We just returned home from our annual Costello family vacation to the Outer Banks in NC. The trip was nearly spoiled by its collision with hurricane Irene, but thankfully, she only set us back a few days rather than ruining things altogether. And I mean really, in this massive family of 27, we are probably a pretty close match of sheer determination and brute strength to that hurricane. And one way or another, I was pretty sure we'd find a way to spend our vacation all together.
Our high hopes of enjoying a leisurely flight down were traded for cancelled flights and rushing to pack the car last minute to make the 12 hour trek down and arrive in time to get into our house as soon as the evacuation orders were lifted. The kids were troopers and we pumped them full of snacks and DVD movies along the way until they cried for mercy.
Despite it being a shortened vacation, we couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather or a more perfect house to fit our large family comfortably. The kids played so great together and watching them dig and shovel sand on the beach while I lounged on a chair and read my book felt like paradise. It was actually relaxing this year because we didn't have an infant and both kids were pretty independent and happy to sit in the sand for hours on end and entertain themselves. And it helped that they had their choice of 11 other cousins to play with.
It is quite remarkable to me that in a family of this size, everyone really does like each other, and it really is possible to spend a week together without any arguing or power-struggles, back-biting or bad-mouthing. I know its probably not normal and that our family is so blessed by God to be able to get along so well. It still amazes me every year though when I think about it.
I took over 300 pictures this year, although about 25 of those were taken by Eli of random objects in our room when he would play with the camera at night instead of sleep. John said that people might wonder if we have two children instead of one since I took so many shots of Norah, but I couldn't help myself because of her cuteness. So here are some of my favorites and in no particular order. I also realized that I didn't do a very good job of capturing all of our extended family members, or really most of our extended family members. Sorry about that. It was a much larger group than these pictures would imply.
Thank you so much mom and dad Costello for financing this amazing trip and bringing us all together under one roof for such a great vacation. You guys are so generous and we do not take it for granted! You have raised some pretty spectacular kids and I am a lucky girl to have been welcomed into your big, loving family.
Papa learned how to make a fast friend by sharing his ice-cream sandwich
Building and digging in progress
The future star of Blue Crush 3. All we need is the surfboard
The seagulls got wind of the kid's snack-time pretty quickly
A day at the beach and the view of our house from the back
"Seas and Quackers"
Family photo night on the beach-
All the Costello cousins
Naptime snuggles with daddy
Taking Shayden and Eli crabbing on the beach at night
Because they're supposed to be the best in the Outer Banks
Kristen and Lincoln enjoying the sunshine
Out for ice-cream on our last night