We5AmeriKings 2018: Day 10

The morning we had been dreading arrived way too soon for us. Goodbyes are kind of the worst and this one was like waking up from the perfect dream - we just didn't want any of it to end. We squeezed all of our friends extra tight... 

loaded the car and got moving. This was going to be our longest travel day and let's just say we had less than the best driving conditions. 


Instagram made our long days a little extra fun - we loved each and every question that people sent our way... totally recommend this as a family activity if you have a long road trip planned!

After answering questions, reading books, eating their weight in snacks and surviving the down pour... Ryan and I FINALLY let them watch a movie. 2300 miles travelled without so much as a complaint? We kinda felt like they earned that 2 hour break in the drive. 
(And I enjoyed the quiet). 

We crossed a new state off our list (spoiler alert: SC was voted least favorite welcome center on the trip)...

and then one more... 

and about 10 hours later, we arrived in ATLANTA!! We 100% lucked out and missed all major traffic and pulled directly into a primo parking spot at our destination of choice for the day. Miracles happen, people. Prior to our trip across the southeastern states, I was discussing places to eat with my friend, Gerald. He told me that we "HAD" to go to Ponce City Market when we were in the ATL and while we were all incredibly excited for dinner... 

we were even MORE EXCITED about who we were having dinner with!!! Y'ALL. 

I'm just going to pause right here and tell you that while I was clearly prepared to see my mom, dad, brother and nephew when we arrived... I was in no way prepared for how incredibly awesome it was going to feel to see them!

PRO TIP: Plan a crazy road trip. Talk your family into meeting you at some point. Make memories. 

We all scattered for dinner and sampled a little bit of everything... friend chicken, hamburgers, shrimp po boys, gyros, you name it... and we tasted it. Can't recommend this place enough... if you're in Atlanta, then make plans to spend an evening at Ponce. 

The kids donut know what they would do without their favorite big cousin Owen ... 

And I donut know what I would do without my driver, partner, ride or die companion. 

Day ten was one step closer to home... but it turns out home is just where ever I am with him. 

We5AmeriKings 2018: Day 9

The rain decided to join us for our last day at the beach, but that didn't stop us from heading down there to play. 

The waves were CRAZY!!! And the water was freezing... but there's something kind of awesome about being at the beach in the rain. We were the only ones down there which is also a perk of the rain. 

The drizzle and the chill were too much for a few, so one group headed back and a few of us stayed a little longer to soak in the peacefulness of the rain. I don't remember what we were talking about, but I do remember loving that moment in time with just me and him... listening to his dreams of the ocean and being grateful for a God that blesses us in big and small ways.

And since it was the middle of July and we were at the beach, it only made sense that we would make a big ol' batch of HOT CHOCOLATE for the kids. Ha!

We took advantage of those clouds and ran into Nags Head to score some souvenirs.  And wouldn't you know it? The sun decided to come out again, so I cut my shopping excursion short and we headed back to the beach house!

The next few hours were filled with little people laughing, wave fighting, castle building, hole digging, and me just soaking up all the goodness of the day.

I don't know if we sit in the moment enough. That's a lie - we don't sit in the moment enough. Days are filled with giving updates on our lives instead of just living our lives. I'm always glad for the choice of just sitting to him, and taking in the life that we've created together. 

Take crazy trips. Plan ridiculous road trips. Go somewhere you've never been. Spend days with people you've never met. Show your people the world outside your bubble. Pack the car with junk food and PB&Js and drive to an ocean that your toes haven't felt. I promise that you won't regret a single second.

And enjoy a beer with this new motley crew of folks you've met... 

because soon enough the sun will start setting on those perfect days of nothing at all and you will have to force 10 kids to come inside for dinner. 

North Carolina was so good to us... but we still had four days of fun left.... next stop? ATLANTA!!!


We5AmeriKings 2018: Day 8

Our second day in North Carolina was perfect. Plain and simple from sun up until sun down we enjoy every single bit of the time we had in one of the most beautiful beaches we've visited. The kids made fast friends with alllllll the other kids at the beach... did I forget to mention that we met two other families there? Oh. Let me rewind...

So, you remember that we basically invited ourselves to stay at Jenn and Dave's is part of the grand scheme of getting to FINALLY beach with them. Well, that also included two other families and their kiddos for a total of TEN kids, eight parents and 1 dog. (And may I add, that Bailey is hands down the coolest dog, I've ever met.) And as crazy as it all sounded... we had the BEST time with them! Jenn was so nervous because she and Dave were the common thread of all of us, but turns out she knows how to pick friends and we all got along so well. 

And these people know how to beach! They all came prepped with their umbrellas, and chairs and beach gear. We did bring our chairs, towels, and coolers but they all were ready to beach. I'm pretty sure the high that day was 75 so it felt like winter to us. ;) 

Look at these cutie kids!! It should be noted that Gracie has a strict "no pictures" policy as seen by her expression below. HAHAHA!

This was another one of those days where my camera stayed put and my heart stayed full. I spent less than 10 minutes snapping a few "to remember" moments but really, I just soaked up the sun, the fun, and the memories of the day.

I'm not sure how many times we looked at each other and said, "I can't believe that we are here!!!" ... at least 183 for good measure. I thank God for a million little things, but I thank Him frequently for the beautiful friendships He has given me.  I get some strange looks when I talk about Jenn, we are hard to explain. Two gals that live 1000 miles apart. Met once... blogged... texted...emailed... met... but when I'm having "a day" or "a moment" or a million "moments", I can send her a message and know that she gets me. She gets it. We are similar creatures filled with a shared love of creating, loving big, living out loud, doing too much, and not regretting a moment of the crazy we created. Our husbands work long hours, but also devote themselves to our schemes... they are every bit as chill as we are stressed and it drives us equally crazy. I mean who says yes to the person that invites herself to your house with her family for a week??

The same person that would have invited herself to begin with!


Days don't get much better than these...especially when you've been going non-stop for seven days. The kids loved the break in the trip and sticking their toes in a new ocean!

And because I like to torture myself, I found the pics from our Gulf Shores trip in 2014. 

Those sweet babies may not be as little, but they sure are just as sweet. 

We really just got lost in the day together. New friends with new stories... sharing old memories while creating treasured moments. At the heart of those stories will always be these four - I'd go to the depths of the ocean for them and I'm beyond grateful for His provisions in allowing us to adventure together year after year. 

A day at the beach. I'd honestly spend a million days at the beach with these peeps... funny how well you get to know someone in a fraction of a second. Thanks for letting us invite ourselves on your vacation... we had a blast!


We5AmeriKings: Day 7

After three delightful days in D.C. we were up dark and early once again for a quick 5 hour trip south to North Carolina. The kids literal response when we told them how long the drive was, "Oh... that's all - this is going to be an easy day!" 

We have zero photographic evidence that we visited Virginia because we were in the rain all.day.long. We didn't stop because it just wasn't worth sitting in a car all day soaking wet for a picture. I am certain that the Virginia welcome center would have made the top 5 for sure. However, once we arrived to North Carolina we documented it not once.... 

but twice! 

We made it to Nags Head in record time despite the rain and our first stop was Mama Kwans. Jenn was so excited for us to eat there and I was just so excited to finally be at the beach with the Gorrie's. 

(Let me back up and fill you in on something... we have been dreaming about a joint family vacation for YEARS. Probably since Henry was a baby and he's now 7. Her family visits the Outerbanks every year but we've just never been able to join. So when the kids picked D.C. as their destination of choice, I was DETERMINED to figure out how we do the thing and get us to the beach. Turns out, we just needed a two week road trip to make it all happen. Ok....back to regularly scheduled blogging.) 

MK's doesn't open until 11am and the place fills up QUICK. So, our darling husbands took one for the team(s) and waited outside to snag us the first table. #luckygals After some delicious tacos and the best mango margarita of my life, we headed to do the only sensible thing to do while it's raining at the beach...

ride a mechanical shark.... duh! 

He was SO excited about this and did surprisingly well hanging on. 

We met up with the entire crew...and shopped some more before heading to our home for the next week. 

Wouldn't it be nice to own one of these?

The rain stopped just in time for us to unpack, throw on some bathing suits, and...



After some showers and silly faces... it was time for a well-deserved bedtime for this crew...

and well deserved beverage for this one.

We couldn't have been more excited to spend the next three days with every single one of our new friends!


We5AmeriKings 2018: Day 6

After a "Disney World" day's worth of activity, Ryan and I decided our original plan for our final day in D.C. would have to be postponed for the next time we're in town. We really wanted to take a drive to Arlington, but we weren't convinced the girls would enjoy another a day of walking around outside or quite understand the magnitude of the space. Instead, our amazing hosts recommended the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum.

I've never been more excited about a change of plans in the history of ever. I mean look at this place. 

This place was amazing - filled from end to end and top to bottom with more history than you can imagine. In the form of air crafts! We were all instantly excited about the morning ahead. 

Our first stop was at the IMAX theater to watch Journey to Space - a ridiculously amazing look at how NASA is planning the first manned mission to Mars. I left regretting that I was not an astronaut and deeply trying to convince the kids that at least one of them should be. 

My favorite part about the entire day was seeing this beautiful piece of American history. How incredible is this?? The Discovery flew more missions and carried more astronauts than any other spacecraft in history. The Discovery was 27 years old when it flew its last mission and had travelled to space 39 times! GAH - just so stinking cool! I think we could have spent all day in this one section of the museum - so must to see and learn!

Instead we walked up and down, each picking out our favorite air craft designs, shapes, colors, and names and just had the best time taking the day easy and slow. 

We finished the visit with a quick trip up to the observation tower before heading back to the Gorrie's. 

This is the part where I should tell you we quickly made it home with no problem, but alas... the truth was that we almost ran out of gas on the freeway, in the heat of the day, stuck in traffic, in a major city. We looked up the nearest gas station and lucked out that it was 1 mile away... we pulled up... and it was SHUT DOWN.  In a miracle of miracles we made it an additional 4 miles and did not die. 

The drama earned everyone one more dip in the pool... 

I 110% recommend taking the time to drive to Virginia to visit this A&S Museum... I do not recommend the part about running out of gas. I do recommend staying with amazing friends that have wine waiting for you when you get home.

And just like that, our days in D.C. were done and we were ready to head out on the next part of our adventure....