Monday, July 25, 2011

OBX 2011

It was a wonderful trip!  We pulled out of the driveway at 5am on Saturday and were eating lunch in the Outer Banks at 12:30 that afternoon.  Beat the heck out of having an 11 hour journey last year.  (We left 2 hours earlier, didn't stop for breakfast, and we only had to sit in some traffic on the southern side of the NC line for an hour or so.)  We caravaned down with my parents who also had my brother, Kevin with them.  We made such good time and cleared Williamsburg by 8am!  The traffic on 158 was a bit frustrating though because we know how bad it can be in the later part of the day and didn't expect it to be that heavy that "early."  But, like I said, eating lunch at Goombay's on the Outer Banks (and having tasty adult beverages) was a fantastic reward.  And then, thanks to my mom, we had an early check-in so we were in the house before 2pm!  (Normal check in isn't until 4pm.)  I just realized now I really didn't take any photos of the house or inside the house - I took them all either at the beach or by the pool.

Anyhow, the house was nice - not the nicest we've stayed in but it certainly fit the bill.  The kids shared a room (a pyramid bunk) and that was a lot of fun for them.  My parents were in the master suite and it had a huge jacuzzi tub that the kids took many a bath in.  My brother had his own room since his wife, Kelly, is in Chicago for a few weeks, and then when my sister arrived on Monday morning, she took the trundle from the kids' bedroom and pulled it out into the extra large foyer as her makeshift room.  (Thanks to Chrissa for being so flexible.)

The house also had an outdoor hot tub that the kids loved getting in (especially with my brother) and a little in-ground pool.  It was actually smaller than my parents' above ground pool at home, but it certainly served its purpose and we were glad to gave it with as hot as it got at the end of the week.   In the afternoon it was completely shaded too and that was especially great!  It was about 4 feet deep at the far end with little steps at the other end.  All 3 kids loved it and it even got Piper swimming!  It was amazing.  She's been doing so well this year with her swimmies and putting her face in the water so one morning, Chrissa suggested that she try without the swimmies, and you know what?  She just started swimming!  So basically, she put together what she was doing last year with what she was doing with the swimmies and just swam!  (Video to follow)  That pool was perfect since she could swim the entire length in one breath.  She's not great about stopping for a breath yet but she's getting there.

Sunday and Monday were picture perfect beach days.  It was warm (but not hot), the ocean water was in the mid-70's, and it was just beautiful.  The kids officially spent an entire day on the beach!

On Tuesday, we ventured on a day long trip down to Ocracoke.  It's an island that is part of the Outer Banks, but you can only get to it by ferry and it's just beautiful.  Most of it is protected, national seashore and completely untouched. 
It took well over an hour to get down there and then we had to wait in line to get on the ferry, but aside from that (and the older two fighting like cats and dogs in the car), once we pulled our cars onto the ferry, the trip steadily improved.  The kids loved the ferry ride and then once we got on the island, we headed down to the village for lunch at Jason's. We then headed back to the north end of the island and used my dad's 4 wheel drive to go out onto the beach.  And what a beach it was!

The water was over 80 degrees, was shallow, gentle, and clear!  Perfect for little kids!  It wasn't truly hot that day either (although I know it was at home) and the steady breeze almost made it chilly if you were in the shade.   Ocracoke is known for it's wide, beautiful beaches and for being able to go way out and it still be pretty shallow.  I went several times as a kid but hadn't been down since I was in college.  Jason and the kids had never been.

We stayed until a little after 5pm and then headed back to the ferry to go home.  We found out later that on the other end of the island at 5pm, Ocracoke reported it's first shark attack in 35 years!  A 6 year old girl in 18 inches of water was bitten by a shark.  She was airlifted to the mainland and is said to be in good condition although apparently it was pretty serious when it happened.  After the fact we remembered seeing that helicopter overhead as we waited for the ferry.  Scary!

The next day we laid kind of low while Jason and my dad played golf.  Turned out too that the ocean water had gotten super cold too while the air temperature was starting to rise.  The kids swam all day and we just relaxed.  That night we went and played mini-golf with Bryce and Piper.  (Caroline doesn't have any interest!)  Of course as we stood in line for the first hole, Bryce dropped his ball in the "river" snaking through the course.  But Kevin and I managed to find it and fish it out.  We had a good laugh about that.  Piper got her $5 worth of golf by putting her PURPLE ball 3 inches from the hole and putting it in and then running on each hole's obstacles.  Bryce also took a tumble down one of sides of one of the holes and then Piper fell and yelled out that she "fell on my butt cheeks!"  But the funniest moment of the evening came as we waited to go onto the 18th hole.  I looked over and there was Piper standing with her golf ball between her legs and bouncing up and down.  I asked her what she was doing and she yelled, "I've got a purple penis! I've got a purple penis!"  Ha!  Clearly we use that word at home and it's not a big deal, so we just kind of ignored it and had a giggle.  I heard the people behind us laughing too.  Good thing she's cute!  The funny thing to me was that I don't think I'd ever heard her say that word before.

Thursday and Friday were SUPER hot days - the water was frigid too.  On Thursday evening though, we went down to Coquina Beach in South Nags Head for what we thought was a campfire, but it ended up not happening.  Instead, we took advantage of the beautiful beach and good light and took lots of pictures. It was hard keeping the kids out of the water (even in their clothes) but after hearing of the shark attack 2 days before, we knew that dusk was a BAD time to be in the water.  My mom even told another woman who brought her kids down at that time.  (Anyone goes swimming in the ocean at 8pm is crazy, if you ask me!)  We even managed to get a decent family photo although we were missing my brother's wife (again!).
I have a better version I need to upload  where C and B aren't making funny faces.

And so ends another NC vacation.  No idea if we'll make it back next year or not because we're planning a Disney vacation in the spring.  I'm always pretty sad on the day we leave the beach because I just love it so much down there and it seems that I'm not the only one.  A few minutes after we got home on Saturday evening, I found Bryce sobbing.  When I asked him why, he sputtered out, "I miss the beach!  I wish we could go for 10 weeks!"  I know buddy, I know.  I've been going to the Outer Banks since I was 6 years old and my kids have been going all their lives, so I guess it makes sense why we love it so much.  We've taken a year off here and there but it's hard to imagine a summer without a trip down there.

A big thanks to my brother for playing with my kids so patiently all week and to my parents for getting this whole trip together to begin with.  I think that's a big part of why I love going down there - spending time with my family on the beach....kind of like we always have.


Heather said...

purple penis? i'm peeing in my pants bc i'm laughing so hard...can't type! ha ha ha ha ha! that is hysterical!

Katie said...

Great trip! I can't wait to go to the OBX one day.