We've been back in Tennessee for a couple of months now. The boxes have been unpacked, school began, vacation was enjoyed and life is beginning to return to normal. Or at least as normal as life can be with a house full of 8 kids! :-)
We spent our vacation on Topsail Island. It is off the North Carolina coast. Brian and I are both NC natives and tend to spend our vacation time on the less-crowded, family-friendly beaches you can find there. I asked Brian if we could get an ocean-front house this year (as we had outgrown the condos we usually stay in). I must say I think it was our favorite beach vacation ever (despite some problems with our van). Having the beach right out our front door was amazing. I had a complete ocean view from my seat at the dining table. We all enjoyed sitting on the deck in the mornings watching the gulls, pelicans and searching for porpoises.
I was afraid the kids would miss having a pool, but they really enjoyed the ocean this year. They spent many hours picking up shells, taking walks, riding the waves and playing in the sand. We also watched lots of tennis (the U.S. Open), played games, worked puzzles, read books and just enjoyed uninterrupted family time.