Monday, August 23, 2010

the Outer Banks

The morning after I sprained my foot, the kids and I flew to Charlotte and met my parents, my brother Ryan and his son Miles at Jessie's house. (Marc was in Paris.)

Sadly, because I was on crutches (and had only slept for 3 hours the night before), I was unable to document this first day of our trip. After we got to Jessie's, I took a nap. I am such a fun guest.

Jessie took Max and Lucas to Rita's Water Ice to bring home a sampling of deliciousness for the rest of us. I believe this was the first time for the kids! Welcome to the addiction.

I did manage to get a shot of Max cuddling with Dobby, one of Jessie's hideously ugly hairless cats. (Sorry, Jess.) All of my kids love said cats, and this is enormously endearing to Jessie.

The next morning, we set off for the Outer Banks (beach area of NC). We caravaned in three cars.

Eva and I rode with Jessie & Timm and their girls, much to Eva's delight. She and Bella sat in the back and played with stuffed animals, talked, and watched movies.

Jessie working on a new embroidery project.

I was working on one as well. We have decided that embroidery is the perfect craft: portable, inexpensive, can be done in short snippets of time, and endlessly customizable. It was a very pleasant 5-6 hour drive.

We stayed in a beach house on a sound, right on the water. I had been led to believe that it would be cramped quarters, but in actuality, it was a large, three-story, very comfortable house. (Have I mentioned how much I love beach houses??)

Right off the bat, the kids found a basket of squeaky dog toys. Chief among them was the quintessential rubber chicken, and they could not get enough of it. Here Eva is re-creating the time in Seattle when a bird landed on Max's head. (We did have to confiscate and hide all squeaky toys for the sanity of the adults.)

Bella and Eva got along swimmingly, and Eva could not have been more pleased at having a constant playmate. Check out the height difference with these two! (They are only 3 weeks apart in age.)

Timm sneaking in a nap. What could be better than a nap? on vacation? in a beach house?! I got a couple of them myself.

My mom kept us stocked with her fabulous, super-salty popcorn. My kids were in heaven. (I'm lazy about popcorn and we usually have the microwave variety.) She even made her famous caramel corn one night and it was so good I felt like swooning.

Miles with his wind-blown hair, playing an iPod game with Lucas.

I love family dinners. Love them. Especially when I am somewhat incapacitated and can't do too much to help prepare them. Kidding.

Especially when we are sitting by picture windows overlooking the ocean! We had a lot of good food, par for the course with my family.

I love this picture of the girls mauling my dad. He doesn't seem to mind! (Eva is modeling the new jewelry my mom brought her. She totally knows the way to her heart.)

It was such a great thing that Eva has embraced her life jacket. I wasn't able to go in the water until the last day, so I was very happy that she could be mostly independent. My mom and I sat on chairs on the sand and watched the swimmers. Here, Eva and Ryan are talking about/looking at something...

Max found some sort of egg sac in the water and was transfixed.

I took off my shoe a couple of times on the beach so I could at least get my feet wet. (I can't remember if this is the beginning of the bruising or the end, but at one point my whole foot was purple. Eva heard Max say that a bruise is a sign of internal bleeding, and she was quite disturbed about my foot bleeding on the inside.)

The beach and the ocean are endlessly entertaining. The swimmers would come out periodically and show us the cool shells/orange seaweed/creatures they found.

One evening we went to Beaufort to get ice cream at the general store and walk on the boardwalk. It was tricky walking for me, but I was so glad we went. Everywhere you looked, all was quaint and picturesque, just as a small beach town should be.

This is Fiona's pirate face. It's like she has a sixth sense when someone is about to take a picture, no matter how sneaky the photographer tries to be about the camera's emergence, and she immediately brings out the smile with a wink. It's a riot. Unless you're really trying to get a candid shot.

The girls posing on a bench for more photos than even their mothers wanted to take. I couldn't help remembering the hugging shot I tried and tried for last summer!

cutest self-portrait in action

I love boardwalks.

And docks.

Eva had to stop and pet every single dog that we passed. At least she has her routine down pat of politely asking the owner if she can pet his/her dog. Actually, we meet a lot of people this way...

One day, we drove about 5 minutes to get to the big beach.

Cutest beach entrance ever!

The waves are bigger and more fun when you're right on the ocean. I was really disappointed that I couldn't get in the water – swimming in the ocean makes me positively giddy and I feel like a kid again.

This time, I had to be content to watch.

I love getting pictures of my dad taking pictures! He is so cute.

I love shore birds! Sandpipers, pelicans, but not so much seagulls. These ones were fascinating to watch. Miles caught one of the things they were eating when the tide receded, and we think it was a sand flea. Kind of disgusting, but interesting as well.

the view from our bedroom

One day we went to the aquarium. Here my mom is talking to Eva about the frogs.

These frogs. We saw river otters, jellyfish, sharks, turtles, and a bunch of other stuff, and got to touch the stingrays (with stingers removed) and crabs.

My parents hugging on the dock. I think they're adorable.

I took a self-portrait on the dock, trying to get the house in the background. It didn't work.

This is the back view of our beach house. (Not ours, just the one we were staying in!) I didn't even take a picture from the front, this was the view I always saw.

Fiona quite liked Lucas. And Max. And Ryan. And me. But her favorite person is my dad.

On the last day of our stay, I decided I just had to get in the water, even if I had to tread very gingerly. I was out with Fiona, Bella, and Eva, maybe 20 yards from shore. Jessie and Max were out kayaking and Fiona wouldn't let go of me. Until, that is, she spotted my dad walking on the beach. She literally stiff-armed me and paddled for shore, never looking back until she exited the water and went right into his arms! It was one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

The rockers on the deck got a lot of use. Here, Fiona is rocking Lucas and Miles. We were worried her toes would get under the rockers, but she absolutely would not be dissuaded from her task.

We played games. Man, I love playing games. Jessie and Timm have one that was new to us, something about the game of things? (Jess?) I think we need to get it.

It was just a beautiful, relaxing, fun week. I'd say it was just about perfect.


Neighbor Jane Payne said...

I felt completely relaxed and rejuvinated READING your post, Michelle. I love seeing your family interact through your eyes.

That is one, purple, bleeding-inside foot.

Jill said...

Other than your purple foot, these pictures are glorious! What a beautiful place to stay for a week! I simply must have a beach house vacation at some point in my life (hopefully sooner than later).

Natasha said...

That dock picture is absolutely frameable!

lelly said...

so close!! you were so close to me!!

patsy said...

I agree with jane--- so fun to read this post... ahh...

The last time I went to the beach I told brett- who cares about a cabin in the mountains- BEACH HOUSES ARE FOR ME!! I think he may have rolled his eyes?

I want to embroider like you. and jesse. I wish you lived closer I'm sure we could swap something for a couple of lessons?

You are both so talented! Does her project say - value? it's beautiful already.

What a wonderful, wonderful trip!
and what darling little girls! I am really missing little girls at my house these days... :(

Anne said...

Lucky! The Outer Banks is one of my favorite places in the world. What a lovely trip! I hope your foot heals quickly!

Melinda said...

Way to go on getting a team teacher!

I am so jealous of your vacation! I want to stay in a beach house for a summer. I really want to buy one one day. Your stay had all of the charm and loveliness of a beach house.

Charlotte said...

What a lovely, lovely week! I think I'm a little jealous. There's just nothing like a week with family. My week with my family was absolutely wonderful. I'm glad that despite your gimpy foot, you were able to enjoy your week and even the water a bit! Love you!

Miranda said...

Hmmmm...I'm feeling pretty jealous. No like, really jealous. Except about the foot. So sorry.

Michelle said...

As I was reading this post I came across your injured foot picture, Kristen said, "What's that face for?" I turned the screen towards she and Nicole and they both gasped. You now have our complete post-injury sympathy!

Fiona is incredibly cute.

I think Max is way too young for a serious relationship with...what's her name?

jenn said...

Book club beach vacation?!! Seriously- so beautiful... and so relaxing to read about... and so sweet the moments you captured! What a great trip!

Rebekah said...

I have to make it there before I leave the area!

I can't do anything but sleep or stare out the window in a moving car.

Ew, 'egg sac'. Shiver.

Wow with the bruising. Dang.

Fiona is the cutest little nugget she could be.

Swoon, swoon, swoon over all of these photos. One day...

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