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A lovely beach vacation (even without ice cream)

OBX Trip AUG 2017 - 5 of 28

When we first moved to Northern Virginia six years ago, I had to look up what OBX stood for after seeing it on so many bumper stickers. Outer Banks, NC — the place seemingly everyone in NoVA (with a kid or two, at least) goes for a quick summer vacation.

And, after adding that second kid this spring and bracing for a busy fall season, that’s just what we had in mind when we headed there last month. We also wanted to see if Cora, who turns three this week, still hates the feel of sand between her toes. Good news: she’s way over that. And way into waves.

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We picked what may have been an ideal summer weekend to head to OBX. Most Virginia schools were starting that Monday, and North Carolina schools were already in session. There were moments when we had the beaches near Kittyhawk and Kill Devils Hills practically to ourselves.

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My husband started a masters program, on top of his regular job and weekend duties as a Naval reservist, in September, so we knew this would be a much-needed window of togetherness before the crazy set in. We also knew to lower our expectations of what we could accomplish with two young, nap-loving kids. There were lots of things on our list that we just didn’t get to this time, and that’s OK.

We got in the necessities:

  • Beach time every day √
  • Leisurely breakfasts by the pool at our AirBNB √
  • Duck Donuts √
  • A growler of beer filled at the local brewery our first night √
  • Ma & Pa Happy Hour by the pool every afternoon during naps √
  • Early dinners out on the town √
  • Pushing the kids a wee bit past bedtimes for desserts √ and beach walks √
  • Family togetherness (without laundry looming or work waiting, sigh) √

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The trip wasn’t all rainbows and ice cream, however. In fact, there was no ice cream for me. We found out a couple days before we left that Charlie’s pediatrician suspects a dairy allergy as the cause of what had over several weeks become a full-body eczema flare. The Monday before we left, his sweet cheeks were red and raw and weepy. Since I’m nursing him, I knew the pediatrician would want me to give up dairy even before she said the words. As motivated as I was to see his skin healed, I knew it wouldn’t make eating out on vacation — or forgoing pizza and ice cream — any easier.

When I posted about my dairy-free pity party on Facebook, I was surprised by how many friends have done dairy-free stints while their kids were young or because of their own health issues — and I was inundated with dairy-less ice cream options. Thanks guys!

So you can imagine my excitement when we discovered an ice cream shop that had not one, but TWO dairy-free sorbet options: the Surfin’ Spoon. The owner, who has young kids as well, told us they have lots of friends whose kids have allergies, and they want them to have ice cream options, too. God bless him. We came back the next night and bought T-shirt swag to remember them by.

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Other must-eats from our short stay at the OBX?

We also really enjoyed our B.Y.O. options. We’ve learned enough from traveling with kids and — who am I kidding — me, that not having food on hand for early mornings is not a good idea. So we settled for “first breakfasts” of avocado toasts, cantaloupe and really good coffee from the Front Porch Cafe (try the morning blend, all roasted in-house) at the house rather than trying to get out the door while hungry. Charlie usually took his first little nap around this time, too, and Cole and Cora got some time in the pool while I journaled (aka Whitney’s idea of a perfect vacation). Our Air BNB hosts were gracious, and we so enjoyed the comfort of their basement apartment, including a great garden setting, hot tub and hammock (Check them out here!).

Charlie’s skin reactions cleared up over the vacation and then got worse again after we returned. We got into a great allergist, got him on an “eczema care plan” and are doing testing for food allergies on Friday. I can’t believe I have another child with food allergies, but I hope to write more about what we’re learning through all this soon.

Over the vacation, the kids also got to work on their togetherness. I think this photos series pretty much explains their relationship so far…

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Charlie LOVES Cora. Cora… will tolerate Charlie for a photo or two, and then she says, “Mama, I’m done. Take Charlie.”

This is the good stuff, though, and we are so thankful we had the chance to get away for a long weekend together. What did your family do for vacation this summer? Have you been to the Outer Banks? Favorite spots?

I’ll leave you with a photo of Cora “helping” Daddy build a sand castle. She was interested for about three minutes before returning to her favorite beach activity: Singing and Dancing.

OBX Trip AUG 2017 - 26 of 28

Cheers,
Whitney

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