Wednesday, January 11, 2012

driving downeast

towards the end of the holiday season, we decided to set aside a weekend and go downeast to visit my grandparents (my dad's parents.) as we got closer to the weekend we had marked on the calendar, we were trying to coordinate the trip with my brother and his wife, who had to work the all-district band auditions on saturday before they could leave. i did my regular set of research on places we could stay, comparing prices and looking at our options while also taking into consideration davis's nap schedule and best times of day. and a few days before our trip, i posed a plan to justin--we would drive down on our own on friday at his bedtime, letting him sleep the whole trip. spend the night at one of our favorite ocean-front motels who were having fabulous off-season rates. wake up and get some beach time, then drive downeast during davis's morning nap (so he would sleep.) spend all day at my grandparents, then come back to the motel and spend the night. another beach morning and breakfast, then back home during morning nap. (this is such a clear insight into how we plan trips--coincide sleep with driving, and don't attempt anything important right before bedtime.)

and despite the feeling that we had thrown this together at the last minute, i felt confident about the trip. justin had been fighting a cold all week, though, and on friday, he had a fever that made me question whether or not we should take the trip in the first place. he was in an ill mood, i was afraid davis might catch it, and though he insisted that we keep our reservations and go on down, i was driving through vanceboro (about 45 minutes from our house) thinking, "if i turn around now, we can still sleep in our own beds tonight."

but we made it, justin got some heavy duty meds before we checked in to the hotel, and davis eventually went back to sleep without too much fussing (though he was NOT going to go down as long as we were up--one of the downsides of sharing a room with your kid.) and when we woke up in the morning, justin's fever had broken and we were treated to a beautiful sunrise...

and we were so glad we were there. davis and i went down to the empty beach, alone except for a few seagulls and the occasional walker. 

it was sad to see the nearby sheraton pier torn up from this fall's hurricane irene. the hotel itself has been closed since then for renovations and repairs. 

but the rest of the beach was perfect, ready for digging in the sand, watching sea gulls and checking out the big waves.

it hadn't been that long since we were at the beach--just since september, and davis was content to get back into the laid-back groove. with a forecast of mid-60 degree temperatures, we were enjoying our mild january morning and content to just sit back and relax.

ahhh...this is the life.

we eventually went inside and got ready for the day, heading out to find some coffee and stopping at one of the local parks. we actually ran into one of my former co-workers and her kids, who were visiting family in morehead city!
he loved digging and climbing on the big turtles :)

and everyone got a turn in the swings.
right next to the park was his own beachwear store--i took a picture of this sign before he was born, too :)
and as he started to wind down for the morning, we packed up the car and headed downeast. we have gotten into the habit of covering up his windows in the backseat, which helps immensely for getting him down for a nap.he was quickly out, and we picked up a pizza and drove around for a while, trying to extend his nap as long as possible. i loved this sign at one of our favorite stores, that had taken the month off after the holidays. they weren't closed, though--they are "shut!"
we made it to my grandparents' house and settled in, bringing with us davis's food, toys and books and a pack and play for napping later. we have to travel big with him :)

he made himself at home and got busy opening his Christmas present from them...

which was an awesome car and track set that kept him (and most of the adults) entertained for the rest of the afternoon.

he also enjoyed "playing" on the computer with grandaddy.

but soon we headed outside for some fresh air. and i loved the setting sunlight and overgrown garden so much that i had to grab my "big" camera for some shots.
he just smiles so naturally now for me! it's awesome to capture those moments.
my uncle says there's a picture of my dad or him close to this spot somewhere--would love to find it the next time we're there!
we also had a good time climbing in my grandaddy's boat and taking it for a pretend drive...

one day we'll have to take davis out on the water--he would love it so much.

eventually my brother and sister in law made it down, and we enjoyed a nice dinner of local shrimp and sides from the cafe up the road. we are so glad we got to visit with my grandparents and allow davis to experience a little bit of downeast life.
he took to it, as you can tell :)

we gave him a bath and let him toddle around his pajamas for a while--because there's nothing cuter than a 14 month old boy in footie pajamas. then we settled him into the carseat as we packed up once more and headed back to the motel for the night. 
stopping only to get a couple of pictures of the lights and "core sound Christmas trees"--made out of crab pots--at davis corner. he was already asleep, or we would've gotten him out to take a picture :)

sunday morning was uneventful, with another relaxing beach visit where we watched barley, alan and rachel's dog, fully enjoy the sand and surf. we packed up and got a big breakfast at one of the local family-run restaurants. and then just like that, it was back to reality. laundry, grocery trips, getting ready for the week.

as we were driving downeast on saturday morning, davis asleep in the back and watching the scenery change from the little towns to stretches of water, marshland and sky, justin asked me, "after everything we went through last night, this makes it worth it now, doesn't it?" and it did--it's always going to take some extra effort to get down there, but it is so worth it once we're there. hoping to make it back again sometime this spring before the mosquitoes carry us off!

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