Showing posts with label Vacation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vacation. Show all posts

Monday, May 18

Topsail Island NC

I went for the first time in 1993, and have been back more than a half-dozen times {I honestly can’t remember how many times} over the past 22 years. I’ve never gone again and again to a vacation spot, but this place I have. There’s something so wonderful about the familiarity of a place. It’s always been my favorite beach spot..quiet, beautiful, and relaxing {other than that 14 hour drive to get there and home}.

The last time we were there I was 17 weeks pregnant with Ave, this time 35 weeks with #5. Of course, being 35 weeks I was rather limited in how much ocean-time I could enjoy {being beaten around by waves, just doesn’t have the same appeal} and with 4 kids the relaxation was a bit limited to, but it was fun!

The kids were entirely different about the ocean from last year. Henry absolutely LOVED the beach {he barely tolerated the sand last year}, James, was ehh about it, Ellie could’ve cared less and claimed she was scared of the ocean, Ave was in her glory! We were a bit concerned that Ana was going to put a damper on our fun, but other than Sunday, the rest of the week was decent.

Saturday we drove the 650+ miles, stopping for breakfast along the way.IMG_0188IMG_0202IMG_0207IMG_0222

Sunday we celebrated all of the April and May Birthdays….My dad had just turned 60, my mom had turned 55, and my brother turned 30!IMG_0246IMG_0296

With the storm passing through I ended up going to the store and buying some legos for the kids, so they had something to do inside.

IMG_0301IMG_0306IMG_0311IMG_0331The sleeping arrangements worked out ok. We had a pyramid bunk, so we alternated who was on the top and the other 3 were sideways in the double below.IMG_0345
One morning. The sunrises weren’t great, because of the weather, but they were still beautiful!IMG_0352IMG_0554My mom and my nephew.

DSC_0159IMG_0566My brother and his big catch.IMG_0583Matt and I got to go on one walk sans kids…IMG_0586IMG_0590IMG_0600

We had to have our traditional southern fish fry at least one night. My aunt came over {she lives nearby} and fried up a wonderful meal! IMG_0629IMG_0654

My aunt managed to get a halfway decent picture of this motley crew…the kids barely tolerate pictures anymore.


The one morning we headed over to a nearby park..they loved it! All 4 of them managed to climb the rock wall…I was impressed.


We thoroughly enjoyed our last few days and made every effort to spend as much time on the beach.IMG_0774IMG_0762IMG_0780IMG_0799IMG_0820IMG_0806IMG_0825IMG_0852IMG_0855IMG_0859IMG_0878The kids were up bright and early on Saturday ready to go home. Two of them were asking to go home to their own beds by Wednesday {they take after their mama}.

All in all it was a great trip! We’re hoping to make a beach trip a family vacation, at least every few years.

If you want to see ALL of the pictures from our trip, check them out here.

Wednesday, March 18

A Weekend Away

This past weekend Matt and I headed out of town, for the first time since October 2007…and it was without the kids! Everyone survived; even the kids. Of course by about Saturday afternoon Matt and I were starting to get homesick and missing the kids. It’s a good thing we’d booked the room for 3 nights, other wise we’d have been driving home the next day.

I really wanted to get away for a few days before Thing #5 arrives, and it’s also 15 years of being together next week. We’re also throwing in our 10 year anniversary in November, because I doubt we’ll be going anywhere. It was good to get away.

So, where did we go? The only place to go this time of year…south. I would love to say that we headed to the Caribbean for a long weekend or some other equally sunny and exotic locale, but we didn’t. We headed to Williamsburg, VA. I’ve wanted to go for a long time, particularly without kids {there are a lot of places I want to go as a family, but want to visit without kids first}.

We left first thing on Friday morning and drove to Fairfax, Virginia, where we met a loooong time friend of mine {whom I’ve never met before} at an Uncle Julio’s {never heard of it before, but it was really good!}. Katie and I were trying to figure out just how long we’ve “known” each other and we think at the very least 6 years, but now I’m thinking it’s more like 7 or 8 years.

We had to take the obligatory I-met-an-internet-friend-in-real-life-and-didn’t-die picture.


Back in the car it was to drive the last 3 hours to Williamsburg, which really took another 5 hours, because we hit traffic. We arrived, checked in to our hotel, and headed back out to find food. Fortunately, Cracker Barrel was still open for a bit longer.

The next morning we woke up to a lovely mizzle {Scotch for a misting-drizzle}, just enough to be miserable. Fortunately one of the things I really wanted to do at Colonial Williamsburg was visit the art museum’s quilts and dollhouses exhibits. There was a 1 hour talk about quilts in the 1700s which was very neat {they’re not quite the same as what you think of as a quilt today}.


The precipitation let up a bit after that and we walked along the main street of Colonial Williamsburg, heading to the King’s Arms for lunch. Matt had a roast beef au jus sandwich, I had a turkey sandwich and a slice of pecan pie for lunch….it was good. Not as “oh my goodness” good as  I expected, but we didn’t want to pay the $33/plate for dinner {we’re cheap}.


King's Arms Food

Afterwards we decided to walk around a bit more, head back to the room to rest, and go out to a movie that evening.

We visited a Movie Tavern, which was a new experience. It’s a regular movie theater, but you can order full out meals at the concession stand along with a bar. You sit down in the theater and they bring you your food: I had a pecan raspberry salad and Matt had a chicken sandwich of some sort. It was a neat experience, but I much prefer not eating my food in a darkened room. I said to Matt “So much for first dates of dinner and a movie, being a way to get to know someone…you can’t talk while you eat”.


We saw The Kingsman, which was good. It could’ve been better if they did away with some of the graphic violence and crude sex. {I will warn you, a couple of scenes were worse than zombie movies.}

Sunday was beautiful; weather 68*, sunny, but a bit breezy. We had a leisurely morning, then headed back to Colonial Williamsburg, to walk around and see the things we missed due to weather the day before. It was quite empty and very pleasant to just meander around and enjoy the sunshine.

Governor's Palace Colonial Williamsburg

Afterward we chilled out for a bit and then headed to Food for Thought for dinner…which was VERY good, definitely recommend it to anyone. I had the Farmer’s Harvest salad and the Eggplant Marinara, Matt had the Crababella {stuffed portabella mushroom}, we took dessert to go. We watched the last episode of Outlander, before it was bed and hitting the road home early.

Food For Thought

It was a good time away, albeit too short {reality} and too long {kids}.

Tuesday, November 25

AvieMae Does Disney

Last week a certain little girl and I took an impromptu trip to the Wonderful World of Walt Disney! A friend of my mom’s offered to split DSC_0031her time share with us in Orlando, we found good airfare, and away we went {my mom, my sister, my 8 month old nephew, Avie and Me}. It was a crazy trip, but awesome research for planning our family trip in 2019 {since visiting, I have decided there is no way I’m taking THREE 5 year olds to Disney—too much indecision and walking}.

We drove up to Syracuse on Monday night, since our flight flew out at 6am {yea, we’re crazy}, but we arrived in Orlando just after noon, which left us the afternoon to recuperate and get things together for Disney. Avelyn had no idea where we were going or anything else, not until we had parked the car in Disney and I showed her the video that Matt had made for her.

She was beside herself with excitement to be in Disney World: She didn’t even have words, just a smile and huge eyes. We got our tickets and headed into the Magic Kingdom…and froze ourselves. The high for the day was around 54* and we had brought clothes in preparation for the 66* they had been calling for {we did have warmer clothes from home and ended up wearing them}.


We didn’t make ourselves crazy with seeing and doing everything, because quite frankly it’s impossible unless you take advantage of the FastPass or whatever other thing they have to get through lines faster. We did what we could and enjoyed it. Of course you do have to try and pull the sword from the stone.

sword collage

Ave’s two favorite rides were Winnie the Pooh {which used to be Mr Toad’s Wild Ride} and the Pirates of the Caribbean {which she loved because she got wet…the rest of us were not thrilled about that}. I think that Winnie the Pooh was my favorite too. {Our least favorite was Dumbo…it took forever in line and it was really lame. Ave just kept saying how “frusterated” she was.}


We didn’t get crazy with meeting the characters, because it was just too long a wait. I don’t even understand how the princess line worked: It was 30 minutes to see Cinderella and Rapunzel, but 150 minutes for Frozen, but it was all the same line. Ave stood there for 10 minutes and then was over it. I didn’t make a big deal about meeting the princesses, so it wasn’t a big deal. She was excited just to see whomever walking around.  She was disappointed that we missed seeing Merida; I even tried buttering up the attendant to let us in {they had just closed the line a few minutes earlier} by mentioning that Ave was the biggest sister to triplets too…no go.

We did get to eat lunch at Be Our Guest, in Beast’s castle: That was pretty neat! They had themed rooms that you could eat in: The Ballroom, The West Wing, and another room. We ate in the Ballroom which was all decorated for Christmas.


Let me tell you, Disney has this thing down to a science. Be Our Guest is considered one of the upper level restaurants. You stand in line at a kiosk, order your food from a computer, then take a buzzer and put it on your table. They bring your food out when it’s ready, no servers coming around for drinks or orders…very streamline. It’s one way to push a lot of people through fast.


We did get to see Rapunzel’s tower off in the distance, which thrilled Ave to no end, especially when she realized we were walking through her village. My sister and I managed to sneak onto The Haunted Mansion. Avelyn had a fit that she wasn’t allowed to go on, but she has nightmares enough…she would’ve been freaking out.DSC_0139

We did manage to hit up Ariel though for an autograph. I didn’t know how Ave was going to do with it, since any time she had even seen any of the other characters {in the morning} she couldn’t even wave to them, because she was scared stiff.

She warmed up quite well to Ariel though: They thoroughly enjoyed their discussion about Bubbles.DSC_0328

Then, slowly, the sun began to set…


Then Ave, my mom, and my sister went on the teacups…which thrilled Ave to no end {my mom….not so much}.


Then was one of my favorite rides…The Carousel of Progress. I think I just like the old kitchen….I was rather disappointed with the family of today…they were rather lame.


Ave did get to meet Buzz Lightyear, but we won’t be telling Henry that {it’s his FAVORITE!}


Then we hit up the Incredible’s Dance Party for a few minutes.

Ave Dance

And we caught the castle all lit up.DSC_0396

We were in the right place at the right time to catch the Frozen show in front of Cinderella’s castle which was wonderful {it was Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf “icing” the castle for Christmas}, even if I did start to have a bit of a panic attack with all the people pressed in tight. I ended up with Ave on my shoulders so that she could see and I knew where she was. Also, I may or may not have started to tear up {several times through out the day} at the thought of sharing such a time with Avelyn.


After that we started to head out, it was dark, people were tired and cold, and it was enough. We did hang around to do some gift shopping and to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade.


After that it was a warm bath and bed…



The next day we visited Downtown Disney and…


and the Lego Store.IMG_5710IMG_5723IMG_5721

And Ave got to meet her favorite princess: Aurora {I think it has to do with the pink}.IMG_5718

And then…it was time to go home.IMG_5765

And boy….was I glad to be home. If you want to see the whole album of our pictures you can find them here.