Tuesday, July 22, 2014

On the Road Again... to Washington DC!

After Carowinds, my main task as the matriarch of the family was to get a whole lot of laundry done so we could road trip our way to Connecticut with a stop along the way in Washington D.C.  Lucky for me, my sister-in-law let me have the run of her washer and dryer so though I was up late taking care of business, I was very grateful!  Tuesday, July 22nd's plan (Chris's birthday by the way) was to get our family from Gastonia, North Carolina to Washington D.C.  I think that was a 7 hour drive for us!  We had talked about seeing some caverns but had not really planned it or made it a priority.  As the kids began to get really bored in the car... (about 4:00) they let us know how important it was that we visit some caverns.  We had some brochures and I had my iPhone but all the caverns were too far away to make a tour by closing.  That said, I had been playing with the YELP app on my phone and using it to find restaurants as we drove through towns, when I came up with the brilliant idea of using it to search for caverns based on my current location... we were in Virginia.  And then it was like the stars were aligned and the angels were singing... My search on caverns brings up a place about 30miles away.  I call them and find out the last tour is at 5:00 and we calculate we can be there by about 4:45!  And did I mention, it was right off the highway in the direction we happened to be travelling?  It was amazing.  And that is how we found Dixie Caverns.  

From their website:  Would you believe a dog was the first one in the hole at the top of the hill... followed by several inquisitive farm boys that was in 1920. And in 1923, Dixie Caverns was open to the public. There have been many changes over the years in lighting and passageways, but the beauty of this cavern has entertained thousands from then `til now. Dixie Caverns is open for tours 363 days a year.

Because the caverns were promoted to be very damp and wet with lots of slippery steps, Chris and I didn't think it would be safe to take Isaac on the tour.  Even if it was safe, there was no guarantee he might start crying or something and then we would be stuck and ruin the tour for everyone... so I decided to hang back in the car with the baby and let the big kids go on the tour with Dad.  Chris confirmed we made the right choice later.


I'm glad Chris was able to take these pictures.  Our kids have never been to any caverns before so you can imagine they thought this was pretty awesome!  This stop ended up being so perfect for our family because they were just getting really cooped up in the car, we made the very last tour, and the caverns were on the small side so the tour was only 45min... which was perfect for our kids and our travel schedule.  Isn't it awesome when things work out so beautifully?


Monday, July 21, 2014


We usually have a week together with all the cousins before beach week but since this year we had a big wedding... we had to cut cousin camp short.  We asked the kids which activity was the most important one to them and it was unanimous:  Carowinds!  Monday was the big day and we woke up to heavy rain!  It was so disappointing because we didn't have another free day to go.  After studying the radar, we decided to brave the weather and arrived a few hours later than we normally would.  It was drizzling a bit but not enough to spoil our fun.  And better yet, it wasn't crowded!
The Bill Nellis and the Chris Nellis

All smiles!

Isaac's first carousel ride!

 Here is Christopher, David and Lia on the Scrambler.  This is a fast ride but I managed to capture these happy faces on my iphone.  Love the boy  in the blue with his arms up... no, we don't know him!  Lia learned quickly to sit on the outside because if you choose the wrong position, and you are little, you get squashed.

We were even able to get some time in at the water park before it started raining and lightning.

I had fun riding with Lia.  :-)

Happy Day!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Krispy Kreme in Raleigh

Before we left Raleigh, Chris did some nostalgic sight seeing around NC State University so the kids could see where he went to school for undergrad.  They were more interested in the Krispy Kreme donut stop... Apparently, this is where their Daddy took care of his sweet tooth cravings when he was in college!  And yes, they got about a dozen donuts to go so we had some really happy kids that day.

Acorn and Marbles Kids Museum - Raleigh

On Sunday, we spent the day with Steven and Stacey and decided to take the kids to Marbles Kids Museum.  We parked in Moore Square and took the opportunity to photograph ourselves at the "famous" giant acorn.  Apparently, this is the place to be on New Years Eve as the acorn drops at midnight!  Stacey and I are both "wearing" our babies and they are both snug and happy.  :-) 

Marbles is a great kids museum and we spent most of the day there.  They had just about everything a kid could love.
water play

work together to move the green balls...

Lia's race car design...
David's race car design...

A race track.. just like the pinewood derby!

Kiddie sized basketball hoops...

Action shot...

Crazy Gears

Cute walking together...

Anthony's place...
A little sidewalk sillyness...

Cool fountains the kids could "control"

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Next Adventure: Gia's Baptism!

On Saturday, July 19th we packed up and said goodbye to Long Beach and headed to Cary for sweet Gia's baptism.  Oh blessed day!  As you can see, there was a beautiful gathering for her 1st sacrament and Pat hosted a lovely reception at her home afterwards.  Gia wore the heirloom Nelli family baptism gown too.  I am so glad that both Isaac and Gia were able to be baptized in it!  And Stacey, I love this family picture.  How is it that none of my children are sticking out their tounges?  Thank you for sharing these pictures.

Gia with the priest and her Godparents

Love the kiddos taking it all in at the reception... how cute are they?

I took this picture on the road.  David sat next to Isaac and comforted his baby brother whenever he got upset and cried.  He spent quite a bit of time holding his hand... so this picture makes me smile.  What a big heart David has!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

More Family Fun...

Hanging out with Christopher


Isaac loves his Aunt Pat

So much excitement for a little baby!

Sand castles...

Cousin bonding...

Waiting on the waves with Sam.

Happy David

Game Night - Apples to Apples
Pam was always ready to hold you  Isaac... and look how you match!

Lia's getting a piggy back ride from cousin Ainsley


Dale and family shared our beach house again this year and entertained us by pulling great big sharks out of the ocean.  While very exciting, this is still disturbing as we all swim in these waters!

Lia went to the pier with her Godparents for some fishing.  Guess what they pulled out of the ocean? You guessed it... a baby shark!  (Crazy)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Baking with Stacey

Running the Races

Oh yes, those crazy Nelli kids were still running the Long Beach Olympics this year.  Uncle Rob donned the official referee shirt in Pop Pop's honor and everyone still gorged on candy after the relays.  Tradition folks, tradition.

And... go!

Emily's long stride...

Cutie Patooties...

Bonus Novelty Relay

Lining up for Relays...