Monday, June 9, 2008

Outer Banks, North Carolina

The Outer Banks are long narrow string of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. One side of the island (the beach side) is the Atlantic Ocean, the other side (the sound side) is fresh water. It is one of the most amazing places I have ever been to. Kevin's parents (Steve & Joyce) rented a 6 bedroom, 8 bathroom beach house. It was big enough for the whole family. The house was on the "sound side" of the island.

Our family arrived in Corolla (ka-RAL-uh) at 11am and we couldn't check into the house until 4pm. We decided to get lunch, then Kevin bought his North Carolina fishing license and we set out to explore the area. We found the Currituck Heritage Park, it is the home of the Currituck Lighthouse, the lighthouse was built to fill the last "dark spot" along the outer banks coast. There was a Wildlife Conservation Center in the park we checked out. It was fun to learn about the environmental history of the area and the indigenous animals that live there, which came in handy a couple days later. After the Conservation Center Kevin went fishing and the kids ran around. The Flinders (Kevin's Sister's Family) showed up soon after and Hannah and Sam were reunited.

We had a fun time playing and catching up with them. 4:00pm came around and we headed over to the beach house. The house was amazing!!! Everyone had their own room and bathroom. Hannah and Gavin slept in the room with bunk beds. Hannah was so excited to sleep in the bunk beds. She always asks me to buy her "a bed with a bed on top." After we settled in to our rooms we went swimming. Thank you Papa Tee (Steve) for paying to heat the pool!!! Money well spent.
That night Steve and Joyce gave each couple $20, we had to divide it and buy our spouse a gift. I decided to buy myself a fishing license and promise Kevin to go fishing with him everyday for an hour. Kevin bought me a kite. I had mentioned that I wanted to fly a kite on the outer banks. I was so touched that he remembered that I said that. Awesome husband... We went to the beach the next day and here we are flying my kite!!! Well, Kevin did all the work, I just held the kite.

Kevin had his fishing poles set up and he caught a fish! It's so exciting when he catches one. He caught a Bluefish, they have nasty teeth. A bunch of kids ran up to see his fish. It ended up being the only fish he caught the whole trip.

Hannah and Gavin had a blast. Allison buried Hannah in the sand

Hannah got to drink Mermaid Juice (white grape juice from Trader Joes, her favorite)

And Gavin got sunburned...

That night it was our turn to go out on a date. Kevin and I never get to go on dates. It was nice to spend some time together and not have to worry about the kids. We drove to Timbuck II, a cute little shopping center. It reminded me of Lahina in Maui. We found a restaurant and decided to eat there.

It was amazing to see the sun setting over the sound. After dinner we took a walk down a boardwalk to the dock.

We decided to head back to Timbuck II for dessert. We went to the Fudgery. We made friends with the Russian girls who worked there, I spoke the little Russian that I learned from my Russian roommate in college. The told me if I rang this huge bell outside they would give me some free fudge... shoot, free fudge, no problem. I got some dirty looks from some snobby southern girls... you can see one of them in the background.

The fudge was worth it... The way home was exciting too!
The next day Hannah, Kevin, and I went to the beach to fish. Gavin stayed home with Mamo J because he was still pretty toasty from the day before. There were people making these cool sand sculptures. I was impressed with this lion, they even put shells for his claws.

Hannah and I made a Matterhorn, that is what she called it, and we decorated it with shells. She is so funny.

The 4 cousins loved to play together. Scott and I turned on Yo Gabba Gabba on in the media room. The show was projected on the huge screen on the wall and we blasted the music on the surround sound. The kids went CRAZY!!! They were dancing, jumping off the chairs, and laughing so hard. It was pure craziness.

Wednesday was my favorite day of the trip. We all headed down the islands to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. It was a 90 mile trip one-way. First we stopped off at the Wright Brother's Museum in Kitty Hawk. I love visiting historic sites. I think, "wow, I can't believe dadada happened right here!" So cool. We saw a replica of the airplane the Wright Brothers built.

The site where the Wright Brothers actually flew their airplane.

They flew the airplane four different times, each time the brothers alternated being the pilot and they got a little bit further. The Wright brothers decided to fly the airplane to the nearby town to send a telegram to their father, but in the excitement of everything, they forgot to tie the airplane down and a big gust of wind came carrying the airplane down the field and crashing it. The plane would never fly again, but you can see it in the Smithsonian Museum.

Our next stop was Cape Hatteras. The kids and I took a nap and Kevin drove the whole way. The lighthouse was amazing.

Kids couldn't go up the lighthouse because there are 257 stairs and they have to be able to climb them on their own. Hannah really wanted to go up the lighthouse, I thought I could carry her, but once I started my ascent up the lighthouse I was happy I didn't have an extra 35 pounds on me. We took turns going up the light house, we took the first shift with Steve and Joyce and watched the four crazy ones.

Kevin and I raced up the lighthouse. My legs were on fire! Once we got to the top it was well worth it. The view.... breathtaking...

The lighthouse has a beautiful view, and an amazing exterior, but the interior is so beautiful. The black and white flooring, I loved it.

After the lighthouse everyone wanted to go home except for Steve and Joyce. They wanted to go to Ocracoke Island, Hannah and I went with them. To get to the island you have to take a 40 minute ferry ride that runs every 30 minutes. We got there at 4:29pm and literally drove straight on the ferry and it closed the gate behind us. Hannah loved the ferry ride.

Ocracoke Island is at the southern most tip of the outer bank islands and the community boasts it was home to Blackbeard the pirate. Blackbeard supposedly buried his treasure on the island and it was his favorite hangout. We went to the island to see the second oldest operating lighthouse in America. There weren't any signs leading us to the lighthouse, we had to meander along some small roads and make a couple of 3 point turns to get there. When we arrived we parked in front of someone's home and walked along a white picket fence on a board walk to get there. We saw a man sleeping on his porch. The lighthouse is very short and stubby compared to the Cape Hatteras lighthouse.

On our way back to the car Hannah held Mamo J and Papa Tee's hands and they swung her. It was so sweet. She loves them so much.

We stopped off at a souvenir shop and got a few things, then ordered pizza at a pizza place that opened 5 days before. We drove to a park and ate our pizza outside. It was beautiful and the pizza was so yummy. It was white sauce with chicken, spinach, and cheese. We headed home after dinner, once again we drove right onto the ferry, we were so lucky. We got home REALLY late. It was fun, I'm glad we went to Ocracoke.

The next day we loaded up the kids in the bike. We rented a trailer you attach to your bike and you can pull your kids in it. I loved it so much, I want to buy one for myself. This particular morning Gavin hated it!

The bike was nice because we were able to save on gas and pack it with all our beach stuff and fishing gear. It was a beautiful day at the beach. Hannah and Gavin loved playing in the sand.

The tide was going out and little pools of water were left in the sand. Scott built a wall around one pool and we lounged in it like hippos chasing off any random kids who tried to play in our pool of warm water. After the beach we rode home and jumped in the pool.

Once again, thank you Papa Tee for heating the pool. The kids slept and Kevin and I got to enjoy being alone. We got in the canoe and rode out to check on Kevin's crab pods. Kevin had been crabbing all week long and it was fun to go check the trap to see if we caught anything. I started to catch the crabbing and fishing bug. It's kind of addicting. We also crabbed off the pier. The water is only only about 18 inches deep around the pier. You drop your line down with a chicken neck on it and wait for a crab to come and eat your bait. You reach down with a net and sweep it up. Quite primitive if you ask me, but it was fun.

We cooked some too, I didn't eat any, but Gavin LOVED it.

Rachel decided to start a puzzle the beginning of the week and we all got out of control putting together puzzles. It was mostly the girls, Rachel, Allison, and I who did them.

On Friday we spent the day at the beach again. Kevin caught ghost crabs and de-clawed them. Since they didn't have claws Gavin and Hannah could hold them. They were their pets.

We had another great day at the beach then went home and jumped in the pool. After dinner the whole family decided to go to Timbuck II for dessert and to walk around. We went to Dairy Queen and all ordered a blizzard or a cone, whatever we wanted. When Steve went to pay it was $50! He was shocked to pay $50 for icecream.

It was pure craziness once the sugar kicked in. The four kids were running around singing/screaming... I really don't know what to call it except it was very loud and very embarrassing. They were feeding off each other.

After we got home, we put the kids to bed and started to pack up our stuff. That night Kevin and I went for a walk to see the Currituck lighthouse. We walked down the pier and watched the lighthouse's light. We had a good time on that pier...

I will miss North Carolina, I could have stayed there forever. It was so relaxing and beautiful. We had a great time with our family.

The next morning we started our LONG journey home. Leaving at 9am, we got to Norfolk a little early so we decided to check out Virginia Beach. Yucky! It was Waikiki meets the old Vegas strip. We didn't even get out of the car because there was so much congestion so we decided to head to the airport. The flight home was ok. Our short flight was good, I made sure I had plenty of diapers on me when we go on the plane. Hannah colored with Kevin and I played with Gavin. Hannah's new thing is to make silly faces when she takes a picture. She'll do one smiling and then says, "a silly one mommy."

Once we got on our flight from Newark to LAX is was a lot better. The whole row next to us was open so Hannah and I laid down and slept. I slept for 2 hours while poor Kevin wrestled Gavin. I think Gavin watched Yo Gabba Gabba 500 times on that flight.

Kevin and I switched kids and he tried to get some sleep. Gavin nestled on my stomach (he has a fettish with my tummy, at least someone likes my squishy tummy) and fell asleep. I slept the rest of the flight. When traveling with children, if you get the opportunity to have an extra seat... it is a gift directly from God. We arrived home at 11:30pm Pacific Time. Thank you Glen Patrick for picking us up! It was so nice to get in our own beds. The kids woke up at 5:30am the next day. Vacation was officially OVER!

6 comments:

Barbour said...

sounds like you had a blast. We are trying to get there to check out if we would like to live there. Love the speedo tan though. Old times.

The Rex Family said...

Sounds like you all had a lot of fun! I can't wait until I get the guts to attempt a family vacation!

Allison said...

Great entry! You did a much better job at covering the adventure--can't wait to see you guys again!

The Peterson's said...

WOW. Let me know about your next trip, I might just tag along! BTW, your kids are brave! I would have never held those crabs so freely, I probably would have squirmed the entire time!

Catrina said...

I am up and running! (Well, my Blog is....You wouldn't catch me running....except maybe to Yummy Cupcakes!)

Anie said...

HEY!! I was just in the middle of leaving you a REALLY long message when my computer all of a sudden shut down!! It's my sister's lap top and I don't have it totally figured out yet. Anyway, as I was saying.....AMAZING vacation!!!! And VERY well documented!! NICE WORK!! I loved all the pictures!! You guys are so stinkin CUTE!!! My sister and I have talked about renting a house in the Outer Banks for a week. I have some friends in DC who do it every summer and LOVE IT!!! Glad to hear that you guys had such an AWESOME week!!! I'll be back in Camarillo on Monday the 23rd. I'll call you when I get back!!