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Biltmore, a Birthday, and the Beach


We got home from vacation late Monday night and I’m finally finding the time to start sharing a bit about our trip. We had such a fun time, and I’m a bit sad that it’s over, but I’m so glad to be home now. I tend to get a bit homesick and it seems that the kids may have taken after me in that department.

We left for our trip just under two weeks ago (has it really been that long ago?!) to spend a week out in the Outer Banks, North Carolina. I am blessed to have family that owns a vacation house out there so we’ve had a few opportunities to visit. This time I was also able to bring along my two best friends and their families!

Also, did I mention that the drive time is 15.5 hours–one way?!! And we did that drive with 6 kids! I’m not even sure how we survived. Well, actually, I totally give all the credit to DVD players, a van load of junky snacks, and these fun Boogie Boards* that I ordered for the kids back on Prime Day! We surprised the kids the morning we left and they are still obsessed with using them. (This is an affiliate link–which just means that if you purchase through this link, I’d make a small commission. But feel free to shop around elsewhere.) The 4 oldest never complained on the drive. The two youngest…well, they had a few moments. But they actually did surprisingly well.

In case you’re wondering, these photos are not from the house we stayed in 😉 Just thought I’d clear that up. On the way out there, we broke up the trip into two days. My friend, Maggi, and her family met up with us in Asheville, NC and we took our girls to go see the Biltmore Estate. Or as Evangeline called it, “the castle.” It’s the largest privately owned house in the U.S., built in the late 1800s. Not only is the house huge, the whole estate is huge. And the gardens were gorgeous! I loved this little outdoor area. We, of course, stopped to take a few pictures. (That’s Maggi and her sweet little Mabel down there!)

Look! A little baby belly! I’ve been hiding behind flowy shirts and dresses but I won’t be able to hide much longer.

The greenhouses and gardens were definitely a highlight. But my one complaint is that it isn’t very stroller friendly. My pregnant self, along with Maggi and her pregnant self, had to carry our strollers up and down every set of stairs with our babies. And there were quite a few stairs. Also, in the house we had to abandon our strollers a couple of times to go look at different floors. Just thought I’d pass along that info for anyone who is planning to visit! I know I personally enjoyed seeing it all but it was definitely very hard on my body. But look how pretty!

And my personal favorite, these polka dotted plants! I had never seen anything like it! I posted a picture on my Instagram stories, asking what they are. I was quickly told they are polka dot angel wing begonia. And now I need some!

Our first full day in the Outer Banks was also Liam’s 9th birthday! I can’t even believe I’ve been a mom for 9 years now! In the early years, I kind of dreaded these years. I just didn’t see myself enjoying having kids around this age. But I really think it just gets better every year! I love to see how he has grown and what he has learned. He’s very brilliant and very kind, always thinking of others. The birthday tradition in our family is to go out for donuts for breakfast. I think he was really excited that he got to have donuts from his very favorite donut shop, Duck Donuts. And we followed that up with a trip to the beach. I didn’t bring my DSLR to the beach that day so I’m just posting a few phone shots (don’t worry–I made up for it the rest of the week ;))

In the picture below, that’s my other bff, Stephanie, and her little boy. Their one year old unfortunately broke his arm the week before we left for our trip so he wasn’t allowed to be near the sand. It was very disappointing but I was glad Stef was able to join us for one day by the ocean while her son stayed back at the house with his dad! And that other picture is Mabel with Evangeline. Clementine didn’t dare touch the sand until pretty much the last day. 

Also, Desmond! He hated the beach the first day. I really thought it was going to end up being kind of a miserable week but thankfully his hatred of sand didn’t last too long. We have a similar picture of Kingston during his first trip to the beach when he was around Desmond’s age (back when my blog was 100% iphone photos and 95% too many boring details haha.) By the next day, Desmond was literally pouring sand over his own head. So he got over his fear pretty quickly.

I took loads of pictures over the week and I’m going to attempt not to overwhelm everyone with repetitive beach shots! But I’m not promising anything 😉 And Don is working on some vacation videos for our family vlog so hopefully those will be ready before too long! I’ll let you know when they’re up!

**Also, I wanted to add–I feel guilty posting about our carefree, fun beach trip while Texas is experiencing such heartache right now. I’m praying for all the families who have been devastated by this tragedy. Samaritan’s Purse is a great place to donate if you’re looking for a way to help. I know there are also many other ways to help but I encourage you to research before you donate to make sure the organization is truly helping families as needed. If you know of any other ways to help, please leave them in the comments for myself and others to see!

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