Summer In Review Part 1

Well hey there! Remember me? Blogging kind of took a back seat in my life this summer. I’m sorry. But I’m here to bring you a recap! So if you’re just here for the food, tune back in later (don’t worry, I already have a recipe photographed so it shouldn’t take another 4 months to post). But if you want to hear all about my adventures this summer, the next few posts are for you! I warn you, they’re going to be long.

After hearing the very exciting news that Evan was for sure going to med school at Baylor, we decided to cram in all of the trips possible to take advantage of our relatively workable schedules. Once it started getting warmer, we decided that we wanted to go to Corpus Christi to experience what I remembered to be some of the best beaches in Texas! I grew up in Dallas, and it was pretty universally known that Galveston was kind of gross, Corpus Christi was pretty nice, and the southern part of South Padre was pretty dang beautiful. We go to Surfside (near Galveston) on the regular because it is so close, and the southern part of South Padre is forever away. So this time we decided to hit up Corpus Christi (and go camping on the northern part of South Padre…if this is too much Texas geography for you, I understand. Here’s a map to make this make more sense.)

So we left for our free campsite after work, and got there after dark. This probably wasn’t the best planning because it meant that we were competing for free campsites on a weekend at one of the most popular beach spots in Texas in the dark, but we were excited so we just kept driving until we found a campsite. Then came the real trouble. Setting up our tent in the dark with the coastal winds blowing and the albino sand crabs attacking. At this point we were kind of cursing all of our decisions that had led to that point. We decided that it would be nice to just relax by taking a walk on the beach we had come so far to see. We had a flashlight to scare off the albino crabs, everything would be fine. We flipped our car around to face the water and turned the lights on to see the scenic view we were about to walk through, but instead we found this:

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Except in the dark. Apparently the cold winter prolonged the reproductive period for all of the seaweed in the Gulf, and when it washes on shore and dies it turns blood red. So, thanks polar vortex. Thanks for making the beaches look like a scene from War of the Worlds.

We decided to forgo our beach walk and just go to bed. Thankfully the morning was much better. The albino crabs were sleeping in their little holes, the seaweed didn’t look quite as scary in the light, and the wind could be used to fly our kite instead of make it impossible to put up our tent.

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So that’s what we did.

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And we ended up having a blast.

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We were still too scared to go in the seaweed-of-death water. But we had lots of fun soaking in the sun and flying our kite. (P.S. That’s a trick kite that my sister got me for my birthday, so you can make it spin and dive and do lots of cool stuff. It’s super fun, and we use it every chance we get.) After we had our fill of kite-flying, we decided to head into Corpus Christi and check that out. South Padre is an island that goes along most of the southern coast in Texas, so it makes the waves on the mainland beaches milder. I remember always preferring South Padre because the harsher waves led to finer sand. On this trip, however, the disadvantage of the coarser sand paled in comparison to the massive advantage of South Padre catching all of the seaweed, leaving Corpus Christi virtually seaweed free! Which meant that we finally went in the water!

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And we checked out the Blue Angels’ plane and read about some history.

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It was a short trip, but it ended up being super fun and gave us some good stories!

Our next trip was to Sunset Beach in North Carolina to visit Evan’s grandparents. I love visiting Evan’s grandparents. The beach house is everything that a beach house should be and everything that your grandparents’ house should be all rolled into one. So it’s pretty much a little slice of heaven. And Evan’s grandparents are some of the kindest, most welcoming people I’ve ever met, so I always love spending time with them.

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We spent pretty much any time we could in the water. Evan rekindled his love for surfing, and I became relatively competent at boogie boarding.

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And just like with any trip to a grandparent’s house, our meal times were filled with delicious food and treats! Here we are at the Calabash Creamery (one of the best ice cream places ever.)

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And here’s Evan in front of the Provision Company, home of the most incredible shrimp burgers around.

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My sister even came up to visit for a few days! She had recently moved to North Carolina herself and was able to come visit on her weekend! While she was there we went on bike rides on the beach and did a little shell hunting (a beach house staple). We played in the ocean and ate even more delicious food! It was super fun to have her there.

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The rest of our time there was more of the wonderful same! We were spoiled by grandma’s wonderful cooking, and enjoyed all of the local favorites.

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We even went to Spin to work off all of our indulgences! Evan’s grandparents are an inspiration. They were on those bikes doing better than me! They inspire me to work hard now, so that I can keep working later!

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Evan’s grandma is a part of the organization that protects the sea turtles on the beach, so we went to Turtle Talk and learned all about sea turtles! It was really fun! We even wore some turtle shells!

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I might be a more awkward looking turtle than Evan, but I’m much more authentic. 😉 We filled our time with every bit of togetherness and relaxation we could.

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Of course you can’t go somewhere called Sunset Beach and not take excessive pictures of sunsets, so here are a few.

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And here are a few pictures of the beach, just so we can all be jealous.

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It was a wonderful week with wonderful people. I hope this is a tradition we can continue every year. It won’t always be easy to find the time, but I think it will be worth it.

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The day we flew home from the beach was my birthday! The beach was my main birthday celebration, but once we got back to Houston, we went to Ruggles and had delicious happy hour desserts! Can I just say that dessert happy hour should be adopted everywhere. I definitely want to go back next time I need a fix!

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My wonderful friends at work got me a cake, too! They’re super sweet.

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A week or so after we got back my mom had a conference in Galveston, so she brought my oldest sister and her kids down to the beach for the weekend! We joined right after work and had a lovely weekend with family! Unfortunately, my mom had to be at her conference most of the time, but Evan and I had tons of fun with my sister and her small ones! The first night we were there, we walked across the street to the beach, just to see it. My littlest nephew had never seen the beach before, and he was mesmerized. He kept saying “Oooooo!” and pointing at the water. When we got closer he would call out “Touch it! Touch it!” and then dive bomb out of Evan’s arms so that he could touch the water! Haha, the child has complete faith that his people will keep him alive, despite anything that he does. Luckily he has a good uncle who kept him safe!

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The next day, my sister introduced us to geocaching! We went on an adventure to find a little piece of paper hidden in a palm tree near our hotel. It was fun! It was a little hot for the small ones, and they were definitely dragging half way through, but the promise of treats and beach time kept them going!

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Later we took a ferry to a little, remote island off of Galveston. The island was pretty cool, but the ferry was the main reason for the trip. Not only is it cool to drive onto a boat and then be transported across the water, but there are also a ton of seagulls that follow the boats. So you can bring bread and watch them catch it out of the air! I remember going to Galveston as a family when I was little and watching the seagulls take the bread right out from between my dad’s fingers. It’s always fun for kids and adults alike!

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Look! The one on the left caught one in his mouth!

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This might be one of my favorite pictures from the whole trip. My littlest nephew loves birds. He always wants to touch them (are you sensing a pattern here?) and then gets very frustrated when they fly away from him. On the boat he and my other nephew and niece were chasing birds and then this one started flying away when he was super close. You can see the combination of fear and delight on his face!

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That experience didn’t keep them from continuing to try to catch the birds, though!

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My mom would come and meet up with us at nights and we’d tell her about the fun we had at the seaweed ridden beaches and the dolphins we saw when we were on the ferry. One night we went out to eat at the Rainforest Café (such a cool place) and we got my mom a volcano cake for her birthday (which is the day after mine)! It was a super fun weekend full of fun and family. Time with wonderful people is always time well spent, and we were very glad to spend the weekend with them.

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We’ve still got plenty more stories from this summer to cover, but I’ll split it into two posts for you guys. I hope you enjoy!

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3 thoughts on “Summer In Review Part 1

  1. Pingback: Summer in Review Part 2 | Caramelized Kitchen

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