Monday, July 20, 2009

Hilton Head Island: Day Three

This morning we woke up and went on a dolphin excursion. We really got up close and personal with a ton of dolphins ... it was amazing. The shot you see above is of a momma (a "cow") and her baby (a "calf") ... how sweet is that?!

By the way, who's bright idea was it to call momma dolphins "cows"?
We really had so much fun out on the water. We had our own little speed boats rafts and Mason rode Titanic style at the front. As we sped across the water, he yelled, "This is the best vacation ever! Can we do this again tomorrow?!"
Oh my goodness, he was so happy and that made my heart so happy.

I wasn't sure if Payton would be scared on the raft or if she would enjoy it. She was a little unsure of the speed of the boat at first, but it didn't take her long to loosen up. She ooh'ed and aah'ed at the dolphins and signed "fish" the whole time ...
Here is Kyle, the kids and I on our raft ... picture courtesy of my mother ...... and here is my mother, my sister and my brother-in-law on their raft ... Our driver, Captain Scott ... err, was it Tim ... was super cool. He was very knowledgeable and more importantly, he was great with the kids. So great that he let Mason drive the boat raft ... which pretty much made him the coolest person ever in Mason's eyes.His expression says, "Haha you sucka ... now I'm in charge of this thing and you are gonna regret it!"Yep ... he is a devious little thing. Waving at the other boat ... saying, "Hey, look at me!"And all the while, Payton sat tight ...... checking out more "fish" ...As you looked at the shores in the area we were dolphin sighting, it looked like a ton of sandy beaches. Tsk tsk, no. Not all of them.

Not sandy beaches, rather shells. Tons and tons of shells washed up by the crazy tide they have there. In any one day, the average difference between low tide and high tide is seven to eight feet. That is crazy a lot! Here is one of the shores of shells we pulled up to ...
Smile girls! Oh yeah, good smiles ... pff!
Bye, bye dolphins!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hilton Head Island: Day Two

This morning we woke up and headed straight to the beach. It was a beautiful day and the water was unbelievably warm. The one thing I've noticed about Hilton Head is that the ocean is very calm. It is bittersweet for me because although I love the waves and boogie boarding, the lack of waves is much better on my nerves since Mason wants to be in the water every.single.minute. Seriously. We couldn't even get him to eat a sandwich without running back into the water between bites. Crazy kid.

The girls had fun playing in the sand today. I was surprised Nika played in it as much as she did, given her aversion to the stuff a few weeks back. And Payton ... she pretty much sat there for a really.long.time. filling her buckets up with sand. She was loving it.
Did I mention Nika had an aversion to sand a few weeks back? Haha.
By mid-day, the girls were exhausted. So exhausted that they both fell asleep ... one in a beach chair and the other on Daddy.Later in the day, we went for a walk past the horse stables that are right there in the community we stayed in. The first horse we saw was this big 'ole Clydesdale.

Big 'ole Clydesdale as in like seven foot tall at the shoulder ...
He was huge. And super friendly. He kept coming up to us at the fence and sticking his nose in our faces. Here he is a little closer up ...And then all of a sudden he got down on his front knees and just laid down. Seriously ... do horses usually just lay down for the heck of it?
I mean, I guess he had an itch?
Ohh yeahh, feels good ...
*thrash thrash, kick kick*
Where is my back scratcher when I need him?
Moving on down the trail ... we came across a gator, who happened to be lounging near a sign that warned us not to harass the alligators. Does photographing a gator count as harassment? Oops.
As I moved closer to him, my brother-in-law reminded me that the smaller gators can move quicker. Crap. I snapped and ran. Fast.
Around the corner, the stables continued. I'm not really sure why the Clydesdale was alone ... would he not have gotten along with all these guys?
This is the trail right outside the stables. Mason was riding his scooter like a bat outta hell heck. This picture also shows what pretty much the entire community looks like ... tons of trees with peat moss hanging everywhere. You really would never know you were at the beach, since it is so woodsy. Not sure how I feel about that, but I guess you get the best of both worlds.
As we were walking home, we came across these two guys. Once again I guess I was harassing them by photographing them. However, just as I snapped this shot, both of the gators wigged out and flipped in the water. I screamed. And ran. Fast.And on the final stretch, my sister and brother-in-law walked together. Everybody all together ... awww!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hilton Head Island: Day One

We are enjoying a vacation in Hilton Head Island while someone house sits for us back home. We stopped in North Carolina on the way down to break up the trip a little bit. We were able to meet up with our friends ... Kristen, Scott and Ethan ... for the evening, which was nice.
Upon arriving at our villa, we walked around to the backyard while the cleaning people finished up inside. Our villa sits on a little river and much to our surprise, we came across this little guy sitting right behind our place ...
Umm yeah, and I'm supposed to let my kids play where? I think Nika would be a nice little appetizer for this guy ... or any of his friends, for that matter. Yeah, not so much.

Now picture me trying to take a shot of him, using my 50mm lens, meaning there is no zoom. I had to zoom with my feet and I was so nervous that he was going to jump at me! Alas, he remained sunbathing.

After dinner, we went down to see the ocean. The water was unbelievably warm and although Mason was the only one that had his swimsuit, all of us got wet.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Shark {Teeth} Girl

Payton has some crazy shark teeth. I mean, look at those things! I have talked to the dentist about them and the possibility of filing them down. However, given the battle we have every time we go to the dentist, we decided to take the wait and see route before we do anything.

The concern is two fold ...

1) Are they frequently causing her to cut her lip when falling? Not often enough for me to take the filing plunge.
2) Are they rubbing on her tongue in such a way to cause a callous? No, not yet. *knock on wood*

Apparently shark teeth like this sort of bend inward, hence the rubbing on the tongue. They also can do some massive damage when a lip gets bit from a fall, but that does not happen with such a consistency that makes me believe we need to resort to filing.

And I say resort because filing would consist of us having to strap her to a table in order to get the job done. And pretty much I'll be good if we never have to do that. Payton is so strong that there is no way that anyone would be able to restrain her to have this procedure done and I really don't think filing warrants using a gas mask.

So there ya have it. Shark girl ...

Shark teeth and everything, I still think she is the cutest little thing. :o)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Field Trip Friday: Old Mine Ranch

For Field Trip Friday, my sister-in-law and I took the kids to a local ranch ... err so they call themselves. I think it is more like a farm, but we'll stick with ranch since that definitely sounds much more intriguing.

We had to drive separately in order to fit everyone and as we pulled in, we saw the ranch and the big grassy field that said PARK HERE. The only problem was there was not one car ... nada, zilch. My sister-in-law and I looked at each other through our car windows and died laughing. Before going, I had referred to the ranch as a hokey ranch in BFE ... and this just seemed to prove my point.

That said, we ended up pretty much having the entire place to ourselves, along with a personal tour guide ... which ended up being really nice. It only cost us $6 per person to get in and that included a free pony ride and hay ride. Plus the kids got a huge bucket of feed for the goats.

So all in all, our visit to the ranch ended up being a good idea.
Mason refused to feed the goats ... I think he thought he was going to lose a finger. Payton, however, agreed to at least throw the feed to them. Look at the way the goats are looking at her in this picture, like Hey Chicky, are you gonna feed us more or what?Ms. Nika stayed back from the goats ...
Isn't this the coolest llama you've ever seen? Actually, I think the picture did him a lot of justice. And check out the catchlights in his eyes! Go me! Haha ... if you know nothing about photography, you probably think I am a nutso right now.Nika got a little ballsy, getting up close and comfortable with the pigs. What you don't see in this picture is the sign hanging above her head that said CAUTION: PIGS BITE. Alas, I didn't notice the sign until after I snapped this picture. And then Nika stood up and slipped, causing her foot to land right in the muddy pig slop. Lovely.There was an 8-day old baby goat. It was so cute and teeny tiny, like the size of a cat.
The hay ride ... Payton wouldn't leave my side, so I didn't get a shot of her ...
The end.