Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ella's Big Day

Happy 1st Birthday, June Bug
You are more than we ever could have wished for

We Love You!
Mommy, Daddy and Ben

Friday, August 29, 2008

Family Vacation

We survived our family vacation! And had a fantastic time!! Lots of sun, swimming, wine, laughing, good food, wine, bike riding, running, wine, shopping, playing. And did I mention wine? I haven't had time much time to write about it on the blog.... mainly because there were so many pictures that I wanted to include. But finally, it is complete. So here it goes!

The original plan was to leave Friday morning and drive to Charlotte and stay with our friends, The Bennett's, for the night who live there and then drive the rest of the way to Hilton Head on Saturday (since we couldn't check into the house until 4pm). Unfortunately, the Bennett's were under the weather so we thought it would be safer to stay away until they felt better. Matt worked super late (until like 11pm) Thursday and then started packing when he got home. He was still packing when Ella work up around 1am and decided she didn't want to sleep anymore. Matt then decided that since 3 out of the 4 of us were already awake, we should just get in the car and start driving. So sure enough, at 1:30am, the Chamberlain clan was on the road. I fell asleep in the back and Matt woke me up around 3:30am and asked if we could switch because he was exhausted. So I had to drive through the hills of West Virginia in the middle of the night in the dark, with fog everwhere and deer in the highway. I was counting the minutes until the sun came up. We ended up making it to HH early afternoon on Friday and met up with our parents and my sister and family to do some shopping at the outlets. Since we couldn't get into the house until the next day, we got a room at the Day's Inn, ordered some pizza and watched the Olympics. Matt and I were exhausted after barely sleeping and lots of driving. However, Ella decided that she WAS NOT going to sleep at the Day's Inn. Finally, at around midnight, after much uncontrollable crying, Matt put on his clothes, took Ella to breakfast at an all-night diner, and then drove around the island until she fell asleep. He brought her back in the hotel room at around 4am. At that point, she started again with her uncontrollable crying so at around 4:30am, I put her back in the car and drove around some more (wearing my PJs, and not taking my purse, cell phone or room key). After driving around for a couple hours, we ended up back in the parking lot of the Day's Inn. I wasn't about to risk trying to move her after she had fallen asleep, so I ended up falling asleep sprawled across the front seat of the Suburban. When Matt and Ben woke up in the morning, they were surprised to find both of us passed out in the parking lot. They hopped in the car with us and we picked up some Starbucks and then headed to my sister's hotel so that they could hear all about our horrible night.

Now this whole thing is very uncharateristic of Ella - she is usually a great sleeper. Thankfully, being on vacation with my sister, the Pediatrician, we figured she most likely had a ear infection that was making her miserable so we started her on an antibiotic (which helped immediately!)
So, the house we stayed at was in Sea Pines, on South Beach. This was a whole new world for us. For the past 8 or so years we have been staying in Port Royal Plantation, on the opposite end of the island. The house was huge and beautiful -- perfect for the 14 of us!

This is a picture of the front entryway. Out the back there was a screened in porch, huge deck and pool and hot tub.

The first night, we just relaxed and got settled. Ben and McKenna loved the big media room and the babies loved going up and down (and up and down and up and down) the stairs .

Check out this goodlooking group headed to the beach. Initially, Ella was the biggest water bug of the 4 of them, but eventually they all really enjoyed the ocean too.

Building sandcastles with Uncle Josh was also a bit hit!

One night after dinner we headed down to South Beach for some ice cream. It was enjoyed by all!

Speaking of dinner, each family was in charge of cooking dinner for the group one night during the week. Overall, we had FABULOUS meals. For our meal, we did "Create Your Own Burrito" (Chipotle a la Chamberlain). Matt found this website -- -- that has the recipes the rice, cheese, etc. that they use at Chipotle. It turned out fantastic

Most of our family meals looked something like this

Ella wasn't always on the table...

Ben and McKenna spent lot of time with their Papas at the beach, and the babies spent a lot of time with them cuddling

More beach pictures.... Look how close the dolphins were!:

One evening we headed to Harbor Town to listen to Gregg Russell sing under the big oak tree. I have been going to see Gregg Russell since I was little, so of course I was excited for my kids to experience it too. His show started at 8pm and we got there about an hour before show started. The kids enjoyed running and dancing around the stage. Unfortunately, they all kind of pooped out shortly after he started. I think they were just a little too young this year. But next year, we'll be there with signs!!

On the drive back to Ohio, after being in the car for 8+ hours, we stopped for dinner at Hooters (yes, Hooters) in Bexley, West Virginia. Our kids were out of control after being in the car all day and basically took over one whole corner of the restaurant. The whole dinner was pretty much a nightmare.

And this is how Ben ended up leaving Hoosters thanks to his diaper explosion....

After dinner and a short break, we hoped back in the car and Matt drove while the kids and I slept in the back. We arrived safely home around 1:30am Sunday morning.

The End

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