We packed up the car with the kids AND dogs and headed down to Oak Island, NC for some family vacation time at a rental house and then some time a Gigi’s! We laughed, played games, ate good food, had fun exploring; and, this is REAL EVERYTHING right? The vacation ended up being memorable for more than just good times… And that’s okay. Life isn’t perfect and the life I show you on the internet isn’t either.
Family Vacation Highlights
Objectively the beach is a highlight, right? While it’s not MY favorite, I do love the salty air and sound of the ocean. While it feels like sand gets everywhere and never goes away, it actually does wash off. So I enjoyed a day to relax and read waterfront side. It’s such a treat for the family when you live in the suburbs of Virginia! But, that turned into regret a little later…
We also took the ferry to go to the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Firstly, someone get me a jellyfish tank, please! Also, I love that the aquarium helps rehab and support so many sea turtles! They had some interactive areas where we got to touch some of the creatures. But the best part was the Otters Edge area – is there anything cuter than a family of otters playing?!
Of course it wouldn’t a trip with mom without some “treasure hunting”. I kept my mantra from the Luckett’s Spring Market and appreciated items without purchasing them!
And, in addition to the delicious meals we had along the way, a beach vacay isn’t the same without favorite frozen treats. While Lil & John’s (which was walkable from our beach house) Ube flavored sundae (with marshmallow sauce and nuts) was my favorite, Spike’s Dairy Bar in Southport, NC did not disappoint. I got Passionfruit SnoBall with Lemon Soft Serve inside and the boys got delish milkshakes.
Family Vacation Challenges
I first and foremost am so grateful for all the highlights, moments of sibling bonding, and logging off for a week. AND, unfortunately, the trip actually turned out to be pretty stressful. Not only were we dealing with some ongoing issues (Cole’s car was totaled, medication snafu, Penny gets anxious when we travel, and Gus was having health concerns) but the biggest issue was with our beach house! There was a septic issue, and because it was July 4th the county couldn’t come out for a few days days, so for three days we didn’t have working sewage drainage (toilets and showers). It was a THING with six people.
And…the very first day out on the beach, I got sun poisoning! Without sunburn – which I didn’t even know is possible. It’s very similar to heat stroke and can be very dangerous. I didn’t have symptoms that prompted me to go to urgent care, but I definitely had to make an effort to rest, stay out of the sun and heat, drink plenty of electrolytes, and keep my skin hydrated. Not ideal during a beach vacation! I’ve had sun poisoning before (I really do have vampire white skin), but always from sunburn. Oof.
THEN, Gus got sick enough that we ended up using an online emergency service vet while gone. He has since been checked out by his usual veterinarian and seems to be doing okay right now. But, golly, did we face a lot of stress. It made the moments of seeing the kids voluntarily playing Bananagrams, Catan, or 7 Wonders (vs. video gaming in different rooms) that much sweeter.
The good news is, we all made it home (not without our family car having car trouble that put it in the shop for a week). But, we are remembering the good and continuing to deal with the challenges. I’m always so grateful for the time we get to spend together, as I know as the kids get older times like these won’t be the same! And, I’m grateful I’ve learned to handle challenges knowing it’s not my job to control or solve all the problems, and learning to just take things on day at a time. And, I’m also planning for some “Hotel Mommy” time next week once everything is settled 😉
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