Monday, August 25, 2014


Oh boy - prepare for the mother of photo dumps! We had a fabulous time last week at Surf City/Topsail Island with the McClure side. What a phrase: "my family" to "McClure side" in a matter of a few years. "My family" is too broad now, so I must specify. Anyways...we love and miss the McClure side so much when we are gone, those occasional get-togethers are truly golden. Riley and Joe were on a constant high, playing with their rambunctious cousins and faking terror at the waves every day. I'll try to be discerning with pictures, but I have about 300 and they are all my favorites.
Surf City Pier
Autumn and I get photo bombed.

Riley and Auntie Em on our one cloudy day. Didn't hold us back much.
The Gang.
Riley wanted to be a mermaid too, but with separate legs. She was adamant.
Playing with Grandma in the Surf.
My beautiful mom and grandma. They are so awesome.
So you see, we didn't let the ocean go to waste! The water was always warm, even on the one or two rainy days, and we took full advantage. We also went on family walks daily, something we love to do, chatting with our feet in the surf, stopping occasionally to examine a sharks tooth or shell. Some of us haven't seen each other in a really long time, but the tradition of beach walking ensures lots of conversation time and catching up.

To keep things interesting, we had several off-beach excursions as well: the Wilmington aquarium and Children's Museum, the battleship U.S.S. North Carolina, kayaking and paddle-boarding, the ferry to Southport for shopping, mini-golf, local restaurants and sea food, are a few that come to mind. There was also a most memorable seafood night sponsored by Grandma and Aunt Mel right at home: shrimps and fish and shrimp stew on grits and hushpuppies. I think all tolled we had 18lbs of shrimp and 10 lbs of fish thanks to a lack of communication amongst the shoppers so we were stocked for the week.

The U.S.S. North Carolina: I instigated this venture. History! Riley and Joe loved it too. The climbing up and down ladders and the "booms" were their favorites.

Ship security.
The most mournful "See ya later, alligator," you've ever seen - he did not want to leave it!
 Mini-Golf with Grandpa: (Although Riley calls him 'Grandma' for some reason. Sometimes, 'Grandma the Man'. And Joe calls him 'Dad' sometimes, and calls Dave "Mom-D' It's the darnd'est thing).
On the way, Dad let the girls pick out hats for their game. Riley of course got a pink fedora. "It's the pinkest hat I've ever seen!"

Children's Museum in Wilmington:

 Followed by the Cobblestone Cafe, aka, site of Joe's first inside joke. "Two straws." He is still using it - was growling it to Angie up at the piano at church the other day, trying to get her to respond.

 We also had an engagement shower for these lovely couples: cousin Scott and Katie, and Jon and Mira - whose wedding is actually only a couple weeks away! I am flying out to UT for the occasion and I am so excited to get to Zupas to see them sealed in the Salt Lake temple for time and all eternity, and our family to grow by one more sweet sister.
I think that's a good note to end on, now that I've achieved the longest blog post ever. And I tell you, that was showing restraint! Not all the pictures, not by half! And this past week we have spent in VA and taken even more...this place is so beautiful, truly - the Garden of Eden couldn't be much prettier. We are loving the quiet and relaxing atmosphere, Mom's gourmet feasts, and spending time with our loved ones. Two more days and we'll be off again, this time to MN so Dave can finish his masters. But also, in time for the MN state fair, which we hear is quite the event. It will be sad to leave VA and our summer of fun, but I for one am looking forward to getting back into a routine and home of our own. For the next 8 months, anyways.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Denver Temple

Monday night we planned to visit Roxborough State Park. When Dave got off work, we went for a pizza and were on our way when our smart phones told us that no, the park actually closed at six so...we took our picnic to the Denver temple instead. Family Home Evening night being Monday night, the temple was closed so we didn't feel too conspicuous taking our rambunctious toddlers and our hot and ready pizza (although it did feel a little like I should have made a fancier picnic, fried chicken or something...I'm weird.) But I am so glad we did! Just walking on the grounds, I felt peaceful and happy and overwhelmingly grateful for my eternal family. It was a breath of fresh air I didn't know I needed, not having been in a while. I look forward to the day the kids are old enough to go inside with us.
 Eventually it was time to go and Riley did not want to get back in the car. It was either drag her away screaming, pitch camp at the temple, or go to Dairy Queen. Obviously.
 I got to try the s'more blizzard finally and it was amazing! Game changer! Then Ross was conveniently next door - we do love Ross - and all in all, it turned out to be the perfect evening. I have been thinking about it all week (the special family time, not the clothing store). These guys are my greatest blessing. And the rest of my family! I am so excited to get together with the McClure side tomorrow at Topsail Island, NC. That place holds so many memories that I can't think of it without getting a little thrill inside. And how I have missed my family - our conversations, games, inside jokes, food, and that brand of crazy that is unique to us. I love you all! Can't wait to see you!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Rocky Mountain National Park

For our last weekend in CO, we ordered sunshine and blue skies and drove a couple hours to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. We spent the day with friends, Aaron and Carie and their sweet baby Brinley, hiking around the most scenic mountains and lakes you could ask for - it was the perfect way to say farewell to Colorado! We took, ahem, one or two pictures.
 It seemed every time we rounded a bend, there was a new postcard shot.
Joe found a walking stick.
The babies did shockingly well - no naps and scraped knees regardless.
We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. And the babies slept till 7:30 the next morning, which is about 2 hours longer than they have been lately - yeah!

In other news, we are biding our time in a hotel near Dave's work this week. Today is free day at all national parks, so this evening I think we will take a picnic dinner (pizza, let's be honest) to Roxborough, about half an hour away. I really am going to miss this beautiful state. Although all the moving around and temporary living situations is tiring. You know how I lost the double stroller last week? I also lost all my pants. All of them. Left them sitting in a drawer in our old apartment and discovered the next day I was pantless, went back to check if they were still in the drawers (they weren't), went dumpster diving (weren't there either), finally, got ahold of the super and she contacted the cleaning crew and some blessed person had the wisdom to keep them, so I can go pick them up this week. It's stressful, knowing you can't be trusted with your own possessions! I guess I should take my coconut oil, or get a massage or something. At least I have a nice new stroller now, which I found for cheap on Craigslist, and a new pair of pants, purchased before the old were tracked down (no, I didn't do it on purpose, Dave Munion)! And now, we are off to the park. Riley just watched a Sesame Street on getting rid of binkey's. I don't think it made an impression.