odds and ends from a life under construction

vacation, all I ever wanted

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Last Friday Jason and I packed up our warm weather gear and headed to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a long weekend with family. Jason’s sister Melissa and her long-time boyfriend Ryan decided they wanted to get married, so they rented a house near the beach and invited their immediate families to join them for the celebration. So off we went.

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For an international airport, Norfolk (the closest airport to our destination) is not an easy place to get to. Connecting flights are kind of a nightmare with a kid to begin with; on our trip out we got thrown the bonus curveball of a flight delay in Charlotte that passed the three-hour mark. And after finally getting to Norfolk, there was still the task of a two-hour drive to the Outer Banks. But we eventually made it to the seaside community of Duck and got settled in for a relaxing week.

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As the only person under the ago of 30 in the house, this little guy was the center of attention. The rest of the family (Jason’s parents and Ryan’s parents and sister, along with Jason’s cousin Nathan and his wife Amy, who served as wedding photographers) kept telling us what an amazing kid he was and how they’d never seen a toddler so smart and entertaining and well-behaved. I don’t know how much credit we can take for that; we do most of this “parenting” thing by the seat of our pants with our fingers crossed. But we accepted the compliments and tried to keep him from going off the rails because he didn’t get his morning glass of milk or something equally trivial.

Cheapest pedicure in the world! Not counting the airfare, rental car, and vacation house.

Cheapest pedicure in the world! Not counting the airfare, rental car, and vacation house.

Most days we went out to the beach to wander around and play in the sand. Evan couldn’t navigate the sand quite as easily as pavement, and he wasn’t a big fan of the ocean (too cold, and it kept chasing him on the shore), so we often just hunkered down in a nice sandy spot to play and get dirty while the rest of the family strolled further up the beach.

I hope the kid that built and abandoned this sandcastle wasn't attached to it, because Evan destroyed it two seconds later.

I hope the kid that built and abandoned this sandcastle wasn’t attached to it, because Evan destroyed it two seconds later.

The midpoint of our visit was marked by Ryan and Melissa’s wedding. We woke up early and got dressed, and then all walked together as a family to the beach, where the happy couple found a nice spot for us to stop and form a circle for the ceremony. The bride and groom said their own vows, and then we went around the circle and each said a few words about Melissa and Ryan before we each also pronounced them man and wife. It was a sweet, intimate ceremony, and we all cried. A lot. Then we headed back to the house to make breakfast and spend the day eating our way through our grocery supplies. Best reception ever!

Courtesy Nathan Russell Photography. Shamelessly stolen off Facebook, because we're family.

Courtesy Nathan Russell Photography. Shamelessly stolen off Facebook, because we’re family.

On our next-to-last day, Jason stayed behind at the house (he wasn’t feeling well) while I went out with Nathan, Amy, the bride and groom, and Jenna (Ryan’s sister) for a bit of jet skiing. I’ve only ever jet skiied on a lake, so doing it on the sound, with wind and waves, was a much different experience. And I think I swallowed a few liters of salty seawater; every wave I went over rose up and splashed me thoroughly. In the end, I don’t think my speed ever went past 30 mph. Melissa almost hit 60, and saw a shark out in the sound as well. Adventure! Excitement! After our jet skiing, we went to a nearby seafood place and ordered novelty alcoholic beverages and french fries seasoned with Old Bay. All told, it was a great afternoon.

Up. Down. Up. Down. All. Day.

Up. Down. Up. Down. All. Day.

We also spent a lot of time in the house pool, helping Evan in and out of the water and getting him to kick his feet while we helped him float. The pool was definitely not as scary as the ocean. Swimming often wore him out so much that he’d take a four-hour nap later in the day. Maybe that’s why we’re such great parents?

And as an additional bonus – I had my first taste of moonshine. This bottle will last about a decade, because there’s no way to drink more than a thimblefull at once.

I can actually feel the detritus being stripped from my digestive system as the moonshine goes down.

I can actually feel the detritus being stripped from my digestive system as the moonshine goes down.

All in all, it was a very fun trip, and we were sad to head home today (especially since I have to be in the office an hour early tomorrow). But we also were happy to get home to Colorado and the arid climate. Humidity is hard, y’all!

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