first things first, road trips require matching outfits. (no lie, but we seriously didn't notice this until three hours in when we went for a potty break).
having a backseat/rest stop buddy for James was like the mostbrilliantdecisionweevermadeever. the shows that girl put on in the backseat for James! emmy award winning, for sure.
after a six hour drive saturday we stopped in Blacksburg to spend the night with one of my oldest and dearest friends, who very generously offered their air mattress and cooked us a delicious home cooked meal. then we had a Gillies breakfast (OF COURSE) and were off for the last leg of trip. as you can see, James was all set with his movies, educational toys be darned.
yay! we made it! and i was only a crabby pants on the car ride for about an hour or so. hashtag fist bumps.
you can't see it in this photo, but James got more and more vocal the closer we got to the water. By the time my feet were in it, he was all out screaming. this kid!!! totally didn't expect that from my water baby.
i hate the word selfie. hate it. also, hair mustache for the win! (but for reals, SO HAPPY to be out of the car and friends again. ;)
James discovered what all this sand was really meant for. His bucket.
in his element first thing Monday morning. you can bet he kept one eye on that ocean the entire day. still a little unsure, but certainly had no problem sending his uncles and auntie down to the water to fill up his bucket!
there is just SO much work to do at the beach. all that sand.
i realize in hindsight that he should have kept his floppy blue hat on in the pool. squinty eyes! but he definitely did not like that floppy blue hat and sometimes you just have to throw up your hands and say okay. because vacations aren't for temper tantrums.
he hates sunglasses too, for the record.
again, i really hate that word selfie. but i sure do love my mom!
we ate our first meal out at Miller's on the Waterfront because thats been my favorite restaurant since I was old enough to order my own daiquiri (non-alcoholic). that most likely wasn't the reason we went but in my head, everything is about me. also, the sunset over the sound! beautiful.
snacking on pouches of pureed food which is just meh but there was so much waiting this trip for foods and such, it really was the biggest saving grace for a toddler with a hungry belly. also, sun flares be darned THERE ARE THINGS TO SEE. always moving, this kid.
that one time at dinner Natalie ordered a crab sandwich and got a crab in her sandwich. (i had flounder and james enjoyed his first popcorn shrimp dinner, just in case anyone cares).
there was a lot of this face on our second beach day. mostly because that hat. and always with the shovel!
our umbrella makes for the prettiest light. also, just felt we needed a non-James photo break.
from a quick little video i took of the boys covering James' feet with sand. hilaaaaarious. those giggles.
AND THEN NAP TIME.
and pool time for mommy. fist bumps.
my favorite restaurant second to the other one i mentioned and mostly just because they have coconut sticky rice. i mean.
::whisper voice- coconut sticky rice::
::whisper voice- coconut sticky rice::
most of our waiting for food looked like this. CRAYONS. all. the. time. i am kind of loving it. ;)
this guy. <3 and all the hearted smiley emoji.
me. just so theres proof i was there too. ;)
popcorn shrimp!! and a spoon! and a plate bigger than his head!
after dinner trip to the bookstore and then the kite store and a pit stop at the guy playing guitar for TEN MINUTES while James rocked out.
theres that spoon again. hashtag ice cream.
and then wednesday looked like this. booooo.
not to mention the sister woke up my kiddo, who ended up partying until 12:30am the night before. this day was for the grumps. and there were a lot of us.
i bundled up for a little time on the blanket with my new book which i was hoping would be far better than the terrible awful nicholas sparks book that shall remain nameless. i should have known better.
LET THERE BE CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS! AND MUSIC!
a jarmusik tradition that never fails on rainy beach days.
and the fairest sister of them all, during a forty five minute lunch wait.
"is that art for sale?"
my dad's favorite lunch spot.
my favorite shrimp and grits. and then i think we watched movies and napped and played pool and i don't know. GRUMPS. we all were. mostly.
and then there was THURSDAY. oh thursday. first thing, bright and early- postcards from James to all his loving back home. he was really superb at dictating all those for me. but these were ultimately just an excuse to say "We need to find a post office! We will be RIGHT BACK."
::angels singing:: LET THERE BE DONUTS.
and in my haste to eat them, let there also be blurry photos.
Duck Donuts in fact and by far the best idea anyone has had ever. Make your own donuts? Yes please.
and then we headed down to the beach for more of this.
annnnd one very giant hole for James to sit in.
and of course that little blue hat.
annnnnnnd last but not least a family photo because. thats why.
also on this glorious thursday morning at the beach, after a little pep talk from dad, james decided he was ready to get his feet wet. and not by bucket.
the littlest little footprints in the sand and a lot of splashing! finally! so proud of this brave soul.
and then there was lunchtime/naptime/mommy and daddy sneak out for an ice cream cone time.
also that time we decided all of our arm out photos look exactly the same minus a tiny bit of background in the corners that you can use to almost figure out where we were. basically, i need longer arms.
ice cream shot because duh. and the prettiest beach flowers.
and THEN there was 10:30pm ice cream and a long drive up and down the beach road with the windows down while James slept soundly back at the house. that was a good ice cream cone. one of the best.
this is a last day kind of beach day. practically perfect in every way.
and then i found this guy on the beach. BONUS! loved this vacation with him and our James. truly.
and of course a last beach day wouldn't be complete without a shovel. or six.
or the biggest darn hole you ever did see.
thank you beach! for the best week yet. and look at the grin on mister james....who finally decided the water was pretty swell! just in time to go home. ;)
one last picture with this kid and that hat.
and then the best two hours ever at Nags Head Fishing Pier with just tyler and just that view. perfect end to the trip, that fish and fries and talking. definitely a favorite place.
ohhhh and the fort photos. these call for one big set of parentheses because. well, they are necessary. but don't worry! i didn't forget about them. they happened too.
the ever popular and always necessary family photo at the tree that keeps getting smaller? or we keep getting bigger? also, there are so many things i could say about this photo from a photographer's perspective but its about all we can do to line up like that and smile (looking at you brother one and two) so. there ya have it. its good though! love my family.
these two were the VERY best of buddies on vacation. THE BEST.
we got along pretty well too. i mean, ya know. hashtag sisters.
also my dad and that camera, its always the funniest thing when he pops up in the background of photos like that.
snuck in one more hour of sunshine and my book before we cooked kabobs for dinner while the boys flew kites and we all ignored the packing that needed done.
and then the packing started and nat and i snuck out for a late night coffee/bookshop run down the street. because hello, packing. yikes.
and thus concludes our very first beach vacation with james and in probably more than thirty seconds but i REALLY really tried to keep it short and to the point because otherwise we would still be on day two with all the pictures of james and the orange shovel and the blue hat. i mean. i can't help it but that kid was cute at the beach!
((not pictures, 14 hours of travel time on the way home. because nobody needs a picture of that hot mess.))