Emerald Isle Vacation Pictures - Skillful Cook
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Emerald Isle Vacation Pictures

Iphone taking a photo of a sunrise.

Family vacation pictures! ❤

This could get both really awesome/scary depending on your interest in looking at other people's family vacation pictures, so either grab a coffee and sit down (yay!), or run away. Run for your life. Because I am a person of the picture loving variety so I have a tendency to share pictures for dayyys.

I think I mentioned a few times (!!) what an incredible time we had on this really special family trip. The trip originated way back as a Golden Birthday Year Vacation for my sisters and me. I always thought the whole world celebrated golden birthdays, but I've quickly discovered that this is a very un-heard of thing on the West and East coast. You're missing out, you slick coastal folk! Us Midwesterners know how to make a celebration out of anything and we're prowwwd of it.

My biological sisters and I all have our golden birthdays on the same year, THIS year, which we figured out (there was research) there's just a 1 in 28,141 or 0.0036% chance of that happening. It's rare! Special! Fun! Let's take a trip! That's what we said as a family back when we were tiny people and our family was a normal size. Then my siblings were adopted, my sister and I got married to our favorite hometown boys, and she and her husband just had the sweetest little baby, and so now the total family head count has more than doubled since the original trip was planned. Like, whoa. We're large and in charge.

Family on the beach.

Because we're such a big family, we don't often take trips where we go somewhere on an airplane. This was actually the first time and maybe even the only time that we will ever all fly somewhere together and spend a whole seven days together relaxing and beaching! Amazing. So, so amazing. We stayed in a big beach house on Emerald Isle that was perfect for big families that need a little bit of everything. It was right on the beach and it was gorgeous. The wrap-around windows overlooking the beach were 200% dreamy.

The combination of this beautiful place with a meaningful, once-in-a-lifetime family trip puts this vacation in my Top Three Trips ever taken in all my 28 years of life, ranking right up there with our honeymoon in Mexico and the road trip we took to Montana with our friends last fall. This week was just... wow. So precious to me.

So enough talking about it. Here's a look at our week.

Collage of vacation images.

I tried to consolidate all those pictures into a little grid so you wouldn't have to scroll for the next 85 years. Like that? Aw yeah. Just for you, friends. Just for you.

Thanks for pic-sharing with me today! Except do you have just one more second? because there's one more thing I have to tell you about ->

Backing up a tiny bit, in case any of you are new readers: last year Bjork and I lived and worked in the Philippines at an orphanage, and I had a small class of students - six beautiful girls ranging in age from 12-16 years old. Two of them left for adoption in the US before we even left the Philippines, but there were four girls still at the orphanage when we left to go back home to the US, and my heart broke into one million pieces when I said goodbye to them. We had no idea if we'd ever see them again or if they'd be adopted and get a second chance at a family. Most of them just had a few years left before they aged out (18) and would no longer be eligible for adoption.

I will never ever forget the raw emotion I felt saying goodbye to them outside the chaotic airport in Cebu.

Woman hugging children.

A few months after we got home, we found out that two of my students, sisters, were going to be adopted to the US with their five other siblings. Just let that sink in for a minute. Seven kids, all matched for adoption, all staying together in their new family. Praise the Lord! And the best news of all: their family was located in North Carolina. Through some last minute emails and a few serendipitous circumstances, we made last-minute plans to stop at their house and see the kids before heading to the airport to fly home. SAY WHAT!

My palms were sweating as we drove up their driveway, because I'm a dork like that, and also because what if they were nervous around us or what if this was awkward and weird and all just a bad idea? I had visions of the kids hiding behind trees and throwing things at us and making faces at us because like, who are these strangers? So rational thinking is not always my strong suit. But what happened instead was that we opened the van door and the kids came running, RUNNING, into our arms, and I found myself in the same exact position as I was almost exactly one year ago, group hugging slash smothering these incredibly sweet kids, only this time the tears were happy. So, so happy.

visiting kids after adoption.

Young girls.

Man talking with a woman.

Woman talking to a young girl.

North Carolina, you are breathtaking. My new friends and your children from CSC, you are SO super cool. Thank you for letting us visit your home and fill our hearts up to the brim.

And my family, I love you so much! We're big and loud and sometimes a little overwhelming and I wouldn't have it any other way. XO

Filed Under: Life Travel

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Looks like you had some awesome weather while you were there!!! And seeing dolphins?! I’ve lived on the ocean for a while now and have never seen them. What a great trip!!!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Those pics look great. Lots of good emotion captured in them. Thanks for the grid style, I’m one of those people that feel weird looking at other people’s vacationing/family pics but the grid and beautiful pics made it fun 🙂

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Ahhh what a beautiful family you have! And what a lovely little reunion as well! Thanks for sharing your photos, it really looks like an amazing trip

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    BEAUTIFUL pictures! Relaxing family beach vacations are my favorite. I’m definitely wishing we were going to be able to take one this year!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m here…with coffee in hand. Love pictures. And who doesn’t love vacation?
    I can’t you all have golden birthdays the same year. So cool.
    Looks like a marvelous time!
    Have a great day Lindsay!
    P.S. I just love you, your blog and everything it stands for.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    It looks like you had an amazing time! Such a wonderful fam you have :). And joyful tears came to my eyes when you were reunited with the kids who were adopted from the orphanage you were at. WOW! God is so good!!!!!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love the pictures, Lindsay! I live in NC and am glad to hear you enjoyed Emerald Isle! Such a sweet story about your reunion with the girls, it gave me goosebumps 🙂

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Until a couple years ago my entire extended family met up in Nags Head, NC for a family reunion every August. It is absolutely my happy place – beachy, simple, not overly crowded, and sososo beautiful. These pictures totally bring me back! I’m glad you had a great time!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    For a second there when I read the post’s title I thought you were referring to THE Emerald Isle i.e. Ireland. Coming from Ireland, I wasn’t aware that we had some competition and that there was another ‘Emerald Isle’ in North Carolina 😉
    Looks like a beautiful location and a great place to have made some treasured, happy memories. Glad you all had a wonderful time 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      So funny because my sister just got back from a semester studying in Ireland and now she has vacationed on both Emerald Isles! 🙂

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Wow, Lindsay you are such a beautiful and inspiring person. Your writing and pictures and this whole darn blog post are so full of happiness and love! Seriously, when I was reading this I actually felt things… Like emotion things!! Isn’t that the sign of an A++ writer/blogger?

    Thanks for being such an inspiration as a blogger and just simply as a good person.

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    I used to live in that area of NC for a few years. Wrightsville Beach, right on the beach. And then lived in North Myrtle for a few years. California was calling my name but I will always cherish my 5 years in the Carolinas and seeing these shots of the beach are just bringing back great memories. What an extremely special trip for you and your whole family – how amazing!! And thanks for sharing such a heartfelt post!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I feel the same way about vacation pics! I still occasionally post pictures from our honeymoon three years ago, because if we’re being honest, when are we going to go on another amazing trip like that? Too far away 🙁
    Your pics let me travel through you! Thanks!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love adoption stories and how they show God’s heart! We’re going to Emerald Isle in two weeks; anything we should make sure to do? Besides enjoy the beautiful ocean–your pictures have gotten me extra excited!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    My grandparents bought a house in Emerald Isle when they retired, and my dad and I visited every year (from southeast Texas). I loved going seashell hunting, putt-putt golfing, and eating hushpuppies at The Clamdigger. Did you see the “paper cup” show? 🙂 After my grandfather passed and my grandmother reached her 80s, she moved more inland to be closer to my aunt. I’ve only been back once in the last 10 years, but it’s a magical place and responsible for some of my favorite childhood memories.

    I really enjoyed your story and photos…lots of love and warmth. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Love the pics from your vacation and such a beautiful story! my son has a golden birthday this year and i love your tradition of taking trips! the house you stayed at is so beautiful – can you provide more info on it? i would love to check it out! thanks!

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Looking at these photos reminds me that my family is the very opposite of yours. We’ve never made such trips together. We’ve never made anything together. I don’t want to talk to them but I haven’t spoken to my parents and brothers for years. I don’t know where they live or what they do. For me it’s okay because I don’t know it differently.

    So please don’t be mad at me if I look at your wonderful photos of your wonderful family and don’t feel anything at all. For me they look like promotional photos. That’s the result of not having any family life.

    PS: I’m from Germany so please forgive me if my written English isn’t correct.

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    What a lovely post! It’s obvious that you and your family had a wonderful-and loving-time. And the reunion with your extended family from the Philippines was glorious!

    And, now, for this poor unaware west coast girl, what qualifies as a “Golden Birthday Year?” In my mind it would have something to do with the number 50. Obviously, you are far too young for that, so, a little clarification, please…

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    Just a short note to you and yours…. I am an older lady and I don’t, repeat do not cry often but with that said your posting about your trip, the lovely pictures and the story about the end of your trip had me welling up. Bravo to you for being so creative in everything your doing. And just a big cyber hug for being so loving and caring to those wonderful children. I wish there were more people out there in the world like you but God willing all the good works you are doing will be passed forward. Thank you for making my day and showing me there is still very good Godly people out there. ((((((((((hugs))))))))
    Grama C.

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    Is it weird that I got teary eyed when I read this? I just love that you got to see those girls again. P.S. I’m super jealous of your pictures perfect vacation. We’re more the lampoon vacation type…. picturesque is not what we do.

  20. Skillful Cook Logo

    Most. Awesome. Story. Ever.

    (And I’ve discovered that my office is quite dusty.)