Saturday, September 3, 2011

Day 4 Road Trip: Goodbye Mountains...Hello Ocean!!

We all woke up at around 6:00 a.m.....well....everyone except Sam. Sam decided to sleep in and since he's not the most helpful with packing we allowed it. We had packed up our bags the night before so we now needed to load the van and pack the cooler. So, what does travelling with 3 kids in a van look like, you may ask??? Well the back is always packed tight full especially with the addition of the wheelchair this year.

My rule is always to keep a good portion of the back windows viewable. Our biggest dilemma is usually getting the two teenage girls to limit their bags. I usually start by telling them they are allowed one bag and a carry on. We normally end up with 2 bags and a carry on and a great story about why they need that extra bag. They know me...I'm a push over.

The front seat is our 2nd storage area. We normally will pack all food items and the cooler into this area.

This makes it easy for me to grab a water or snack if I need one while the kids are sleeping. We then woke up, dressed, fed and loaded Mr. Crabby Pants into the van and left the beauty of the mountain cabin at 7:30 a.m. I think both the van and I were thrilled that this was the last time we would be traveling these very interesting, curvy, dangerous and often times scary roads.

Our drive to North Carolina was uneventful after Johnny led us through another interesting mountain pass to get to the highway. The kids napped, read or sang loudly to the radio. Danielle perfected her rap to Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass" while the song "Take A Back Road" by Rodney Atkins became this year's official road trip song. We arrived in the Outer Banks at 3:30 but it took until 5:00 to actually arrive at our house. Danielle had an ADHD moment (please understand we have a lot of these in our home) when she saw a chicken run across the road. We often talk about Ben, Jeff or Sam as being in one conversation one moment and then going into something completely different the next moment and we document these times by saying "Oh look, there goes a chicken!" We laughed hysterically when Danielle actually made this moment a reality by saying that particular phrase and meaning it. The traffic in the Outer Banks on the weekend is crazy as people check out and check in but we were happy to check out the beautiful properties and very different from the mountains of Tennessee. We saw sand dunes, beach homes, beach mansions and the ocean.

I have to tell you a funny story about how we chose this particular property. I spent hours looking at houses in the Outer Banks on and trying to find a house with a large secluded private pool, close to the beach and in our price range. The pools never seemed quite right and if they did the price was way too high. As I was looking one night, Sam asked me to change the channel on his TV, so I got up and changed it and as I did he grabbed the mouse and clicked on a property. At first I was mad because he had lost my place but then I looked at the place he selected and it was perfect. A big secluded pool, a doable price and only a 5 minute walk to the beach. I next checked the calendar and unbelievably there was one week available in August. So we planned the whole trip around Sam's find. you believe in divine intervention now????

We pulled up to our sandy entrance at 37 11th Avenue in Southern Shores, NC. The house was everything we had hoped for. It was perfectly secluded, no neighbors to worry about.

I loved all the decks but the parts we knew Sam would love were behind the home and 5 minutes down the street. Check out this gorgeous pool that was always at the perfect temperature.

And within a 5 minute walk was...the ocean!

We unloaded the van and moved in. The place was perfect for us, a few too many steps for Sam but most of the homes are built like this.

Sam and I had our own rooms with Danielle and Brooke sharing a room and one bedroom remained unused.

The first floor was the under house parking, outdoor shower, storage and the wonderful hammock.

The second floor was the bedrooms.

The third floor was the living room, kitchen and dining area.

When we got everyone moved in Danielle and I headed to the grocery store. Sam stayed home to watch some SpongeBob but then drifted off to sleep. Brooke unpacked her suitcases and updated our trip diary. We decided to make a favorite pasta salad which we would use for quick and easy lunches with some fruit or vegetables so we could spend as much time at the pool or beach as possible. This pasta salad is so yummy that I thought I would share the recipe with you.

Picnic Pasta Salad

1 package (12 oz) tricolor pasta
1/2 lb. fresh broccoli florets
12 oz. munster cheese cubed
12 oz. turkey ham cubed
1 medium sweet red pepper cubed
1 medium green pepper cubed
1 can sliced ripe olives
1 medium red onion chopped
Garlic powder to taste
2 envelopes Italian salad dressing prepared

Cook spiral pasta according to package directions, drain and rinse in cold water. In large bowl add the remaining ingredients.

Prepare salad dressing according to package, pour over, toss to coat and refrigerate. Enjoy!!

Brooke and Danielle love to help prepare meals so I had them cubing everything. I didn't realize this was going to become so emotional for them. The red onion had Brooke in tears within minutes, Danielle followed shortly thereafter and I laughed hysterically watching the two of them try to get through the onion cutting ordeal.

Sam and I departed for bed early since I was tired from driving and Sam's hip seemed to be stiff and sore. Danielle and Brooke took up another road trip tradition....watching horror films. The movie choice for the evening was "Dead End".

We decided not to show Sam the pool until the next day due to some rain and clouds appearing as we arrived. I couldn't wait to see his reaction!! Good night everyone!

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