Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Last week Amy & I concluded the summer with a vacation down to Charleston. We rented a house on James Island just a hop, skip & a jump across the marsh from Aunt Mel, Uncle Dude, Corinne and Sam and a mile from Folly Beach.

Amy & I crammed as much work as we could get done in the weeks leading up to vacation, led a Worship & Wonder training the morning that we left, and a finished up a multiple's club consignment sale that afternoon. We both slept hard the first two days that we were down in South Carolina.

The vacation was a really good one in that we were so ready to leave town and escape the day-to-day life at home by the time we departed and then we were ready to be back in the comforts of home by the time we returned at the end of the week. That's what a vacation should be, I suppose.

On Tuesday our friends Debbie Barrett and Chad Nance brought their litter up from Bluffton, SC -- Aidan, Abby, and Anmei -- and shared our place for a couple of days. I am not sure if the kids wore us parents out or if all the fun we parents threw at the kids wore them out. But either way, it was a really good time seeing the Nance crew.

Off the boat dock from the back of the rental house, the marsh rose and fell with the tides. It made for some good bird watching and fiddler crab hunting.

The parents loaded up the kids for a trip to the South Carolina Aquarium, which sits on a gorgeous spot in downtown Charleston on the harbor. The kids got to pet an alligator and saw plenty of penguins, sharks, fish and jellies to provide a good thrill.

Gus, Aidan & Anmei posed for their Nemo shark bait moment.

One of the fun parts of trips are the impromptu moments that you can't plan for -- like when six kids are tired and hungry after a morning of sightseeing in the aquarium. So the parents pulled out the beach chairs and fed the kids sandwiches & goldfish right there in the parking garage. All we were missing was a cooler and a football game....

The Rutledge crew got to reunite with the Crumptons and meet cousin Sam for the first time. He is a laid back little fellow who takes in the two year-old tornado that is his big sister Corinne with a big gummy grin on his face.

Corinne experienced the Owen shun first hand as she was enamored with her older cousin, but he did his best "girls are icky" impression all week. (Talk to Tess, little peanut -- the two of you can share stories.)

Corinne and Gus on the other hand are cut from the same cloth -- both rowdy & rambunctious and (too?) lovable with their younger siblings.

What fun we had and will have as this group gets older.

The rest of the week was dedicated to entertaining kids. We beached it several times. At first the boys were very cautious of the water, which is what you want as a parent when it comes to the ocean -- a combined sense of awe and excitement with a healthy respect for the tides when you only weigh 35 lbs.

By the end of the week though, both boys had their badges of courage with the water and were body surfing and sticking their heads underwater. And of course, the receding tides offer wet sand which is just perfect for building sand castles....

and making mud balls to throw at each other.

Little Tess enjoyed herself as well -- chasing sea gulls, playing in the sand, walking Tucker on the beach, and adapting very well to the relaxed beach schedule which sometimes led to lunches at 2:30 in the afternoon.

We did break out of the beach routine a few times. This was our first visit back to Folly in two years since Gus had his fall that put him in the hospital. So we drove by the house where we had stayed to see that the open stairs had been closed off with a deck on the back of the house. Little Owen and his crazy accurate memory remembered a lot of it two years later and was full of questions. It gave a good sense of closure, especially for Amy.

Then we drove over to the park a block away where the kids ran off the rest of their morning energy. Owen does his best eerie devilish impression coming out of the slide.

Finally, we hit Splash Zone -- which has to be one of the coolest water parks there is -- on the morning before we drove back home. The boys were just tall enough to ride down the monster water slides with Dad, Mom & Uncle Dude.

All in all it was a good way to end the summer before preschool started back for the boys this week. We finished the summer with a splash & a bang.