This week we've been staying at the Outer Banks in North Carolina with Noah's extended family. The cousins spend the days at the beach, playing games, and catching up with one another. Last night we took an evening walk up the boardwalk and down to the beach to enjoy the sunset and the colors that splayed across the water.
There are essentially three family units that make up the extended family on vacation here. Noah and I have talked and joked a few times on this trip about how many years it will take before we, ahem, expand enough to need two houses. As each year passes we feel more and more like a new family member could be added before the next summer. I would guess that's still a while off, but as we get closer and closer to 30 the possibility becomes more of a reality.
In total we've had sixteen people on vacation this week, which can be quite crowded in one house, but we've managed to make it work. I think this year Noah and I have done better about balancing alone time and family time. It's always a bit of a challenge, because we want to be with the family, but we also can't afford vacations on our own with me back in school so we want some chances to do things as a couple too. This year I think we found a balance that works for us.
Each morning and evening the family is sitting down to eat meals together and the cousins play at the beach and in the water. One of my favorite things (surprise, surprise) is that we brought the kayaks this year. I've already taken it out on the Sound and in the Atlantic and had a lot of fun on both days. We spend a lot of time in the pool, having some drinks, and playing board games with one another. A popular game this year has been the Jackbox pack where you have to be a little creative with drawings and lies.
Time with family is so precious, especially as we age and lose family members whether to states far away, obligations, and even as loved ones pass. We've been incredibly lucky with Noah's family that they retain such a tight knit group and support one another.