJ set up doing karaoke and dances with kids (and adults), and one day these people came and played drums and danced like a shark.  It was actually really good!
Before going to dinner at Barefoot Landing another night, Mom and I took a couple pictures in the scenery.

Another Ultimate California Pizza!  This one was much better than last time.  I guess sometimes it just depends on the effort of the chef.  I also ordered extra sauce on it this time because I like it saucy, and they didn't do much.  This was the best one I've had there!
Here we are sitting on the patio chowing down on our pizzas!  Photo taken by our waiter.
After pizza dinner, Dad went to the driving range to play golf while Mom and I shopped in the Christmas Mouse.  Then we stopped at the older mall to go get me dessert at Yogurt Mountain inside Books-A-Million.  They have the best and most variety of toppings of any froyo shop I have ever been in!  I got the cake batter, chocolate, and peanut butter fudge yogurts topped with Reese's Pieces and Puffs, cheesecake bites, s'mores clusters, cappuccino bites, and Muddy Buddies!

Bible reading on the beach:  relaxing.
Shook up a new drink in my big Tervis!  I mixed up a propel packet, added a little extra water, then some orange juice!
I was super excited to get to start another new book I got from Mom and Dad for Christmas!  The more I get to read it, the more I will share what I'm learning.  He Walks Among Us is a book compiled of stories from around the world where Christ is seen at work in even the most unlikely places.  Rich Stearns is also the CEO of World Vision, the organization that I sponsor a child through.  Rich and his wife Renee share their encounters with people who simply love the Lord.  I believe that we can all learn so much from such humble people.  The people we learn from in these stories have endured life long struggles, poverty, and much more, yet still have a heart that praises the Lord for all of it.  They are learning and growing and living and thriving in such an inspiring way.  Here in America, no matter what our "struggles" may be, we are blessed, yet we take advantage of it.  I myself am so guilty of this!  I hope reading this will help me to take a better perspective on life.
Salsarita's night #2!  Here we are out on the patio before heading to Broadway at the Beach for a final night out.  The weeks flew by way too fast!
My mom and I love going in The Stupid Factory if for no other reason than to look around at stuff and laugh.  You have to have a certain kind of humor to get some of it, and the not-so-bright would see a lot of it and laugh, not understanding that it was making fun of people just like them.

Mom and Dad both agreed that I needed to get the "I pooped today" shirt.  I mean really, who doesn't have a much better day if you poop after you get out of bed!?
I really wanted these magnets, but not for the price, so I just took pictures!  I love breakfast more than any other food group (although, dinner is growing on me more and more)!
Pugs are my favorite dog, too!
I got my mom the "Soft Kitty" pin because she loves to watch "The Big Bang Theory" and sing the soft kitty song that Sheldon loves.  (In the video I have a link to, they start singing at around 1 minute, but to hear the background story, watch the whole thing!)
I also got some other items:  a pin with a puppy with a cupcake on its head for two of my friends, and for myself:  a pin with an acorn that says, "nuts about nature," a pin with a moose, a stacked hot cakes keychain, and the pancake magnet!
Dad and I have always taken pictures on the dinosaurs at Broadway at the beach.  I mean always.  We have pictures here from my first trips and every year beyond!  I still think he looks as young as ever!
Believe it or not, this pretty scenery is at the entrance to the Dragon's Lair mini golf course, which used to be the highlight of my vacations when I was little!
One night Dad went back to the Cane Patch Driving Range, and he took me to play with him!  I know I'm not very good, but I just wanted to go so I could say I did it.  My arms were actually sore the next day!
Friday morning, we made our run/bike a family event!  I was so excited!  I wish we had these opportunities more often.  
I don't know why it took me so long to think of a drawing to do in the sand.  How could I forget my Charlie Brown and Snoopy?

Our last full day at the beach was a long one!  We stayed out until 5:30 before going up to get ready to eat there at the hotel.
On the last morning, we got out earlier than any other day!  I got another Starbuck's oatmeal so I could have all my other breakfasts packed in the car and take this one out to the beach.  It was a windy day, but still sunny enough.  We left around 3:30 after coming in and changing around 3:00 because we could see a storm coming.  Good thing we left when we did because it got ugly!

I thought this verse was good to post this day since it had stormed the night before and stormed again just hours after I took this.  The weather is at The Lord's command!  We shouldn't complain!  I am terribly guilty of complaining about the weather, but I am trying to remind myself of this fact!

While Mom and Dad gassed up the vehicles at Walmart before we went home, I had to grab a final Cold Stone Creamery.  I ate it slow to savor every last bite.  The lovely cheesecake, marshmallow, and salted caramel were the flavors again.  They also have really cool looking cakes, cookie sandwiches, cupcakes, and take home pre-made icecreams, but they are crazy expensive!
I hate that it's all over, but we have to go back to the real world sometime.  I love getting to learn from each and every day.  Next year will come fast enough!  Too much to do, way too little time!