Nags Head (aka Beach #2)

The second week of our vacation was planned last minute to accommodate my brother who now lives on the other side of the world and to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary (which actually isn’t until October).  He was able to return home for a few weeks, and amazingly we were able to find an available, large beach house during a holiday week.

Family members staggered in throughout the week, and by Wednesday evening all of us* were accounted for.   This was the first time we had all been together since my wedding in 2004.  Even more remarkable, this was the first family vacation since 1985. Continue reading

Craft Beer along the NC Coast

My blog turns three today!  Usually, I pour myself a glass of beer (specifically Lost Coast’s Downtown Brown) and reflect on life in general (typical blog fare around here).  This time around, however, I will pour myself a homemade root beer and reflect on the craft breweries we visited (and a couple that we didn’t) during our most recent travels.

– –

We contacted someone over at Duck-Rabbit Brewery hoping to visit them during our two-week stay in North Carolina, but they only do tours on Fridays and we were only near them on Saturdays.  Thankfully, Duck-Rabbit is distributed in our area so we’ll just make do with whatever bottles we can find in our grocery store.  If you aren’t already aware of Duck-Rabbit, just know that their milk stout makes a really good ice cream float.

We later stumbled upon not one but two amazing brew pubs:  Front Street Brewery in Wilmington, NC and Full Moon Café and Brewery in Manteo, NC.

Of course, I couldn’t sample any of the beers, but I can tell you that Okey was very much impressed with the Front Street Brewery and the creativity of the young brewer.  He seemed to like the Brett style beer which he described to me as being like a lambic ale having been made with a wild yeast.  Okey returned with two friends and three growlers later in the week, and everyone was very happy with the tour of the brewery with the brewer himself.  He said that he is going to keep an eye on how well this brewery does at the Great American Beer Festival later this year.

Okey didn’t get to sample much at the crowded Full Moon, but he was very pleased to read that they specialized in British and Irish style ales… much like him.

We also noted the local Weeping Radish whose beer we had seen listed at several restaurants.  We then passed an establishment called Brewery, Butchery & Pub (which upon further research at home is linked to the Weeping Radish somehow).  Should we return to the North Carolina coast, we will see if we can squeeze that into our trip.

Holden Beach (aka Beach #1)

It feels like we’re always on the road, but we’re never really on vacation.  Our destinations have usually been to visit friends and family who live hundreds of miles away.  This summer, we took a nice long vacation and explored our neighboring state to the south.  What was special about this trip was that we were able to spend our vacation with the friends and family we are always visiting.

Family Portrait at Holden Beach

Week # 1 — I  thoroughly enjoyed Southern NC. I was worried about bringing my family to the “South,” but everyone has been so loving and welcoming. For the first time, we were told that we were a beautiful family. Usually the compliments are about our daughter and not us as a whole unit, so we felt especially welcomed. Continue reading

Before and After: Baby Edition

Last December (2011), we packed up the car with our smart mutt and headed south to Raleigh.  At the time, our dear friends Oso and Sarah were expecting twin boys.  For the first time after many visits, we walked the main streets of the state capitol.  We returned to our favourite brewpub there — Natty Greene’s.  Our dog had a blast at the dog park near their house.  I remember driving past Occupy Raleigh which consisted of maybe ten tents.  We accompanied them to their new church, Vintage 21 East, whose seats were filled with young, energetic people.  We had a great visit.

Sarah was optimistic about our adoption saying that she expected our child to arrive around her own children’s due date of March 18th.  After a routine doctor’s visit in January (2012), Sarah was rushed to the hospital where she had an emergency Caesarian the next morning.  The boys, named Aaron and Eli, remained in the hospital for weeks.  Fast forward to this March… you know the story… our daughter was born on March 11th.

We returned to Raleigh this weekend, and what an incredible time we had!  Unlike the last visit, we had only two outings.  Sarah, Wren and I went to a fascinating fiber book club meeting on Saturday morning.  The topic for the meeting was fiction containing elements of fiber.  The books I remember off the top of my head were Spinners and A Curse Dark as Gold (stories where the tale of Rumpelstiltskin is revisited) and Extra Yarn (a charming children’s book about yarn bombing which I hope to add to my own collection).  The second outing was on Sunday morning.  This was the boys’ first time at church, and they behaved themselves quite well.

I think the babies were aware of each other, but they did not interact with each other (unless you count slow-motion punching and elbowing).  I will cherish the memories from this weekend forever.

hobbies and more hobbies

Because I don’t have enough hobbies (this is sarcasm and where I direct you to please see my category column 🙂 ), my sister Marji gave me a couple of books for Christmas.  The first book rekindles my first real crafting passion which was beading.  Such beautiful designs!

The second book is intriguing and I could see myself making quilts.  I have been saving scraps of fabrics for a while so I think I might have enough to start a small project.  Mostly the scraps of fabric I’ve been saving have been for other projects like aprons for Okey, or matching pot holders, that I never quite got around to.  (If only I can get over my fear that I won’t be able to sew in a straight line!)

Because I don’t have enough potential hobbies (yes, the sarcasm continues), I drove down to Raleigh, North Carolina, to take a spinning class with Sarah at Shady Grove Farms.  We learned how to use a drop spindle and spinning machines to make yarn!  It was a trying process on Friday, and I discovered my first white hair later that night…  Saturday went better, and amazingly, yarn was indeed made.

Here are some fun pictures from the past weekend:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To be honest, I don’t mind my all of my unique hobbies.  🙂  And I actually think it couldn’t hurt to pick up a few more.