It's late. And as I type this, it's 2:27 AM. But I can't sleep.
I am addicted to HomeAway. That's really where all of this started. Me and Pete's friend Emma told us yesterday that her family spent the past weekend in a friend's cabin, and the cabin had a hot-tub.
So I totally wanted to copy off of her, for a number of reasons:
1. I enjoy being in nature. For small periods of time. Having a cabin in the woods is the perfect balance.
2. I like hot-tubs.
So I started doing some research on HomeAway. I would tell you, "if you haven't been to HomeAway, check it out". But then don't come back here and blame me if you suddenly look at your clock and it's five hours later.
My family and I (mom, dad, sister, me) would drive to Hilton Head Island every summer, and to get there, we had to pass through the Smokies. I LOVE the Smokies. They're beautiful. As the years went on, we would try to stop at some pivotal Smokies places, like in Chattanooga (yes, I have been on the Chattanooga Choo Choo and it was one of the coolest experiences of my life!). But most of the time we just drove through. There would be lots of fog. Mom would be freaking out. Dad would be telling her to calm down. Typical Hoffman family scenario.
So I thought right away that I wanted to find a cabin somewhere in the Smokies. Which was great, because there are like over 2,000 results on HomeAway. So I spent the better part of my very, very late evening looking at those.
The thing about HomeAway is that you can look for property ANYWHERE. Seriously. There are even some properties that are available in St. Louis. One is in an apartment building that is a few blocks from SLU, across from the Walgreen's on Lindell. It's insane because the pictures make it look so nice.
But anyways, after looking at beautiful cabins in the woods and pictures of little black bear cubs that wander onto property, I was reminded of my other favorite kind of nature: the beach.
So I clicked on the little "SC" on the map of the US on the homepage.
And then I clicked on "Hilton Head Island".
And then I clicked on "Forest Beach", because with the exception of one summer out of (an estimated) 10 - 11 years, we stayed at the same house at 19 Dune Lane. Maybe it was 17 Dune Lane.
And the memories came flooding back.
And I lost it. Because I started the next phase of going down on the Paxil and everything (seriously, EVERYTHING) makes me cry. I cried at Kayaks today because I looked at Pete, and he just said, "I'm so happy that you're excited to eat s'mores!" and I started bawling. So embarassing.
I had some amazing times in Hilton Head. Someday, I am going to scan a ton of Hoffman family pictures onto my laptop but until then I just have pictures from the last time we all went, which was the summer of 2007. I was 19.
Okay, I just started looking through pictures and tearing up again. But damn it, I WILL WRITE THIS POST AND NOT RUIN MY KEYBOARD BY CRYING UPON IT.
You may have to adjust your computer screen, but this is a picture of the ocean with the moon reflecting on it. Every night we would take walks on the beach (the beach was the backyard of the house we always rented), throw our shoes off, and run around. When we were little, all the daddies bought fireworks in Tenneessee and ran down to the beach to shoot them off. The moms and kids would watch from the porch and wait to see the dads running up the walk to hide from the beach patrol-men. Mr. Robbins would smoke a cigar; sometimes my dad would join him. Katherine and I would always walk together, because we were best buds. Mrs. Robbins and my mom were always sooooo sloooooooooow and would be several paces behind us.
This is me double-fisting Mondo drinks, which are super popular down in the South at places like Publix and Lion's Choice and (of course) Piggly Wiggly. They're tougher to find up here, although Schnucks sometimes has them. I always spot them in the aisles and smile. Katherine is behind me, being a goofball. And I know I am not at my most attractive in the above picture but it ALWAYS makes me laugh.
Hoffman family - mom with her glass of wine, dad with his beer bottle nestled in the sand behind him, my hair all mussed by the sand and surf, and Emme just looking relatively normal. Taken on one of the night walks.
This is the view from the screened-in porch. Seriously, like I said - the beach was our backyard.
The road we drove down to get to the house. This was, hands down, always the most exciting part of the trip. You could smell the saltwater and hear the seagulls and see glimpses of the ocean between houses. We couldn't wait for mom and dad to park the car so we could run around the house and get onto the sand.
Another favorite part, and also a tradition: the renting schedule starts on a Saturday, so on Saturday night the dads and all the kids go to a grocery store (looks like we went to Bi-Lo) and buy a toooooon of food for the whole week. It's awesome. And the dads took us so we could get whatever we wanted. Like huge boxes of Pop-Tarts and fruit snacks. And moms couldn't tell us not to eat it, because we were on vacation.
The parents almost always woke up early every morning to catch the sunrise, but the kids only did once the whole week. It's so reaffirming. And just beautiful (cue the tears.)
This was our spot. Just a handful of chairs and blankets and good books and towels. Sometimes we were in the ocean, sometimes we were sitting on the beach reading. And may I add, the Atlantic Ocean is ALWAYS the perfect temperature in July and August. And we stayed on a private beach, so we always had plenty of rooms to ourselves.
Twilight walk; Katherine.
Our house is the little brown guy. When we first started renting it in 1994/5 (I think that was the first year we went), all the houses looked like that. But as we came back the following summer, more and more houses like the one on the right were popping up. The one we always stayed in was the ONLY (I'm serious) house that was still that size on the private Forest Beach. And that was almost three years ago. I wonder if it's still there.
Ha. I LOVE this picture. On a night walk. Us girls were always freaking out because since it's pitch black and there's no lights, you can't see what you're about to step on. There are always stray jellyfish that wash up but still have their charges, and all different sizes of crabs. So Katherine and I were walking behind my sister and her friend who came with us, and we decided to be little buttheads and yell, "OH MY GOD LOOK OUT THERE'S A JELLYFISH RIGHT THERE!" And then I took a picture. I have never seen my sister move so fast. It was the best. night. ever.
OH. I just realized that while I don't have the actual pictures on my computer, I have an album on facebook that are all pictures from the previous Hilton Head trip we took in 2005. Allow me to share. Okay there are actually only two good pictures.
Mr. Robbins woke up to fish early every morning, and the week that we were there in 2005, this egret hung out with him. It was pretty cool.
Okay. Before I show you this next one, remember a few things.
1. It was taken five years ago. I did not suddenly lose 50 pounds.
2. No, I was not sick. I just hadn't grown into my baby-bearing hips.
3. This was the WORST. SUNBURN. OF. MY. LIFE.
It sucked. That night, when my dad took the picture, I was all, "haha this is so funny looking but I'm not in any pain!" And then around 4:30 in the morning, I woke up and felt like there were little pin-pricks all over my body. I went into the sitting room and watched The Trouble With Angels three times in a row and just cried. I dumped a bunch of aloe vera all over me. Nothing helped. My dad actually took a really hilarious picture of me the next morning getting ice out of the freezer...YES I HAVE IT.
Shiny aloe all over my face. Loosest t-shirt in the house (dad's). I am clearly very unhappy.
And you know, it was just so dumb. AND it was the day after we got there. So Sunday I went on the beach with no sunscreen on because it was overcast (idiot) so I didn't think I needed it. I went into the ocean and was about waist deep when my stomach really, really started itching. So I kept clawing at it, and then a few hours later Mrs. Robbins said, " OH MY GOD YOU ARE BRIGHT RED...EVERYWHERE!"
I hardly went outside that week. Miserable.
I originally wanted to write this post and talk about all the changes that happened to me over the years, as we went on our family vacations. But that's just too feelings-y so I'll save it for another day. Hope you enjoy these sleepless pictures!!