Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.

The Trip and The Vacation – Now with more photos!


The girls and I had a pretty easy and uneventful drive from TN to Pittsburgh.  Traveling alone adds its own unique challenges to a road trip.  I learned to change a DVD while hurtling down the highway.  I also learned there is no easy way to take 2 young children into a public restroom – it is infinitely ickier than taking 1 child in with you.  But it was all the good.  We spent 2 days in Pittsburgh. One of those days, my girls hung out with their grandparents while Steve went to work.  I slept in, had lunch with my husband, then went shopping all by myself. I went into Pier 1 with no intention of buying anything but just because there would be no little hands touching things. It was lovely.

We only had 1 child with us on the way to the beach (Sabrina road with her grandparents).  Tessa liked getting to choose all of the movies but after 8 hours of Dora episodes I was starting to get a twitch in my left eyelid. The trip to the beach was long but fine…until we were about 80 miles from our destination.  Then traffic just stopped.  We crawled along for the next 4+ hours to go those last 80 miles.  We were all a little stir crazy by the time we got out of the car.  (This was the first time we’ve ever gone to Corolla during the Peak Peak season so we were shocked by the volume of traffic. It usually isn’t quiet that heavy.)

Tessa loved the ocean.  (Tessa called the ocean “Pool! Big!” So stinking cute it made me melt every single time.) She loved the waves knocking her around.  It required constant vigilance to keep her from trying to swim to Africa. Sabrina wanted nothing to do with the ocean and cried anytime we tried to get her in deeper than her ankles.  She did like playing in the sand. But both girls agreed that the pool was the most awesome of all.  Sabrina refused to try to swim without her floatie despite her swimming lessons but Tessa would have jumped in the deep end without it if we had let her.  She was paddling around independently (with her floatie) and jumping off the side and off of the steps – she kept us on our toes.

We celebrated Tessa’s 3rd birthday (a week early) with cupcakes and bubbles and a pinata and noisemakers.

I took over 125 shots one evening at the beach trying to get just 1 or 2 really nice photos of the girls together.  It wasn’t very successful. The best of the bunch are a little out of focus. Sabrina lost patience with it quickly and is scowling in the last 100.

The girls’ almost 7 yr old cousins were there.  All the kids shared a room together.  I don’t think the older kids loved having to be quiet early because Tessa was sleeping but they were all so good with and to Tessa that it was kind of amazing.  And they let Sabrina be one of the big kids for the week.  Sabrina was simply over the moon and the couple of times that we had to say no to something because she wasn’t quite big enough (a late night beach walk, etc) she almost lost her mind but she was so tired from trying to keep up that she usually passed out before she was able to complain to much.

I’m big enough to admit when I’m wrong.  And while the total trip experience couldn’t be called a vacation, my week at the beach was definitely a vacation.  My husband made sure that I was able to sleep in and take naps.  My inlaws were so excited to spend time with my kids that I didn’t get to see much of the girls.  The girls were over the moon with all of the people to play with them (including cousins) that they checked to make sure I hadn’t left the state but otherwise wanted very little to do with mommy.  By the 4th day at the beach, Steve started to give me a back rub (he gives the best massages – I carry my tension in my shoulders) and said he couldn’t remember ever feeling me so loose.  It was fabulous.

The trip back from the beach was long but fine. We left just early enough to miss most of the traffic (FYI that would be 6am).  We stopped very minimally and it still took 11 hours. We determined that if we can find something 8 hour or less that has big homes with pools for rent we might change the venue next year.  It is just so dang far to OBX.  We love Corolla (it is impossible to find such a quiet, family oriented beach anywhere else drivable) but just such a long drive.

After a very warm Sunday in the ‘Burgh, the girls and I bid farewell to the Pittsburgh contingent of the family and headed 2 hours west to see my sister (and her husband and my nephew) and step-mom.  We had a lovely day with them then packed up early on Tuesday for what should have been a relatively easy drive home.  Except it wasn’t. It should have been 8ish hours.  Instead it was 14+.  Traffic was insane.  We hit 4 large different jams.  At one point, I might have been in tears out of shear frustration. But, we arrived home safely.

My sister with the girls

My nephew is 17…the phone only leaves his hand when he is on his laptop.

It has taken Tessa almost a week to really recover sleep-wise.  Sabrina seemed to bounce back in just a few days (but the attitude lingers on).  It was interesting taking an extended road trip with my girls but it was fabulous to get home to my own bed.  Now if we can just arrange it so that we live in the same city as my husband, life would be grand.

posted under family, travel
5 Comments to

“The Trip and The Vacation – Now with more photos!”

  1. On August 2nd, 2011 at 9:06 pm Bobbi Says:

    Loving the pictures, and the story of your trip. Glad you were able to have a vacation.

    The girls just get cuter and cuter everyday!!

  2. On August 3rd, 2011 at 6:18 am tehamy Says:

    I looks like everyone had a great time! The girls are so adorable!

    We went to the OBX the last full week in July last year. We had the same issue with traffic. It took us 3 1/2 hours to go what should have been less than an hour. And I was 7 months pregnant. Ugh. This year we went in early June and there was almost no traffic.

  3. On August 3rd, 2011 at 6:54 am Kim Says:

    Your pictures make me want to leave for our vacation now. Too bad I have to wait a few more weeks. Glad that you got to have a real vacation. Other great family beaches we’ve been to are Topsail Island NC and Surfside Beach (just south of Myrtle Beach).

  4. On August 3rd, 2011 at 7:47 am heather Says:

    Sounds fabulous (except for the darn bad driving)!!!

  5. On August 3rd, 2011 at 10:22 am Rachael Says:

    Fantastic pix (even if you didn’t get much cooperation). I don’t have a clue how we would ever get back to OBX again (from AZ) but your vacation makes me nostalgic….maybe flight/rental car/2+ kids/kill me now! Hope the relaxation part lasts for a while!