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!