Sunday, December 27, 2009

Future Photographer

No….2 is NOT too young to start!

Happy Holidays!

Gosh….finally an update. The season seemed to fly in quickly! Christmas was lovely. All four girls and their spouses/boyfriends were all here. Didn’t take as many photos as I would have liked, but will share a few.
I loved this Fisher Price Nativity set. It is adorable and was well received.

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The entire family will be traveling this weekend for the wedding of Bob’s daughter, Catherine. She and her fiancĂ©e, Trone will be getting married at Kanuga, which is a conference center in the mountains of Western North Carolina.10417_614120545388_4700062_35751812_8272124_n

(disclaimer: I did not take the above 2 photographs. They were taken by Josh Malahy

I hope that I will be able to take some really great photos while there and we are so excited to celebrate with them!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Potty and a Movie

Wow! Today was an eventful day! After getting ready for the Wednesday Playdate, Mady was tooling around without any clothes one. As I was getting things together she said, “O-oh” which usually means she as tinkled on the floor. I look but didn’t see anything so I asked her if she wanted to go use the potty. She said yes and we slowing made out way to the bathroom. Up on the potty and then…..yep……tinkle time! And not just a few drops mind you but a gushing waterfall. I’m not sure who was shocked more. I call her Bob-Bob and we did the You Tinkled in the Potty Dance. It was quite and event!

We were off to the IMAX to see Polar Express (in 3-D). As we rounded the corner in the car we were met with school busses. LOTS of school busses. We already had our tickets so we parked and trudge ahead, wondering what this would be like. The IMAX had us sit on the top row BEHIND all the elementary kids. Thank you IMAX! From the beginning of the movie, Mady was mesmerized. She tried to wear her 3-D glasses, but they were much too big and kept falling down. She was able to see some of the 3-D action. She only got fidgety around the last 2-3 minutes. What a great movie! We will definitely visit again. We were off to Taco Mamacita for lunch. After we ate, we revisited the days events. Wow Mady, you have had a BIG day. You tinkled in the potty and you sat through a whole big girl movie. (clap, clap, clap) Then Mady followed with a Thank you, Thank you, Thank you while nodding her head. It was as if she were accepting an Emmy! Too funny!



Friday, December 11, 2009

Day 11 of December – A Conversation

Went to the mall with Mady today. Needed to return some items and possibly stop by the Santa station. For a few weeks Mady has been excited about Santa and has seen pictures of him on television and in books. When folks say well what is Santa bringing you she says presents, big presents.

We approached Santa cautiously (outside the fenced-in area). There weren’t any children around and Santa was conversing with another adult. Mady was pretty excited and said uppee (up-please in Mady language). I picked her up and the entire look on her face changed. I saw that bottom lip turn down and poke out. Before the big tears began to roll our conversation started:

Lulu: now don’t cry...just look at that Santa. Tell me what he has on...what do you see?
Mady: [reluctantly] a red hat
Lulu:  yep, and what else?
Mady:  a beard
Lulu: what does he have on his feet?
Mady:  [looking him up and down] black boots

At this point the Santa looked over waved his hand and said, HI. Mady wove back and said loudly HI. The conversation continues:

Lulu: See, he is so friendly and sweet. Would you like to go over there and see him?
Mady:  [emphatically] NO
Lulu:  That’s okay, we don’t have to. You know, we could just stand right there [pointing to inside the fenced area] and I could hold you. You don’t have to sit on his lap, I'll just hold you and you can say hi to him.
Mady: [thoughtful pause] no

Again, Santa looked over and said, hi there. Mady also said hi back to Santa, again without any hesitation. So, we talked a bit more about Santa, his outfit, his face, his chair.

Lulu:  Are you sure you don’t want to just go stand over there? I promise I will hold you and you do not have to sit on his lap.

After about a 15 second pause to really consider the situation, eyes moving around, looking at that jolly man once again, she said with eyes big and a quick nodding and tilt of the head:

Go see doggies now! See Santa later.

So, she said her goodbye to Santa and we went to see the doggies.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day 5 of December – Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Looks to be a cold and rainy day. Stayed in the hotel room for the morning the dashed off to lunch over on Sullivan’s Island at Jack’s Cosmic Dog! Mady had a plain dog, I had the Kypto Krout and sweet Bob had the Morph Slaw Dog and Planet Dog. After these yummielicious dogs we had some ice cream with chocolate syrup. It was delicious!




After lunch we paid a visit to Fort Moultrie.

We both (or rather the three of us) love to visit forts and this one is pretty cool. It is right across from Fort Sumter (it was too windy for a boat ride and visit to Ft. Sumter). There was a really cool room call the Red Room. I think it housed gunpowder, but I’m sure it wasn’t red back in civil war days.



Following a little rest time we watched the town Christmas tree lighting from our hotel window. They must have put on quite a production because we saw real camels being led in front of the people attending and that was following by Santa, himself. Once the crowd dispersed, we strolled out to look at the tree and then down to Hank’s Seafood Restaurant for dinner. I had the special fish dinner for the evening. When the fish arrived Mady asked what it was and I said, fish. With an inquisitive look she said, where’s it’s face? Hmmm. We strolled back to the room and settled in for the evening. No carriage rides this time around and it was much too cold/windy to view the Boat Parade. Maybe next year.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day 4 of December - All's Quiet

Yes, all is quiet. Soft snoring in one bed and soft pacy sounds in the other. It's interesting to have the only light shine from the laptop. Quiet tapping of the keys, soft mood lighting. I kinda like this feeling.

So a little of today's adventures in Charleston. Light breakfast at the hotel then off with child and stroller to ride the DASH Trolley around town. There are several stops along the roadways with signage indicating such. After waiting approximately 15-20 minutes as one such stop we saw it....the TROLLEY. Yay! Stroller folded. Child in hand....wait....where is it going? Yes, it passed us...didn't even look our way. Great.

Found a lady handing out parking tickets and thought, okay, she'll know why. She was flabbergasted. What do you mean they didn't stop? Well, try the next one and be more persistent. More persistent? Okay, well, what more can one do besides stand in the street with a stroller and a child! Onward. Next stop. Another 15 minute wait and here it comes....and is stopping! Nice clean trolley, unfriendly driver. So, out of 2 different trolley rides, we were the only passengers. Wonder why? Could it be the unfriendliness? Maybe. But I will give them the benefit of the doubt and think they were just having a bad day.

Overall though it was a great ride through the city and the little munchkin loved it. She even told the trolley thank you after it drove away. Lunch and nap back at the hotel. Great nap. We both fell asleep in minutes. After my sweet husband's conference ended we head to James Island for the 20th Annual Festival of Lights. What an awesome show (even in the light rain). It is a 3 mile drive-through of magical lights. Truly wonderful. I remember many years ago, Callaway Gardens Fantasy In Lights (which they still have) and it being amazing. I was so glad that we could share this with Mady. She loved it and oood and awwwd over all the different light sculptures. We were able to ride the small train through some of the exhibits as well. She keep saying, "Choo-choo-choo-choo." Lovely!

Dinner back at the hotel. Yummielicious! A bit of pork loin, grilled squash and this wonderful concocation of eggplant, goat cheese and tomato sauce on a light layer of puffed pastry. WOW! It was sooooo good. Piano player was offering tunes from the Beatles (at Mady's request) and she went with our server to tip the gentleman. So sweet.

Up to the room for some reading time then lights out. Tomorrow should bring a day of carriage rides, Ft. Sumter, Christmas tree lighting and the Christmas Parade of Boats along the Cooper River through Charleston Harbor. What fun!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day 3 of December - Congaree National Park

At 4 a.m. the skies were clear! Thank you Mother/Father Nature! With a decent breakfast and a quick stop at Wal-Mart we were on our way to Congaree National Park. This little gem is located in the center of South Carolina (a little southeast of Columbia). Congaree is the largest remnant of old-growth floodplain forest remaining on the continent! It houses national and state champion trees, towering to record size. It really is a natural treasure. There is a 2.4 mile boardwalk loop trail that is mere inches above the swamp in certain areas. It houses thousands of cypress knees from the Bald Cypress Tree, as well as Loblolly Pines, Maples, Palmettos, etc. According to their literature, there are 22 different plant communities in the park. We were not only privileged to hear a Pileated Woodpecker, we saw one in flight and on a tree. Unfortunately, I was not able to get a good photo of one. Mady loved "hiken in the swamp" and was a real trouper both walking and riding in the backpack. This was her first National Park (and not her last) so she now has her 1st National Park Passport Stamp.

After a good 3 hour walk we pointed the car toward our final destination, Charleston. Lunch and quick car naps (for all but the driver - me) we arrived in Charleston at the Francis Marion Hotel. This hotel was built in 1924 and according to it's website was "meticulously restored in 1996 with a $12 million National Trust for Historic Preservation." It is beautiful hotel with a lovely Christmas tree in the lobby, but there are a few downsides. The rooms (at least ours) are rather on the small side and the bathroom, well, you just would not believe it. I'll let the pictures speak for me. Our room, on the 8th floor, overlooks Marion Park and in the distance the Atlantic Ocean and Arthur Ravenel Bridge. The moonrise was spectacular tonight (my photos don't do it justice).

After a quick bite to eat, at a location not worthy of mentioning, we are back in the room and looking forward to a wonderful day tomorrow. Cinderella is playing in the background as well as a guitar. Lights out soon!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 2 of December

When we woke to rain I knew it would not be a good driving day, but onward we pushed. After packing (quite proficiently) we headed northeast toward Columbia, South Carolina. Wow. Buckets of rain. I didn't think it would ever end. At one point while getting gas, we noticed the temperature was 66 degrees and the wind was swirling around strangely. Even the clouds were moving in bizarre directions. Someone at another pump said, "I just heard there are tornados all around us." Well great. We push on and reached our destination in Columbia. Holiday Inn Express. Over the past few months we have stayed a several different HIE and they are always wonderful due to the fact that most of them are relatively new or have been remodeled. We trudged out in the rain for dinner (Mexican of course) the walked next door to a Game Stop. Mady immediately found her way to the Beatles Rock Band set up. A few minutes later she was singing I Want to Hold Your Hand (the workers were impressed by this). Back to our comfy room and believe it or not, lights were out at 8:45 p.m. with 2 out of 3 asleep within 45 minutes. I, of course, finally closed my eyes around 10:30. Much needed rest after a drenching day.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day 1 of December

Sometime during the month of either October or November, I decided to attempt to participate in Ali Edwards December Daily as well as Jessica Sprague's Holidays in Hand. These are projects to help tell stories of our holidays, past and present. I am adapting these projects a bit with my goal being to write each day as well as take photographs. So here goes for today:

With today being Tuesday, I was keeping Mady for 1/2 day while her mama worked. Around 9ish I received my usual "I'm at work" phone call from my sweet husband. To my SHOCK and AMAZEMENT he informed me that our trip to Charleston, South Carolina, which I thought was next week, was TOMORROW. Oh my goodness, gracious! Well actually my words here, "Oh crap-ola!" I had to set the gears in motion fast for this one. Since Mady was making the journey with us, that meant extra preparations. So, washed her clothes while at her house then packed them. Called the vet to board the doggies, stopped the mail, paid a late traffic light violation (no details needed on this one) then started my packing list.

After my daughter arrived home, we decided to head out to lunch and Big Lots. Soup and sandwich at Paneras, which was yummielicious (my new made-up word). Found a great deal at Big Lots. We both saw this cute bookshelf that was in the shape of a doll house (similar to the one below).

I knew my daughter was on the lookout for a larger dollhouse for Mady and I thought that bookshelf would be the perfect dollhouse. You can add your own wallpaper, furniture and it would grow with her. Of course they were sold out so my daughter asked the worker if they would sell the floor model. He said, "Oh you don't want that. We put it together wrong." He told us were the mistakes were made but you couldn't see them. We said we wanted it anyway, so what would the discount be. After much thought and consideration he said $40. The original price was $60 (I have priced similar ones starting at $100 up to $400). WHAT A DEAL!!!! It is well made and cute and perfect. We were so excited we almost did the chest bump (well I would have but someone else would have been embarrassed). Got a few other things then headed home.

Brought Mady home with me. While she napped I caught up on email and sorted laundry. Once hubby arrived I headed to CVS for a few last minute things, picked up dinner then started the washing/packing process. One forgets what it's like to pack for little ones. Pretty easy to pack for 2 adults but add a little munchkin in the mix and you DOUBLE your time. She is so excited in her two year old way. She is excited about "hakin" (hiking).

We will head to Columbia, South Carolina tomorrow for an overnight stay then will visit Congaree National Park on Thursday. This is the most recently established National Park. What a gem this place is! It's like walking on the water through a swamp. Simply amazing. We will head to Charleston after our swamp visit. We will be staying at the Francis Marion Hotel. Plans are to visit Fort Sumter, view the annual holiday parade of boats and eat at Jack's Cosmic Dog (you really need to eat there) and who-knows-what-else!

Quick story from Big Lots. After getting the final okay on the dollhouse/bookshelf we browsed around then started to make our way back to the furniture section. My daughter said, "Okay, let's go find that old guy now." Once we arrived at the furniture section, old guy was helping another customer so we patiently waited. After about 5+ minutes sweet little Mady said, "Where is the old guy?" I laughed so hard! Then I watched the wonderful mother of Mady blush from the tip of her toes to the top of her head! My sweet little cupcake! She makes me laugh!

Looking forward to tomorrow!