Thursday, August 28, 2014

Backyard Camping

The girls have been begging to camp in the backyard so finally we found an evening that Andy wasn't on call and did it. We started out the evening by roasting s'mores over a charcoal fire (of course!) and then the girls watched a movie in the tent with Andy (and plenty of popcorn and sour patch kids). Camping is NOT my thing. I'm not outdoorsy and having UC makes the prospect of camping even more unpleasant. Even the backyard setting isn't my thing so I was glad that Andy was willing to undertake this mini-adventure. I brought Lucy in to go to bed in her crib and came back out afterwards expecting to escort the other girls to their beds. But, I was surprised to find everyone asleep! They spent the whole night in the tent with Andy and loved it! We celebrated a fun night with chocolate chip pancakes and bacon.

21st century camping...

She couldn't miss a moment of the movie!

My weary campters


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bald Head Island 2014

The first week of Maddie's summer break our family packed up and headed south to Bald Head Island, NC. We went with some of our dearest friends and it was an incredible week. I was so excited when we came back to share pictures--I uploaded them right away and ran out to buy flash drives to mail to my friends with the pictures. Well...the flash drives are still on my desk and it's now the last week of summer and I'm just now blogging. But better later then never! This will mostly be a picture dump b/c I don't have much time for blogging, but here's a quick summary. We drove down to Charlottesville to stay with Katy and David on Saturday. Sunday our families got up bright and early and made the trek down to make a ferry to the island. We met Kim at the town where the ferry is and together we all made the trip to BHI. There are no cars allowed on the island, only golf carts, and limited options for shopping so between us we had many tubs and coolers of food in addition to our duffels and suitcases (and strollers and pack n plays and bikes...). It was such a relief to finally arrive! The home we rented was amazing! The rest of the week consisted of beach, pool, relaxing at home, walking around the island and lots and lots of eating! The kids played beautifully, the adults enjoyed time together and even our youngest traveler, Katy and David's not even four-week old baby boy, was a beach pro! (I'm sure Katy was a bit more exhausted than the rest of us with the night feedings and almost constant babywearing, but she handled it like the pro she is!) The trip was so much fun and a dream come true--we've talked of a week like this since college! We are already planning for  BHI 2015! This definitely is a top memory for our family and one we'll look back on with joy for years to come.

Okay, here are the pictures! (And this may be the longest picture post I've ever done but I'm so behind on blogging this summer that I don't have the energy to break it up into multiple posts...) And if the 100+ pictures here aren't enough for you, check out Kim's lovely post here.
On the road from NJ to C-Ville. It was one of our better road trips, only a couple stops and no major traffic.

On the road from C-Ville to BHI--that's Katy and David and family ahead of us

Off the ferry and onto little trams to take us to our house

 In the golf cars and off to the beach!

At first they were just dipping their toes and then suddenly they were inching in more and more. We were all so happy that we gave them the go ahead to go all the way in and that person you see diving in above, well that's (big) David!

Little J was such a champ! And so was Katy! So much driving, then time at the beach, in a crowded house where it was rarely quiet for long, etc.
Showering of the sand outside.
There was a lot of puzzling and gaming.
Be still my heart! Look at that sweet newborn!
Our lovely home for the week
Some mornings we walked around the island.

Peanut butter sandwiches and Pirate's Booty on the beach. Andy joked that our group's lunch cooler was rather dangerous--among our group were a variety of nut allergies as well as gluten intolerances but thankfully the peanut allergy people never ate the PBJ by mistake and the almond allergy people never ate the almond butter sandwiches by mistake and GF chips never were confused with non-GF chips, etc. We stuffed the cooler each morning and somehow at the end of each beach day everyone had found plenty of snacks and lunch and everyone shared beautifully.

Part of our home rental included a membership for the week at the Shoals Club which had its own beach access, pools, a snack bar and unlimited use of towels, umbrellas and beach chairs. It was heaven to not lug all the beach equipment every day!

We had two golf carts and the red one ("Watermelon" as named by the kids) was way faster than Blueberry. As Kim noted in her post, the only drama with the week was associated with kids not getting to ride in Watermelon or "losing" to Watermelon. Whenever the occupants of Watermelon (or on rare occasion Blueberry) got somewhere first they would obnoxiously (and somewhat affectionately) start counting so you knew just how much longer it took the other cart :)

Dinner prep was loosely assigned before we came so key ingredients could be purchased, but overall it was a joint effort to prepare and supplement with trips to the market. It was definitely a week for over-indulging thanks to the beautifully prepared meals and abundance of special snacks we all contributed!
 One day we all emerged wearing bright green shorts! Great minds think alike!

 Lucy would spend most of the night in her pack n play and then the rest hogging our bed.

 I love a baby all clean and wrapped in a fluffy towel.
Kim and I started a puzzle early in the week and everyone jumped in at various points. We obsessed about it a bit until it was completed!

Lulu took her naps in arms and on towels at the beach.

 The puzzle was missing a piece! D'oh!
One morning we visited Old Baldy, the island's lighthouse.

Maddie was too nervous to climb up but Avonlea went with me.

She tried...and then freaked out!

Learning to play checkers

Kim was super sweet about taking kids in the ocean, in the pool, playing games, etc. It was such a treat for them to have her loving attention! (That's her taking Avonlea in above.)

I had my heart set on us doing pictures one night and the stars aligned and we got some great pictures! I figured with the lovely setting and having two friends with great photography skills at my disposal it was too good of a chance to pass up.

Boy do I love this group of kids!

True love--your husband feeding you tastes of ice cream when your hands are full with nursing and burping the baby!

Maddie and Avvie were in the bottom bunk and D was in the top bunk. I couldn't believe how well they all slept in the same room.

Kim has always been a baby whisperer!

These two totally hit it off.

Lucy was obsessed with Kim's kettle corn and polished it off.

Our last day got a bit threatening so we headed to the pool area.

But the skies cleared after a little rain and we had a final treat of a rainbow!

The last morning the kids hung out and watched Puss in Boots for the millionth time while we scurried around packing and cleaning.

The ride back went pretty well. Lucy did vomit at one point but we didn't even stop...I turned around, mopped off what I could with wipes and we finished the trip. Straight back from BHI (which is all the way down next to SC) to NJ was quite a haul and Andy had to be at work in the morning so we limited stops as much as possible.

Andy did have it in his head that he wanted to stop for BBQ so we found a place in NC where we partook in the Sunday post-church buffet. It was delicious!

And that, my friends, is the end of this post. Kim was more on the ball than me and sent me all her pictures so perhaps I'll share a couple of my favorites when I have a chance to blog again. And I have a couple funny little videos to share, too. But, if I wait to do all that stuff this post may never get published (and would be even more ridiculously long) so I'll go ahead and post this.