October 30th, 2011


NC Trip Day 2

I was so tired that I felt like I was sleeping in my seat on the couch when the adults decided it was time for bed. Woke up a few times to crying niece. At one point I could hear my sister-in-law yelling out of frustration at the crying baby with a house full of people.

Set my alarm for 7pm though I thought I set it for 7am. Didn't sleep too late because nephews and bro-in-law were up. Nephews were trying to be quiet but it didn't work. Oldest nephew who had a fever on Friday was feeling much better.

Boys had soccer games and I was excited to see them play. Although youngest refuses to go out onto the field. :) The plan was to take them to their games and leave immediately for the beach. It is almost 8:45am. Everyone's had breakfast. Sister-in-law is still in pajamas. Brother-in-law moves the kids seats into the minivan and is going to sit on the floor. No room for fat me. Figured he should have some alone time with his parents so I stay behind.

I watch the niece. She's quite pleasant and generally keeps herself busy. Sister-in-law works on getting clothes packed for the trip but we chat once in a while. Eventually niece crawls to sister-in-law and is put into a back pack thing. I read.

Youngest nephew returns home. Brother-in-law packs his stuff, works out and makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Youngest nephew is trying to play with me and his sister. He's too rough with her. I'm shocked he just puts his face all over her. Brother-in-law takes him to return to the soccer field to pick up the rest of the family.

Oldest nephew scored a goal. Madness ensues. Brother-in-law finishes making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for everyone and the second car going with us gets packed. It probably takes 2 hours but feels like forever. Brother-in-law declares we're ready to leave but the boys have to try to go to the restroom. Youngest refuses. Eventually we give up on him and leave. The original ETA was 3:30pm. I predict we will be lucky if we get there by 6pm.

I feel like we've wasted an entire day.

Finally we get on the road. Brother-in-law refuses to go the way the GPS tells us to go. Traffic is at a standstill. Mind you, he doesn't have the GPS. It's in my in-laws minivan. We take side roads through Old Durham which is starting to become a revitalized area. Then we start going somewhere. We see lots of cotton fields. And one turkey farm. They are packed in and we talk about how they probably have a miserable existence.

About 40 minutes away we stop at a gas station to let my mother-in-law walk around. The inside smells like cigarette smoke although it said no smoking. The ladies restroom has a longer wait and the attendant is quite chatty about my niece. My in-law and the woman talk about their grandchildren. At one point the attendant calls me the grandmother. I want to scratch her eyes out. And then she proceeds to tell us how she made a comment about another baby that was in there. She found out the woman she mistook for the grandmother at 62 was the mother. After being burned once she should probably know not to make assumptions but obviously she didn't learn any lessons.

We get back into the cars and head to the rental office. They close at 5pm and we arrive at 5:15pm. We've never arrived late and no one knows what to do. The emergency phone number reaches a staff member on vacation in Europe. It takes 3 adults to figure out the lockbox with the keys for late arrivals isn't locked. We joke about how townies who know that trick can get to stay at beach houses for nothing.

At the beach house, my nephews run out of the car and down to the beach. They are too excited to see the cricket in my room. We follow them down and after a bit tell them to return inside. There are chores to be done. Oldest nephew helps by distributing soap, toilet paper and towels. Youngest nephew hogs his sister's toys. My mother-in-law is thankful we made it to the beach in one piece. Brother-in-law even says getting the boys packed and on the way was more chaotic than usual and was probably the worst they've been.

We have salad and Whole Foods pizza for dinner. Niece cries upstairs for several hours. I go to Food Lion with my in-laws to get the additional things I need for my dinner night. I'm making a sausage and white bean soup with apple crisp for dessert.

Boys get bedtime stories. The house next door starts letting off fireworks. We hope they end soon.

Chat with my in-laws for a bit and then we all head to bed. I get frustrated the wifi connection sucks. I get to maybe one page and then can't go any further. Maybe the problems I had 2 years ago wasn't just an old laptop that couldn't keep a battery charged.

Highlight of the day? Talking with my husband for a half hour before falling asleep.

NC Trip Day 3

Tried to sleep in until 8:30am but only made it to 7:30am. Took a shower and ate cereal while brother-in-law made eggs and toast for the boys. Discover a daddy long legs on the ceiling. I let it be, unlike the cricket who met his demise in the early morning hours.

Niece looks cute. She's put on the floor to crawl around so she'll go number 2. In-laws trickle down the stairs. Mother-in-law picks up niece although I explained why she was crawling. They go outside to the deck. After a half hour of this, they return. Immediately after being set on the ground so she can crawl, niece begins to cry. Sister-in-law takes her upstairs and isn't seen again.

Nephews, brother-in-law and I head to the beach. They go exploring. I lie on my towel. Flies keep biting me. Father-in-law sets up the umbrella and chairs. Mother-in-law doesn't want sun but comes down to the beach and impersonates her mother-in-law (Grandma). Sandals, jeans, short-sleeved t-shirt and three towels on her. It's almost as if she'll go up in flames if the sun touches her.

Eventually boys and brother-in-law return. It becomes a project to put up a tent for them to play under.

I'm tired of the biting flies so I go back up to the house. I sit for a bit and read before going inside. I try the LAN connection to the direct internet connection but no luck. Want to shoot the wifi router and the cable modem. I don't mind being cut off from the internet (except my phone) but it's how I've planned on keeping in touch with my husband.

I watch my niece who is supposed to be napping. My sister-in-law changes the baby's diaper (my nose must not be working) and takes her to the beach with the others.

I read until it's naptime at 4pm. Napped until 5pm then watched most of Robin Hood with my nephews. Dinner was black bean burritos with zucchini. The boys were told they couldn't finish the movie and had to color or play until bedtime.

After all the kids were put to bed, my brother-in-law and father-in-law watched blue planet in one room while I talked with their wives. Around 10pm they all went to bed. I talked with my husband and finished the last two episodes in Season 1 of The IT Crowd.

NC Trip Day 4

For some reason I woke up at 6am from a weird dream. I made myself fall back asleep. One of my goals this vacation was to sleep in until 8:30am each day which hasn't happened yet.

The builders on the new house next door arrived around 7am. Mostly loud trucks but the occasional buzzsaw was heard.

Another day at the beach. We had waffles for breakfast.

I was left at the house with my SIL and niece while the others went into town. They stopped at a playground and a fish market. At the fish market they bought some shrimp (supposedly for fishing) and some clams. Shocker of all shockers, they went through the McDonald's drive-thru where my FIL got coffee and MIL got sweet tea. The boys only got water but I think that's all they were allowed to have from the menu.

When they got back we had lunch. Mostly leftovers. We had steamed clams and my BIL made over a pound of shrimp which my nephews mostly ate. I went down to the beach to read. My BIL and nephews fished and body surfed. Before I left because the flies got to be too much, my oldest nephew caught some kind of spotted fish. SIL was told by a fisherman that the flies were blown in from the bay.

I took a bath, napped and got up to make dinner. Mild Italian Sausage White Bean Soup and Apple Crisp for dessert. Apparently neither of the boys is crazy about soup. But I scored points for the apple crisp. I've given the recipe to my SIL since even my BIL liked it.

While I was browning the Italian Sausage, I asked my oldest nephew who was on the salt and pepper shakers. He said, "Roy Rogers." I asked, "Do you know what his horse was named?" He said, "No." I said, "Well, some people would tell you it's Tony the Horse but his name was Trigger." My nephew laughed and knew who I was talking about. He said, "You can't trust your Poppa but you can always trust your Aunt Amber. She doesn't lie." Well, he knows I don't tease them like my FIL. :)

My MIL and I cleaned up, my FIL read, and the rest went for a walk on the beach. After the boys were put to bed, I read while the rest of the adults watched one of the discs for Blue Planet. Done at 10pm they went upstairs to bed.

I snuck a bag of popcorn and set the dishwasher to run.

NC Trip Day 5

Almost made it - woke up at 8:15am today.

Today was pancakes. It may seem a little strange that I write so much about food. It's an important part of our family vacations. My BIL tries to buy and eat organic/local as much as he can. I always seem to lose weight and I expect to do so even more this year. Before, pancakes and waffles were normal white flour (and with blueberries if they were fancy ones). Now they are a multigrain recipe approved by BIL and SIL. One special treat the boys are getting with a dinner this year is a bottle of soda. My MIL brought frozen chicken and pork from Whole Foods in Ohio in a cooler so she could respect my BIL's wishes. And they made at least 3 trips to the Whole Foods in Durham on Friday and Saturday. (One year we ordered pizza from a local shop. Not organic. Never happening again, apparently.)

I can totally see how and why they are slim people while I'm obese. But damn it! A hamburger and fries tastes good! I commented to my husband earlier this week I feel like I'm the tag along on someone else's family vacation. My MIL and FIL have said they will do things with me or if I want to do something to let them know and they will make it happen.

The boys were playing and I was reading in the tv/reading room when I realized my SIL was reading from one of her religious books. From what I heard, the author was stating that you had to give up things you were addicted to in order to become a better person and have a better relationship with G. It could be magazines, tv, the internet, drinking, etc. And then the adults had a discussion about it. SIL could say she was addicted to coffee but she didn't feel like she was and it wasn't getting in the way of anything she wanted to do. FIL brought up how it's the willingness to sacrifice that's important. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son. And BIL mentioned the rich man who wouldn't give up all his money. BIL and SIL went to a finance group at church and were told to max out their 401K savings though they only contribute 3%. SIL feels the predicted value of their 401K is sufficient for them to live on and maxing out your 401K is a form of hoarding and not healthy.

So what I took from this (and I tweeted about it) is that my husband's wish for the iPhone 4S is going to get in the way between him and his relationship with G-. And my interest in technology is also unhealthy... but I'm always the one they go to for help when they need assistance.

I finished Bloodshot by Cherie Priest today.

Low tide on the other end of the island is supposed to result in tidepools. BIL decided they would take the kids there today to see stuff. He packed up a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and corralled everyone together. It was dicey if SIL was going to get to go since my niece was still napping and needed to feed soon. But she woke up in time so they put the other car seat inside and took the minivan.

Meanwhile, I'm here eating leftover soup and writing my LJ entry for the day (so far).


Everyone returned to the house. The tidal pools were low and didn't have many sea creatures. The people by that side of the island said the hurricane a few months back brought the flies and crickets. My parents-in-law went to the grocery store.

The boys and BIL went to the beach. SIL made popcorn and we planned on going down for a walk. BIL came bursting into the house and told us the dolphins from yesterday were back. But there were more, they were closer to land, and they were jumping high. So we rushed to the walkway where we saw clumps of them jumping in and out of the water.

We then went for our walk. My niece was in a backpack on SIL's chest and really trying to stay awake. BIL and the nephews joined us. We found the fisherman from yesterday and he conversed with my BIL.

After walking back, the boys got to watch the beginning of Toy Story which they've never seen. They don't have a tv at home so oldest nephew is always grabbing the tv remote and turning it on. MIL made dinner tonight. Parmesan encrusted chicken with asparagus and baked sweet potato. The boys got their soda and drank half. They'll finish the rest tomorrow.

After the kids were put to bed we played Mexican Train. I won the first 3 rounds, my BIL won the 4th. My MIL was falling asleep at the table.

NC Trip Day 6

After breakfast, I read. My BIL took the kids to the beach for a walk or something and when they were on the way back, my oldest nephew complained his foot hurt. My BIL thought it was a jellyfish sting. Since no one has been able to connect to the house wifi and BIL's laptop was upstairs, my SmartPhone went to the rescue. Soaked his foot in the only vinegar we had - apple cider. I wanted some asparagus to roast after smelling it. A small bee or wasp was buzzing around the ceiling so SIL killed it and BIL revised his original belief and thought it was an insect sting.

Nephew lived although there were many complaints about his foot in the vinegar.

It was decided we needed some stuff for dinner tonight. BIL told kids to get into their car seats even though he hadn't found his wallet yet. I opened the minivan door for them and youngest crawled right into his car seat. Oldest decided to play with the button to open the garage door. After opening and closing it several times, just when I was about to tell him he needed to get into the car, he ran underneath it while it was closing. I opened it up, found a construction worker who pointed in the direction he went and I was after the kid. He was in big trouble with me. I ran around the house, up the stairs, into the house, didn't see him on the main floor, was told he went to the second floor so I looked for him and then didn't find him so returned all the way down to the garage. I figured he was okay but with the construction workers next door and different cars parked in the driveway someone could run him over and not notice or just take him. He was with his brother inside the minivan just playing in the backseat. I explained to him how unsafe it was to do that and he told me his dad let him do it all the time. And I explained why we can't always count on the safety light, so on and so forth. BIL, MIL and FIL all get into the minivan and we leave. Oldest nephew asks if he can take care of the door. BIL says he can. So he hops out of the minivan, presses the button, runs like heck and jumps back into the minivan. So, I guess he does let the 6-year-old do that all the time. (They have a car port at home.)

We drove to the other end of the island so the kids could play at the park. Then we stopped at Food Lion. A trip to the fish market to buy shrimp was the last stop and then we returned to the beach house.

BIL took the nephews to the beach and while talking with my SIL and MIL I'm asked what happened. So I told the story. SIL rolled her eyes and said, "He's been so bad lately not listening to adults. He knows when we're not around the adult who is around is in charge. I asked (my husband) what started it all and he didn't know. I can't believe he then let him run underneath the garage door like that."

As I'm not a parent I can only say raising kids has to be difficult.

I tried to take a nap at 3:50pm but sleep never came. Until dinner I pretty much read more of Jenny Pox by JL Bryan. We had shrimp linguine and sauted kale.

The kids were given their bedtime stories and so forth. SIL worked on a knitted hat for my niece to wear next winter. BIL surfed the internet on his laptop (he has a verizon mobile card for his laptop so he can still get connected). FIL and I both read.

Talked to my lovely husband who seems a little lost without me but he's taking good care of Sammy. As I expected, he's eating out all the time. Since he was done with all his work engagements I told him he could take a plane here but his boss is out of town for the rest of the week. Because there are two of them in his immediate department someone kind of needs to be there.

NC Trip Day 7

It was multigrain pancakes for breakfast.

Another beautiful day at the beach. We went to the beach in the morning. I splashed around in the waves with my nephews. Later I put my prescription goggles on and while I never put my head underwater I was able to see clearly into the water and to the sand just like wearing regular glasses. That was neat. And of course I forgot to bring my SPF50 bottle with me to reapply it and I burned.

I read and the boys played games and built a house out of sofa cushions. Read some more. Then BIL took FIL and the boys to another end of the island at low tide to see if there were any tide pools.

I took a nap. MIL was making cranberry glazed pork tenderloin for dinner and it was in the oven. SIL was trying to get niece to sleep.

I woke up in time for dinner. It was good! Green beans with sesame seeds and roasted red skins. I nearly hurt myself with all the food I ate.

After the kids were in bed, BIL and FIL watched a Planet Earth section. The women played scrabble. My SIL beat me by 100 points because we were generous with the scoring. Like MIL played RIND so later SIL played GRIND and even later she played GRINDS so she got points for the same word twice on more than one occasion. I was busting out little words (ZEE, QI, and XI) that packed some points.

NC Trip Day 8

Last full day at the beach.

I read most of the day and chatted with my FIL while the others were walking along the beach. We used leftovers for our lunch and I was disappointed someone ate the rest of the redskins for breakfast.

It was a little bit cooler today and I actually needed a sweater. We went to the lone Chinese/Sushi restaurant on the island for dinner. We've been there before but my SIL and I were not completely happy with the food. Then we went to Lunapops for dessert. I got a S'More popsicle. The graham cracker made it seem a little gritty but overall it was good.

After the kids went to bed the women played Scrabble again. We did the rules correctly this time but my SIL still beat me by 100.