Every year for as long as I can remember, my parents have packed all eight of us into the family twelve-seater with all the things six restless, rambunctious kids could need for a week and trundled us off to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. For eleven of those years, we have stayed in a house called Sirenetta, and this year I finally got to bring my fiance, Ryan, back to what is easily my favorite place in the world. Over time the vacation has gotten a little bit bigger and a little bit better with the addition of sons/brothers-in-law, and it’s so cool to show them around “our house” and introduce all the Cruz family traditions we’ve created over the years.

I usually bring my camera everywhere with me, but this past week I specifically left it behind pretty often to force myself to just be present and enjoy the time instead of feeling like I had to document every experience. As a result I only have a few pictures to share, but it was so good to release myself from that pressure and simply be here with the people I love!