NC vacation report!

August 18, 2015
aaaaaaaaand . . . I’m back!

The short version:  It was generally great.

The long:

NOT every bit of it was great.  There were meltdowns (both kids) and some tense moments.  There was plenty of joy and discovery, and there were also moments that went so ridiculously wrong that Josh and I just had to laugh.  We ended up enduring a 3.5 hour delay on the way home, and Cameron managed to explode an entire pouch of blueberry (of course, blueberry!) fruit puree over everyone and everything in the cramped quarters of aisle 27.  There were several scenes like this — both horrific as they were unfolding, but also perfectly comedic.

These moments were probably also some of the most memorable.


— 3 visits to children’s museums.  (In retrospect, this was probably one too many, but A&C had a lot of fun.)
— The beautiful Duke Gardens and chapel (Annabel called it “the castle”)
— Eating at many of our faves: Parker & Otis, Rue Cler, Lilly’s Pizza.  
— Josh learning to knit from my sister (expert craftsperson and Cary yarn store owner)
— The kids getting to spend time withtheir grandparents and aunt Bec.

— Our hotel.  The King’s Daughter’s Inn was excellent, and reasonably affordable ($225/night for 2-room suite, including breakfast).  I would highly recommend it if you are planning a trip to Durham.  Ideal location, excellent service, clean, and a delicious made-to-order breakfast each morning.  
— The kids slept great!  I was very worried about this but it was an non-issue.  They were up between 6:30 and 7:30 each day, similar to at home, and there were no night wakings (HALLELUJAH)

— Allowing Cameron to essentially skip his nap one afternoon.  (Very bad idea)
— Leaving Guglhupf (due to meltdowns from C and THEN A, causing us to leave in 2 shifts) after sitting down and ordering a full meal, and then eating said meal on the floor of our hotel room sans silverware.  And at least there was wine.

— Annabel throwing a tantrum in the airport and refusing to put on her underwear (yeah, she basically mooned half of MIA.  What can I say?).  This tantrum only came to an end with the purchase of a cookie the size of her face.  Worth it.


— I hate the MIA airport SO MUCH.  I learn this every time I fly out of there, but it was particularly . . . noticeable this time around.  We made it onto our flight with 1 minute to spare and I think I ran a half mile through the crowded airport holding Cameron because they wouldn’t let us gate check the stroller.  (At RDU they did.  Same stroller.  @(#$*&!!!)
Cameron + airplanes = not the best mix
— 18 month olds should never skip their naps.  I mean, DUH, right, but he had 2 car naps that day (at 9 am and 11 am) and I thought that would be sufficient.  It wasn’t.
— Museums are fantastic but maybe not for 3 days in a row.  Staying next to a playground was a great idea.


— I did not run or work out the whole trip.  It was a nice break, and chasing around A&C felt like enough of a workout.
— I did kind of miss getting up early to read/drink coffee/etc.  But not enough to actually get out of bed.
— I did not eat paleo on this trip.  And it was kind of nice . . .
— I think that traveling w/ A&C is only going to get easier and more fun with time, so that is exciting.  A was incredibly mature and well-behaved EXCEPT for the few times when she was umm, the polar opposite.  But seriously, it was a hint of what is to come, and the future looks bright.

So in sum, it was great.  Not every moment, but overall.  I am much more rested and centered today, which is good because I am so behind at work it’s ridiculous.  Onward and upward!

Mr. C loved the hotel beds

A contemplative moment at the Duke Gardens


Duke class of 2034, perhaps?
Kidzu in Chapel Hill
The flight home OMG
Up way past his bedtime at Rue Cler

Alpacas at the Museum of Life & Science

More science


  • Reply beth March 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    So fun to read about someone vacationing where you live! We love the MLS and Duke Gardens. My kids were horrific travelers until they were between 3-4. Seriously, I am pretty sure that if people could have thrown us off of a plane midflight they would have. And no one ever slept in the hotel rooms. We used to average 5 hours of sleep per night. Not pretty. Mine are 4 and 6 now and it is so, so, so much better.

  • Reply Ana March 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    You got sleep! That is a miracle! Once my kids started reliably sleeping in hotel rooms, everything seemed better. Its just hard (if not impossible) to feel like its a vacation when I’m supremely sleep-deprived. Your trip sounds awesome!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

      Yes, agree, I am so thankful about the sleep. I would definitely say the trip was a success overall even though there were some really messy moments (I CRIED in the miami airport — yeah.)

      I think it was our last airplane trip for the next 6-12 months, though. My parents are obsessed with us coming up to PHL next summer so that may be next 🙂

  • Reply svettigamamman March 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    I think C is in the most difficult stage for air travel right now, and it will get better. We usually do 1-3 longer flights per year, and I think they are getting the hang of it now (at 3 and 6 y.o). But I will bring movies for our next flight, forgetting that on a 6h flight was my worst mistake so far.

    We have had the "underwear war" too. And midwinter she refused all kinds of pants. Even standing on our porch in the snow with bare legs could not convince her that it was cold and pants were a good idea. I took her sans pants to day care and they took the fight for me. (Mum of the year here)

  • Reply Erica March 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    You guys were serious troopers – vacations with kids are tough. By the end of our beach vacation Griffin was just asking to stay inside and watch TV. All the meals at restaurants + car travel + activities really can wear everyone down! I’m glad we got to have burgers together though 🙂

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