It’s snowing now – and for the second time already this year! It’s nice to look at it but I’m over the cold weather already. Actually, I was over it before it even started, but I’m wearing my best poker face for the girls. They don’t seem to mind the cold at all. Every winter, I beg (plead!) for Chris to look for a job on the Gulf Coast. However, with Mississippi experiencing unusually cold weather this year, I’ve decided that idea must be nixed. The only option now to avoid ever feeling cold and stuck inside would be to move to Australia or the Caribbean. To get through the season, I’ve been embracing all things hygge which is helping. Yet, I still just resist the cold. Today I can’t help but think of our last beach trip, the last time we were in swimsuits and felt our skin sweat. I longed for it and sat looking through these pictures and replaying the memories in my mind. Emerald Isle, early this past November for 5 days.
What do you do in Emerald Isle, North Carolina for 5 days? Not much of anything. Fish, play in the sand and of course, eat. You may have heard us mention our honorary North Carolina parents, Liz and Bill. To our kids and us, Bill is referred to as Guillermo, the Spanish translation for the name Bill. I met Guillermo on a mission trip in Honduras years ago. Since that meeting, you could say we have sort of inserted our family into theirs. They like to garden and eat good food. We do too. They like to make and talk wine. We like to drink it. They like the beach. We do too. They value their family, their marriage, their faith and love a good adventure – they’re a couple we easily look up to and enjoy being around. We spend hours talking about anything under the sun, including the often-avoided religion and politics. I think it also helps that we’re not related 😉 Guillermo himself, a retired engineered from Cotton Inc., is full of interesting facts. He can somehow simultaneously make us all scratch our head and burst into laughter. We just never know if what he says is true or not! They spent most of the months of October and November in Emerald Isle, NC (#retiredlife) with visitors coming and going and generously invited us over for an entire week.
Most posts about our little adventures have just been general highlights of where we stayed, what we ate, the more vague stuff. Lately though, I’ve really been wanting to hold onto the little details that I never share and often forget. Funny things Grace says, conversations between Chris and I, images I want to ingrain in my mind of all of us together. Here’s what stuck out to me about this trip.
Grace insisting I bury her in the sand over and over, accidentally eating sand over and over and laughing about it.
The large amount of seashells we found each day and quizzing the girls on bi-valves. “Is it a scallop, mussel, clam or oyster shell?”
How loud and close the waves sounded at night when we slept..all like we were milk drunk infants. The beach is the best remedy for a good night’s sleep. We slept with the blinds open so we could rise with the sun. Chris was up early just about every morning to go fishing with Guillermo. Nothing like the prospect of catching fish to get a man out of bed early!
Charlotte being cheeky as ever all weekend, mischievously sneaking up and down the staircase having us wondering what trouble has she sought out now? She loved the sand, eating her weight in boiled corn and all of Guillermo’s fist pumps.
Bluefish-the buzzword of the week. It was pretty much all anyone was catching. Still, every catch was exciting (and sometimes frightening) for the kids. We ate it for the first few meals, fried hot with seared vegetables and cold on sandwiches. It’s actually incredibly tasty but you must eat it the day of or after you’ve caught it. It has a reputation for having a fishy taste and not a favored seafood. But alas! Most of the fish you buy in stores or at restaurants have not likely been caught that day. I mistakenly did a Google search of its safety which led to a huge discussion of mercury levels and the safety of consuming certain fish. Note to self – never start a debate with a chemist and an engineer unless you have a huge glass of wine and a lot of spare time. At one point Guillermo repeated the phrase in his natural New York accent “forget about it” in what must have been five different languages. We concluded that unless we were catching huge bluefish (which we weren’t) there was no reason to be concerned about heavy metals. “They’re hitting, they’re hitting!” Guillermo or Chris would observe on and off throughout the day. They meant birds where huddled over the water nose diving to catch blues. Chris and Guillermo would then load up, walk down to the beach and follow the birds, catching their leftovers. “Still blues? Still blues?” Mostly blues. However, Liz caught several puffer fish much to the girls delight. We bought scallops one night to have with the blues, a surf and surf if you will. And the next night did a shrimp and crab boil feast on the balcony. Grace proudly got to stay up late enough to enjoy dessert, oven broiled s’mores. She’s doing some socially-conscious eating lately..aka vegetarianism. Can you believe it? My child decided against all fish and many meats and cheeses?!..Pray it’s a phase.
Billiards-Chris and Guillermo decided to go for a walk one night, a walk that lasted well until at least midnight. At one point after realizing the time, Liz and I both looked at each other thinking, “did we really let our husbands go out together alone?” We still don’t know the entire story of why they were gone so long. According to them they were hustling a group of marines at a local bar over a few rounds of billiards. They apparently won 100 bucks which we’ve yet to see.
Chris and I agreeing, “we need more of this, time at the beach with no plans.” Or just anywhere with no plans which I’m happy to say we’ve done well with so far this year. We stayed put for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, a first ever for us. By far it was a great decision. We’ve been enjoying a restful, cozy New Year.
P.S. I wrote an article (both print and online!) for Raleigh Magazine on a few unexpected places around town to bring your little ones. You can read it here. I also happily answered some questions for Mother Magazine about where to play and eat in Raleigh which you can read here and shared my granola recipe on Raleigh Moms Blog which you can view here.