Kure Beach, NC & Fourth of July

Another epic Fourth of July in the books!

The wonderful thing about the holiday this year was that we were able to spend a lot of time with both families!

First on the dock was to fly out to Kure Beach, North Carolina for a relaxing beach vacation with Phil’s family! They lived in North Carolina for a period of time when Phil and his siblings were younger, and their family loves the east coast as a result.

We stayed at this fabulous rental house right across the street from the beach that Phil’s mom found! It had several stories and tons of bedrooms and bathrooms to fit everyone, so we all had plenty of space. This is a similar view of our walk across the way to get to the beach area…I completely spaced it this trip and took a total of about 2 photos. Seriously that’s never happened to me before.
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A majority of the trip was spent on the beach or sunbathing and boogie boarding the waves, so we got plenty of NC sun! (This is probably another reason why I came home with no photos – too distracted by lounging and playing in the waves). We also got to enjoy my sister-in-law’s famous baking (tons and tons and TONS of cookies!) and some great family games in the evenings.

One evening for dinner we went in to town and ate at this really great seafood restaurant, Jack MacKerels Island Grill. As to be expected (and warmly welcomed), the place was covered in bright, beach side decor with fun lights and island-themed tables.
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While we were waiting to be seated for dinner, we took the opportunity to snap a couple of Laf family photos!
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Phil’s cousin, Adam and I went for the gold and ordered these massive king crab legs for our entrée. We had a blast cracking away at our legs and taking the longest amount of time by far to eat our dinner…and the crab meat was AMAZING. Living in a landlocked state makes you crave fresh seafood all the time, and I was glad to finally get my fill! Although the trip was short-lived, we had a great time with Phil’s family relaxing beach side!

As soon as we landed back home, we switched gears and jumped right in to my family’s annual Fourth of July weekend events. Like I’ve said before my mom’s family LOVES the Fourth of July. In some ways, I feel like it’s become a bigger family holiday to us than Christmas (which brings its own great traditions)! My mom is one of 6 children so our family is fairly large…especially now that some of my cousins are starting to have kids; it just makes it that much bigger and better!

On Friday morning, we took the little kiddos to the 4th of July Day Parade that my mom’s family has been going to for years. It’s a fun family event and it’s even more entertaining now that we have little ones around. Watching them get really excited when they are given candy as floats go by is adorable!
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After the parade and getting some pool time in, we headed out to my mom’s house for the main 4th of July event – yard games, grilling and shooting off fireworks! Every year my mom hosts the 4th of July festivities at her house since fireworks are legal to shoot off out there.

Usually the pre-dinner shenanigans start with one uncle who gets the responsibility for grilling out the standard main course (bratwursts and hotdogs) while the moms are in the kitchen preparing the side dishes. Meanwhile, the cousins and uncles usually take this opportunity to rev up our family competitiveness (it’s fierce) and play bocce ball, washers or polish horseshoes.
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After dinner, we set up in my mom’s backyard and enjoyed the fireworks show! We always let the few guys who are brave enough to play with fire actually light them off, while the rest of us sit back, relax and enjoy. I’m always impressed by the size of the display that we end up with…I can’t imagine how much is spent on fireworks each year.
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On Saturday morning, we all met out at this huge park in the area to take a family photo that included as many of us as possible, as well as individual family photos. My Grammy organized the attire and scheduled the session with a local photographer. It was a really fun afternoon and the photographer was able to gracefully handle our big group!

How we normally are…
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…and then behaving ourselves 🙂
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Following the photo shoot, the ladies of the family headed over to my Grammy’s house for my cousin Alexa’s family bridal shower! Alexa decided on blush, gold and pearl for her wedding colors and there were several little touches that were added to the shower to implement that color scheme. Everything turned out so cute and she definitely scored some great wedding gifts!
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Continuing on with the crazy-packed weekend, Phil and I headed to our friends Emily and Andrew’s wedding on Saturday evening in Lawrence, Kansas, which is where they both graduated from college. The actual ceremony was at the Oread Hotel, this absolutely stunning hotel located right on the university’s campus.
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The ceremony and reception reflected their personalities so perfectly, and I especially loved how they decided to “go green” by nixing the ceremony programs and projecting their dinner menu on screens around their venue. They are such a great couple and we were really happy to be a part of their big day!
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Phil and I have been basking in the “barely nothing planned” routine of ours lately since our busy holiday week. We can’t help but feel it’s probably the calm before the storm, but we will certainly enjoy it while it lasts!

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