Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Beyond the Sun and a Free Trip to Rome

I think the most awesome adventure I've had with my kids was the time we went to the Outer Banks of North Carolina back in July of 2010. This was the first trip I took with all 6 kids by myself. I rented a house right on the beach and we made ourselves at home there in Corolla for a week. When I reminisce about this trip, I recall the good times we had all together. I remember the fun stuff - driving down the length of the Outer Banks, boiling shrimp and eating it out on the deck, the ocean a few yards away, playing on the beach and in the water. Although my memories are fond and make me miss those days now that my older kids are out of the house, when I really think back to our little adventure, I recall some things that were less-than-perfect about the trip. We'll call those moments "life lessons." For example:

It will take you 12 hours to drive through Virginia. When it's over 100 degrees outside, your AC isn't working, and you have 6 kids who have been cooped up in the car for 2 days, that's the same as 492 hours on the Standard Parental Conversion Chart.

If you car is equipped with child locks, use them! It was on this road trip from Chicago to North Carolina that I learned that little tidbit when my kids, bored out of their skulls from sitting in a hot van for 2 days, started throwing stale donut holes out the window and into the bed of a pick-up truck next to us at a red light.

If you are driving a big ole "church van", do NOT drive on the beach. You will get stuck necessitating a team of good-natured strangers to alternately dig around your van, let air out of your tires, hook cables up to tow you, and laugh at you for being stupid.

Spaghetti tacos may sound like a good idea when iCarly talks about them, but in real life - notsodelicious.

It's never a good idea to play baseball with the dead jellyfish washed up on shore.

Pack ammonia for jellyfish stings.

Don't run barefoot on an old wooden deck.

Pack tweezers.

While, looking at a map, you might think you can drive from one end of the Outer Banks to the other in about half an hour. You can't. It will take you approximately 492 hours (incidentally the same amount of time to drive through the state of Virgina) to get from Carova to Ocracoke.

There's such a thing as chocolate peanut butter at a grocery store called Food Lion. (This was back in 2010 when it wasn't commonplace. This may actually have been the highlight of the entire trip.)

And speaking of adventures, BEYOND THE SUN, a family movie that chronicles the adventures of four young friends in search of God, debuts on multiple platforms like iTunes, Amazon, and TUGG today, May 15th. A heartwarming family film, distributed by AMBI Distribution, BEYOND THE SUN, is a modern day tale of hope, faith and courage based on stories from the Bible. This delightful family film features a very rare special appearance by Pope Francis.

In support of the film, AMBI Media Group is holding a special contest where one lucky person will win an Exclusive Private Tour of the Vatican and Front Row Tickets to an Audience with The Pope For Four! For anyone who has ever wanted to visit Italy and The Vatican, this is your chance!  For additional details about the contest and to enter, please go to: www.freetriptorome.com



Back in 2010 my kids and I all loved our adventure in the Outer Banks. But now that my kids are older and it takes a month of complicated scheduling just to try and get everyone together for an evening to celebrate a birthday, I truly appreciate the experiences we had together there. I would absolutely love to go back and rent a house again some day so all my kids, plus their fiance, boyfriend, girlfriend, and my grandbaby could create some new memories of fun times, lazy beach days, laughter, and meals shared in the same house. Except maybe not spaghetti tacos . . .

Share the memory of your favorite adventure for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Target! And don't forget to visit this page to enter for a chance to win a trip for 4 to Rome, including airfare, a 5-night hotel stay, a private tour of the Vatican, and front row tickets to see the Pope. 

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35 comments:

Shannon said...

When my boys were young (oldest was in kindergarten) we took them to the mountains of NC to a "Polar Express" train ride at Christmas time. We live on SC. We had a great time and ll was going well until we got off the train and my smart mouthed son says to me " you can call that the Polar Express if you want to, but there is NO way THAT is the real Polar Express". Something about a 6yr old saying that got on my nerves. So for the next few months I searched and searched. I found the REAL Polar Express train. It is in Michigan. The real train used for the train sounds and actually the look for the drawing was housed at a museum in Michigan and they use it to take Polar Express rides at Christmas time. The next year- guess we're we went. Not only did we ride on the REAL Polar Express, but my boys also saw snow for the first time. The beautiful train, the surprise and wonder of Christmas, all with snow for the first time made the trip one of my favorites!

Joan said...

My favorite vacation memory is visiting Savannah with my daughter. We laughed and talked and ate yummy food and visited old houses and museums.

Rose-Marie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura G said...

We enjoyed a few weeks of lazy days on Siest Key, Florida when our kids were younger, thanks to a generous friend who loaned is their beachfront condo. Silky soft white sand, long walks on the beach, staying out past sunset to catch and release snow crabs, coconut shrimp, and kayaking. Great memories!

dianne said...

My family spent many happy summers at Callaway Gardens in Georgia.

Anonymous said...

My favorite memory was traveling with my mom in law, and my kids to visit my family in VA. It was a trip to remember. Rest area bathrooms and hotel adventures. Wish we could do it again. Tammy A.

Dawn Kuchar said...

One of my favorite trips with the family is when we went to Colorado in 2005. We went because my daughter's 5th grade Future Problem Solving Team made it to the National Competition there. We made it into a family vacation by going earlier thant the competition and meeting my in laws from Florida there. We spent several days in Estes Park right outside the Rockies. We went white water rafting down the Cache La Poudre river and we went horseback riding in the Rockies.

S. Meyer said...

When I heard that one of my mom's and my favorite shows (based in Canada) was ending I emailed and got tickets. Then I surprised my mom with a mother-daughter trip to Toronto. I even emailed her boss to make sure she could take the time off. It was a 9 hour drive from southwest Ohio to a city neither of us had visited before. It is still one of the best experiences iveI ever had!

Anonymous Rambling Crazy Women said...

My favorite adventure was taking my three kids to see a “free” Christmas light display! We piled in the truck just the 4 of us as my husband didn’t want to go. Being extremely challenged directionally I stuck the gps to the window for our trip. We were half a mile away from the light display when a deer ran in front of us. My view was blocked by the GPS position so unfortunately I hit it. My oldest daughter yells “turn around I want to see it”! Those free lights cost me over $600 but it’s a trip we will always remember.

Liz Andrews said...

My favorite adventure was driving 3 hours to meet up with my then boyfriend-to drive another 6 hours to meet his parents and family for the very first time. The whole drive there, the weekend we spent with his family-aunt's, uncle's, and cousins. Was spent in a debate if we should get married. The drive back was spent in a conversation of when, in two weeks we were engaged and got married 2.5 months later.

This adventure started off as a trip with my boyfriend, turned into the adventure of a lifetime. Marriage and creating oro own family.

Ernie said...

I think my favorite adventure that Coach and I took with our 6 kids was to Yellowstone. We camped (for part of the trip) even though we had never camped before. It rained for 24 hours straight and we didn't know how to properly attach the rain fly to our tents. The tents flooded and our sleeping bags were soaked . . . while we were sleeping in them. We saw 12 bears on that trip and lots of other wildlife. It was a true adventures. I have a video of Curly in a pack on my back. I hiked up a mountain with her hanging out back there - she was 2.5 years old. Coach had Reg on his back. When we descended that mountain (and I was exhausted), Curly made up a little song, 'Mommy did it! Mommy did it!' It was a riot and SO TRUE! My legs were buckling but I managed to get down the mountain and capture her little song on video. We still talk about the stories from that trip, because we have a million funny memories about all the entertaining moments that happened. That was in 2010, and I just made reservations to go again next summer.

Bastet said...

We took the kids to Colorado over Christmas 2016. We all had such a good time. My daughter fell asleep in NM and when she woke up and wanted to know if we were in CO yet, I told her we had gotten there and seen the snow and now we were heading back to Texas and she slept through it. She did not find it as funny as I did, lol. On the way back we visited an volcano (a dead one) and when we were walking down to the cauldron all of us (except my daughter) slipped on a patch of ice and went sliding. We never made it to the bottom. ❤️❤️❤️

Tadow said...

Family vacations are hard to come by. Between my work and school schedule and my husband’s job. Shuffling three little boys to doctor appointments, karate, school, friend’s houses, etc. Our life is just so busy! We haven’t had the time (or frankly the money) to take a vacation.

After a long serious talk with my husband we decided that we needed to do something while our boys are still young. We’re planning a Disney World vacation for next summer! Shhh don’t tell my boys! The plan is to leave early in the morning while they are all sleeping and start driving. We’ll make them guess where we are going. This is going to be amazing! I know that we’ll make some amazing memories.

Sister Sara said...

We took the kids to Lake Michigan 2 summers ago to spend a few days and they still talk about that trip! Can’t wait until I am brave enough to take them all on a LONG road trip to the ocean!!

Irishmama said...

My favorite family adventure was in 2015 when our family of five flew from Philadelphia into Albuquerque New Mexico and rented a van. We drove route 66 and stopped at all the fun little spots heading toward Santa Monica. Once there we stayed in LA a few days and then drive south to San Diego for the final few days. Every day was different adventures. From the Grand Canyon to the San Diego zoo. It was memories of a lifetime!

Janet Melancon said...

The best trip I ever remember was when I was a kid and my parents would load us up in our old van that my dad had added a bed to the back of and take us camping. It was hot and miserable but more fun than imaginable! My best friend and her family were always right there in their camper giving me so many options!

Ginny said...

I don't have kids, but I remember a family vacation from when I was a kid.
My parents were divorced for a short time when I was very young. During that time my mother's friend decided it would be a great idea for him and her to take all 6 kids (his 2, Mom's 4) camping in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It was great. We had a blast learning how to make campfires, playing in a very cold river, hiking, etc. We enjoyed it so much that after my parents got remarried a few months later, we convinced my father to take us camping.
It was raining when we arrived, but Dad and my brother managed to get the tent up. It was very late when we all got settled in, and went to sleep. Unfortunately it was a short sleep. We were woken around 2 or 3 in the morning by the park ranger. He said we had to evacuate the area immediately because the river was rising quickly. We packed up all our stuff, and shoved it in the back of the station wagon, and went to a motel (I lost my favorite doll in all the commotion :'( ).
Needless to say, my father didn't enjoy our camping trip. He, however, did fall in love with the White Mountains, so we visited numerous times over the years. Instead of sleeping in the woods, we camped out in nice dry rooms of local motels.

Cindy said...

We took our very first road trip in 1986, our oldest was 2 and our youngest was 1 month old. Since then we've taken over 40 road trips all across the U.S. I think our favorite would have to be the East coast trip (we live in Seattle.) In 2004, we flew into New York and spent 4 days sightseeing, then we rented a mini-van, put in our 15 pieces of luggage and the now 5 of us drove to Massachusetts, where my mom was born. Over the course of 3 weeks, we drove from Springfield Mass, all the way to Orlando Florida, visiting battlefields, beaches, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Kennedy Space Center... and ended at Disney World. It was the trip of a lifetime!!

Amanda Brown said...

My most memorable vacation with my kiddos was to the outer banks as well. With my now x husband our four daughters one of their boyfriends and one of their best friends. We had to take two cars down as my husband at the time also had to haul some work equipment down to the OBX for a boat show for work. We rented a huge house that could hold about 16 people and had 4 floors all up stairs with no elevator as it was a beach house not hotel. we did this without thinking about the girl with the newly added mechanical heart valve ( me) would have to climb said stairs daily. This was in July of 2012 we were celebrating a high school graduation and a birthday of two of our daughters. First it rained so hard as we drove through the islands to get to our destination that the ocean was washing over the tiny road it was very scary and I was in panic mode I had just drove from Florida to NC with the two of the kids and my car packed full of our things. Well the other kids and work equipment filled my x husbands suv. My littlest one decided that she hated the beach because of the dirt ( sand) she didn’t want to get dirty, I mean crying,kicking, screaming the whole nine yards for two days. I finally caved and spent most the days at the neighborhood pool well the rest of my family were out on the beach and even trying surf boarding and wind sailing as if we can’t do those things in Florida. The girls hands were so sun burnt from holding on to surf boards one afternoon finger to wrist one had blisters. Forgetting to bring any of the birthday items we remembered last minute we didn’t even have a cake So We all ventured out drove two islands away to find a food lion open and bought a cake. Finally sat down for a late bbq dinner and cake and as luck would have it a few adult beverages later when the cake was brought out we began to sing happy birthday the cake was dropped on the floor upside down by one x husband. Standing there no gifts no cake no decorations i wanted to cry but all at once the girls have the idea to eat the damn cake anyway. With forks in a circle on the floor, their theory only part of it touched the ground we can still eat the top which was in fact the bottom. We ended up having a great dance party on one of the balconies and soaking in the hot tub half the night. We woke up to 3 more great days where everything seemed to be in perfect harmony. Then we packed to go home and as we pulled out of the driveway the AC in my Beamer went out and it was pouring rain yet agian and it rained all the way to the Georgia line. I was Trapped in a hot car no AC in the middle of July .... windows foggy from the weather,kids complaining,some god awful music playing off one of their MP3 players. The whole time I just kept that picture of the girls eating cake off the floor with forks in a circle like it was the best thing they had ever seen and the best sister bonding moment ever. The laughter and togetherness I felt that night can’t be topped even with all the mishaps we had overall.

~Tammy~ said...

My kids are grown up now, but the DH and I try to get the grands together for adventures each summer. Sometimes, we can only pair of few of the grandkids at a time. The cousins live so far from one another, most only get to visit one another on our "adventures". We meet with our kids and swap out cousins at mid-way points.
Two years ago, We planned a "hostage exchange" with my daughter at the mid-point between our homes. We would be camping overnight at The Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge.
It was a five hour drive for each of us. We did a quick drive through Camp Doris campgrounds and selected two adjoining camp sights. The two camps were quickly set up for three tents, and two hammocks for the three adults and seven kids. Lunch was a fiasco, with one grandchild refusing to even TRY any of the picnic food we had brought.
My kids had grown up less than five miles from the WMW Refuge, and my older grands were anxious to go hiking and see some of the places their parents had talked about. We piled back into the vehicles, leaving camp semi-secured, and drove to a small lake several miles from camp. There are latrines at the lake, and before hiking, the littles are escorted to the privies. DH drops us off there, finds a shady spot to park, gets out, and locked his keys into the car. This is a Sunday afternoon, and there are almost no other visitors braving the Refuge at this location. DH borrows our daughter's truck, and sets out to find a locksmith... or at least a phone, as our cells don't get signals here.
We did a few minor hikes down to the edge of the lake. We see beaver and buffalo. DH returns with a fellow who eventually manages to get the car unlocked. We head back for Camp, making a quick detour to see one other special spot. By now, we are hearing thunder.
There was NO rain even in the forecast.
Before we could get back to the tents, the sky opened up and it POURED. Our camping spots happened to have been in a direct path to the drainage creek. One tent... the one with our bedding and sleeping bags, of course! was opened facing up the incline, so all the drainage was going into the tent. What wasn't already water logged was floating in a foot of water.
Unlocking the car had taken hours. By now, lunch had worn off everyone, and it was raining too hard to try to roast the hot dogs we'd brought for the evening meal. We headed out of the Refuge, having to pull off the road at one point because it was raining so hard. Found a fast food place, and everyone got to eat.
The rain stopped, and we headed back to camp, planning to chuck the wet tents, blankets, and gear into our vehicles, and each head back to our homes. I opened the car trunk and discovered that not ALL the bedding was ruined! My daughter also found a couple of dry children's blankets in her truck. The grands were now all begging to stay and camp, and make s'mores.
So we stayed. We laughed and sang and let them fill up on sweets. They chased fireflies, and watched for shooting stars. During the night, my DD and I emerged from our tents about the same time, answering a call of nature. There was a circle of open sky immediately over us, but all around, the sky was filled with lightening and clouds. I awakened my DH, and we decided we'd better break camp right then. We loaded tired and grouchy kids, did our head counts, said goodbye. Before we reached the highway, the skies opened once more... It will be a camp out they always remember.

Elle said...

My favorite family adventure was when we all went to Disney World in Florida about 10 years ago. There were about 25 of us and we went as a family staying at the same resort & having a great time together for week.

Tanja said...

Our favorite adventure was the summer my brother got married in Canada. We drove from Arizona to Canada and back and made lots of fun stops on the way. We went to 15 National Parks and Monuments. Best summer trip so far!

Unknown said...

My favorite memory is when we took our boys to Disney for the first time, such quality time and seeing their faces light up seeing the characters and experiencing Disney. We drove to FL from MI over 2 days with a 5 &2 year olds...the 2 year old decided to potty train on the trip!

GB said...

A favorite adventure was going camping with my parents, siblings & another family who had kids around the same age as myself and my siblings. We would do it around twice a year for quite a few years. It was always lots of fun and we would roast marshmallows and make s'mores.

Sarah said...

Oh I love this! What a great idea, and your adventure sounds so perfect, despite life, lol! My favorite family adventure was a camping road trip my husband and I took our four kids on from KC, MO to Chattanooga, TN where we were eaten alive by mosquitoes and met a nice family in a rental RV who cooked us authentic, delicious Hispanic tacos ��. Then we drove up to a campsite in Indiana that overlooked Kentucky along the Ohio river and visited the Creation Museum in Kentucky. It took 2 days to see the museum, and my aunt drove out to join us from DC so she could see it! It rained the entire time, in August! Then on the way home, my husband went off the plan and drove past our reserved campground looking for a hotel. Well the one he picked was so awful, literally crumbling, I told the kids not to touch anything, put the sleeping bags on top the beds and didn't even undress to sleep... found out the next morning that that particular hotel room was used for parolees but the State of Illinois. Nice, huh? Lol my review of that dump is still up in Google, warning the unwary as I wish we had been warned...

Chris Sheely said...

Most of our vacations were just go-to-the-beach for a week with another family. The kids were all the same ages and we just hung out, played cards and enjoyed the time away from home.

Tammy Amommy said...

I think my favorite adventure was when we went to Disney World as a family. We saved yardsale money for 3 years so that we could pay for the whole thing without changing our normal budget. My kids were still young enough to find the parks magical, but old enough to carry their own stuff! :) #WinWin

Erin said...

My favorite adventure was out first trip together, it was a cruise where we got hit by a hurricane. Everything that could go wrong did and we still had a great time because we were together. Since we didn't go where we were scheduled to we had to wing it and had a great time.

sam m said...

No but I would love to go on the best time I ever had was a trip to see the ocean it was the first and only trip we ever went on and it was magical. Now that i am a mom I really want to take my son

Elicia P said...

I would have to say the my favorite memory would have to be one of the last trips to Toronto that my dad partook in. My son was two and we went for a Ukrainian festival.
We ended up at Toronto Island on the last day of the festival because well, we already spent two days there. At Toronto Island my dad took my son on his first ferris wheel ride among many other firsts that day.
Sadly, six months later my dad would pass very unexpectedly. I think that is why that trip even though a couple of days means so much to me. It was almost five years ago but I tear up looking at some of the images from that day. It brings joy but also sorrow to me.

AndiWrite said...

We went to NYC with my in-laws the summer before last, and it was the first time my kids got to see NYC. We saw Fiddler on the Roof, saw the view from the Empire State Building observation deck, walked through Central Park, and did many other things in our 2 days there. It was great to see the kids enjoying something they'd wanted to do for a long time.

Trisha Musgrave said...

My favorite adventure would definitely be when we would go on our yearly vacation to Canada. It was always something that I looked forward to and we would have a ton of fun. We would go see sights including one of the castles, and would stay with close family friends. I hope that I can make memories like this with my kids!

Drea Peregretti said...

Our last trip to Hawaii our hotel had tidepools nearby! We went every night before sunset and explored them with the kids! It was amazing!

Kelsey Vinson said...

Our vacation last year to Myrtle Beach! It was the first time all the kids have been to the beach together.

Anita said...

My favorite adventure was when I went to Myrtle beach with my brother and his family we left early that morning and arrive there at night time and the ocean was just breathtaking that was the first time I seen it and I remember me and my nephew got up early that morning and watched the sun come up over the Ocean It was beautiful scenery to see

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