A family vacation is a memorable experience for a number of reasons, including the fact it’s absolutely exhausting.
When we left for our favorite little piece of paradise on the Bogue Banks in North Carolina last weekend, I was desperately in need of some rest and relaxation. When we returned, I was even more exhausted and am still searching today for some rest and relaxation.
No, this was not a vacation full of endless hours with little on the mind to recharge the batteries. Nope. That didn’t happen. There was no reading, no sleeping in and no quiet dinners. There was nothing of the sort.
This was a busy seven days of early-morning wakeup calls and tons of customer service when it came to my boys. Beckett is now almost 3 ½ years old and Carson turns 2 in a couple weeks.
However, this trip to the southern Outer Banks area (SOBX) was full of wonderful memories for my family, and it’s impossible not to enjoy being away from home and living on the ocean in a quiet, quaint beach town.
The best way to describe this vacation was it had numerous highs and lows.
Almost all of the high moments took place outside when the sun was shining and the kids were running on the beach, swimming in the pool or doing anything that had to do with burning off energy.
When we went inside to our rented house, which was anything but child proof and provided a number of challenges, that’s when things got a little testy, leaving me teetering on the verge of numerous adult meltdowns.
One particular scene described it well. It was a rainy day and we were about to leave the house for a nearby aquarium, but not before Carson and Beckett had managed to show off their climbing abilities.
While Pam and I were gathering all the required stuff for the day trip, Beckett and Carson had managed to both get atop the dinner table. When we turned to check on them, both kids were standing on the dinner table looking our way and laughing hysterically.
Somehow Beckett had managed to shed all his clothes with the exception of a sock, while Carson was holding a wooden spoon in one hand that I swore not a minutes before was in the dishwasher.
At the time, this was anything but funny, as my anxiety level had been running high since learning the weather was going to keep us from the beach on the first two days of our vacation.
Looking back on it today, it was a hilarious sight, and the looks on their faces of successful deviance fairly represented this entire getaway. If I wasn’t so agitated, a photo would have been nice.
In Beckett’s case, this was a trip of many firsts. It was when he officially became potty trained, the first time he really nailed riding a bike (training wheels still, yes) and may have set a new personal record for somersaults on the beach.
For the last few months, potty training Beckett has been full of challenges, but it hasn’t been his fault. We have not fully committed to the task, as we should have, but recent signs indicated he was ready, and this trip allowed the time to work on it. We happily came home with a little guy who now does all of his business on the potty.
The free time also allowed Beckett time to polish his bike riding skills, and he did not disappoint, getting a huge kick out of what he called, “riding his bike like a big boy by the ocean.”
Another thing he liked to do “by the ocean” was somersaults. It became a funny little show among the daily beach walkers, as Beckett would chase them down and demonstrate his somersault abilities. The conversation usually went something like this, “hey, hey you want to be my friend? Watch me do my somersaults on the beach”. This played out dozens of times each day.
For Carson, the time away served as confirmation of a couple things. First, there is no crib he can’t climb out of, and, secondly, he has found his voice after having very little to say at all for the first 23 months of his life.
Carson has indeed come into his own. It’s good news of course, but it also provides new challenges for my family.
It appears the days of the baby of the house sleeping in a crib could be numbered. He is a master of the escape and is up to the task, particularly in the rented crib we used while away. It took him a matter of minutes on the first night to climb out, leaving us no other choice but to get creative and resourceful with what was available.
Additionally, we now have two kids who never stop talking, instead of one, and they are teaming up against us often.
During his first two years, Carson has always been the quiet one, preferring to observe and maintaining a laidback approach to life. Those days are behind us now, as he has a mind of his own and is even more active now than his big brother. What has developed has been a bond between the brothers.
For instance, on the seven-hour drive home, Beckett was adamant about singing/screaming most of the way, and at one point he was on a mission to get Carson involved as well. When Carson joined in the singing/screaming thing (there really is no difference at 3 and 2), Beckett would give him a round of applause, which only encouraged Carson to keep it going, taking the noise level to the point it rattled our nerves more than ever before.
Indeed, it was a vacation I will never forget.