Sep. 19—As I mentioned two weeks ago, I went on a vacation last week.
Since my son Jaxson was going to be a little over 1 year old, and very mobile on his feet, we thought it would be a good time to take him to the ocean for the very first time.
Thus, back on Friday, Sept. 3, we started our journey toward Topsail Island in North Carolina.
Because we were going to be traveling with a 1-year-old, though, we decided to break the driving up into two days. So that evening, we drove about four hours to a town called Hendersonville, North Carolina where we met up with my mom and stepfather Tim at a hotel.
We got a little bit of rest and a few snacks, and as soon as Jaxson allowed us, we then got a little bit of sleep in before the rest of the drive the next morning.
Mom and Tim departed earlier than we did because they thought they needed to get there at a decent hour in order to pick up our golf cart we were going to rent for the week. However, it wasn't until after they got on the road that they found out the cart would simply be dropped off at our place and no rush was really even necessary.
At any rate, my wife Carmen, Jaxson and I were a couple of hours behind them, but made the trip safe and sound. Jaxson did a great job on the road too, as he only really needed us to make one stop during the Saturday leg of our drive.
We ended up spending the rest of the weekend just relaxing and unwinding in the beach house we had rented.
Then on that Monday, we made our first venture over to the ocean.
The beach was actually across the street from the house, and we had to hop in the car and drive to a spot for access. This would not be the day Jaxson would stick his feet in the water though.
All he wanted to do was just sleep in my lap. So he and I just lounged around in our beach chair for the day, and let Carmen go catch some of the waves.
The next day on Tuesday, we had a nice dinner by the beach. We tried out a restaurant called Splash by the Sea that had a really nice outdoor dining area. There was some live music and the food was pretty good too.
On Wednesday, we made a little road trip to nearby Wilmington, North Carolina. We wanted to check out the riverwalk area as well as the historic downtown.
We did a little bit of shopping as well as we got Jaxson some new clothes, and we all got some new vinyl records at a cool record shop there in Wilmington.
On Thursday, we finally got Jaxson's little feet in the ocean for the first time. He certainly didn't know what to think about the water and the sand at his toes. I don't think he hated it but he definitely had no interest in playing around in it.
So we picked him up and carried him around a little, and sat him down a few more times in the very shallow water to see if he would warm up to it anymore. Just standing there was about the most he wanted to do though.
On Friday, which was our last full day of the vacation, we made another road trip to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.
We got to let Jaxson see some sharks, alligators, otters, turtles, many types of fish, and even a bald eagle.
However, it seemed the most fun he had was when we let him out of his stroller to stretch his legs. He had a blast pushing the stroller around and probably enjoyed that more than looking at the sea creatures.
Then finally on Saturday, we said bye to the ocean and made our way out of Topsail Island. I had actually wanted to try a donut place on our way out, but the parking lot was completely packed. It was like a Walmart on Black Friday.
So we didn't try to fight it since we had a baby on board, and drove the stretch back to Hendersonville for another hotel stop. It probably would've been where we stopped for the night regardless, but we specifically went back there because Carmen had lost her watch there the previous weekend.
Thankfully we received word that the hotel staff had found it and so we told them we'd pick it up on our way back home.
We wrapped up our driving the next day and made pretty good time back to Corbin.
It was a nice week and we'll certainly remember it forever for being Jaxson's first trip to the ocean. I'll likely write a few more columns about it on down the road but didn't want to get too carried away this week.
I did just want to say that it was put on my heart how thankful I was for a fun and safe trip with my family.
Traveling with a baby for nearly 500 miles could lead to thousands of things going wrong. But not only were we spared any trouble, it was smooth sailing for the drive there and the drive back.
It's also just a blessing being able to make memories like this with my family. Sure it's extra special being able to go to the beach, but just the opportunity for Jaxson to get to spend quality time with his grandparents is precious to all of us.
For whatever reason, those thoughts were on my mind on the drive home and so I just wanted to take this moment to thank God for the safe trip, for our health, and for the chances to spend these moments with the ones we love.
"Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people." — 1 Chronicles 16:8