May 31, 2012

Hatteras Sunrise

The beauty of the water and the stillness of the morning combine to create a peaceful set of photos of Hatteras Harbor.

Photos by Kern Hoff

It officially feels like summer!

May 30, 2012

Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

The Fourth Annual trip to Cape Hatteras, NC commenced over the weekend and everyone had a great time.  We relaxed on the beach, cooked and ate delicious food and enjoyed one another's company.

Scenes from the Beach:

Hoff, David Hasselhoff

Matthew enjoyed the shade in my new Calypso CABANA

Cooper enjoyed the beach this year...from the plush front seat of the 4Runner.
Hims a beach doggy!

Charles and Julie

Sunday started out with a bit of the natural course of action was to buy equipment to make a sand castle!

Daisy wanted to help by burrowing in the sand.

Let the construction begin!

"This is what designers do at the sand castles." - GCC

TA DA!  "Sand City" is finished - moat and all!

Beautiful, beautiful beach

Scenes from cooking and eating:

Bob brought his special cooking pot and did a low country shrimp boil on Friday night to kick off Matthew and Charles' birthday week!

The boys getting the boil ready

It was sooooooo good.

There was a 3 layer strawberry cake for dessert!

On Saturday night, Matthew fried beer battered flounder to perfection.

And yes, those are homemade hush puppies.

Hunter and Katie
Stop by tomorrow for sunrise photos!

May 25, 2012

A Little Beach R&R

"For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it's always ourselves that we find in the sea."
E.E. Cummings

Cape Hatteras, North Carolina {via}
I was three months old the first time I went to the beach.  I don't remember it, but I've seen photos of my parents holding me, wrapped in a blanket, my grandfather's boat in the background.

Many of my early memories involve the beach or water.  Fishing, chasing seagulls, hunting for a perfect shell.  I recall that my brother and I seemed to get along in perfect harmony when we were at the beach.  The sand, sun and water cast a spell over us and we temporarily forgot that we desired to make the other miserable in our everyday sibling rivalry.  We got to make special trips to get ice cream.  My mom even bought me blue (blue!!) nail polish one summer.  I remember feeling so old and grown up.

So now, as an adult, when I go to the beach, I carry these memories with me.  I may not chase the seagulls, but I enjoy just resting and absorbing the sound of the waves breaking on the sand.  The vastness of the ocean reminds me how small I am and how large God is.  I recall God's promise to Abraham in the Old Testament in Genesis 22:17, "I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore."

Our friends are headed to Cape Hatteras, NC in the Outer Banks for our fourth annual Memorial Day trip this weekend and I could not be more excited.  The weather forecast is perfect.

'Beach time' is definitely a time that I use to reset my internal compass and focus on areas of my life that I want to change or improve.  The summer is a busy season and I'm looking forward to taking a break to recharge and think about the ways in which I plan to use my time.

Happy Memorial Day to all and many thanks to those brave men and women who have given their lives so that I can have the privilege of living in American today.  If you know someone who has served or is actively serving, please take time to thank him or her over the weekend.

May 24, 2012

Go Cubs Go!

You can't go to Chicago without experiencing a Cubs game! 
(if it's baseball season)

We arrived at Wrigley Field early enough to watch batting practice.

Jody and I got comfortable in our seats while Kern and Greg stood at the bottom trying to catch baseballs.

Father & Son

They were successful!  Both Hoff men got a baseball.
I can now add another to my collection of baseballs that Kern has caught for me.

Wish Kitty came along too!

Cubs vs. Braves

We watched the sun set - beautiful!

The row houses surrounding Wrigley have box seats built onto the roofs.
You can rent them out for a group event or party.

As the sun set, the fog began to come in...
...on little cat feet.

Souvenir!  The best kind.

The whole gang - it got chilly that evening!

Towards the end of the game, the fog was in on Lion Paws.

Wrigley still manually changes the score.  They also play old school music at the game, which I love.

Go Cubs Go
Go Cubs Go
Hey Chicago, what'd ya say?  Cubs are gonna win today!

I was singing like a local!

Complete fog!

May 23, 2012

The Candy Show: Sugar High

The Candy Show was my favorite day.  I have been a candy-obsessed person since I was a child.

I remember sitting in the dentist office as an elementary aged girl after just receiving the news that I had my first cavity.  I was so upset.  I silently vowed to never eat another piece of candy again because I was so ashamed that I had a cavity.

Well, that vow didn't get kept, and perhaps I should have been vowing to brush my teeth more thoroughly anyway...but...that's a discussion for another day.  All that to say:  All kinds.  Chocolate, gummies, sour, bubble gum...if it has sugar, I've probably tried it and liked it.

May I now present to you...the Candy Show!

My new friend: a giant Peep Marshmallow!

Jody and Greg in front of the Peep Bug.

Lindt chocolates!

Furniture + Food = my dream!
This chair was decorated with actual candies.

This is a 10 foot replica of Chicago's famous Cloud Gate sculpture and was made with 120,000 Jelly Belly beans and chocolate dips.  It was assembled by the French Pastry School "After School Matters!" group.

Everywhere we turned, there were monstrous displays of every type of candy you can imagine.

Jelly Beans!

Lemon head!

This is the view of the floor from the upstairs lounge.
Can you see the giant Hershey's kiss?

Kitty and Kitty

French candy!
I think I look good as a red head?  Kern should definitely consider a mustache. 
We left feeling ill (or at least I did from sample overload) and I couldn't wait to get back to the hotel and brush my teeth, but it was a very successful day!
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