Sunday we were up pretty early (thanks Ben!). Adam and Heather didn't know that Brandon had managed to get plane tickets and come, but Adam saw an extra car in the driveway and asked about it, so they told him whose it was. Brian cooked up some eggs for breakfast, and Janet kept the coffee brewing. After everyone had eaten, and we'd all talked a bit, we got ready to go try out the pool. Claire was adorable in her bathing suit and hat. She seemed to have fun and was not too afraid of the water. She loved running around the pool deck and throwing balls in the water for her uncles to toss back out of the pool. Some games just never get old. She also liked to jump/step off the side to a waiting pair of arms. She practiced kicking, but didn't like being held on her belly to try to "swim". The whole time we were out there Ben slept in the beach cabana that our generous neighbor had given us as we were packing the car.
After pool time Claire needed a nap, and it was time for lunch for the rest of us. Then in the afternoon we got ready and headed to the beach. Again, Claire had a blast. She liked picking up shells, but then ignored them or threw them away. She seemed to like to play in the waves, but every once in a while a bigger one would come in and scare her, so she would need to be held for a while. She had no interest in building a sandcastle much to Brian's chagrin. That night we had marinated and grilled pork tenderloin cut up on sandwiches with cole slaw. It was quite yummy. Talked a lot after dinner, and once all the kiddos were in bed headed to the hot tub with Adam, Heather, and Brandon to chat and relax.
Monday morning was another early start. Ben was up at 6, and that's when Cindy, Don, and Ryan arrived (Cindy had had to work an overnight shift at the hospital, and they got in the car as soon as she got home). That roused most of the family, so we headed upstairs to talk and eat. Ryan was a real trouper considering the cast that he was sporting. The morning was pretty relaxed including some more pool time with Claire, and then that afternoon everyone except Ben and I headed to the beach. We napped instead. The brothers all had a good time building a great wall of sand around their parents, and apparently Claire had a good time knocking things down. Unfortunately some combination of sunscreens, after sun lotion, pool chemicals, and being outside so much gave Claire hives so she started to get bumps all over and a bit itchy. For dinner we had bbq chicken, cole slaw, corn on the cob, and potato salad, and then a birthday cake for Claire. After dinner more chatting and relaxing in the hot tub. In between the boys played lots of pool.
Tuesday's breakfast was a special request from Brandon - his mom's sausage and biscuits and gravy. Good stuff! The morning was pretty low-key as we were trying to keep Claire out of the sun. Cindy had brought a bubble machine as a birthday present for Claire, and that was a big hit with her and Ryan. When Claire went down for her nap Brian and I left with Ben to run some errands. We didn't stay out too long, though, as Brandon had to leave that afternoon and we wanted to be back in time to say goodbye. He headed out around 3 pm. Adam and Heather had decided to buy a bushel of crabs for everyone for dinner, so Brian and Adam went to pick them up along with some Caladryl clear for Claire's hives. They had covered her neck and ears, and she had a big one under one eye, so we put in a call to her doctor's office. They said to keep her out of the sun, and no more lotions, and use the Benadryl to help with the itching. The crabs made a very yummy dinner along with some frenchfries and shrimp, and we managed to keep the mess to a minimum. Even Claire joined in the fun.
Wednesday morning we planned to take the kids to the aquarium to help with keeping Claire out of the sun. We had pancakes in the morning, and then Don, Cindy, Ryan, Brian, Claire, Ben, and I piled into their minivan and headed south. The aquarium was not huge, but the kids enjoyed seeing the different kinds of fishes, eels, and sharks. We had an ice cream snack there, and then back into the car to head back to the house. Unfortunately when we got back to the house there was too much exciting stuff going on so neither of the kids would sleep. I wound up taking them on a four mile walk so they could nap in the stroller, and nap they did. Unfortunately I did not plan my footwear wisely, and wound up with some blisters. That night we had steak fajitas with all of the fixings including Brian's homemade guacamole and delicious margaritas for dinner. It was very tasty, and seemed to be a big hit with everyone. After we put the kids to bed Don, Cindy, Brian, and I headed to a nearby restaurant to sit outside on the sound and enjoy being away for a little while. After one drink, however, we decided we'd rather be back in the hot tub, so we headed back to the house where Brian mixed up more margaritas.
Thursday morning Adam had to leave at 6 am, to head to Ft. Benning for jump school. Fortunately I was up to say goodbye (thanks Ben!). After he left things were pretty quiet. Brian made everyone omelettes for breakfast, and we hung around the house. At about noon Gary, Janet, and Heather were packed up and ready to head back to Virginia. Once the kids got up from their naps we decided to go up to Corolla to check out the lighthouse. We found that right near that was historic Corolla village which had some nice shops to poke around in. We stopped at the grocery store on the way back to pick up steaks for dinner. After dinner we played Trivial Pursuit Pop Culture, and surprisingly enough Brian and I won.
Friday was a really nice day. Earlier in the week Brian and Don told Cindy and I that they would watch the kids while we went to get pedicures, so after breakfast we headed out. We did a little shopping afterwards, figuring that the boys wouldn't really know how long a pedicure should last anyway. Then home for lunch and naps. While Claire napped we gave Ben a dip in the pool. Couldn't leave the beach without him having been in the water! He seemed ok if only his feet were in the water, but didn't much like being held out away from my body, or having more of his body in the water. Afterwards we got dressed, got Claire up, and headed back up to Corolla for lunch and to do some more shopping.
We found some nice things including a little playground that was ideal for the kids to play in, and had some hammock swings that Ryan could comfortably swing in. Then home where we started packing up, and the boys took Claire in the pool one more time. We ordered Chinese for dinner (unimpressive), finished as much packing as possible, and then headed back to the hot tub again. It was a nice quiet way to enjoy our last night of vacation.
Saturday morning we were up early, ate a little, finished packing, and we were gone by 8 AM. A quick end to what was overall a nice week away.