As I posted from the beach a couple weeks ago, we had one day where the vacation gods were actively taunting us. You can read about it here, but the short version is: burns, bruises, an ambulance, a rescue boat, a WWII mine field, and a tetnus shot. All makings of a fabulous vacation, no? That day ended with a storm cloud that looked like this.
Seriously, what had we done to anger the vacation gods? By the time this cloud rolled in, I wouldn't have been at all surprised if a swarm of locusts blew in with it, and we all came down with the plague. Most evenings, the lovely view from our porch looked more like this.
That night was fierce though. We were beginning to wonder if we had been struck with a vacation curse.
My go-cart injuries were beginning to get as dark and foreboding as the sky as well.
Thankfully, with the exception of that 24 hours of vacation voodoo, we had a great time.
We went to the beach...
We jumped over waves...
We waved to all the miltary jets and helicopters doing maneuvers overhead,
and sometimes they even waved back.
We rode a shark in the pool,
relaxed in the pool,
and jumped in the pool,
One night, Grandmama and Papa treated all of us to dinner at my favorite beach spot...
Sanitary Fish Market,...
and the girls and I treated ourselves by updating our Sanitary Fish Market wardrobe.
We took a boat over to Shackleford Banks one day.
That was a fun day trip but a little depressing too. When we were last there just two years ago, the beachs were wide, flat, and so much fun for long walks hunting for shells. In just a very short time though, the beaches have eroded, and it no longer even looks like the same island. There is hardly a beach to walk on post-Hurricane-Irene.
The wild horses who have lived on the island since the 1600's are still doing fine, but the island is only a mile wide. With that sort of erosion, it makes you worry a bit about their future.
Despite our initial shock and sadness when we arrived on the island, we still had fun collecting shells,
studying the shells we collected,
swimming with Papa,
listening to tunes on the beach,
laughing in the tide pools,
building drip castles,
and playing in the water.
I think one of the keys to a vacation with extended family is having a nice place to stay, with room to spread out, and space for people to have a some alone time when they need it. We rented a house that worked out great for us. The teens could take over the basement with the pool table and theater room. The little kids could get the day started early without waking up everyone in the house, and the adults could escape to the hot tub for a little relaxation.
The house had an oceanside porch, just perfect for relaxing in a rocking chair with some ice cream,
or giving grandmama some lovin'.
Despite a few bumps in the road mid-week (and what sort of vacation doesn't have a good burns-bruises-mine field-ambulance-rescue boat-tetnus kind of story?) we had a really great time.
Good-bye Emerald Isle! Hope to see you again soon!
We have been going to Emerald Isle at least once a year for the last nine years or so. Sometimes we go by ourselves, sometimes with friends, sometimes with my family, but this was the first time for us to go with J.C.'s family. The major players in this trip were:
Grandmama - She is the one who had the dream of a 50th anniversary family trip. Her vision pulled it all together.
Papa - He is the most easy going guy ever. He just goes with the flow. He was happy to go along with whatever decisions were made for the day - beach vs pool, eating out vs in, TV vs movie. He makes for a great travel companion.
The lovebirds and the teenagers - My sister-in-law and her boyfriend take the prize for the most active vacationers. When they weren't taking 50 mile bike rides or paddleboarding, they were walking or running on the beach. When they were done exercising, they ate things like pumpkin seeds and raisins. I think they had a great time, but I was too busy lounging on the beach with a Diet Coke, some Oreos, and a People magazine to really know for sure. I didn't let them cramp my style. Her kids (the teenagers) did what teenagers do. They stayed up late, slept in even later, got sunburned, and were very patient in tolerating the rest of us.
Then there was our crew...
J.C. - he sported that hat 24/7 in an attempt to keep the sun off the new skin that has finally established itself on his face after his accident.
and moi. This is the last photo that you will ever see of me in a go-cart as I am never getting in one again. Ever.
With our cast of characters ranging in age from 5 to... uh... umm... probably not a great idea to reveal in-laws' ages on a public blog, huh? Well, with folks ranging in age from 5 to whatever age you are when you are celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary, we weren't sure how it would all play out. Would the grandparents get worn out by the little kids? Would the little kids annoy the teenagers? Would the teenagers tolerate all the dumb adults? Would the adults go crazy from too much togetherness? Would the vegetarian find anything to eat amongst all the carnivores? Stay tuned to the next blog post to find out.
I am thinking... about school backpacks for next year. Elise and Nina chose the same one which sounds like a recipe for disaster with the fourth grade backpack going to middle school and vice versa, but neither of them would budge. Addison has narrowed down her top choices to either: blue floral, red, camo, brown with owls, blue with sharks, brown, or zebra with pink trim. Nice. We may never get a decision out of her.
I am thankful for... J.C. arriving home from biking in Snowshoe, WV, all in one piece again.
From the kitchen... tilapia, rice, cauliflower, strawberries, and bread.
I am creating... beach blog posts, hopefully soon.
I am going... to eat some ice cream shortly.
I am reading... nothing right now. I picked up a David Sedaris book from the library yesterday though.
I am hoping... to find a dress to wear to my cousin's wedding next month.
I am hearing... a quiet house. Everyone is asleep or reading.
Around the house... dirty, stinky camp clothes, sleeping bags, flashlights, batteries, mess kits, and other camp stuff waiting to be put away.
One of my favorite things... the color pink.
A few plans for the rest of the week... hanging out with the girls in the afternoons as they are in a half-day camp this week in the mornings.
The girls spent last week at Girl Scout camp. We dropped them off on Father's Day. I told J.C. his Father's Day gift was a quiet week at home with just one child.
While we were there getting them settled, I couldn't help but reminisce at seeing Elise's tent. I don't think Girl Scout camp platform tents have changed at all since I attended Girl Scout camp in Texas 30+ years ago. The trees in the background would have been different, and pillow pets hadn't been invented, but other than that, this could be straight out of my own camp photo album. Awesome.
This was Elise's fourth summer attending Girl Scout camp, so I had no worries about her. I knew she would have a great time, and she did. This was Nina's first year though, and she is more of a homebody. She was excited about it and had talked it up, but I was still a little nervous about how she would do. Let's just say that I'm glad this letter didn't arrive in the mail until after she was already home.
Dear Mom and Dad,
Thanks for leting me come to camp but it is the wost experns (worst experience) ever e-v-e-r. Becus of [camper's name removed]. We had to move cabens so I have to go in a caben with pepol I don't even now (know).
Sensrly sad doter (Sincerely sad daughter),
Talk about a heartbreaking letter! She had a smile on her face when we arrived to pick her up (although she is wearing the same clothes she was wearing the first day which is... um... icky). Overall, I think she had a good time. She has already said she would like to go back next year. There were definitely some rough moments during the week, but that is all part of growing up. Friendship is hard at nine. For that matter, friendship is hard as an adult. If I tried to spend a hot summer week with friends in a cabin with no air conditioning, no electricity, and a bathroom 20 yards away, I'm pretty sure we would have our share of spats as well. Actually, we might just escape to separate hotel rooms halfway through the week. Nina is still recovering from her week of camp, but I'm hoping over time, the good memories will outweigh the bad ones.
We went to the beach last week with J.C.'s family, in part to celebrate his parents' 50th wedding anniversary. Fifty years! Fifty! Five-oh! Half a century! Five decades! Not many marriages make it to the golden anniversary these days. It is truly something to celebrate.
When they were married, John F. Kennedy was president and Lyndon B. Johnson was vice president. The year they were married, you could buy gas for $0.30/gallon, a stamp for $0.05, milk for $1.04/gallon, a car for $2,300, and a house for $19,300. Sidney Poitier took home the Best Actor Academy Award that year, and Tom Jones won Best Picture. Some of the top songs were Blue Velvet by Bobby Vinton, He's So Fine by the Chiffons, and My Boyfriend's Back by the Angels. On television, Bonanza, The Andy Griffith Show, Leave it to Beaver, The Fugitive, and The Dick Van Dyke Show were all popular. The week they were married, the Ayatollah Khomeini was arrested in Iran, and the Rolling Stones made their first TV appearance.
Now, fifty years later, J.C.'s mom and dad are parents to two, grandparents to five, aunt and uncle to many, and still very much in love.
One of the things J.C.'s mom wanted for her anniversary was a nice family portrait. I hope she is happy with these. Considering we were using a tripod and a timer, I think they turned out pretty well. She loves the beach just as much as I do, so I think the beach was the perfect setting for both an anniversary celebration with family and also a family photograph.
Outside my window... the temperature is the same as upstairs in my house. Our air conditioning is out. Sigh.
I am thinking... about the insane amount of money it takes to replace an air conditioning unit. Sigh.
I am thankful for... air conditioning downstairs.
From the kitchen... absolutely nothing. I think J.C. and I are still in vacation mode.
I am creating... beach blog posts.
I am going... to take the kids to see Monsters University this weekend - can't wait!
I am reading... nothing right now. I finished Spring Fever and Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews while we were at the beach. Both were great summer beach reads.
I am hoping... that Elise and Nina are having fun at camp this week.
I am hearing... Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
Around the house... no fighting, no whining, no arguing, no tattling. We are a one child household this week with just Addie, and it is so quiet and peaceful.
One of my favorite things... the beach... absolutely everything about it - the sounds, the smells, the food. It is my happy place.
A few plans for the rest of the week... enjoying an easy, quiet week with no jump rope, no swim lessons, no Girl Scouts, no carpool lines, one kid. I also have two good friends coming in from out of town who I can't wait to see!
Here is a picture thought I am sharing... my 5th grade graduate.
1.Early this morning, my sister-in-law and her boyfriend went out for a 50 mile bike ride. Her wheel got caught in a railroad track, and down she went. She scraped up her hand and knee.
2. A little later in the morning, after proudly making her own scrambled eggs, Nina accidentally grabbed the side of the pan and burned her thumb and two fingers.
3. Shortly after that, we heard sirens nearby. It turns out someone drowned and was pulled out of the ocean just a few blocks from our beach house.
4. Then J.C., the girls, and I headed out for go-karting. As I was trying to pass Elise, I managed to slam my kart into the wall which made my knee collide with the steering wheel. I now have a giant painful purple bruise on my knee and it hurts to walk.
5. A bit later, my sister-in-law, her boyfriend, and her son and daughter went out paddle boarding and kayaking. The surf was rough, wind was strong, and the rental place really shouldn't have let them go out there. They started paddling and quickly found that they couldn't steer. They were just being pulled by the wind. They had fun for a while until it became apparent that there was no way they could turn around and paddle back. The kayak could be maneuvered a little but the paddle boards weren't going to make it. Then, they floated into a WWII mine field which has warning signs posted everywhere about unexploded mines. No joke. For real. A WWII mine field. They had no phone, and nobody else was out on the water who they could approach for help. Finally, knowing that they were seriously in trouble, my sister-in-law's boyfriend got in the kayak, leaving the rest of them floating on the paddle boards. He paddled as hard as he could back to the rental place where they called 911. A rescue jetski came out to check on them, and then a rescue boat brought them back to shore where they were fully checked out in the ambulance. They all survived unscathed except for a cut on my nephew's foot which will require a tetanus shot.
It is dinner time, and we have vowed to spend the rest of the day away from water, boats, go-karts, paddle boards, bicycles, and cooking. Let's just hope the rest of the week isn't quite so drama-filled. If today isn't our worst day of vacation, we're in trouble.