Monday, August 13, 2012

I Got A Feeling....

While we were on vacation, we stayed at the beach until almost 7 every night. Mind you, it was still in the mid to high 80's at that time so we easily lost track of time. We walked off the beach every night feeling relaxed and wondering why we didn't live someplace like the Outerbanks. Someplace with a mild climate, that was warm 7-8 months out of the year, and where you only had to drive 10 minutes at any given point to get to the beach.

Okay, technically there are alot of reasons why we don't live someplace like this - regular hurricanes, job market, etc. But put that aside for a minute. Wouldn't you love to come home from work, grab the kids, and run off to the beach to catch the sunset? It would totally shift your mood every day.

After discussing it for several days we came to the conclusion that if we lived someplace like that, we probably wouldn't take advantage of it. Life would take over. There would be homework and dinner and nighttime activities. We would be tired or wouldn't get home in time to get it together.Watching the sunset on the beach would fall to the bottom of the list, unfortunately.

Life is so busy, isn't it? It really got us thinking about how we could slow it down. I wrote down a quote once that I loved. It read "You are only as crazy busy as you make yourself." In concept, I think that is true. Oftentimes, there are many things out of your control that make a day crazy but I do believe that we make our lives so much more complicated than they need to be. It's all about choices and what we choose to spend our time on. I have to admit, I have to remind myself of that from time to time. When I feel overwhelmed by all that I have going on, I ask myself "What do I really HAVE to do." Many times, the answer to that question is only a quarter of what I expected of myself that day.

We don't live near the beach so watching the sunset with sand in our toes isn't going to happen unless we are on vacation or visiting family and friends who live near the beach But we realized we don't need the beach to recreate the same feeling. It's all about taking advantage of the time you have with what you have. Instead of rushing in from work and asking the kids about their day while making dinner, we could just sit and relax for a bit and reconnect. After dinner, instead of cuddling up in front of the tv, we could go out and roast s'mores. We could just sit in our backyard and watch the sunset (of course that would be once the mosquitos die down...). But there are lots of things we could all do at least once a week to recreate that vacation feeling. We don't have to wait until those 2 or 3 weeks out of the year when we officially go on vacation to relax.

We can do this at any time. What do you do to capture that vacation feeling when you are home?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dune Running in the OBX

I had a hard time wearing shoes today, considering I have been in flip flops or barefoot for over a week. Lucky for me, I can wear flip flops to work at times and my first day back, I had to wear them. My feet took one look at the flats I had planned to wear and walked away. I had a client meeting in the afternoon and I had to bring the flats. I literally forced my feet into the shoes against their will. It was ugly.

You know Tim and I love the Outer Cape. It reminds us both of the Cape we knew growing up. Remote, quiet, filled with dunes, and very relaxed. We found that same environment in the OuterBanks last week. Our flip flop wearing feet felt right at home.

I will say there were two bumps in the road during our entire trip. First, the traffic. There is one road in and out and we happened to be near the end of the island so we sat in Saturday change over traffic for 3 hours. It was like going 20 miles an hour from Hopkinton to the Cape on a Saturday. After driving for two days, this was a buzz kill. But, once we crossed into Hatteras and started driving on roads literally in between dunes, we knew it was worth it.

Our campsite at Camp Hatteras faced the dunes. All we had to do was cross the road and climb over a dune to get to the beach. And the beach was beautiful. Fluffy white sand and clear blue warm water. You don't see this every day at a campground. Sign. Me. Up.

We spent pretty much every day at a different beach. First, the campground beach and then later in the week we bought a pass to drive out on the National Seashore and we felt at home. We tried out a new beach every day and they just kept getting better and better.

I spend a lot of time researching every place we go to and type up a tentative itinerary of what we might want to do. We really try to explore every place we visit to the fullest and take advantage of everything going on, whether it's a corn festival or a 50 mile long yard sale. For this trip, I was excited to find a 1 mile "Glow Run" in the dunes at Jockey Ridge State Park in Nags Head. Basically it was a 1 mile run through the dunes at sunset, complete with glow in the dark tshirts and glow necklaces. 1 mile is a piece of cake right? And that was something we could all do as a family.

Before it started I decided that we should run in "teams"...Jack and I together because we are a bit faster and then Tim and Mimi because they work together so well as a team. I told Mimi I couldn't have her "weighing me down"...that I needed to run at my own pace. I had visions of Olympic gold running through my head. There was a prize for the top 3 runners out of a field of 250. Seriously, I had no thoughts of even finishing in a decent time but Jack had his sights held high.

Turns out that running in the sand is like running in a vat of glue. We all took off running, Jack was the gazelle out in front. Mimi quickly passed Tim and I and it wasn't long before I felt like I was going backwards in the sand. Did I mention the sand dunes we were running up were between 100-120 feet high. Yeah, think about how high that is for a minute. I didn't even make it a 1/4 of the way up the first dune before I had to walk. I looked over as I was walking up to see Jack already running down the back side of the first dune. What the heck?!

I am the only one out of the 4 of us that runs and I came in last out of all of us, at 15 minutes. Tim and Mimi stuck together and were able to do about 13 minutes. So much for her slowing me down. Jack came in 10th, out of everyone, and ran it in 8:38. Holy Sand Dunes. Regardless of our times, we were all thrilled to make it, and have such a fun experience together.

Overall we had an incredible week together. We typically spend each night playing games together but on this trip, we stayed at the beach until 6 or 7 every night and were so worn out that after dinner we watched a little of the Olympics and then fell fast asleep.

Side note, we have never brought our t.v. on a camping trip. We try very hard to get away from t.v and electronics on all our trips but who can resist the Olympics? We were so glad we were able to catch a little each night.

Finally, I mentioned earlier that there were 2 bumps in the road. The first bump occured on our way there while the 2nd bump occured on our way home. We discovered our friends happened to be staying at the same campground during a few days that we were there. They were on a two week vacation, with Camp Hatteras being just one stop along the way.

On the last night, their son had gotten sick in the middle of the night. We found this out when they came to say goodbye as we were packing up. We didn't think much of it until about 1 am the next morning. We spent the night in a Cracker Barrel parking lot in Maryland, as we normally do. CB allows campers to stay free of charge in their parking lots, with the unspoken assumption that you will frequent their restaurants for breakfast, lunch, or dinner in return. They are typically in safe spots, have lots of campers staying there, and are free. "We" drive (aka Tim drives) until his eyes are ready to close and then we pull into a Cracker Barrel for a few hours before we get on the road again.

Just like my Barbie camper, our kitchen table doubles as a bed when it is folded down and that is typically where Mimi, Tim, and I sleep. Jack sleeps on the floor in a sleeping bag. So, there we were...the three of us on the table/bed but it was so hot it was hard to fall asleep. I was literally sweating just laying there. It took me 2 hours to fall asleep but I was quickly awoken from Mimi sneezing on me. Oh, turns out, it wasn't a sneeze.

She had woken up to say she wasn't feeling good but instead of speaking, only puke came out. Projectile vomit to be honest. The good news is that it didn't smell. Can you imagine being stuck on a table/bed that reeked of vomit in a camper that was about 95 degrees hot?? Another amazing fact was that she didn't get anything anywhere except us, with the exception of the corner of Tim's pillow. Most of the puke ended up on Tim. There was some on me and even some on Jack's back. I'm not going to lie...it was disgusting.

But I snapped into Mother Mode and got her to the bathroom while I cleaned everything up. It passed quick and within 15 minutes, we were all laughing about it. You had to because it was so unbeliveable. This was not on my itinerary.

All in all, we had a fantastic trip! We swam, boogie boarded, played a few games, met up with friends, went fishing & crabbing, drove on the beach, and RELAXED. It doesn't get much better than that!



Monday, August 6, 2012

I-E-I-E Oh....

I had an ephiphany while driving 16 hours to the Outerbanks. Well, let me rephrase...I wasn't doing any driving. I was the co-pilot which consisted of reading books and magaines, dispensing snacks and waters to the driver when necessary, and occasionally consulting the map for further directions.

Regardless, with that much time in the car, you do alot of thinking.

Since my name, which I think is the best name ever, ends in the "i-e" sound, am I most comfortable with names that end with that sound? Let me run this by you. Tim has been called Timothy or occasionally Tim most of this life. He certainly was never called Timmy. That's where I come in. I started calling him that one time just for fun and now he is affectionately known as Timmy among our friends. My first unconscious attempt to make his name similar to mind? Perhaps.

When I brought Meredith home from the hospital, Jack was too young too walk (yeah, I know...I thought it would take awhile to get pregnant again but it didn't...), never mind spit out his sister's three syllable name. One day he pointed to her and called her Mimi. I couldn't have been more excited...it's a cute preppy name and it's perfect for her. Turns out it also ends in "i-e" sound. I'm not responsible for this nickname but maybe we kept it around because of the ending.

When Jack was around 7 or 8, we started calling him Jackie sometimes at home. Like a pet name. I can tell you from experience, you should not use your child's pet name in public, like at a baseball game when your child is about age 10. "Great hit, Jackie!" doesn't go over well, no matter how far the ball is hit. I think I started the nickname tho...it just came out one day.

Look at our pets: Sadie, Buddy, Wally, Ivy...and my first cat that I had on my own, Gracie.

As far as my friends go, if my friend's names don't end in the "i-e" sound, I have, in most cases, altered their names so they have that ending, like Annie for Ann and Lynnie for Lyn. I haven't done it on purpose, and in fact, I didn't even realize it until I was forced to think for 16 hours straight about mindless things like this. But it is interesting, isn't it?