Monday, June 29, 2015

Sedona Reunion - Day 5

Our breakfast basket was delivered with a special message this morning (top photo).

The Butterfly Garden Inn has a gate full of Lovelocks. Brian's mom and an aunt thought it would be fun to leave one behind to mark the reunion. Before taking off for a hike, we gathered to add our key-less lock. Cousin Pearl did the honors (bottom left).
Before everyone departed, we organized a hike on the West Fork Trail for the family who didn't have early flights. The hike was beautiful and captured perfectly in this photo Brian took.
After camp was empty, which was bittersweet, we drove south to Phoenix. We celebrated the end of a successful family reunion with dinner at Citizen Public House in Scottsdale. So delicious!

Counterclockwise from top right: Members Only (Nolet's gin, Pêche de Vigne, ruby red grapefruit, simple syrup, Peychaud's bitters, bitter lemon soda, rosemary, rocks), cubed melon salad (watermelon, yellow beets, cucumber and ricotta cheese), truffle grilled cheese (white truffle scented mashed potato, Emmental, melted onion, French bread, simple field greens), and the blueberry cobbler (sweet corn ice cream, brown sugar cone and streusel).

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sedona Reunion - Day 3 & 4

After breakfast on Friday, we headed to Crescent Moon Picnic Site for some hiking, swimming and quality time (or a little longer nap, in the case of my youngest nephew, fast asleep in the middle right photo). My in-laws brought a package of squirt guns which proved to be the highlight of the day for the younger members of the group, including my oldest nephew (pictured at the bottom) who grinned as he chased people down. That was until a tarantula was discovered in the parking lot next to the picnic area (pictured middle left).

We brought all the fixings for sandwiches and had a great afternoon. We headed back to the cabins and spent the rest of the day hanging out in the common area, playing games, eating dinner from the cafe on the property and catching up.
On Saturday, after some swinging on the playground with the nephews, we drove into downtown Sedona (about 20 minutes from where we are staying) and hopped onto two trolleys to see the Chapel of the Holy Cross (pictured upper left). After picking which fruit you liked most, apples or bananas, the family quickly divided itself between the two trolleys, which were labeled for our reunion (middle top photo).

Although the ride only lasted an hour, a million photos were snapped as the scenery around the church, up on a hill, provide some amazing views. Of the ones I took, the photo of Brian's grandparents talking inside the church (top, right) was my favorite. The middle bottom photo is Brian's youngest brother, Thomas, and grandpa, and the picture above me at the bottom right is my mother-in-law, Anne, with my youngest nephew.
After the trolley and lunch at the Cowboy Cafe, I headed back with some of the family to the cabins for a swim (bottom photos). Saturday was also my oldest nephew's third birthday, so we picked up the dinosaur cake we ordered (top photo) and added it to the lovely decor in the banquet hall on the property (middle photos). Our traditional end-of-the-reunion dinner is always a highlight of our weekends together every three years.

As is custom, we enjoy a lovely meal together (in this case: salad, chicken parmesan, turtle sundaes and birthday cake) and we have a recap of the weekend in prose from Grandpa McGoldrick, pass the torch on to the next hosts (Brian's cousins, Ryan and Erin) and learn where the next reunion will be (Asheville, NC - 2018). In addition to grandpa's recap, he also included his three principles for life, which I thought were too good not to include here:
1) Always have something to do.
2) Always have someone to love.
3) Always have something to look forward to.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Sedona Reunion - Day 2

Today was the official start of the reunion. With no cell reception, I've mostly been leaving my phone behind but I did manage to capture a few shots from the day. The early birds to the reunion gathered together with their picnic baskets to have breakfast. The rest of the day was full of arrivals from Montana, Colorado, Texas, Missouri, North Carolina and Wisconsin. The best part of the day was hanging out with our nephews (bottom right and left), swimming with them in the creek and our end of day "t-shirt happy hour".

In preparation for the happy hour, my brother-in-law and I made up a batch of mint, citrus sangria in a Mr. Clean bucket that I got at the grocery store. You have to improvise sometimes when at camp. It turned out tasty and went well with the elote (Mexican Street corn dip), chips, salsa and the reunion t-shirt reveal. We're off to a great start!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Sedona Reunion - Day 1

After a 3:30am alarm, and a direct flight to Phoenix, we arrived at Lux Central for breakfast. Housed in a rather nondescript building, from the outside, the place was teeming with people and delicious food and coffee. I somehow managed to get past the pastry display and placed an order for two eggs, hash and fresh tomatoes, along with a latte. Everything was superb.
A quick two and a half hour drive later, we were in Sedona. We scouted out a few things for the reunion (and place an order for one dinosaur cake for our nephew's birthday who will turn 3 on Saturday) and had lunch (salads, fried cactus and margaritas) at the Cowboy Club. We then headed up to The Butterfly Garden Inn where we are renting 13 cabins for the reunion.

I think the best part of trips like this is waiting for everyone to arrive. Brian's grandparents, parents and one aunt showed up tonight and we all headed to the Elote Cafe, which you might recognize if you've read any of my past Sedona blog posts. Brian is posing with his reposado tequila and my ahi tacos are to his right. Despite an hour wait, it was worth it, as always, and everyone enjoyed the food and the company. The rest of the family, minus two cousins arriving on Friday, will be here soon and we're excited to see them!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Downtown Springfield

We spent 24 hours in Springfield, MO this weekend, celebrating my father-in-law's ordination (the last step in a long process of becoming a Methodist minister). Although we weren't there long, we managed to hit up a few great places that I thought I would share here, in case you find yourself down there soon. Only a 2-ish hour drive from KC, this college town has a great, walkable downtown to explore.

We ate lunch at a place called Bambino's Cafe, voted best Italian food in Springfield. (Full disclosure, I stole this photo from their website.) It's set back in a neighborhood, so it's a little hard to find. Although I didn't take any photos, I had a delicious antipasto salad with shrimp.
After lunch, we were feeling a little sluggish, so we headed to Mudhouse Coffee for a pick-me-up. I had a peanut butter mud puddle (frozen mocha with real PB) with an extra shot - amazingly delicious! Afterwards, we spent some time with the family in a park and at Bass Pro before the evening's ceremony.
In the morning, we stopped by Hurts Donut (because you have to love the whimsy, if not the donuts). I went with a Andes mint chocolate donut (bottom right), although there were plenty of others to choose from including a bacon longjohn. We stayed with Brian's brother (pictured far right) and drove Brian's granny down from KC (pictured middle). The donut was good but probably not the most balanced breakfast.
Our final stop, before we headed home, was The Coffee Ethic. I had a delicious latte that tempered the sweetness of my donut a bit. In all it was a great trip full of family and I look forward to returning and exploring further. Thanks for stopping by!