But I'm taking off for the beach AGAIN tomorrow - (I know, Vacation Steph is SO obnoxious) - and it just wouldn't feel right if I didn't tell you about the latest Gallman Beach trip.
I'll even throw in a recommendation for a cool place to go if you're ever in Southport, a charming and quaint seaside town near Oak Island where cheesy movies like Safe Haven and I Know What You Did Last Summer were filmed.
Provision Co., or "Provisions" as we've called it since it opened, is the first place I ever drank a beer (ahem, first place I ever drank a beer with my parents). The owner and head chef looks exactly like Jimmy Buffet and serves up crab cake sandwiches, burgers, and encourages patrons to help themselves to beers out of self-serve coolers on the honor system.
So it goes with visiting the same beach year after year, I was again reminded of how much older I'm getting when I spotted lightning off the coast and legitimately got excited about watching an evening storm from the porch, rocking next to my dad. The storm never materialized into the show I'd hoped for, but it didn't really matter.
Nothing ever really matters in Oak Island. It's a "whatever" kind of place.
They're cute, but they're mischievous, too - and some are already taller than me. How did that happen?
The young ones don't seem as weary of me as they have in years past. They know my name, despite only seeing me once or twice a year, and they actually humor me as much as their parents (my first cousins) do, answering my questions about school, girlfriends, and what they want to be when they grow up.
Molly, my cousin who thinks I'm a teenager (she honestly asked her mom when the "teenager" was going to arrive, so obviously she's my favorite forever), said she wants to be a professional soccer player. I reminded her that she's my favorite so when she becomes rich and famous, she'll get me tickets to her games and signed jerseys and soccer balls.
Emma and Tara don't know what they're going to be when they get older, but they know English and Math, respectively, are their favorite subjects. I told them that it was ok, since I didn't know what I wanted to be either. They didn't seem all that impressed, considering I'm post-30 and all.
I told Ryanne she should be a teacher, since her voice is ridiculously loud and she talks a lot. She said, "No way. I'm gonna be an archaeologist."
I told her I didn't even know what an archaeologist was. She rolled her eyes at me and walked away.
Later, she asked me about my job. I told her I worked for a television news network.
Her response: "Ewwwww! Grossss! Borrrrring."
My mom (aka Mrs. Wizard) bribed the kids to hang out with her, teaching them how to make homemade ice cream in a bag. I completely doubted this experiment, but it actually turned out well and tasted really good.
It was an extremely uneventful, peaceful, porch swinging, relaxing kind of week.