Sunday, June 3, 2012

North Carolina Beach Vacation

We just came back from our week long beach vacation with family and it was a blast!!! There is so much to write about! I was super nervous about the drive, it was going to be the longest drive we had ever made with James and I had nightmares about him screaming his head off for hours on end. All of my worries were totally unfounded, he was a champ!! He barely fussed the entire 12 hour drive there and the entire 12 hour drive back!! He would play happily, eat his snacks, and then take little cat naps. We stopped every 3 hours to switch drivers and to give James a break from his car seat and he loved running around rest areas, truck stops, and restaurants. One lesson we learned: when we normally give James a sippy cup of milk or juice he usually just sips it while he plays and hardly ever finishes it. Except when in a car for long amounts of time. He downed those things in minutes flat and we had quite a few diaper leaks and wardrobe changes along the way. Live and learn, right? :)
When we finally made it to the beach house, this is what we pulled up to:

This was the view of the neighborhood from one of the upper decks:
It was a ginormous house!! For the majority of the week we had four different families staying here and it didn't feel crowded at all. There were 5 bedrooms and 4 1/2 bathrooms spread out on three different levels. The beach was a short walk from the house, as well as a community pool and playground. James had his first pool experience and did really well!! We are definitely doing swimming lessons with him soon. He already loves going to the beach at home, but it was way fun getting to go with his aunts, uncles, and cousins. He absolutely adored he 4 year old cousin, Savino, and followed him around all the time, trying to copy everything he did.

Our first day there, a few of us decided to go on a jeep tour of a nearby wild horse preserve. It was so surreal, we drove these jeeps all through this public beach and the roads of beach house neighborhoods and saw tons of wild horses. On one side we would see horses grazing, and on the other a group of vacationers getting ready to go to the beach. Now that would be a fun house to rent!
You can see the huge puddles we had to drive through. It was so much fun!
This was the first group of horses that we came across. The guide told us that there were about 170 total horses on the preserve.
Here are another few horses that we saw in someones front yard.
 This was probably the coolest thing we saw on the tour. We drove back onto the beach and right in front of a group of sunbathers were five horses standing in the surf!! There were three dark horses standing together and a mother horse and her foal standing separately. The guide told us that the baby was three weeks old and the youngest horse on the preserve. It was so neat to see them! We even got to see the foal nurse a little bit. The law is that you keep at least 50 feet away from the horses, so our guide wouldn't let us get too close for pictures, but the other beach goers were much closer than that. Technically if they come close to you, you are supposed to back away but in reality how in the world can you do that?? If a wild horse walked up to me, there is no way I would back away from that experience!

 After seeing the horses, we stopped by the lighthouse to look around. It was a cool looking lighthouse, but they charged $7 per person to climb up it, so we just walked around outside.

Since there were so many of us sharing a kitchen at the house, we all took turns cooking and we had some great culinary creations. We all are huge fans of epic meal time, so there were tons of bacon strips, bacon weaves, and even 4 year old Savino was demanding his bacon! One night we also decided to make what we dubbed "inception cookies" since they are a cookie within a cookie: chocolate chip cookies with oreos in the middle. Oh. my. word. These things were so good!!!

We spent a lot of time at the beach or at the pool, but only took the camera a few times. Luckily we got some great pictures. James had so much fun running around in the sand, playing with stuff he picked up off the beach and trying to eat it :)
 James was cracking himself up, trying to get my sunglasses!

 He loved the water, but it was soooo cold for us florida folk!

 You have to zoom in on his face in this picture. Priceless!

 He picked up a stick from the sand and decided that it was good to chew on. Such a crazy kid!
 I was trying to take a nice picture with James and my brother decided to photobomb it!

 Here is another evening trip to the beach to run the kids and the dogs.

 James would just pull away from us and run towards the sand dunes as if on a mission. He had no fear!

Another day we decided to go visit the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kitty Hawk since it was only about 30 minutes away from where we were staying. We got to learn more about the Wright brothers themselves and to see replicas of the planes they built. Then we climbed to the top of the hill where they took off in the first motored manned flight. There is a large monument at the top of the hill and we could see quite a few helicopters and planes circling around from up there. It was really neat!

 Savino was so sweet, he really wanted to push James' stroller up the hill all by himself. He lasted longer than I expected!

We tried out a few restaurants while were there, but I don't think anyone was too impressed. We almost never eat out at restaurants, so maybe our expectations were a little too high? Either that, or we are all just such great cooks at home that nothing else compares :)

Most nights after the kids were in bed we would try to play games or some kind of activity. It was a blast!! I don't know when I have laughed so much. We played the newly wed game one night and the players were: Anthony and me, my sister Gabrielle and her husband, my other sister Angi and her husband, and my brother Daniel and my mom. That's right, my brother and my mom were a couple!! They spend so much time together, we figured it counted :) Anthony and I came so close to winning, but on the last question, we got it wrong, my brother got it right and so my mom and my brother came out victorious. It was hilarious to hear them talk about each other's annoying habits!! Another night we played a marathon game of Phase 10 that took close to 4 hours to complete. By the end, we were all giggling at every little thing and my brother Daniel was laughing so hard he was crying and could barely play.

It was such a fun vacation, I can't wait to do it again. One day I was thinking to myself how special it is that so much family could live under one roof and have such a good time together, with no real arguing or bad feelings. Seriously, if we had a big enough place I would live under one roof with these people full time, I love spending time with them that much. How long until next May?? :)

1 comment:

All The Polish said...

AMEN!! I'm ready to start my countdown ticker again lol!