January and I, in our nearly four years of marriage, have been fortunate enough to have some really memorable vacations. There were of course our two month-long trips out to LA in the middle of the worst part of the winters of 2009 and 2010. There was our extremely budget-restricted trip to Sanibel, Florida in which we ended the trip with $16, a rental car, and a 3 hour roadtrip across the state to catch our departing flight. But I think this past week's trip to Ocean Isle, North Carolina may go down in Team Soell history as the most memorable vacation yet.
Every year, my mom and dad rent a place in North Carolina and spend a week enoying the weather. The place they rented this year, a five bedroom / four bath right on the ocean, was way too big for just the two of them so they invited January and I, as well as my sister and her husband and kid, to join them for the week and we, of course, took them up on their kind offer.
The trip was fantastic; We left last Thursday and decided to drive through Wilmington where January and I vacationed five years ago when we were first dating. If you haven't been to Wilmington, it's a really nice midsized town and a great place to visit with lots of nice shops and restaurants. We were able to get a private balcony at Riverboat Landing where we had our first "fancy" date almost five years ago and enjoy a delicious dinner serenaded by a Bon Jovi cover band that was playing on the riverfront just below us.
January tried her best to get a picture of the concert, but I think we both gave up on photography once the crab au gratin arrived.
The next day, we drove the final hour down to the coast where our beach house waited for us. The house was a little rough around the edges, but it was perfect for a big family vacation, where people would inevitably need to have their own space. We were right on the beach, which was fairly empty after Memorial Day weekend wrapped up, and we took full advantage. I got a barefoot run in along the shoreline -- the RunKeeper event information actually indicates that I was running at below sea level for most of it -- and we spent nearly every midmorning in beach chairs reading. I finally managed to finish reading Her Fearful Symmetry (decent) and I'm now halfway through The Devil in the White City (so far, excellent). I don't think I've sat down to read a book for more than an hour since getting back from Los Angeles in February, so it was nice to resume the habit.
Adding to the entertainment was of course our two-year-old niece, Emma. This was her first beach trip and she took it like a champ. She wasn't entirely sure if she liked the sand and the ocean and, in true Jekyll and Hyde fashion, alternated between digging in the sand with her dad and crying once she noticed that her knees were sandy. But it was a lot of fun hanging with her and playing "fun unkie Andy" for a week. On a similar note, here's Emma eating a lemon:
But really, all of that stuff is secondary to what really made the vacation memorable. On our second day at the beach house, January was feeling particurly tired and dizzy. If you know January, you know that she is prone to the occasional dizzy spell, but that typically accompanies periods of extreme stress, like the days leading up to a wedding. It's not typical of what should be a relaxing, restful vacation. We did a little quick math and realized that something was amiss. Two frantic trips to the grocery store and five at-home tests confirmed it: January was pregnant.
Adding to the fun was that we got the news while living in a vacation house with my family. As I understand it, it is customary to wait fully twelve weeks before announcing a pregnancy. While this vacation house was quite roomy, it wasn't so roomy that we felt comfortable discussing our new discovery really anywhere in the house for fear that someone would overhear. This led to lots of long walks on the beach, unplanned dinners out instead of cooking in, and time spent in our room "watching TV" in order to give us an adequate amount of time to verbally freak out.
Now that we're back home and things have had time to wash over us, we're doing much better. It's a really good thing that pregnancy is, typically, a two person job: I try to make sure January doesn't spend too much time reading and mourning over what she can't eat anymore (soft cheeses, lots of green tea) and she makes sure I don't freak out about the size of the house (we have at least two years to figure that out). At this point, we still only have the word of five little sticks with pee on them to tell us what's going on, but the doctor will be able to tell us what we're looking at for certain next Tuesday. So hang on, this blog is about to get a lot more interesting.