To get back in a better mood, I will finish telling you about our vacation.
Saturday we spent the entire day almost on the beach since it was our last day. Our friends from the DC area who moved to Wilmington, NC about a year ago, came over with their son who is about nine months younger than Dema. It was so good to see Marty and Laura and meet Jack. I wish we had taken pictures, but I was scared to use my camera before I was able to download the pictures. Jack is a cute, tall (he is taller than Dema), sweet boy and Dema became fast friends with him. On the drive home, Dema asked if we could see Jack again soon. We will have to be better about visiting with Marty and Laura since I think it has been maybe six years since we've seen them. Time flies! It was great to catch up and chill out in the tidal pools all afternoon.
While we were all chatting and enjoying the warm tidal pools, the kids were running around on the beach and Parker found a stingray covered by sand! It was dead, of course, but a very cool find just the same. We've seen stingrays up close at an aquarium at the Outer Banks in past years, but this was very educational to get to really look at a stingray close up. I didn't see it, but Rob and the boys said afterwards that the stingray had a bite taken out of it. The boys say the eyes were green and when Parker first found the creature, it was upside-down so they saw the mouth as well. I wanted very much to be a Marine Biologist when I was growing up (something my parents discouraged since that would mean going to college far away from the Midwest) partly due to my love of Madeline L'Engle books, I'm sure. I obviously didn't follow through with it, but I'm pretty sure it would have been a short career if I had since I have to psych myself out and forget about all the creatures living in the ocean to actually get in there and get wet. I don't want to think about stingrays as I'm dipping my laughing 10 months old into the ocean or jellyfish as I'm jumping waves with my boys or sharks as I watch my husband surf. Thus, I was interested and amazed by the stingray (and the very large jellyfish I found dead on the inlet beach a few day prior), but also happy Parker found it at the end of our last day at the beach.
Sunday morning was spent getting packed up, straightening up the beach house, and saying goodbye to the beach (without actually going onto the beach since we were trying not to get wet and sandy). We drove a few hours to Raleigh, NC and stayed with Rob's sweet cousin, Jamie and her husband John. We hadn't planned on staying with them, but Rob had some family business to take care of about 45 minutes from Raleigh on Monday morning and Jamie offered up her house. It is a beautiful house and Dema was so happy to stay with his pal Jamie (he asked if we could stay seven nights). They had just returned from the beach as well and I know they probably just wanted a little time to unpack and some time to themselves, but instead they entertained us all Sunday afternoon, made a lovely pasta dinner for us Sunday night, and stayed up chatting. The kids and I made ourselves at home all Monday morning while John and Jamie were off at work and Rob at his meeting. Usually when we see Rob's cousins, we are there for a holiday and have a few hours to eat and talk before we all have to go our separate ways. It was so nice to spend time with Rob's family all week in a way we really haven't before.