Monday, August 20, 2012

Ocracoke Island

I've had a bit of a blogging vacation.  Here's why!

Since 2001 my family has been vacationing on Ocracoke Island.  Ocracoke is the southern-most outer bank island in North Carolina and is only accessible by ferry.  It is truly a magical place.  In my opinion, this was by far, the best year yet.  We rented a different house that was a perfect fit for our family!  It is a such a wonderful week filled with beach days, low-key dinners out, games and books in the evening and pure relaxation.  Well, mostly relaxation.  Traveling and vacationing with a 17-month-old was new for all of us!  Madison was amazing.  She was flexible, fun and generally a delight to vacation with!  I have lots of posts I'd like to make, but I wanted to introduce you all to what an amazing place Ocracoke is and see where we ended up.

To get to Ocracoke, you can either drive down the Outer Banks, starting at Nags Head down to Cape Hatteras.  From there it is just a 30 minute ferry drive.  However, we prefer less driving time and a longer ferry ride.  So, we drive to Swanquarter and take the ferry (2.5 hours) to Ocracoke.  
Options on getting to Ocracoke!  

*This isn't my picture, but this is the typical ferry that shuttles us from Swanquater to Ocracoke*

The ferry dock - I love how simple it is!

The view from the ferry - it is so gorgeous

Maddie looking out...

The back of our rental - Anticipation!  The house is "sound side."  There are NO houses on the ocean in Ocraocke.  This is the first year we have been on water and it was amazing.  We were able to take kayaks out and lounge with a great view.  The sand was filled with hermit crabs and shallow to the end of the docks.

Daytime view from our deck

Evening sunset - that little house at the point created a perfect backdrop.  I felt like a movie should be filmed in the house!

Evening sunset - with my parents on the dock.  

It stormed one day and it was really fun to watch the clouds roll in across the sound.  Kate was able to snap some amazing pictures on Ryan's camera!

The beach at Ocracoke - quiet, gorgeous, clean - it really is the best around

The only "downfall" to the beach at Ocracoke.  It is a LONG trip from the parking lot to the oceanfront.  Long might be an exaggeration - but it sure feels like it.  We rent a cart to transport beach chairs, coolers, boogie boards - and then we still end up carrying bags (or in my case a baby this year).  The way down isn't too bad, but the way back is exhausting!

Our family photo.  Thanks family for such a wonderful vacation.  Can we go back next week?

Monday, August 6, 2012


Today has been one "dose of reality" after another.  All is well, but they are just little reminders of how thankful we are for our precious baby girl and all that she is - difficult eater and cutie patootie!

We love you Miss Madison! Thanks for blessing us beyond belief!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sweet Snuggles

I get a lot of grief teasing from my girl friends that I still use the Angel Care monitor with Madison.  Yes, I am well-aware that she has passed the typical age for SIDS.  And, I can acknowledge that I am a bit of a worrier.  But for me, piece of mind goes a long way.  For the record, this is Madison's preferred sleep position:

She likes her snuggles, and she almost always snuggles up to the bumper when she sleeps.  We did use the breathable bumpers for many months, but at a year, we transitioned over to the more "plush" variety!  It may seem silly, but that movement monitor allows us to not have to constantly check to make sure she has enough breathing room.  I know it doesn't prevent anything, but it does keep me sane!  

But, for new mommies-to-be...this was probably my number one baby item.  We did a lot of research, but ended up with the Angel Care monitor with TWO crib pads.  Of course there were false alarms and it took us awhile to get the sensitivity right for her, especially when she was small, but I have never regretted it! And, now that they have the video version, you don't even have to carry around two monitors like we do:)  Jealous!

I see a big future for the monitor in our home.  For instance, when Madison transitions to a big-girl bed, it will alarm us if she gets out.  Or, when she's a teenager, if she ever tries to sneak out.  Kidding! (kind of)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

(re)Sleep Training

We have had a serious sleep regression. Serious.  It is probably pay-back for her being a great sleeper in the past.  Let me rephrase.  Madison has been sleeping through the night since almost three-months.  She has never been a great napper, but we were at least consistent.  You might remember that Madison dropped to one nap at the beginning of July during "daddy daycare" and she has been taking roughly hour and a half naps daily.  Well, that was since this weekend.  Since Saturday. she has either had to be held or slept in the car.  We thought maybe it was her teeth, but even after baby Tylenol, she still isn't napping!  It has been quite the struggle for our dear nanny and Aunt Michelle.  She just cries and cries, but calms quickly when held.  Ryan and I are at a loss.  We did sleep training, no judgement please, when Maddie was about 6-months old.  It was the right thing for all three of us and I have never regretted it.  But, I cannot imagine doing it now, at 16-months!

Here is the thing - she is tired.  Like really, really tired!  For instance, "fall asleep while eating lunch" tired.  Take a look at this video that Aunt Michelle captured today:

So...tomorrow we try again...please wish us luck with this tricky kiddo!