Monday, July 26, 2010

Back to that Same Old Place, Sweet Home Chicago

We're home from our adventure. Finally, after years days of driving, we made it back to the land of traffic, where there are no cows, where Coke, 7-Up, and root beer are all called "pop", where pickups don't have gun racks and confederate flags, where drivers are rude and cut you off for no reason, where there's good pizza, and where it isn't 4000 degrees in the shade.

My kids got to see 9 states and Washington DC on this trip! We drove out of Illinois, across Indiana, across Ohio, through Pennsylvania, down through Maryland, around DC, through Virginia, and into North Carolina. On the way home, we drove across North Carolina, into Tennessee, up through Kentucky, up through Indiana, and back to Illinois. Whew! That was a LOT of driving. More than once, I fantasized about stopping at the nearest airport, abandoning my car, and flying home. With no one to switch off with, driving all that way was tiring. My shoulders are still sore and tense!

We had a great relaxing time at the beach. I really loved the Outer Banks (except the lack of internet connection!). It's a touristy place, yes, but still, it wasn't crowded with obnoxious tourists. I would absolutely go (read, FLY) back there again. Okay, maybe I wouldn't fly, but I'd definitely take several more days to drive down there and back, and I'd take time out to stop and see the sights along the way.

So, here are some highlights, in no particular order (mostly because it's taking me forever to arrange the stupid pictures on here)...

Brooklyn passed out after Austin made my car into a gas chamber.


This is when I knew we'd been in the south just a little too long.


On the way home, I met up with my friend Beej and her son, Kevin. We had lunch and then walked around the Bass Pro Shop while the kids ran around and stretched a bit. Thanks for meeting me, Beej and thanks for all the Silly Bandz!








Here's another friend I met up with in Tennessee. He's a blogger too. He's a single dad of six kids...


This is what happens when you let my kids loose in a hotel.




stinkin Virginia traffic on the way home




the beach house we stayed in
















Here's the end of our deck which stopped right at the beach. And yes, it was that empty on the beach. It was awesome!






Currituck Sound




These next pictures were taken on the beach right as a storm was rolling in. It was very cool!














more stinkin Virginia traffic on the way there








We all love, love, loved North Carolina! Savannah's allergies had been horrible a week or so before we left. Most of the first day driving there, she was a huge, watery-eyed, snot-nosed mess. She didn't take a single allergy pill the entire time we were there though. Last night, driving home, her allergies started up again. Whatever's in the air up here that bothers her, apparently isn't in North Carolina. Another reason to move! Oh yeah, and she saw a Panera Bread there so she said she could move. We'll see...

49 comments:

heather said...

BEEJ IS ALIVE????????? Wow. See-I knew all bloggers had a secret society. You both looked great.

Very fun trip. And I can't imagine doing it with only one kid. You are my hero to have done it with SIX.

How many times did you threaten to pull the car over if they didn't knock it off?

Andrea said...

I used to travel to NC on business. It is really beautiful and I always said I'd like to retire there if I am able to. However, it really is the south! It will definitely take some getting used to by us yankees.
I liked your picture where you said you knew you'd been in the south too long by what Brooklyn was holding. I always said it was time for me to go home when I started saying y'all! That usually took 3-4 days but the more frequently I traveled there, the sooner I'd be saying y'all. Another NC-ism is I "might could" do that. Or "I'm fixin' to" do whatever they are getting ready to do. And instead of pushing a button, they "mash" the button.
Sorry - no offense to all you southerners who read Dawn's blog. I really do love North Carolina!

Dayna said...

Panera is reason enough in itself to move. I live in southwestern New Mexico (where there are no Panera's) and in June I took a 4000 mile road trip throughout the midwest (my destination was Champaign, IL). There I was introduced to Panera...and fell instantly in love. I so miss those cinnamon crunchy bagels...yum-o!!

Panera is the best!

PamGram said...

Wow,looks like you all had an AWESOME time. Love all the pics of your kids,and you have one heck of a sunburn OUCH! You really are a fantastic photographer.Hey you found Edith Ann's beach chair and that's the truth thssss.

Anonymous said...

Those are wonderful Photo's I LOVE the one's of the kids together, so glad you captured them! Great tan lady :)
aww Yay Spuds!

Linda said...

Hmmmm, you just happened to spend part of your trip with a certain blogger who is a single dad to 6 kids. That's it?!? You don't have anything else to say about that? ;) I love the picture of you in the white shirt - you look so happy!! :)

WeaselMomma said...

Looks like you had a great time! It almost makes me want to take the trip. Except for all that driving.

Jen@Scrapingirl said...

Those were some cute pics of the kids.
Did you get all your 12 kids together, or just you go out? What he like? WHat were his kids like, if you met them?
I liked the one of you in the white shirt also. Very beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Missed my crib by 60 miles (Baltimore, MD). I-70... know it well.
Word on the allergy relief - something about the south that cures all that ails you.

Next time, take a trip down I-65 and see where you end up... ;)

Dokemion said...

Seems like you had a great great deal of fun! Sweet photos!


single moms

Anonymous said...

*wilf whistles* Hey WOW, you look grrrrreaaaat!! and happy! And u look rather tiny next to Spud LOL!

Looks like you guys had a wonderful time, I hope you did, cos you sure deserve it. :)

On a sidenote, this is rather unrelated to this post, but I want to say how beautiful a person I think you are, inside and out. And for the mom you are and is trying to be. People like you inspire me to be a better mom to my precious kids. You really deserve all the happiness in the world.

Love, C.

Anonymous said...

As a life-long allergy sufferer, I can tell you that 2 years after moving to a new environment, the allergy-prone will become allergic to the new stuff. You can even move to a dessert environment and become allergic to various cacti. As several allergists have told me, if you are allergy-prone, you will suffer from the local flora no matter shere you live. It's no fair!

Pat

Kirsten said...

I absolutely LOVE the outer banks ... been many times. Last year's visit to Duck was amazing and wonderful and great! Glad you enjoyed it too.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to Jackson's hair?!?!? Am I the only one who thought his long-haired surfer look made him stand out from his siblings? And yes, that's a must answer question.

Robin said...

Love the pics. It really looks like you all had a great time. And I'm with the previous comment - you spent time with Spuds and all we got was one photo and a tiny blurb about it?!?!?! After all the blog banter while you were visiting, that's all you're going to give us?

Jensamom23 said...

Thanks for sharing with us! I love the picture of all the kids holding hands.

Karin said...

What a great beach house with that deck! Amazing! Funny how Savannah had no problems with her allergy down there. I noticed exactly the same thing when I was in Florida for our vacation a few weeks ago and had no runny nose etc and the moment I got back to Chicago land there it was again!! Definitely something in the air here.
You look fantastic!

Mimicutelips said...

Sounds like a fun filled trip. I'm a MD resident and I work in DC. You gals need to check out our area and stay at the National Harbor.

Sharon said...

Glad to hear you had a wonderful vacation...despite all the solo driving! YUCK! FYI, the salt air is really good for allergies. I never have any of the "midwest sinus" problems when I'm in either the OBX or Hilton Head. It sure is a more laid back way of life down there. Probably takes a little getting used to but then again, I'm also from Chicago and despise the traffic and weather we have here!

Clare said...

Fantastic photos. You've really made me want to take my children to the beach - if you can do it with 6 then I can do it with 2 right?!
I, too, love the picture of your children holding hands:)

Jennie said...

I love the pics of the kids, beach, agree with the one about you in the white shirt...freaken Spuds! Sounds like a wonderful time..the beach always has a way of doing that to you. Minus all the unfun parts of course.
Ditto on details too! Hope you two had a wonderful time.

Lyuda said...

No,no,no! You can't do that...DO TELL ALL about your visit with Spuds!!! :) And love your pics, especially the stormy ones and all the kids facing the ocean..

Gwen said...

I live near Raleigh and I love going to the beach in part because it is a couple of days off from the allergies... I suspect it's a beach thing just because that breeze off the ocean doesn't have so much pollen and pollutants in it.

Donna said...

Hope you didn't have water in your house on your return. Saw alot of the mess on TV.
Glad you all had a great time and the kids and you will have so many neat memories.
Loved all the pictures and hope someone can get the ones you lost back.
Oh and how handsome Spuds is !!!!
Hope to hear more about that visit.
You and Spuds are my hero's.
I don't think I could have raised 6 kids by myself ! But when push comes to shove.... anything is possible.

Thanks for sharing as now we all have memories too

Donna from Indiana

Jessica said...

My allergies are always better at the beach. I think it's the salt air -- like a constant saline cleanse.

Glad you had a great trip. When I was a kid, my family went to the outer banks every year. Many fond memories ...

Christina said...

What a great trip!!! And I can't believe you just glossed over your meetup with Spuds! Boo!

Making It Work Mom said...

Love the Carolina Beaches!!! Happy you had a great trip - well except for all that solo driving!

Que said...

You think TN driving is bad? And you didn't even make it to Memphis. We have terrible drivers here. And I have driven in a lot of places. But the driving gets worse going from East to West. But I'm glad you made it out alive.

April said...

Why did you come back? Have you been to North Carolina in the winter? That would convince you to move there.

Anonymous said...

My goodness you guys have the tans of all tans!

Margee said...

I am SO glad you had a good vacation. Doesn't Austin have his permit yet? Here in MO the kids get a permit at 15. You look absolutely stunning in the white shirt and totally diminutive next to Spuds. He is so hung up on you, but you already know that I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Love all the pics! And, about the allergies, it also works in reverse...I'm from Louisiana and when I went to Ohio during the summer, my allergies were HORRIBLE! We suffer from ours in the spring, and I guess the pollen that causes my allergies comes out in the summer in Ohio. I guess it just has to do with when everything blooms, and since it is cooler in Ohio it just happens later. But glad Savannah got an allergy-free trip!!! And more Spuds details, please!!!!!

Anonymous said...

All the pics are great! LOVE the ones of the kids all together! I also LOVE the one of you in the white shirt -- very pretty!

I think it's funny how you think you can just bury the pic of you and a certain other blogger in there and think that we'd let you get away without any details!! You know better than that! SHARE!!! ;o)

So glad you guys had a great vacation -- you certainly deserved it!

Donna in PA :)

Mrs. Smith said...

Yummy Panera! We miss those so much!

Sarah said...

Love the pics of all the kids together on the beach and the one of you in your white shirt. :) Beautiful family, glad you had a good vacation. :)

Beej said...

That camo living room set has you all over it. Just sayin'.

It was mahhhhhvelous to see you and the brood too, dahhhling. And you're welcome for the silly bands. What were the body part ones? I've gotta make time to get up there and hang with you and the group. And I'm glad the picture of us from your camera turned out - the one from my phone didn't. But...maybe you could do some Photoshop liposuction on my giant arms? Danke schoen.

And Heather up there is giving me a case of the guilts for neglecting my blog. ;-)

Spuds said...

I've been told it's okay to leave comments on Dawns blog! Wooo Hoooo! (I had to promise not to say anything gross or anything about how small she is...) But since someone already mentioned it.. you do look like a sexy little Hobbit next to me! HA HA! Come on! Isn't she just adorable??

Great pictures Dawn! Awesome!

Beej said...

And I'm stealing that picture of us. Hee!

MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

Love the pics! xo

Anonymous said...

!!!! Was the house you stayed in called "Potatoe Sands"?

Rachel said...

We moved here from Northern Ohio a year and a half ago and I've stopped taking allergy meds and my kids allergies have been so much better here. I'm so glad you enjoyed NC. The Outer Banks is one of my favorite places to visit and my kids are in love with the Currituck lighthouse.

Meg said...

As someone who has lived in PA, GA and now IL and has recently seen an allergist to be retested (since it'd been 30+ years since my testing in PA) - I have the answer to the magic allergy disappearance in NC.
Depending on what Savannah is allergic to exactly, that weed or pollen may not exist in NC or have a shorter season in NC.
Example: I'm HIGHLY allergic to ragweed (one of many allergies, but a good example). Ragweed is found mainly in the midwest and somewhat into the northeast, but is not found in the south. Another allergy I have is some hardwood trees - not a lot of hardwoods in GA - mainly softwoods (pine).
If Savannah hasn't been tested, I would recommend it just so you know what it is that triggers her allergies. If/when you move to NC, or wherever life takes you, get her retested because they test for different allergens in different parts of the country depending on what is prevalent there.
And I LOVE the pic of you in your white shirt on the beach. You are BEAUTIFUL!! (and so tan) Glad you had a good vacation.

Kim said...

We were down there the same week you were! We were in Duck and the water was absolutely freezing that my kids were only able to get in on Friday. I'm jealous that you got pictures of the Hatteras light house - we didn't make it down that far. But I did get a picture of the Bodie Light house under construction and then the gorgeous Currituck Light House as well. Did you all climb to the top of it? I thought I would die! LOL But it was so worth the heart attack going up once we got there! Looks like a wonderful vacation! And sorry about the Stinky VA traffic - I live in VA and yes it's a pain!

belindasbaubles said...

Plug that camera again Dawn. You take some wonderful photos. I've been trying to take lightning photos for a while now and hubby's fancy schmancy camera just doesn't cut it.
You're one hot Mumma, and I don't mean with the temps 114 whoa!. Don't let anyone tell you differently.

Mom Taxi Julie said...

I love the picture of you on the beach, you look so beautiful!

Daniel, Anna, Emma, Kylie, Duncan, and Kellan said...

Love the pictures! It looks like ya’ll had a wonderful time :) I’m a native Charlottean who refuses to move anywhere else ;) Ya’ll will have to try Holden Beach sometime…it’s just a quiet family beach; we go every year…at least we did before we had four munchkins and now we only go if my parents are paying ;) You’ll have to go shop at Calabash and go inside Saint Nick Nacks…quite possibly the most magical place for people who love all things Christmas :)

Heather said...

I posted a comment on this entry last week but it's not here. Hmm - a computer glitch or did I fail the "authorisation" test?

Heather (in Scotland)

cissab said...

You do look beautiful there in the white. I know that it has been hard in the last year. Yes, understatement has always been my forte. Let me now make you feel better about all sorts of things. Two weeks after I gave birth to 28 week twins, they discovered that I had kidney cancer. One kidney had carried 3 of us so that failed soon after. They can't give transplant drugs to cancer patients so I had to do dialysis for 4 years. My husband left us when it seemed like I was not going to magically get better. Before he left, he did have a few choice comments. The first was that I would get better if I just tried harder. (Why yes, let's suggest that to the American Cancer Society.) He also tried to talk my sister and her husband (who struggled with infertility for years) to take the twins so he wouldn't have to pay child support.

You may not actually feel better but you are truly not alone. Love your blog.

Cissa

rick said...

I live in California and recently went to TN for a wedding and shot gun baby shower. lol
And for the life of me, I could not find some of the designer brands I can readily find here in Los angeles.

For people in the South, I ended up finding this kids only web site

www.Rascals2rockstars.com
that has some amazing stuff. hopefully it helps..Later gator

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