Ordinary Days-Sunshine and Books on the Beach

We were lucky enough to take off for a sort of last-minute vacation to Hilton Head-we haven't visited in about 9 or 10 years and I missed that place!  We stayed in the condo complex we have stayed in the last few times, Shorewood, because it's on the beach, close to the little shops and the pool is heated. I love Hilton Head because we can ride bikes on the beach when the tide is out and we took some long long long bike rides.  We had gorgeous weather, sunshine every day and it was just perfect.  PLUS we had only four kids in our minivan, leaving the older two behind (work and school) and there was SO much room.  Which resulted in very little complaining, and no one punching each other or left on the side of the road (well, we've never had that, not that I haven't been tempted.)

This is the first vacation in 22 years that I've been able to read books on the beach or at the pool.  I've dreamt of this moment!  And I read five to make up for those two decades.  I brought two, one of which I was halfway finished, and then Andrew let me borrow his Kindle because I was desperate, which I am forever grateful.  I am also forever grateful to Jeff who played with the kids every single minute and went to the grocery store and made every meal.  Janey was a pool girl this vacation and she floated and played for hours upon hours in the pool while I sat by the side and read and the boys played at the beach.  It was SO nice.  As much as I loved seeing all the beautiful pregnant moms and sweet little babies and toddlers, I must say I enjoyed immensely having a little less intense time at the beach.  

Sand burials.

The boys went fishing a few days and saw quite a few alligators and came home with wild tales of stolen fish and scary moments.

Greg Russell, a Hilton Head tradition.  (That is not him up there, he hasn't arrived yet in this pic.) Janey finally got up the nerve to sit on stage and listen to him play his guitar and sing funny songs, and a few songs in she was clapping along and having a great time.

Junk food galore, another tradition.  I'm on a massive detox.  Jeff loves Publix and thankfully there was one a few miles away.  I can't even tell you how many loaves of White Mountain bread we went through but it was more white bread than any family should eat in a single week.  And we've also discovered Publix generic ice cream and I am thankful we do not have a Publix up north here or I'd be in big trouble.

Janey brought down her own romance novel found in the condo and read it to us.  The story sounded a lot like Mary Poppins.

BOOKS!!!  Thank you for all your book recommends last post-I can't wait to start on my list.

This is a short, sweet, uplifting read perfect for the beach.  I ADORED Mrs. Brown, everything about her-her small town ways and regimented life and her unrelenting kindness.  

This was a great, LONG, but great book about a farmer who takes in two wayward girls and whose life is changed forever by it.  The prose is beautiful, Amanda Coplin is one of those gifted writers who conveys emotion in a beautiful way.

I didn't read this, Andrew (13) did and LOVED IT.  He told me this was the first time that he couldn't wait to read a book, instead of find something else to do, (and he is a great reader!) and that he now loves non-fiction-something he didn't think he would like.  (I get frustrated with all the sci-fi and fantasy for boys this age so I was thrilled to hear this.)

I loved this book-it's a WWII love story between a girl and a boy who were raised as siblings, one of them  Jewish, one Catholic.  There was a lot of factual information worked into the book that I didn't know-how many Catholics sheltered Jews in their homes and in convents.  I couldn't put this one down.

This was such a good book.  A Scotland girl finds herself living with a family on a farm during the Dust Bowl, hired as a school teacher-she falls in love and a family is torn apart.

Back to routine, and lunches and soccer practice and an incredibly busy April...and lots of rain. But it was so nice to get away and recharge and remember what sun feels like.


  1. Hilton Head is my favorite place. We went every summer when I was growing up and my parents live near there now. I feel so fortunate to get to take my kids each summer. I sat on Gregg Russel's stage and sang with him when I was a kid and now I love watching my kids get up and sing with him. I just loved seeing your pictures and hearing about your trip to HHI.

  2. This looks like a lovely spot to vacation, and it sounds like your family had such a relaxing break. Reading books on the beach - a dream right now with a three year old. Haha!

  3. Perfect timing for this blog post. We've only been to HH once but fell in love and are headed back this summer. We haven't booked a condo yet though and were considering some others but I searched the complex you mentioned and it's lovely. We've added it to our list!!

  4. I always enjoy your book reviews. You've given me incentive to try two books this time. just read the Amazon reviews for The Practice House yesterday and wasn't sure I'd like it. I attempted to read The Orchardist a year or so ago, but couldn't get into it. I think I'll try again now :)
    I did just finish A Year in Provence by Peter Mahle. Absolutely loved his sense of humor and descriptions of Provence.

  5. I'm so glad you had a nice, relaxing trip! And that you liked My Mrs. Brown. I loved it, too. I'll have to check out the others you recommended.

  6. Ahh... I dream of being able to read on vacation again.:) What a nice break for you! From Sand and Ash looks wonderful! I just finished reading Hidden Figures- highly recommend that one! The movie was so good I figured the book had to be even better!

  7. Aw, don't go too hard on the fantasy and sci-fi. If it gets kids to read, I'm a fan. Plus those genres are good at discussing moral issues that are often timeless and very relevant to anyone's life!

  8. Andrew might really like the "War that saved my life". My 13 and 11 year olds really enjoyed it as did I. I am from NE Ohio.... we visit HHI every year. It's my happy place... thanks for the book recommendations.

  9. What is the book your daughter is reading that's similar to Mary Poppins?

    1. Absolutely nothing-she pretends she is reading the book, since she can't read, and tells the Mary Poppins story, which she loves. :)

  10. So appreciate all your book suggestions - I check out every one! Blessings

  11. I love your book recommendations! Can I lament something here...I loved reading The Babysitters Club books as a young teen, and have looked forward to enjoying them again when my daughter is that age (she is only 1 now). I saw them in a book store the other day, and they have changed the cover to be these goofy cartoon drawings that are just silly. I was so disappointed, they used to be real-life pictures of some good girl 90's teenagers. Oh well, I am just old fashioned.