Travels

Hatteras Island Vacation 2017

Well, we’re back from another really fun, really interesting summer vacation! My parents rented a house on the sound side of Hatteras Island this year and my sisters and their families, my family, and my parents all headed down for a week of fun in the sun! We had a great time even though it ended a little crazy, but I’ll get to that.

Back up to the day before we left. The girls and I headed out for their very first pedicures! Yay! I promised them earlier in the week that if they could be helpful and patient with all the packing on Friday that I would treat them to special drinks and pedis. We made a quick stop at Bean Traders to grab smoothies for the girls and coffee for mommy because at that point in the day I was DRAGGING!

The girls totally cracked me up when we were getting the pedicures. JJ was completely fascinated by the massage chairs and Teddy could not stop laughing. Or asking questions. Once the lady started on her feet she was all “what is that thing? What are you going to do with that?” and my personal favorite “are you trying to tickle my feet?” Thank goodness the lady working on her was so patient and sweet and just laughed with her (along with everyone in her vicinity).

With our toes all beautiful and our bags all packed (which was an undertaking in and of itself. Whew! I think packing for vacation with kids is approximately 5000 times harder than packing without. And no, I’m not prone to exaggeration ;).), we were beach-ready! It takes about 3-4 hours to get to the Outer Banks from where we live, depending on which part you’re headed to. The trip to Hatteras took us almost 5 due to stops almost every hour (sigh).

Totally worth it when we got there, though! My dad and brother-in-law ran out to grab takeout and we all chowed down on pizza for dinner. Shortly after, I looked out the dining room window and saw this:

(Sorry for the not-ideal picture through the screen!)

They could not WAIT to jump in that pool! It was a huge hit all week long. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without it on the couple occasions that we had poor beach weather. It was a total life-saver with the kiddos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our trip this year was extra special because none of the kiddos had ever seen the ocean before. Before we got there I was pretty nervous that one or both of my girls would freak out over the loud sounds, big waves, cold water–just whatever really. But from the minute we got down to the beach they were taken with it. They jumped, they played, they splashed.

Seriously can’t get enough of her. Her facial expressions always give away exactly what she’s feeling.

Teddy even rode some waves on our boogie board. After her first successful run, she jumped up and said to Corey, “I crushed it??” Haha! She is such a brave girl, always up for trying new things. I was so proud of her this week.

JJ was really into building sandcastles on the beach. Wait, that’s probably an understatement. She took it very seriously, and by the end of the week was building sandcastle cities with trenches running between them. I’m telling you, she is going to do something amazing with that mind of hers paired with her strong work ethic. Just watch and see!

So, while we were livin’ it up OBX-style ;), one night the power went out….and just never came back on. I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and the light wouldn’t turn on. I thought “oh, we must have somehow tripped a breaker in our room.” Total wishful thinking there, y’all. At about 7:30 am my mom texted me to tell me they were out driving around Hatteras and the whole island was without power. They were trying to find some coffee and there was none to be found. Anywhere. If you know anything about the Brady family you know that no coffee situations classify as dire emergencies. They came back with bottled Starbucks frapps and we tried to formulate a plan. No one seemed to know how long the power would be out and there were a lot of rumors that generators were being flown in by the military. So we decided to just head to the beach and hope for the best. Well, the news never got better.

By the time we came back to the house that evening the report was that it could take weeks for the power to come back on. Sadly, we decided it made the most sense to pack up and leave a day early. Rain was in the forecast for most of the next day and none of us really wanted to sit inside with no air conditioning–and more importantly, no coffee!!–all day long. So Friday morning we packed up and drove up the coast to Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills to enjoy some of our favorite places before we all parted ways.

We hit up Outer Banks Brewing Station for lunch, which was amazing as always. They honestly have the freshest seafood prepared the best way. I seriously think about their shrimp and grits with red eye gravy about once a week. This time around I had ahi tuna with a cucumber salad that I could not quit raving about. Afterward we went to Front Porch Cafe to get some of our very favorite coffee.

It had rained off an on all day and the sky remained very overcast. We were kicking around the idea of going to Jockey’s Ridge and finally decided to just go for it and hope the rain held off. I’m so glad we did! The girls and baby Jesse had a blast.

Watching some tiny frogs hop around.

After 3 runs down this hill I was DONE. The girls ran up and down 10 times…no lie.

It was so nice to let the kids run off some energy before we all got in our cars to head home. Our girls totally wore themselves out running up and down the dunes. They were asleep about 15 minutes into our drive.

All in all, it was a successful and fun Brady family vacation–even with the unintentional adventure of going power-free for a day and a half ;). We thoroughly enjoyed just being together, and there’s almost nothing I love more than to watch my girls fall more in love with my family and vice versa. I know these are the things we’ll look back on decades from now as the highlights of our first years home as a family of four.

We can’t wait to see you again next year, OBX!!

 

 

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Life at the Hart’s

You guys, I’ve neglected this space a lot longer than I meant to. I think I’ve had a goal of sitting down to write here twice a week, and I’ve totally failed every single week since we’ve been back. To be honest, life has been a bit crazy and it has taken quite a while to get into a routine around here. Because we spent such a long time in Uganda, I headed back to work the week after we got back, which made our weeks pretty busy and delayed the feeling of being all settled in. Full disclosure here: some of our suitcases weren’t unpacked until this week. I had mountains of laundry left from Uganda, we still haven’t gone through all the mail we got while we were gone, and a friend had to come help me vacuum and mop the house this week (eek!) because it hadn’t been done since November. Whew!

I think this week for the first time we really got into a decent routine. The girls didn’t seem as bothered by the disruptions in our schedule (read: far less tears and tantrums), and we managed to get the house in decent shape AND keep everyone fed and clean ;). It feels like quite a feat. For the first time in a very long time, I’m starting to feel like we can actually do this. It’s a good feeling.

All this to say, I want to spend time writing here about life, our adoptions, our time in Uganda, and so much more, but I want to do it well. It’s all coming, I promise! It just might take a little while. For now, I wanted to share some family pictures we took while we were in PA over Easter weekend.

Fam

daddy

JJ and her faces. Always cracking us up.

Tandme      Tanddaddy

mommyandT      Janddaddy

And finally, one of the whole family together

family

We had so much fun spending time with family and, of course, meeting (almost) brand new baby Jesse! I think the girls’ lives were made. They have talked about him and looked at pictures of him for so long, that seeing him and holding him was like a dream come true!

                                    BabyJ

TandJesse

JJajja

This week mommy is working night shift (ughhhhh) and we’re looking forward to a visit from Auntie Lu!! Yay! I hope everyone’s weeks are off to a great start!

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Hello from Jinja!!

Well, we made it to Uganda! After a couple sleepless nights (Literally. From Saturday morning until Tuesday night, we really only slept a couple hours. Total. Not fun.), we feel like we’re getting back on track. So far, our trip has been enjoyable. We are in love with Jinja. We totally lucked out and are staying in an apartment of a friend’s friend. It is the cutest place and the people here have been so good to us. We have a nice little routine of waking up in the morning and having coffee (and cold showers….brrr!) before heading out. We’ve been able to cook our own food, which is nice when you’re away from home.

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Corey made an amazing vegetable curry the second night we were here.

We met one of met one of our girls yesterday and it went really well. She is such a sweetie and just loves being held. We’re looking forward to another couple of days spent bonding before we head back to Kampala.

I’ll post more about some of the things we’re doing in Jinja in the next couple of days. It is the cutest town. We’re kind of in love with it. Corey is already scheming about our next trip here.

Thank you everyone for your prayers while we’re here. Please keep praying that things will move along quickly.

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