"So we...entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer."
Somewhere in the fogginess of being half-asleep I heard something ringing. I thought it would go away soon but it didn't, so my fuzzy brain finally filtered that someone's phone was ringing. I opened my eyes, then thought for a second and then hurriedly shook Hannah's shoulder and whispered (loudly) "Mama's phone is ringing!" We laid in bed for a few more minutes after it went quiet and then we heard the van doors slam shut (we park under our big window). By now, Lexi (and maybe even Eden) was up and Lex ran to the window. Daddy was carrying stuff into the van!
"Daddy, are we leaving for the beach?!" she asked excitedly through the screen.
"No, I'm packing up just in case." Sure.
Well, we were a little bit dampened by his comment but with the phone ringing and Daddy packing the car we thought that he had to be tricking us.
It was 6:30 A.M. so we just decided to get up. I don't remember the exact details of how I found out, but this I remember:
WE GOT THE CALL THAT WE COULD LEAVE FOR THE BEACH!!!! YAY!!
Paw-paw (my grandpa) had gone on the Carolina Designs website and found that they were letting vacationers in at Noon. Soon all of us were up and running around like madmen. Thankfully we had had our bags packed for at least 2 days already so we just cleaned the house, helped Mama with whatever she needed, packed food, etc. We were so excited!
Hannah and Eden packing up!
Lexi packing the medicine stuff.
At this point we were still out of power but we didn't care! We were going to the beach and they had power! No more pouring water down the back of the toilet so we could flush! :)
Lydia showing off all the stuff packed in the van!
Daddy is a master packer and it's amazing how much stuff we can fit in every nook and cranny!
This is the "aisleway" of the van.
When we finally left it had a bunch more stuff in it!
This is near the front of the van and (once again) there was a lot more stuff in it after the packing was completely done. :)
[That figure in the middle of the picture is Josiah...he didn't want to smile for a picture and that was how he let me know. :)]
After packing anything and everything, checking and re-checking again we could finally leave!
(We were originally planning on driving with everyone else but we decided to just go by ourselves.)
We were all smiles!! (These are the "backseat riders", FYI.)
Myself, Josiah, and Lexi rode in the middle seat! (Can you tell that we're a little giddy?)
Lydia, Caleb, and Judah rode in what was (at the time) the front of the back seats.
Just because he's the youngest (and so very cute) Judah got his own picture! :)
Daddy said a prayer before we left and then we were off!
I could hardly focus on reading my Bible once we were going...we were finally going to the beach and I was excited!! Ah!
The sky when we left was absolutely amazing:
I eventually got my focus back and settled into the 3-4 hour drive. (We left our house around 9 A.M.)
We stopped at two gas stations and a Chick-Fil-A as we drove down to Nags Head, NC. We so wanted to get to the beach that we didn't eat breakfast before we left! So, we used some of our Chick-Fil-A gift cards we got from Grandpa and Grandma, to get us a huge breakfast/lunch in Newport News, VA.
Once we were in North Carolina, and nearing Nags Head, we stopped at Morris Farm Market. We stop there every year and pick up some of their delicious fruit!
Lydia and Judah were grateful to get out of their seats!
Morris' Farm Market has lots of old tractors everywhere that the kids love to climb on! I watched Eden, Josiah, and Lydia while everyone else went to get some fruit!
Dreaming about driving a trator...
The excited trio!
I love Lydia's smile...it looks so mischevious yet cute at the same time!
After climbing all over some tractors, we went in the market to find everybody else. We met up with Lexi who had found an adorable little kitten:
|Thanks to Lexi for this picture!|
Josiah (and all the little guys) loved the kitty!
The mouthwatering peaches we got!!! If you're ever going down to the OBX, make sure to stop by Morris Farm Market...everything is great!
Once back in the car, we opened some candy that a friend of ours, Miss Erin, gave us before we left. She said that it was a tradition in her family to buy candy to "stay awake" on the drive, so she blessed us with lots of different yummies!
Judah was quite a trooper. He missed out on a few naps during the day!
Well, at the realty office. Daddy tried to get the keys to our rental house but it wasn't ready yet, so we couldn't get inside. Undeterred, we decided to go to our house anyways and let our other family members (who were about 1 hour behind us) pick up the key.
Excitement kept building and building as we got closer to the house. It took a little effort to find but thankfully our house was blue so it stood out a bit from the rest! :)
Everything must be good...Dad's giving the "thumbs up"!
The cleaners were still working inside the house so we said hi and just told them we were the next occupants. They were okay with that, so we headed for the gazebo which led to the beach!!
We had to walk through our pool area to get to the gazebo and we saw all the pool furniture in the pool...covered in sand. The sand was at least 2-3 inches deep in there!
The pool wasn't the only thing with sand! All the concrete around the pool was covered and the railings were covered quite nicely too. :)
We decided to worry about that stuff later and just went up to the gazebo. Our gazebo was huge and had a nice hammock (which was somewhat perilous to get into)...it was probably one of the nicest gazebos we've seen yet!
Lexi and Josiah made it down to the beach before me:
And, yes, it was a very foggy day! :)
Lydia in the gazebo.
Judah had never been to the beach before (well, he had visited it in utero) so we were excited to see what he would think of the sand and ocean.
The sand he didn't mind too much....
...but he absolutely loved the ocean!!
Lydia and Lexi enjoying the water!
The sun started to come out!
Here's the "front" of the house.
All that greenish/yellow stuff is sand. That's how covered everything was!
This is the view from the gazebo...we really were not far from the ocean!
The other side of the house.
Our driveway had these beautiful plants lining it...I absolutely love these plants and I was going to get more pictures of them later but I forgot. :-(
After seeing everything we wanted we set to work. We all started scraping sand out of the pool area with our feet or with the various shovels we had brought. Daddy then shoveled the piled sand over the fence and then Mama, Hannah, and I started rubbing the sand off the fence with our brothers, and Daddy's, shirts. :)
As we were finishing up the pool area, Aunt T.C. and our cousins, Collin and Mason, arrived. By that time Mama, Hannah, and I were done rubbing off the sand so we started cleaning off the steps and railings on the different levels. Lexi started sweeping the decks (that were covered in sand) and Daddy continued removing as much sand from the pool area as he could. [We were very glad the house was just covered with sand, and not condemned, from the Hurricane!]
When Uncle Kevin, Aunt Megan, and our cousins, Cadence, Justus, and Asher, arrived Uncle Kev. helped clean the pool area with the hose.
When the cleaners were done inside, we toured the house and started picking out our rooms. Then Na-naw arrived (Paw-paw went to the store) and the unpacking began!
This was the room that Hannah, Alexis, and I shared. This was the first year that we had a room on the second level. Almost all of the big houses have the bunkbed rooms on the bottom floor (far away from the adults...) so we haven't ever had the chance to be on the "adult floor." Well, this year we got a room on the same floor as the adults! It was quite wonderful. :)
Our cousin, Mason, and Josiah on the steps outside.
As everyone else unloaded their vehicles and carried them to their rooms, I got to watch the younger ones in the captain's watch.
When everything was inside, we started unpacking all the stuff!
Every year at the beach we have a "candy table". This year we had peppermint patties, nerds, bottle caps, sweet tarts, laffy taffy, m&m's, and dried cherries (which taste so good, they count as a candy for me! :).
Aunt T.C. holding Asher.
I thought our house was really pretty on the inside! I didn't take any pictures of the interior but if you want to see, go here (and just know, it's a lot prettier than it looks in the pictures!).
When unpacking was over, I went around the house and found Collin (a cousin) playing pool with Caleb.
Collin won the game when Caleb shot the 8 ball in the pocket. Oops!
Hannah was in the kitchen making dinner for all of us! She cooked up some homemade Chinese that was very yummy!
We ate dinner around 6 P.M. that night.
Doesn't it look yummy?!
After dinner we all just enjoyed being at the beach after coming so close to not being able to go (thanks to Irene!).
The Lord was so good to let us go down on Monday. So many people couldn't go down at all...and if they didn't have hurricane insurance (like us) than they would've missed their vacation. Another praise from the week was that our house was in Nags Head. If it had been in Hatteras (or any of the "wilder" places where my immediate family prefers) there was no way we would have had a vacation. (To give you an idea of how bad it was...6 days after Irene hit they still hadn't let residents get back to their homes...)
Next post will be on our first, full day at the beach! Stay tuned!