The Beach 2014

Huzzah! It's time for your annual "Mattingley Family Beach Vacation Picture Overload" post! Aren't you so excited? This year, three SLR cameras combined to bring you these awesome shots. It captures the week pretty accurately - great weather (low humidity, lots of breezes and no rain!), great fun and more memories between cousins and family. 

It's always tradition to walk over to the beach as a family after dinner the day that we arrive. After years of everyone begging the kids to not get soaked, parents wised up and send kids over, ready to swim. Cold or warm, the kids can't resist.

One of the reasons I love grabbing the memory cards from my sister in laws is finding gems I wasn't apart of, like this impromptu beach photoshoot:

In the past we've done basketball in the pool (that used to produce some pretty epic Horse games) and this year we stepped it up with an inflatable volleyball game. It proved to be a lot of fun and great exercise! 

Poor Brody had a bit of a rough week. From a new and very annoying goan to his aversion to sand and the ocean, it wasn't as smooth as we'd hoped for him. Unfortunately we also think he was teething the entire week, so he was especially fussy. Still, for the short while he did enjoy the pool and "beachy" activities, he was all smiles. When he wasn't in the pool or taking a walk in the strolled with Adam, he was on the back of my bike for a bike ride. 

After 27 (I think) years of going to the beach, you think we'd get sick of the same place, "same vacation" every year, but we're always finding ways to jazz it up. This year my brother Jason (pictured below, getting his stretch on) organized a group sign up for a random 5k race he found nearby. It was something adults and kids could do together, so there were quite a few entries from the family. As you can see, while being an avid runner these days, father and daughter's stretching exercises vary in intensity.

Here's the whole crew! Despite not having been able to run for months due to a foot injury, my Dad signed up last minute! The race took place at Jeanette's Pier and was along the beach front. The race was pretty tough on the sand, so many of the racers, including our own, took their shoes off mid-race. 

While some of the family were racing, others walked down the pier and scoped out the area. Some of the fisherman were catching some big ticket sea creatures and were happy to show them off and let the kids get hands on.

And here they come! Tyler finished first out of all the Mattingleys!

When the race was over and Diego was asked how it went, "Horrible. The worst three miles of my life" is how he replied. Still, he's got a pretty good smile as he nears the finish line!

He made it! He later regretted his decision to join, but Grandpa finished the race with everyone waiting for him at the finish line!

Our champions!

The week was full of trips to Duck Donuts for those and Hawaiian ices. I managed to check off just about all of the items off my beach to-do list, including donuts, but can you believe we never had a good ol North Carolina thunderstorm? It looked like it could many days, but aside from a few raindrops while we swam in the pool we never had any rain. 

Following the race, everyone had tons of sand in their shoes that required lots of cleaning. The pool fence doubled wonderfully as a drying rack!

The kids kept busy with card games, books, tablets, etc. One game the whole family got into was "2048", and nobody got into it quite like Nana! One night just about every adult was on their phone or tablet trying to get the high score of 2048, except Jason who was a show off and had already doubled his score. Still, he lent his expertise by giving us all helpful tips.

Sadly, the ocean was pretty choppy the entire time we were there. Now that we see Tropical Storm Arthur has developed, it all makes sense! It was pretty choppy most days for the kids, including a few red flag warnings, but we made the most of the times we were able to get out and swim. 

These two, once enemies who constantly butted heads, became the best of friends over the week. It was so great for Autumn to have a playmate. I found them several times locked up in our room or snuggled up together on a chair playing their iPads or showing off their apps. 

Lastly, the night before we went home it was time for some crabbing. Years ago, we rented a house on the sound, the opposite side of the island. It's a quieter pace of life (despite the island only being a mile or two wide) and we sure do miss the beautiful sunsets over there. Chelsey provided the chicken necks (yuck!) and we managed to catch a handful of crabs. Catch and release - too much work to eat those suckers. It was great to go out on a high note with a beautiful Outer Banks sunset - until next year!

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