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On our 11th anniversary on June 8th at 5:30 p.m., we packed up the van and headed out on the first leg of our trip to Duck, NC, for vacation with Jay’s dad, his dad’s fiance, and his sister and her family. We arrived at Jim and Susan’s house in Athens (a mere two and a half hours later), to be greeted by the sound of something hissing. The hissing sound turned out to be the sound of our back left tire deflating because we seemed to pick a screw up in it somewhere. Fudgecicles.

We unpacked the car and Jay and Jim drove it down to Walmart, so at least when it was completely deflated by morning, it would be somewhere where it could be fixed. I was surprised how quickly it was patched up (and for $10 nonetheless–is anything car-related ever only $10?) and we were re-packed and back on the road by 9 a.m. We only stopped twice (another unbelievable feat) and reached our beach house around 7 p.m.

The house was great, the weather was mostly great (despite some thick haze on Sunday and storms by the following Friday), and the company was excellent. I took what I think are some of my best beach photos, including a family portrait I set up and took myself with the timer. Oh yeah, I have been patting myself on the back over that one for a couple weeks now. I didn’t seem to take my camera anywhere other than the beach and the pool. But we did go out to eat a few times, ran, rode our bikes, and Jay and I even got a date night to celebrate our anniversary.

HereĀ  are some of the highlights:

Encountered this our first morning on the balcony off our bedroom. While cool to photograph, it still gives me the willies.

Encountered this our first morning on the balcony off our bedroom. While cool to photograph, it still gives me the willies.

The first day was really hazy until around dinner time. As Jay said, it was "like horror movie mist."

The first day was really hazy until around dinner time. As Jay said, it was “like horror movie mist.”

But, we persevered.

But, we persevered.

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Once the horror mist burned off, we were able to get some clearer shots, even though by then it was dusk.

Once the horror mist burned off, we were able to get some clearer shots, even though by then it was dusk.

Our house at night.

Our house at night.

The next day was beautiful, the kids had a great time building sandcastles.

The next day was beautiful, the kids had a great time building sandcastles.

And the boys caught sand fleas.

And the boys caught sand fleas.

The house was in a perfect spot.

The house was in a perfect spot.

In the afternoon we enjoyed cooling off in the pool.

In the afternoon we enjoyed cooling off in the pool.

Aislinn had a great time jumping to grandpa.

Aislinn had a great time jumping to grandpa.

Here's the front of the house. Or maybe the back. Not sure how that works.

Here’s the front of the house from the pool. Or maybe the back. Not sure how that works.

Monday night we had a little photo shoot. As you've all probably heard, I'm pretty proud of this one.

Monday night we had the little photo shoot. Boo-yah.

This one makes me laugh because this "pose" was all Gabe's idea. "Mom, I know, how about we kneel in the sand?"

This one makes me laugh because this “pose” was all Gabe’s idea. “Mom, I know, how about we kneel in the sand?”

The family shot. Also pretty decent.

The family shot. Also pretty decent.

The three amigos.

The three amigos.

The rest of the days were spent on the beach, Gabe got in some boogie boarding on the one day the ocean was slightly above freezing.

The rest of the days were spent on the beach, Gabe got in some boogie boarding on the one day the ocean was slightly above freezing.

The kids wanted to do some early morning crab catching.

The kids wanted to do some early morning crab catching.

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And then it was back to sandcastle building.

And then it was back to sandcastle building.

Thursday night brought in a pretty scary-looking storm, but it passed through quickly.

Thursday night brought in a pretty scary-looking storm, but it passed through quickly.

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A dead ray washed ashore Friday morning. The boys went to have a look at it.

A dead ray washed ashore Friday morning. The boys went to have a look at it.

There you have it. I can’t believe vacation is already over. I feel like it went really fast. Maybe because I didn’t have much time to look forward to it since May was such a crazy few weeks. But we always have the memories. And the photos. And the blog post. And the 10,000 shells the kids brought back.

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