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Sun, Summer, South Carolina

Folly Beach and wide open Atlantic Ocean beyond.

Circus is over now. I felt like Jell-O all day on Sunday, the day after it all ended. Helping out was certainly fun, though. I want to do that again next year.

Kara is planning for circus again already. I can't blame her.

She looked so beautiful in all her acts, and my heart just swelled with pride when I watched her. My baby who isn't a baby anymore.

The summer has flown by, but of course, I can say that about any season. School is starting next week for our district. I feel like I never really caught my breath this summer--except in South Carolina.

Saltwater cures everything. As the waves come in, they pick up whatever is in me that needs to go away and takes it right out to sea.

The kids and I flew into Charleston, and my brother, Mark, and his wife, Monica, picked us up. Seeing family refreshes me as much as the saltwater.

Kal and Kara were in the pool much of the time at their house. My brother made fabulous cinnamon rolls for my birthday, which happened to be close in date to that trip. He made his own recipe, and it's a secret kept under lock and key and oath. I think there may even be an Indiana-Jones-style cave with all the traps to help keep the secret secure.

Since calories don't count on vacation, I enjoyed 2 full rolls. Every single, mouth-watering bite. Best present ever.

We took part of the time to go to the Battery. It's part of the old part of Charleston, along with Rainbow Row. Rainbow Row is a row of houses all painted in bright colors, the most photographed spot in the South is what I heard. When a house there has to be repainted, it must be in the exact same color as before to preserve the look.

Charleston has very old mansions and streets. There are gas lights along the way highlighting the Creeping Myrtle and old bricks. The same trees are still in the park at the Battery as during Civil War times.

The old part of Charleston feels like a step back into history, a time to slow down, put away the busyness of life, and just breathe.

Another part of the day was spent walking around looking at all the ways to waste a buck. And there are very many. Cute shops of every sort; quaint inns and pubs; cookie and candy shops; antiques, jewelry, shoes, bags made from old sails. Very pretty bags. Not $145 pretty, in my opinion, but that's just because I like spending money on other things, not old sail bags.

And we went to the City Market, which is just a concentration of ways to waste a buck, especially on trinkets and souvenirs. I don't buy souvenirs generally, except maybe a coffee cup or jewelry because I'll actually use those. Kara chose a Christmas ornament as a souvenir.

Otherwise, our memories and photos are enough for souvenirs.

And the extra pounds from Lowcountry Fish Camp. That was a pleasant Sunday afternoon making out with the fried flounder. Kal loves the catfish and hush puppies.

Kara just gets macaroni and cheese wherever she goes. That's fine with me. Maybe one day, she will expand her horizons with food, but for now, it's not worth fighting about it.

More on the food: Byrd's Cookies--somewhere in the vicinity of the City Market. Wow. You can sample cookies, then buy a box of whatever you want. All the same or a mix. We chowed on too many of these while walking around.

On Monday during our trip, we went to Folly Beach. I could live there staring out at the wide expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.

My brother showed me how to use the boogie board. I tried it since I'm not dead yet. My timing with the waves was off more than on, but I loved trying it out.

Kara didn't try the boogie board, but she liked being knocked over by the waves that came crashing in on her.

Of course, we all looked for shells and found some interesting ones, all very small though.

Flying back home was uneventful, and I suppose that is best when you're talking about being high up in the air. Kal sat by the window on the way there, then Kara got the window on the way back home.

I'll leave you with some pictures of the trip, all in all, a wonderful time--especially getting to share it with my children.

Waiting to board the flight. Kara has a perfect "meh" face.

With my brothers, Mark & Reuben, and my sister-in-law, Nicole.

Family times are the best times.

With my brothers, Mark and Reuben.

Cool dudes: Mark and Kal

Monica and me along the Battery.

Mark matched the old sail bag store perfectly.

A house in the old part of Charleston.

Byrd's Cookies
Byrd's Cookies. Amazing form of sugar.

Charleston City Market
City Market: a dream to some; a panic attack to others.

Lowcountry Fish Camp
Lowcountry Fish Camp. An intentional hole-in-the-wall.

Canopy of trees along the Battery.

Boogie boarding with Mark.

At one of the plentiful barbecue joints.

And one last picture. How many people fell for this one? Mark heard Monica and me laughing from outside the ladies' room.


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