We spent the first week in May on our first real family vacation in the Outer Banks, NC. We stayed in a huge beach house with Steve’s whole family, which is a perfect set up for a trip like this. We took our first trip there in April of 2012, and I was excited to go back for a relaxing week on the beach. What I was not excited for was the drive to and from, which google maps tells me is just over 17 hours, but it took us 22 hours to get there and a little less to get back. Of course I was nervous about how Kai would do on such a long drive, how he would sleep in a strange house, etc. Of course he surprised us and did great.
We left around 8pm on a Friday night in hopes that Kai would sleep through a good chunk of the drive. He was asleep by 8:30 and slept soundly until 10:40, when he decided to wake up and serenade us with the song of his people for the next 45 mins. Then he went back to sleep until about 5:30am the next morning when we stopped for gas. We gave him a bottle and he slept again from 6:30-7:30 before waking up for the day.
We stopped for breakfast and much needed coffee at Starbucks and Kai got some of his wiggles out before getting back into the car.
I won’t lie, Saturday was a very very long day of driving. I sat in back with Kai all day and tried to keep him entertained, but by the time we got there (actually about an hour or two before we got there) he was done being in the carseat. I had packed a bin of his favorite toys and some new ones and kept it in the back seat with us, but Kai’s favorite game was to throw each toy over the opposite side of his carseat where no one could reach them until we stopped and opened the door and the toys avalanched out of the car. We also had a tablet rigged up with some movies for him, but not his beloved Little Baby Bum or Baby Einstein videos, so they didn’t hold his attention as much as we had hoped.
Rest stops in PA were very pretty.
I think Kai took two naps on Saturday after much fussing and crying, and they were 45ish minutes each. This kid is just not a huge car sleeper. We sang, played with toys, read books, ate snacks, stopped when necessary, and finally made it to the house around 7pm on Saturday (6pm our time).
We got settled in, set up Kai’s pack n play in his own bedroom and got him to bed. I had ordered a pack n play mattress and sheet from Amazon so it would be more comfortable for him than the crappy little pad that it comes with. We brought our video monitor (so glad we did that!), and I was surprised that he went to sleep without a fuss. I was scared that he would wake up crying all night long because he was overtired and in an unfamiliar bed, but he didn’t make a peep until 7:30 the next morning! In fact, this trend continued throughout the whole trip. He napped and slept great the whole time, which I couldn’t believe.
Sunday morning we checked out the view from our balcony, and it didn’t suck.
We also walked down to the beach to check it out. It was high tide and the waves were coming right up to the dune so we didn’t go all the way down to the water, but we watched and listened to the waves for a bit. I just love the ocean, and it makes me happy to be near it.
Later that morning Steve and I went for a five mile run barefoot on the beach, which was great. I forgot my running belt to hold my phone, so I didn’t bring it on the run to take pictures since there would have been an 83% chance of it ending up in the ocean, but you can picture us frolicking happily in the surf.
I couldn’t tell you what we did every day during the week because we actually didn’t do much besides hang at the house, run, shop, go out to breakfast a couple times, and hang out by the beach. It’s just that kind of relaxing trip. We brought Kai’s walker which turned out to be the best thing because he was able to tear it up on the huge wrap around balcony at the house and chase around his cousin Aiva. (Side note: Kai and Aiva share a birthday, exactly one year apart, which I think is pretty cool. Also, she only weights two pounds more than my chunka monka).
The kids both got a bucket with sand toys from their Grammy, and were testing them out inside.
The weather was beautiful all week, mid 70’s and sunny. It is always a little windy there, but it wasn’t too bad compared to the last time we were there. Kai liked to start his mornings with a little yoga on the deck.
Note that the 24 month summer outfits I bought on clearance last fall already fit him perfectly.
One day we went down to the beach for a little photo session.
Kai loved stomping his feet in the sand. What he did not love was getting his feet wet in the ocean. I dipped his feat in a wave and he promptly freaked out crying, I think it was because the water was so cold. After that, Steve was holding him and standing in the surf, and every time a wave would come up by Steve’s feet, Kai would whimper a little.
The best we could do for a family selfie on the beach:
And my favorite pic from the whole trip, which I have already printed out and framed:
Kai got his first taste of ice cream at Dairy Queen.
One late afternoon we walked down to the water to look at a school of dolphins that was hanging out near the shore.
On our last night, Steve and I got to go out on a date while Steve’s mom and sister watched Kai and put him to bed. We went to a restaurant in the town that was about 15 miles down the highway called Pangea Tavern.
All of the draft beers were from North Carolina, which I thought was really cool. Steve and I both tried a local IPA, and for dinner I had shrimp and grits, which was delicious.
Before we knew it, the week was over and it was time to drive home. We decided to leave at night again in hopes that Kai would sleep, so we headed out on Friday night around 8pm. Kai did not sleep nearly as well on the way home. He woke up every 30-40 mins all night while Steve was driving. I took over at the wheel around 5am, and luckily Kai slept for almost 2 hours so Steve could at least take a nap before getting back behind the wheel.
In the car on Saturday Kai took 2 naps again, but they were only 20 mins and 30 mins respectively. All day. Surprisingly, he remained somewhat chipper the whole time and seemed slightly less crabby than on the way out. Steve was able to download his two favorite videos on youtube, and he spent a lot of the ride home watching them which was fantastic. We stopped at a service plaza in PA or OH, one of those, and after changing Kai’s diaper I had to go to the bathroom. I noticed that the handicap stall doubled as a “mommy and me” stall, where they had this:
The drive went smoothly until we hit Chicago, where we were stuck in stop and go traffic for an hour. Despite that setback, we still made it home by 4pm on Saturday afternoon. I don’t think we have ever been so happy to get home and out of the car. All in all we had a great trip, but it was a very long drive that I don’t care to repeat any time soon. Kai was so tired that he slept for 11 hours the night we got back, and took a 3.5 hour nap the next morning. It took him a few days of extra sleep to get back into his groove, and almost a week later he is right back to his normal schedule.
So long OBX, until next time!