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What we did on our summer vacation

Well, we spent the last 8 days in North Carolina.  The Outer Banks; Nag's Head, to be exact.  We left on Sunday morning, July 18th and came back on Sunday evening, July 25th.  Some high- and low-lights of the trip:

- I got a speeding ticket in North Carolina (70 MPH in a 55 MPH zone) on our way to the house the first day. We were only about 25 miles from the house.  Very unfriendly female cop.  I called my insurance company today and they said that they do not surcharge for points, so all I should do is pay the fine ($166).  Even though this would be a 4-point ticket in NJ, it only ends up adding 2 points to my license because I got it out of state.  Weird NJ law, but I'm glad for it.  For each year I go without a ticket I'll lose three points, so I'll be back to zero by the end of next July as long as I'm ticket-free.

- Not quite out of NJ yet, Angie asked me where the video camera was.  Of course, it was sitting on the kitchen counter where I had plugged it in the night before to charge the battery.  I should have just packed it & the charger and worried about charging it at the vacation house.

- We went out and bought a lot of groceries for the week at Food Lion and picked up 5 large pizzas for dinner on Sunday night.  Angie was sick of pizza (we'd had it for dinner on Friday night) so she got a "Philly cheesesteak" that she said was pretty good.  It didn't really look like a typical Philly cheesesteak, though.

- On Monday, we got up fairly early and drove about 20 miles south to look for large seashells on a different beach.  The boys collected about 2 buckets worth.  They're looking forward to giving them to Mom Mom.

- I attempted to fly Angie's uncle's army plane kite on Tuesday because I'd heard he was having trouble getting it to go up.  Monday was extremely windy, so we thought maybe it was actually TOO windy to fly the kite.  Tuesday was almost the exact opposite, with not much wind to speak of.  I was sweating buckets trying to get that damned thing in the air, but it never really went up for more than 20-30 seconds or so.  It was in bad need of some electrical tape, glue, or maybe some napalm.  ;-)

- Angie's aunt and uncle strategically planted some plastic gold coins and "gems" along the walk way to the beach so the kids would find them.  All of the kids were ecstatic when they found the loose items, but then they found a bottle with a rolled up piece of paper inside.  Lo and behold it was a treasure map!  The map led them straight to a buried treasure chest full of coins and gems... AND five little pouches with ten gold one-dollar coins inside each of them!  How awesome is that?!  Now all of the kids had some pirate booty to spend while on vacation.  Our kids bought some toys the next day at a store called Super Wings.  Paying the cashier with the gold coins really made everything worthwhile.  Each kid went up to the counter, pulled out his little pirate pouch, untied it, and emptied out enough gold coins to pay for his item(s).  I don't think the cashier really knew what to do with them, but he took them (although his manager came over and removed all of them from the register while we were standing there).

- Angie's uncle dug a fire pit on Thursday night and we roasted marshmallows before walking around the beach with our flashlights looking for "ghost crabs."  We found quite a few of them in all different sizes and speeds.

- Each night a different family member would cook dinner.  Monday night was "our turn" so Angie's mom made a ground beef pasta dish with garlic bread, while Angie prepared a salad as a starter dish, and picked up some store-bought cakes for dessert.  Tuesday night was steak night - Paul, David and Carrin cooked up some steaks and chicken breasts on the grill with baked beans, mashed potatoes and brocoli on the side. The steaks were delicious and really juicy.  Wednesday night was beef enchilada night.  Carrin's parents whipped up some corn on the cob and a ton of enchiladas for everyone.  Super yummy.  We had lots of leftovers. Thursday night was kind of a free-for-all every-man-for-himself night.  Angie, me, the kids and Grandmom went to a place called Big Al's in Manteo.  We ended up not eating until pretty late, so by the time we got back to the house the campfire was already under way.  Friday night was boneless fried chicken night.  Angie's aunt and uncle cooked up a BOATLOAD of chicken breasts, which turned out great.  Saturday night we all went to Miller's On The Waterfront for our last dinner in Nag's Head.

- We went to Kitty Hawk Kites one morning for a free kids' event.  The boys got some balloon shapes (a fish, a couple of swords and a snake), and they got to play some free games outside.  Inside, we picked out some toys and a kite for ourselves and spent about $60.  But they gave us a $10 gift certificate to use on another day, so I went back the next day and bought some cheap sunglasses.

- Angie's mom and Bob took the twins to a go cart track on Tuesday night.  They had a blast, they said.  Wednesday night, we tried taking Adrian to miniature golf with Carrin, Paul and their twins, but the wait was 20 minutes to start and about 2 hours to play the game.  Since it was already after 8 PM, we bailed.  We knew that Alice and Bob had taken the twins to the go cart track again, so we stopped by to see if we could catch them and they were just finishing up.  So I got to ride a double-seater go-cart with Adrian on a figure-8 race track.  It was pretty awesome, and Adrian looked so cute sitting next to me.  I can't even describe the way that he looked.  His hair was blowing in the wind, and his right hand was on the outside of the car, while his left hand crept its way over to my leg and held onto my shorts.  After a couple of laps, though, he was waving to mommy and his brothers on the sidelines.  It was really cool.  I wish we had it on video.

- Of course, we spent a lot of time in the pool and on the beach.  The twins had a great time in the pool; they are really doing well with swimming, although Jason still "hugs" the sides.  Dillon started jumping straight in off the side (into the 3-foot area), which was neat to see.  They both have goggles and love going under the water and looking around.  Dillon started swimming more when he would go under the water, too.

- As I said before, the wind was out of control on Monday, so after going to the beach further south of us to look for shells, we didn't go back that day.  I believe we stayed at the house and went in the pool.  Tuesday was a lot nicer and made for a great day at the beach.  Well, for us a "day" at the beach is about 2-3 hours.  Angie's mom could stay there all day and night, but we usually pack it in after a few hours and they sometimes go back later on after the sun has started to go down.

All in all it was a very nice vacation.  Our kids all had a great time, and Angie and I really enjoyed ourselves.  I got to do some reading (finished one book, started a second), watched a movie or two, had some good food and drink, and got to spend time with some really nice people.

You really can't ask for much more. 

Click the link to check out some photos we took:
Outer Banks Trip Photos


And here are some photos taken by Angie's cousin and his wife:
More vacation pics

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