Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Outer Banks, NC

Part two of my vacation recap:

I'm still in reflection mode, after our annual trip to OBX. Can I just pause for a moment to say how much I love that it's become an annual trip? It almost makes me giddy thinking we have this to look forward to again next year. In some part of my mind, I can picture the kids on the beach every year, watching them as they get a little bit older, a little bit taller, a little bit more potty trained (ok, just had to slip that in there since I'm deep in the realm of parental fantasy here.)

This year, we faced a new challenge - post hurricane weather. The drive down to NC was pretty rough. The rain was relentless, the wind was quite strong, and driving conditions were less than ideal. Once in NC, it wasn't too bad, but we did have our share of rain and thunderstorms. The key, as we've discovered, is to always be prepared.

Fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and crayons, anyone?

Or perhaps a round of "Dance Party with Kristen?"

Jordan's moves come from his father's side of the family.

And the minute the rain let up, we were outside once again. Here Bean takes a spin on Grace's little bike.

Being inside had its moments. Brandon, aka "Buddy" put the kids to good use on make-your-own-pizza night.

They were very good little helpers.

They say you should never trust a skinny chef. Maybe this one doesn't eat anything, but he sure puts all he's got into the prep work.

You know it's gotta be good if the sous chef is sampling the merchandise.

As a group, we really do shine in the eating category. The menu planning begins weeks in advance, and some of us even start contemplating recipes before that. Kristen deserves most of the credit for putting pen to paper and getting the menu in place for lunch, dinner, kid's meals, and dessert. Of course, some of us don't take it as seriously as others.

Monkey Sr. was on deck for apple martinis and zabaglione one night - neither of which made an appearance at any time during the evening. We expect great things from him next year.

This kids could care less about the menu. But what really got them excited was S'mores night by the pool.

And what got me really excited was that we finally got one half-way decent family picture. Finally. It has taken three and a half years of hard work and bribes, but I finally, finally have one decent picture of the four of us. We are all looking at the camera. Our eyes are open, we are sort of smiling. No one's looking too crazy, fat, or bad hair-ish.

Ladies and gentleman, may I present:

My only gripe is that Mina chose this moment to reacquaint herself with the ladies. I'm not thrilled about this, but I tell myself that one day, I'll look back and feel pride in seeing them in all their natural glory. They've suffered quite a bit after two kids, so I'm just relieved they aren't dragging on the ground yet. So what if my daughter chooses to utilize them as an arm rest.

Mina redeemed herself with this one.

And the kids did pretty good on their own here. Breakfast light in NC - so perfect.

Another year, another vacation. Next September seems so far away.

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