Happiness Highlights: Myrtle Beach

Our week in Myrtle Beach was surprisingly stressful. I found myself trying to keep up with the onslaught of tourist attractions that demanded my time and money every few feet up and down every street. I felt like I spent five days in a row saying no as the kids clamored for more and more entertainment. They were insatiable, and my guilt, resentment and sense of obligation combined to produce the first real meltdown of the trip.

The good news is that Jared and I had the chance to talk and learn more about what kind of entertainment is most valuable to us. We also made some adjustments to our management structure – namely, Jared now manages the money so he gets to be the one to say no.

There was loads of happiness worthy of highlighting last week, but the majority of it did not correlate with all of the things we did in Myrtle Beach. And therein, my friends, was one of the greatest lessons of the trip thus far.

Now on to the fun stuff.

Happiness Highlights June 20-26: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

One of the touristy things that was a real highlight for us was a visit to a place called Magiquest. It’s like a life-sized Dungeons and Dragons game, except I have no idea what Dungeons and Dragons is about, so that might not be it at all. Basically, we ran around with wands solving puzzles and looking for clues. It was awesome.

I was reminded how much I love puzzles. When I was a kid I used to love those math word problems and was always disappointed when I finished that part of my homework. (Yes, really.) All four of us seem to really enjoy anything that requires problem solving. We’re like an entire family of cool kids!

I love the beach. I love the sound of the ocean and the feel of the endless breeze on my face. I could (and did) just lay on the beach for hours.

I also love playing with my kids at the beach. They taught me how to make a drizzle castle and we spent at least two hours working together at the edge of the water. That was, by far, my favorite afternoon of the week. And do you know how much it cost? Not a dime.

I have to admit that I’m pretty sad about heading inland this week; I’ll miss the ocean.

Late in the week, we drove south of town to Brookgreen Gardens. It was an inexpensive tourist attraction across the street from a state park, and we’d planned to spend a few hours walking around both places while I took pictures. As soon as we pulled into the gardens, we knew we weren’t going to have near enough time to see everything and immediately regretted not making the two parks a priority earlier in our visit.

Brookgreen Gardens is an elaborate sculpture garden built on the site of three old rice field plantations. It’s massive and beautiful and far more interesting than any of us expected a sculpture garden to be. We took a guided tour and I was so impressed with how curious and inquisitive both kids were. I was struck by how much more rewarding this inexpensive attraction was compared to the pricier ones we’d visited earlier in the week.

Oh, and I shot a gun.

I have spent the majority of my life being vehemently opposed to and afraid of guns. One morning last week, I woke up after having a bad dream in which I was unable to shoot a gun in order to protect myself. I couldn’t pull the trigger. It was too heavy and too hard to pull, and I was plagued with a sense of dread about the unknown. I decided that morning that I would learn to shoot a gun when the opportunity arose so that I could rid myself of that mysterious sense of dread. On our way to Brookgreen Gardens, we passed a gun range and decided we’d stop on our way back.

As it turns out, I’m a pretty good shot.

I’m still not a fan of guns, but I’m so excited that I faced this long-held fear head on. I was really, really proud of myself – and still am. :-)

Did you do anything you were proud of last week?

Weekly Happiness Highlights are a list of things that brought me joy, peace, or happiness in the last week. The point is to remember to be grateful, to focus on the good, and to be able to better answer the question “what makes me happy?” If you decide to post your own Happiness Highlights, please feel free to share the link in the comments. I’d love to see what’s making you happy right now!

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  1. naomi says:

    facing fears … and adjusting how things work … and playing in the ocean. what a trio of perfection!

    i’m liking that Jared is now doing the money so he has to be the one to say no … love it. I’m a bit green about having had the conversation about what entertainment means to your family. Need to plan on having that convo in our house soon …

    drizzle castles are THE best … and I’m proud of you for shooting that gun!! What do you think the dream was about??

  2. Suebob says:

    I’m learning to salsa dance and I think I’m proud of handling the criticism (which is quite gentle, really) as being there to HELP me, not insult me. I’m getting better at that!

  3. Nanna says:

    Wait. What is a drizzle castle??

  4. Michelle says:

    Awesome highlights. =) Yes, Magiquest is like a real-life Dungeons & Dragons in that you fulfill a quest, but without the Orc kills. LOL I played at the one in Wisconsin Dells a few years back.

    As for the gun, according to my mom’s old dreams book, guns represent power and being unable to fire one represents subconscious feelings of doubt or inhibition that you need to address in order to accomplish something. Don’t know if that helps you or not.

  5. Anissa says:

    Note to self: Don’t piss off Britt now that she knows how to handle a gun.

  6. martymankins says:

    Nice Myrtle Beach round up. I had seen the ads for the Magiquest, but had no idea what it was. We did Ripley’s museum, which was cool to see, but not quite as exciting as I wanted it to be.

    We loved the beach. It was the one thing from our trip there that we really loved. The ocean was incredible and it was awesome to watch how much the shoreline moved each day.

    As for the gun, you’ll have some fan base with a few bloggers that are pro gun. My stance as a non gun owner is that it’s good to know how to use one for protection and hunting, without the need for automatic assaut arms.

  7. Miriam says:

    Nice grouping! Great castle :D

  8. Puzzles, drip-castles, and guns? Only you could fit that all in a week…love it!

  9. Jack says:

    It’s like a life-sized Dungeons and Dragons game, except I have no idea what Dungeons and Dragons is about

    I love that line. It reminds me of Fletch.

  10. Lula Lola says:

    I love Brookgreen Gardens. Huntington Beach is great too. If you’re in this area, staying south of Myrtle Beach is the way to go. (This from a local, I guess I’m biased.) Myrtle Beach can be such a tourist trap.
    I have friends who camp at Huntington. The crowds are less and the natural beauty more . We are between the two and usually favor going south for activities as opposed to north. Magiquest is great though. I love that the kids can keep their wands and it stores their info. So, each time they go, it builds on the last. We love WonderWorks too, also at Broadway, if you’re back this way any time, be sure and check it out.

  11. Lisa says:

    It sounds like a good week! I wish I could hand over dealing with the money, it gives me such stress. But then my control freak self would probably have a meltdown.

    My happiness highlights last week? I’m going to have to reach for this one because it’s been a rough few weeks, but we’re planning a camping trip for this coming weekend and thinking of buying a trailer to make camping trips easier and thus more frequent. Getting away more often is important to us and we can take the dogs if we camp so we don’t have to worry about boarding.

  12. can you believe i had never heard of a drizzle castle? love the way yours turned out. way cool. now i am looking forward to making one!

    brookgreen is so peaceful and so gorgeous. i only went once, but they practically had to throw me out. instead i saw an alligator and deemed it closing time.

    funny that you wrote about shooting. i asked for a gun for my birthday. since dad was a city k-9 cop i never feared them, just respected them. ever since i was little i shot just about everything imaginable and liked it. turns out i miss it. so when i won skeet shooting for four i almost peed my pants with excitement regardless of the fact that i won’t hit even one fucking clay.

    ANYhow, i’m glad you faced your fear. so proud of you!

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