Thursday, December 29, 2016

Charleston

The second stop on our December road trip was Charleston. Anyone who knows me knows that if I am anywhere near Charleston for any reason, I will find a way to get there. Well, I got to thinking and since we were tagging along on Juston's trip to Atlanta, then heading to North Carolina the following weekend, it only made sense to just swing through Charleston instead of going home for a couple of days and then back the same direction. So we worked in a Charleston trip :)

I can't even count how many times we've been to Charleston over the years, usually four times a year or so, but in all those trips, I've never been to see her all decked for the holidays, so I was so excited at the chance to go in December, and it did not disappoint. If it's possible, Charleston is even prettier dressed up for Christmas than normal. How about this door with that beautiful magnolia wreath?!
The sweet grass basket ladies were making and selling those magnolia wreaths for $40!! I couldn't believe how cheap for such great quality. I still have regret that I didn't buy one, but the Jeep was packed to the gills and I had no place to safely store it for the remainder of our trip. Traveling for more than a week with a toddler and baby requires copious amounts of stuff.

 

We stayed in Mt. Pleasant during our trip. With traveling at Christmas, it was just a more affordable way to do Charleston and still eat like we love to ;)
Our first stop on our first morning was the beach at Isle of Palms. We were only about a ten minutes drive from the beach if that and we were hoping to stop at one of our IOP favorites for brunch, so a beach stop was a must. The water was too cold for me, but Caroline had a ball and little Carter man was pretty happy to be at the ocean as well!  We ended up grabbing lunch at Windjammers on IOP and it was so good! We thought we were going into a different restaurant when we walked in to discover Windjammers was a bar, but they are a bar with great food! I got crab cakes, which were incredible, and we had the deck to ourselves since the bar was pretty empty in the middle of the day.




The first place we ate downtown was Pearlz for dinner the first evening we were in town. We'd never tried Pearlz before and it was amazing. Juston got oysters and Caroline and I shared shrimp and grits. Carter even got his first taste of the Lowcountry with my grits and his review was mixed. He doesn't react well to different textures still but he's getting better. 

I had a request to hit 82 Queen one day for lunch, which we did and below is a picture of our food. I've tried she crab soup at lots of places in Charleston and  82 Queen is still my favorite by far. Their fried green tomatoes were amazing as well, but Magnolia's still claims my top spot for those.



We didn't really do anything new this trip to Charleston, but honestly, the thing I want to do most anytime we go (besides shop and eat) is just to walk around and take in all the beauty of the city from the architecture to the gardens to the people to the marshland. Charleston has truly become like a second home to us.  

We met some friends of our who live in town at Hank for dinner on our last full day in town. The kids did so well considering we'd been away from home for a week at that point, and our dinner time fell right at nap time for Carter. Hank's is always amazing, but I just got a spinach salad since I was wrangling and baby and toddler and wanted to be able to eat something quick. Caroline and I also had designs on getting ice cream after dinner ;)

We had about a half a day on our last day in town before we needed to leave to start the drive to North Carolina, so we hit downtown again for a little bit of shopping and walking. My must stop shops when we are in town are mostly on King St. and include V2V, Copper Penny, Palm Avenue, M Dumas and the City Market (not on King St obviously). 



Charleston, you're stunning, and we'll see you in a couple of months.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Carter: Eight Months



Baby: Carter Scott
Age: Eight months
Birthday: April 26, 2016
Weight: 18 pounds 8 ounces
Length: 27 inches long
Nighttime Sleep: Bedtime is 8:30 ish and he's usually up around 7:15-7:30
Naps: He consistently takes two long naps a day, usually a late morning and an evening and occasionally he'll still take a short catnap in the afternoon
Clothes Size: mostly 9 month, some 6-9 month
Milestones: He crawls all over and has started pulling up on everything he can reach. I'd forgotten what a scary milestone that was! He's also eating some solid foods, scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes being the favorites.I think he might be saying Mama, but it's hard to tell. He definitely makes the sound, I'm just not sure that he's actually calling me Mama yet. He will mimic you when he's eating if you say Mmmmm to him. He'll say it back when he takes a bite. He also had his first cold/ RSV this month which was so pitiful, but he still had his happy, sweet disposition, just with a lot more snot and coughing.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas 2016

I'm not sure how it happened so quickly, but another Christmas is in the books. It was extra special this year since it was Carter's first Christmas and little man just took it all in. As expected, he didn't have much interest in unwrapping anything and his favorite toys were the discarded boxes and wrapping paper. 




I have to admit, this whole Christmas season has been a little bit bittersweet for me this year because it is our last one in our home and in my hometown. Juston got a new job and we will be moving in the new year. I'm not very excited about it, but I'm trying to stay positive. It's just been a little bit sad for me this year thinking that we won't have any more Christmases in the home we've brought both of our babies home to and that it was likely our last year hosting Christmas dinner at least for the foreseeable future since I don't imagine my family wanting to pack up and drive three hours across the state to have dinner. Anyway, back to the fun stuff. 





It's nearly impossible to get a picture of all mine and my sister's kids looking at the camera and smiling simultaneously, so this is as good as it gets. 


 It makes me so happy that mine and my sister's kids are so close. Even though there's a lot of years between them all, they see each other almost every day and Caroline seems convinced they are her brother and sisters:)


I feel like this was the first year that Caroline really and truly grasped everything going on. She knows Christmas means it's Jesus' birthday, she remembered on her own when she woke up that it was Christmas day. Maybe she knew last year but I honestly don't remember, I feel like we told her when she woke up last year and then the excitement followed, but this year was even better. 

After we do our presents and stocking at home, we head down to my parents house and meet my sister's family there, too to open presents from Mom and Dad and then we do brunch. I took my hashbrown, ham and egg casserole to add to the mix this year and it was a hit. I'll share the recipe later this week if I can manage to get my life together to do more than one post. 

After brunch, the kids all played with their new toys together and had a blast. Caroline loved her cousins Hatchimal and decided she was going to ask for one for her birthday. They were so sweet and let her carry it around all morning. I can't believe how nuts everyone went over that toy. It's always interesting to see every year which toy will be the "it' toy. 


After a couple of hours, we loaded up the car and headed back out to the house to get dinner prepared. I did most of the prep work for it on Christmas Eve, but still had a few things to get together. This year I made dressing, corn casserole, green beans, mashed potatoes and my traditional caramel cake and Juston fried turkey and pheasant he got hunting with the guys down in the driveway. We started the Christmas dinner at our house tradition a few years ago and have really enjoyed it. We save all the presents we got for my family to give them that evening, so I feel like it gives them something to look forward to and it extends the celebration all day long. 

Caroline's favorite toys so far would be the Walk and Talk Max dog Santa brought her, her Aqua Beads and a Dentist Barbie from Mamaw and Papa. She also got a fancy new nightgown, a princess puzzle, a magnetic "paper" doll wardrobe and a few other goodies. Carter got lots of cute baby goodies that weren't of much interest to him, but was pretty excited to get his own bowl and utensil set so he can finally stop using his sister's princess bowls. 

I sure hope all of y'all had a Merry Christmas and were able to spend it surrounded with the ones you love. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

December Travels~ Atlanta

We spent last week hopping around the Carolinas and Georgia and making stops in some of our favorite places. Our first stop on the trip was Atlanta, Georgia for a conference Juston was attending for work. The kids and I tagged along since we'd planned to add in some stops after this trip and even though the weather didn't cooperate, we still had a good time. I'd planned on doing a day at Stone Mountain with the kids while Juston worked and then also visiting the Botanical Gardens before hitting some downtown attractions. Mother Nature had other plans and it rained almost the entire time we were there. I'd packed swimsuits as well thinking we could swim in the hotel pool if the weather was bad. Well, the pool was outside and being resurfaced so strike two.we still managed to have some fun.

  

We ate dinner at PittyPat's Porch one night and the food was okay, nothing special, but the service was incredible. Our waiter was the sweetest man and was great with our kids. We went out with the whole group from the college that was at the conference and it was fun. 
Back to our waiter; Carter was enamored with him and watched everything he did. When he got close enough, Carter reached right for him. Terrance, our waiter picked him right u[ and told us to go ahead and enjoy our meal, he'd hold Carter for a few minutes. Well, he did one better and put little man out like a light and brought him back to us snoozing away. And don't judge us for letting a stranger hold our baby, we could see them the whole time ;)

 I just love Gone With the Wind so I had to snap a picture of Caroline and Miss Scarlett.

 Thank you, Terrance!

Caroline's favorite activity in the hotel, aside from making new friends, was riding the escalators.  She pulled a full on Elf when she first started riding them. I had Carter wearing him, Caroline in the stroller, plus all the luggage a baby and toddler require when she asked to get out and ride, so I said sure. I always loved escalators when I was little, too. Well, she didn't fully commit, got one foot on and ended up in the splits riding up. I know it was wrong to laugh, but man...it was great.



We did have one sunny morning so we were able to walk from our hotel a few blocks to visit the aquarium, Centennial Park and World of Coca Cola. I was a little bit nervous taking both kids to such a busy place by myself, but they did so great. I wore Carter in a baby carrier and took Caroline in the stroller and it was so great. The Georgia Aquarium was incredible and very well laid out. We got to see sea lions, sea otters, beluga whales, dolphins and so many other neat things. It was pretty pricey in my opinion though and of course after an hour, Caroline wanted to go to the playground across the street.


How perfect is that picture! I swear the dolphins posed for it :) I'll do the next leg of the trip in another post...Next stop, Charleston!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Christmas Card PIcture Session

We had a quick photo session today on Juston's lunch break for some Christmas card pictures. I'm not sure which we'll use for our cards, but I just love them all :) We used a local photographer for these shots, Hayley Drake Photography, and we also had Carter's six month photos done earlier this week with Kacy Cierley Photography out of Northern Kentucky. She's done all of my kids milestone photo shoots since Caroline was born and she snapped a few of both kids in their Christmas pajamas so I can't wait to see those either. 

I just love how our photos from today turned out and I can't wait to see Carter's six month photos etiher!




Monday, November 14, 2016

Our October

These last few weeks have sure flown right by me and the next few through the holidays will likely follow suit. I just love this time of year, but some days I wish it would slow down. I haven't had much time to keep the blog updates, so I'm cramming all of October into one big ole post. 

We crammed October full of trips to the pumpkin patch (twice), the aquarium, Harlan, the state park, the zoo, trick-or-treating and more!


The weather around here in October was absolutely the stuff dreams are made of. It was still in the 80's most of the month, but the humidity was practically non-existent which made it perfect for being outside as much as we could.  




One morning, we picked up a small pumpkin one morning at the grocery and when Carter went down for his nap, we headed to the deck to paint it. Caroline loved doing this and it was the first fall decoration we put on the porch. She was so proud of it. 


Carter made his first trip back to Juston's hometown in Harlan early in October. The mountains in the fall is just one of the prettiest things you'll see. 
 
We managed to steal a weekday with Juston and spent the day at the Newport Aquarium. There were mermaids as part of a special exhibit which Caroline just loved. We hit Graeter's for ice cream after. I'm not sure which was better. 



We were lucky enough to be able to visit two different orchards this fall. First, Caroline and I had a day just the two of us and we went to Evans Orchard and Cider Mill and it was a crazy town with TONS of people, but we still had so much fun and managed to come away with some pumpkins, cider donuts and fresh apple cider. 

 

We also met up with some friends of ours and went to Boyd's Orchard a little later in the month. Caroline had so much fun playing with her buddies Kade and Brynn and the parents had a ball, too. Boyd's was SO much more laid back than Evans. There was just as much to do, but so many less people for some reason. They were very comparable, so I'm not sure why the difference with so many more people at Evan's. 


I know I will never get tired of coordinating brother and sister outfits, but I also know that unfortunately, they likely will, so I'm living it up while I can. 


We also took the kids to the trick-or-treat at Blue Licks state park and it was an absolute madhouse. I really don't think we will take that one on again. It was so jam packed and poorly run that I don't really think Caroline enjoyed it much and I know we didn't. 


A little later in the month, we had the perfect fall evening, so we carved Caroline's pumpkin, made a bonfire and roasted marshmallows. It was seriously such a great night. 
 
Last Sunday we met up with some friends at the Cincinnati Zoo and did their HallZooween and it was so fun. Caroline has so much fun with her buddy Claire and I always love hanging with her mama. We've been best friends since we were in second grade, so it's so great seeing our girls together.  Caroline changed it up and dressed as a Georgia cheerleader, which of course made my heart happy :)



Finally, we had out town trick-or-treat and another day of great weather so the kids didn't have to cover up their cute costumes with coats. Caroline decided pretty early on she wanted to be a superhero and that Carter needed to be her sidekick. She had a great time getting candy  from all the neighbors and Carter was just a giggly little happy boy the whole time walking around. 

As much fun as we had running around, I'm looking forward to slowing down a little bit in November and preparing for Thanksgiving and what's sure to be a busy December. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Carter: Six Months



Baby: Carter Scott
Age: Six months
Birthday: April 26, 2016
Weight: 17 pounds 5 ounces
Length: 26 inches long
Nighttime Sleep: 9:00-7:00
Naps: Usually a two hour morning nap and an hour and a half late afternoon nap
Clothes Size: 6 months or 6-9 months
Milestones Reached: Started sitting up by himself at about 51/2 months, started eating baby oatmeal and tried avocado for the first time (hated it). Sits up from a laying down position and is mobile. I wouldn't call it crawling, but he'll hitch his right leg up, prop up on his left elbow, dig his toes in and sort of drag/push himself to get where he wants to be. He'll put himself to sleep for his own naps in his crib and is just a great baby. 
 
We have six month photos with our favorite photographer coming up this week as well as six month shots :( Carter is obsessed with his sister and has the best disposition. He loves taking walks in the stroller, watching Caroline be a wild child, sitting around in the kitchen floor watching me make meals, scooting all over the place, riding in the car if he's tired (puts him out every time) and being carried all over the place, but only facing forward so he can see everything. We love you Carter man!



Friday, October 14, 2016

A Family Tradition

Something that Juston and I have talked about since before we even had kids was the types of traditions we wanted to have as a family. Near the top of that list for both of us was always the hopes that we could have a family tradition of going to the annual matchup between our teams at either Neyland Stadium or Sanford Stadium. The Georgia vs. Tennessee football game is officially now under our belts with year one of this family tradition in the books! 

It's quite possible I'd temporarily lost my mind when I thought it was a solid idea to take a five month old to this football game, but I couldn't make myself leave him overnight yet, so he came.





We decided that since Caroline was old enough to have her own opinion, whichever team she chose to root for in the game, we'd dress Carter in the other teams colors so we'd be fair (this year at least). Being the intelligent little girl that she is, Caroline chose to cheer for Georgia! So Carter got to sport the Tennessee orange.  The kids were both excellent on the drive to Stone Mountain, GA where we stayed. I bought out tickets back in July, but hotels were already booked solid in and around Athens. I'd been wanting to see Stone Mountain for quite some time anyway, so I booked us in the Stone Mountain Inn.  We hit a ton of traffic once we got into Georgia, so that added about an hour onto our trip when we'd already left an hour later than planned since Juston got home late. Since we got in so late, we didn't get to do anything Friday for the kids. Saturday, we got up, got breakfast at the hotel and hung out on the little porch our hotel had, complete with rocking chairs.




I was really hoping when I bought our tickets that the game would end up being a 7:00 matchup, but when they released the time a week out, it was a 3:30 game. Turned out to be super hot and our seats were right in the sun, so the first half of the game, I walked Carter around in the shade. Both kids behaved excellent once we were at the game and were fascinated by everything going on. This was obviously Carter's first game, but we took Caroline to a Tennessee game last year, which she loved, so we knew she'd have fun. If you didn't catch the game, we could not have picked a more exciting one for our first family game. It literally came down to the last 4 seconds. I thought for sure Georgia had it won after Eason came in clutch with a pretty touchdown pass, but Dobb's ended up coming in clutch, too with a hail mary pass with 4 seconds on the clock. Not the way Caroline and I were hoping the game would end, but man it was awesome! 


This was our only family photo from the whole day, and yes, Caroline did fall asleep in the middle of the game. Not sure how that even happened since the child maybe naps once a month and it's usually when she's strapped in to a car seat. 


After the game, we headed back to Stone Mountain and after getting everyone some food, we walked across the road to catch the Stone Mountain Park laser show. We only stayed for about half of it, but it was so cool. I'd definitely recommend it  and we will be going back another weekend just to do Stone Mountain. There's so much there just inside the park to do. 



And no Pate family road trip would be complete without a stop at Cracker Barrel, per Caroline's request. Turns out this trip wasn't going to be complete without two stops at Cracker Barrel. Ha! It was a great family weekend and we are already looking forward to hitting next year's game in Neyland. Go Dawgs!