Sunday, February 24, 2013

Our Favorite Things

In an effort to get everyone's perspective on our vacation, I"ve asked everyone what their favorite part of the vacation was.  So in their words (or mostly):

Abby said, "the park, the beach.  I played in the hard sand.  The park was blue and I got a fire station." (Not sure where that last part came in but you did see the video where the seashells will grow into raspberries so I suppose it's not really out of character!)

Megan said, "I liked-ed the candy store.  I like boats now.  Grandma's house -- games -- felt dolls."  And then she started spouting nonsense.

It actually was kind've hard to get the girls to talk about their favorite parts of the vacation.  Perhaps they're still a little young to express themselves fully after the fact.  

Chopper's favorite part was our first day of seeing Savannah as a family.  It really was a perfect day -- we all had energy and were excited to be there.  The girls didn't fight or whine or cry.  We did a ton of stuff and just had a great time together as a family.

My favorite part was watching the girls and Chopper at the beach.  It was very relaxing to me to just sit and listen to the waves and feel the sun and watch the girls entertain themselves in the simplest of ways and watch Chopper be a dad.  So much of our time is me and the kids or if Chopper's home then I'm off to meetings or visits with sisters or grocery shopping or wherever.  I enjoyed just watching my family with no demands and no expectations but also no tv or computer or phones going.  It was so nice not to have those distractions and things that surround me and I feel like I need to be doing -- dishes, laundry, organizing, etc.  I just sat and watched and listened and it was glorious.

I think we need to take more vacations like that -- nowhere to be, nothing we have to do but just enjoy each other.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

It's An Adventure!!

It's been a long time since we've taken a family vacation for the pure purpose of vacationing.  We've been tentatively planning a trip to see Chopper's Mom and Grannie and decided sort've last minute to go ahead and go!  So be forewarned, there's a lot of pictures and information and if you want to skim that's fine.  The short story is that we had a fantastic time as a family!!

Plain driving time from here to Savannah, Georgia is 16 hours.  We did it in one fell swoop leaving at 4 a.m. on the way out and split the trip into 2 days on the way back.  I think I prefer just the one.  It's hard to get up that second day and get back in the car.  Going out in one day also meant that we had Saturday and Sunday at Grandma's house to acclimate, go to church, and just relax and spend time with family.  I don't have any pictures with Grandma or Grannie but here's the girls in their Sunday best -- these are their dresses that I made them for Easter.
Megan pulls all of her socks all the way up.  It's much funnier with skirts and dresses on!

I love the look Megan is giving Abby here . . . 

Resting . . . 

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday we explored Savannah and Tybee Island and had a great time wearing ourselves out with walking and playing and eating. 
The Savannah River is a great place to watch ships go by.  We saw tugboats, paddle boats, and these giant container ships!  There is a whole River Street with shops, restaurants, and Savannah architecture that you walk along right on the river.  By far the favorite shop of the girls was River Street sweets and we got lucky. Right when we got there they placed a huge roll of salt water taffy on the machine for stretching, cutting, and wrapping. 

You can see at the end of the video that they gave out free samples and we were hooked.  We bought a huge bag of taffy that was gone in 3 days so we had to go back before we left Savannah and stock up some more!!!

We were able to tour a rigged shop sailed by a group that is part of the Twelve Tribes.  It's a religious community that lives together for the common good.  Long story -- it was interesting though.  And it was a beautiful boat! 

When we left River Street we went up these incredibly steep steps to the street above.  Literally above us about 3 stories.  Then the walk along that street was through a great green swath of grass with trees, glorious trees!  Oh how I have missed huge, green trees! 

 The first beacon on the river.

 The girls were absolutely enamored with the Spanish moss.

Next up -- THE BEACH!!  The girls were so excited to go since we'd been talking about it.  Three years ago we took them the beach at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Megan threw a fit the minute her feet touched sand.  This time was a completely different story.  We had to drag her away!! 
 It was fairly cold and windy but we bundled up the best we could and enjoyed it anyway!


When our fingers and toes were chilled we left and went to tour Fort Pulaski.  It was a Federal fort confiscated by the South and then captured by the Union at the start of the Civil War.  It was a very interesting place but you can probably google the details right?
It was surrounded by a moat!!

 The land right outside had been dug out into tunnels.  The girls were so excited to be bunnies and go through all the holes.

After the fort is was out to dinner for seafood at a kitchy but decent restaurant called The Crab Shack.  They had a pool with alligators out front and plenty of cheesy beach decor.

So we ordered the sampler plate -- crab, shrimp, potatoes, sausage, corn, mussels, crayfish.

Food, glorious food!!! 

No you know that Chopper and I love crab and like seafood in general.  You also know that Megan is the pickiest girl on the planet.  But she also loves her dad and likes to be like him.  So she always says that crab is her favorite food (because Chopper says it) and we didn't expect her to eat anything really when she saw it.  We were shocked when she ASKED to try pretty much everything!  She ate crab, mussels, and really liked the crayfish.  I can't even get over those things with their heads on but Chopper peeled them and she ate them! 
It was so good and a lot of fun.

Other adventures included donuts: 

 We also went to Oatland Island Wildlife Reserve and were very disappointed by the lack of wildlife.
We did see bobcats and when we walked up, one of them got up and approached William's side of the fence and started pacing.  When I got between them to try to get a picture, he hissed!  Granted, William is plump and juicy but we didn't realize that he was good enough for bobcat bait!!


Our last day took us back to the beach where I got a taste of just how frightening birds can be!  Growing up we always took a picnic lunch to the beach so we planned to do the same.  Maybe it was the lack of people but the minute the food came out, so did the birds. 
This picture doesn't quite do it justice though.  Seagulls were hovering over our heads and one bird swooped in an grabbed a piece of my sandwich while it was in my hand!!  We've never eaten so fast in our lives and then they still wouldn't leave us alone!  We ended up leaving that beach and going to another one where the birds didn't know who we were . . . 

 Despite the cold the girls insisted on getting wet in a small depression of sea water and enjoyed every second of it and then rode back to Grandma's naked.

 Paula Deen's restaurant The Lady and Sons -- drove by but didn't eat there.

When we left Savannah we drove the 3 hours to Atlanta and went to the Georgia Aquarium.  It was a fantastic aquarium!!

This face is because Megan is having a no picture day, not because of what she's seeing.

They had Beluga whales, a whale shark, and incredible dolphin show (that Megan said she didn't like) and a 3D movie.  We had a great time.

We most of us did.

 Then it was drive drive drive for 5 more hours.  We stopped at a Cracker Barrel for dinner that night.  Megan was soooo excited about all the rocking chairs there.  Especially the little ones.  I guess we shouldn't have spent the money on the aquarium!!!

William's calling my name.  I'll have to post more later.  It's a nice long one to take up your time for now though!