We are definitely not the awesomest at exploring the great outdoors and taking full advantage of living in the great state of North Carolina, but we have been really good at catching a fall trip to the Outer Banks every year since we have lived here!
This year we went a little earlier than usual. Our usual timing of mid-October means that the weather is usually kind of hit or miss, and with my due date at the end of October, it just made more sense to aim for early September. We went to one of our favorite beach houses in Kill Devil Hills called the Relax Inn, with our friends Kim and Jason Hill and their two girls, who have been our close friends and beach companions for many lucky years.
On Friday, after Kim and Jason made a breakfast of yummy bagel sandwiches and fruit, we packed a picnic and headed for the beach for our first day at the ocean. These photos do NO justice to how big the waves were! The ocean looks glassy in these images, but there were warning flags up because of the rough waves and strong current. Little Miss had to be held back because no part of her fears the ocean. I grew up in Hawaii, but even for me, the waves were too strong to risk little bun in the oven getting hurt over something that could have easily been avoided.
For dinner that night we celebrated Kinsey's 6th birthday. The girls even had bell pepper party hats! Kim and Jason made a great dinner of pizza quesadillas - I was skeptical, but proven very, very wrong: they were SO good...
...and there was a veggie platter, and fancy drinks. The beach house was outfitted with an assortment of fancy glasses, so we went over the top with ginger ale and cherries.
And of course, we topped off the night with presents, songs and candles, cupcakes and ice cream. A perfect way to celebrate six!
The next day, after we made a huge batch of secret Prieto recipe pancakes and sausages, we went shopping for a bit, back to the beach house for lunch, and then headed to the beach again in the afternoon. It was kind of nice to take off without a picnic this time, and without much to carry.
After a few hours, a lifeguard rode by on his 4-wheeler and said, "A storm is coming. You might want to pack up. It's as big as the entire Outer Banks". We looked down the beach and didn't need too much convincing.
That night Marcos and I made Hawaiian haystacks and after two days of going strong with minimal sleep, we were all kind of beat. Gigi started slumping in the middle of her dinner, and fell fast asleep on her tray. She never falls asleep over her food, but after two days without her usual nap, she was out. Some kiddos have outgrown naps by her age, so we were very glad to know that she still needs them.
On Sunday we were up early to pack and straighten up the beach house before heading to church for Sacrament Meeting. On the way home we passed Roanoke Island, and decided to visit the aquarium. After a picnic lunch, we explored and had a great time seeing the exhibits and touching sting rays. It was really strange for me to walk through a North Carolina themed aquarium with otters, alligators and coastal fish, when I was so used to seeing things like tropical fish and Hawaiian monk seals.
The only bummer about our beach trips is that they always feel too short. We can't wait for the day when we have loads of free time and money, and we can go for an entire week. Thanks Kim and Jason for a great weekend! It's always the perfect way to kick off the fall!