Tuesday, August 13, 2019

A day in Durham

Last weekend we drove up to Durham for our friend Brooke's wedding, which was lovely. The kids behaved remarkably well on the drive up there and were so excited to stay in a hotel. 

Here they are on the luggage cart (not smiling for some reason (I'm not sure why because they were so excited about hopping on)):

And here they are eating some bagels and cream cheese we picked up to munch on before heading to the wedding (because we hadn't fed them anything since breakfast); they all really enjoyed the view from the 5th floor:

Recently the church changed a policy regarding civil/temple marriages and I think it was such a positive change. In the past, a couple who wanted to be sealed in the temple would also have to be married in the temple, so technically they would be married twice at the same time—in a combined religious and civil ceremony. If they chose, for whatever reason, to be married outside of the temple in a civil ceremony then they would have to wait a full year before being sealed. But only in North America.

Anywhere else in the world (in places that require a public-ish civil wedding) couples were free to wed and then travel to a temple to be sealed.

Anyway, they recently decided that if was fine for couples to be wed civilly and then be sealed later in North America as well. And, as I said, I think it's such a positive change.

(If I didn't explain that very well, you can read more about the change here).

Brooke got married at our old chapel on Friday (the 2nd) and then travelled to the Charleston South Carolina temple to be sealed (since the Raleigh temple is still closed for renovations). Her wedding was lovely and it was so nice to see so many old friends. 

One of her bridesmaids brought along her therapy dog. He walked down the aisle with her and was running around during the reception, which was interesting (we don't usually have dogs inside our church buildings). Poor Alexander hopped off my lap while someone was giving a speech to the new couple and came face to face with the dog and absolutely panicked. 

"MOM! DOG! AHHHH!" he shrieked and ran back to hop into my lap.

Those who saw what happened laughed—he had been so shocked to run into a dog (he's not really afraid of dogs; it just was entirely an unexpected occurrence). I'm not sure those who couldn't see him appreciated his little outburst, but it was funny for the rest of us.

Other than the wedding and reception (which I didn't take any pictures of), we didn't do much on Friday. Rachel, however, got to have a sleepover with her friend Meadow and when we were dropping her off we ran into Mr. Lee, our old next-door neighbour, and Benjamin got to say hello to his little doggie buddies (except for Vixie, who passed away). We miss Mr. Lee so much!

Rachel had fun at Meadow's house. Meadow's mom took them out to an ice cream shop that stays open late and in the morning they went to our neighbourhood pool, just like old times. 

Standing in front of our old house: Zoë, Benjamin, Mazie, Miriam, Rachel, and Meadow
We had a hard time convincing Rachel to leave, but she already missed out on our morning activities and we still had an afternoon and evening to go. 

Zoë jumping onto the bed from the window sill (just one of many games they invented in the hotel room)
While Rachel was swimming with Meadow, we hit up Duke Gardens.

It's just as beautiful as ever. The kids had fun rekindling old memories (finding Hagrid's hut, their favourite statue, wondering where that big magnolia tree went (they removed it!!)).

Here's Benjamin trying to touch a turtle:

And here he is trying to touch a frog:

The frog was too fast for him though:

Here are the kids admiring the fish:

And reaching into a fountain:

This is their "favourite" statue. They all fought over who got to stand in the middle, which was great (loud fights in public spaces are my favourite thing to deal with as a parent):

We had to make it to the red bridge, of course:

And here is Zoë in approximately the same spot we took her one-year pictures at:

We stopped by the chapel, and had hoped for a little more time there, but they were preparing for a funeral service so had to settle for a quick peek.

After we picked up Rachel from Meadow's house, we grabbed some lunch and headed over to West Point on the Eno for a little picnic. I didn't take many pictures, but we were very happy to be reunited with the Eno again. The mill was open, too, so we got some freshly ground corn meal!

They showed great restraint and only got a little bit wet.

After too short of a time we had to bid farewell to the Eno so we could head over to Duke Park (not located at Duke University, but rather close to our old neighbourhood) to meet up with some friends. Some of Rachel's best little friends from her Easley days showed up and it was fun for them to get caught up with each other while I caught up with their mothers.

Elijah, G., Rachel, and Miriam (with Carolina watching from the side)
Here's Rachel with Carolina:

We had quite a few church friends come out as well (the Hennessees, Adamsons, Schmutzes, and Brother Brown):

Amy's little boy Graham didn't make it into the picture, but here he is with Miriam (she was quite the baby whisperer this trip):


Graham is about six months younger than Alexander, but they're about the same height, about the same blonde, and have a very similar drunken-sailor gait. They also were both wearing shorts with a grey t-shirt. 

At one point I was watching Alexander make his way down the hill to the lower playground, where Andrew was sitting and talking with Ben Hennessee, when I realized that I hadn't been watching Alexander at all! I had been watching Graham!

I panicked a little, realizing that I'd been trailing the wrong baby for several minutes and had no idea where my own baby had gotten off to, but we found him and all is well. Amy and I were mistaking Graham and Alexander for one another the entire time we were at the park. Eventually I figured that as long as each of us knew where at least one blonde baby in a grey shirt was, we probably had our bases covered.

Really, though, Andrew took one for the team and spent most of his time chasing around little people while I visited (since I had more people to chat to than he did).

When it was time to head out we were hot and exhausted, so we stopped by Pelican's for a quick cold treat before driving to Uncle Clark and Aunt Lynnea's house for dinner:

On the drive I used airdrop to send Rachel some pictures. She's been wanting to figure out how to do that and I had pictures she needed to share with her friends. In return, she sent me this:

"Rachel! What is this?!" I asked, slightly horrified, when I got the notification on my phone.

"It's the lettuce I'm trying to grow," she said.

"Why did you send it to me?" I asked.

"Because I wanted to practice using airdrop," she shrugged.

"I'm declining your offer," I laughed. "I don't want a picture of your rotting lettuce."

Her re-sprouting experiment did not go so well because she kept forgetting to change the water.


We had such a great time at Clark and Lynnea's house! They had the news on when we got there because they'd gone to the grand opening of a new splash pad in the afternoon and had been interviewed for the news. If only we'd joined them; we could have been famous! Aunt Lynnea had two little clips, so that was fun to get to watch. 

Tyler was there with his family and it was such fun for the little cousins to play with each other. It was nice to be reminded that we have family within driving distance (and I still can't believe we forgot Clark and Lynnea now live in North Carolina when we were trying to figure out where to stay during our trip; next time we'll be crashing in their guest room).

Alexander, Zoë, and Benjamin running around the new sunroom with Torin
Zoë holding Aksel

Miriam snuggling Alexander and Aksel
Rachel and Aksel
Miriam with Aksel again
Miriam with Alexander and Aksel
And here are all (well, some of) the little cousins together: Zoë, Benjamin, Lenna, Alexander, and Torin

We went to sacrament meeting at our old ward on Sunday morning, after checking out of our hotel. Here are the boys playing "Narnia" one last time before we left (now Alexander requests to play Narnia all the time):

Benjamin has been working on reading the Chronicles of Narnia, so he understood the game, but I don't think Alexander really knew what was going on (or Zoë either, for that matter, when she played), but he still had fun shouting, "Narnia!" and climbing into the closet to hide.

And lastly, here are some pictures from our drive home...

Zoë (and the other kids, but mostly Zoë) played with these Wikkistix for so long (hours) that they are quite gross by now, but they were well worth the purchase. At one point she'd made some bracelets for herself and wanted to work on a necklace.

"How big is my neck?" she asked.

"Oh, as big as it is," I answered vaguely.

"Cool, thanks!" she said. "I think I'll have enough to make a necklace then!"

And here are a few shots from the first rest stop in Georgia (when driving down 85 from South Carolina):

When we got home we made a quick dinner (I think we actually ate leftovers) and then got the kids into bed because they had school the next morning. Nothing like a last-minute whirlwind trip out-of-state to ring in the end of summer break and the beginning of the school year!


  1. Great pictures! I'm glad you were able to see some friends and family in NC!