Wow. You know the bag thing about not posting about a vacation until 1.5 years later? Well, you forget. A lot. Oopsies. Anyway, what I DO remember is that Hilton Head was incredibly beautiful and incredibly relaxing and it was my first time to an “East Coast” beach (you know, the kind in picture with beaches for miles and tall grasses at the top of the beach?)
Just like that. Reeds/grass/whatever plant that is. Gentle breeze. Warm weather. Comfortable humidity. You get the picture. And then, I got to wake up to this:
Is it time to go back yet? We decided to splurge and rent a cabana for a day, which was the best decision ever. It was pretty toasty, so it was nice having a designated spot to set up camp with some guaranteed shade (especially at 6 months pregnant). This leg of the trip was all about relaxation and we definitely indulged in a little bit of peaceful rest.
So picturesque! And this was all just steps from our hotel. It was perfect. As an aside, I also had my first outing to a Piggly Wiggly on this trip! I always sort of thought those were just in the movies…apparently not! The only downside of a resort-y place like this is the lack of food selection (and reasonably priced food at that). We went to the store and got some lunch and snack items so we could avoid hotel food for at least one meal a day.
Awwww, so cute…the obligatory self-portrait. Can you see how stress-free we look there? Not a care in the world. We had a lovely walk on the beach that night, which would only have been improved with a glass of wine in hand. Warm summer nights are one of my favorite things (one thing I’m very much thrilled about with our move–the return of warm summer nights!), so I ate up every moment of our evening stroll.
Well, slowly but surely we are making it through vacation from two years ago! Yahoo! Only one more part to go!
This is Eleanor at 16 months. She is happy, she is sweet, she is a nut. On the day these were taken, we were playing the sunglasses game. I would put them on her face, and she would move around, trying to keep them on. When they fell off, she would attempt to put them back on, have trouble, then hand them to me to start the cycle again.
Eleanor sings and babbles all. the. time. It’s absolutely adorable. Her vocabulary is also expanding rapidly and she frequently parrots what I say. For instance, I said “Oh MAN!” the other day and then heard a little echo behind me. Her favorite words lately are “ball” and “doggie,” but her standard words include mama, dada, kitty, doggie, ball, up, thank you, bubble and cheese. Some adorable words to watch her form are Stu (one of our cats’ names) and Lola (my sister’s dog).
She has adjusted quite easily to our new life, is sleeping great (at least has been the last week, knock on wood) and loves talking walks down First Street. She loves seeing my family more frequently and hanging out with her cousins. She has also taken a liking to Kieran’s tricycle, which is adorable to see. Her favorite part is ringing the bell (it’s the kind of trike where she gets pushed) and she just sits there with a big grin. If you stop, she makes it known she would like you to continue forward.
She is a good eater, but I am so painfully uncreative when it comes to feeding her! Any suggestions for easy and varied meals for a 16 month old are welcome. She loves cheese, bagels, eggs, yogurt, and her fruit purées. I’m going to be working on getting her to eat fork mashed fruits/veggies because right now if I try and give her the non-puréed version she is not a happy camper. I have found the best way to get her to try new things is to be eating them and wait for her to demand a bite–if I try and offer her a bite first she usually refuses.
Well, that’s E in a nutshell! She is absolutely loving having her daddy home all the time and we love watching her grow and learn.
Quick catch up for all…Brandon quit his job and we moved to the suburbs. :::insert record scratch…say what??:::
So, last fall Brandon started talking about going out on his own (starting his own architecture firm). At the same time he started talking about moving out of the city–rents are sky high/ridiculous/uber competitive and so there was no way we could afford to move within the city. While we have no family expansion plans in the works right now (read: I am NOT pregnant), we couldn’t help but think about our living situation and trying to add a little person to the mix. Some people can rock the two-kids-in-a-1 bedroom, but with us and the cats it was just too much to contemplate. All this said, I wasn’t ready to think about leaving the city, so while Brandon was sending me listings and keeping an eye out for things, I ignored it all.
In January we started having more serious talks about Brandon starting his own thing and what that means for our family. We realized that moving out of the city, while extremely sad, was financially inevitable if we were going to take this leap (especially if we want to expand our family). Finally I got on board the moving train (feet dragging still) and started looking at listings and even going to see a few places. We looked all over the Bay Area but nothing was really catching our eye. We found some stuff that was “fine,” but a) who wants just “fine” and 2) coming from a super cute SF 1920′s apartment with hardwood floors, character and tons of light, a dark 80′s condo was really hard to stomach. Call me a snob, but I needed a place that would soothe my transition.
Mid March, two things happened almost at once: we found out Brandon landed a job he had put out a proposal for, and I found us a house (for rent) in the town I grew up in (which happens to be where my grandmothers/parents/sister/aunt/uncle/cousins live). At first I wasn’t sure I was excited to move back, but I realized how much the help would be welcome and the house really was (spoiler alert: IS) awesome. I had actually looked at the listing before, but right around the time we were like dang, okay, we need to move NOW, the house dropped in price. Serendipity? Plus, it was downtown (a requirement when we talked of moving back to my hometown) where I could still walk to everything like I did in SF, and it was a 1913 house with tons of character. The selling point that put it over the top? 3 bedrooms PLUS an office (well, technically a parlor, but it makes a perfect office). The office is off the living room, full of bright sunlight and original hardwood floors. Score!
So, circling back around, I am typing this from my new living room in my cute house and Brandon is in SF celebrating his last day of work. Tomorrow we will go and finish cleaning out the apartment (he has been living there while he finishes out his notice period at work) and officially begin our life in the suburbs. It has been a whirlwind and I’m still very sad about leaving the city (yes, a few tears have been shed) but I’m so excited for Brandon in this new venture in this adorable town that I am once again calling home.
Well, in between my vacation posts FROM TWO YEARS AGO, I’d like to take a moment and say how sad I am that I’ve stopped chronicling my life over the past couple years, especially in light of the fact that I now have Eleanor. I haven’t written or blogged about our life with her, and that makes me incredibly depressed. I just read this article about a mom who kept a journal, and I’m jealous I didn’t do that. So, only 4 months into the year I’m making a resolution to blog more, and to be more relaxed about it. So what if there aren’t pictures, so what if it’s just a couple sentences. It is my journal of the adventures with my family and I’m committed. (I can hear my sister now saying “SHEESH! It’s about time!)
Le sigh. I have an extreme affliction of Wanderlust. Every time I go to a new city, I want to move there–just temporarily, but still. I often daydream about grad school just as an excuse to move somewhere for a predetermined period of time. Charleston definitely made the list of “Yeah, I’d like to move here for a little while…” It’s a beautiful city with so much history and great architecture! I mean, the porches…oooooh the porches. I have a slight porch obsession, and I sometimes fantasize about living in the south, having sweaty hot summer nights drinking my mint julep (or other adult beverage) on my porch. I realize that there are downsides to this (sleeplessness, feeling sticky, BUGS) but I choose just to imagine the romantic idea of this lifestyle.
Anyway, I digress. Basically I had a lot of lusting for the large ancestral homes on the Charleston waterfront, as well as plenty of other homes around the various neighborhoods. I mean, porches/balconies on every level? Yes please! A girl can dream…I’ve already told Brandon that if we ever get to design our own house, there will be a porch, preferably a wrap-around. This is non-negotiable.
A major selling point for the porch? A porch SWING. In Charleston by the harbor there are these amazing huge porch swings. I made Brandon sit on them with me every night. It was very romantic and relaxing. I never wanted to leave…in fact, on our last day I might have gotten a little teary. I’ll blame it on the pregnancy hormones.
We watched the end of an amazing electrical storm from the swings one night (Brandon wanted to go out during it, but I was too much of a scaredy cat–this Bay Area girl is not used to major lightning!). Speaking of storms, we also learned a lesson: when the wind suddenly REALLY picks up, run for cover because a downpour is approaching. Luckily we learned this the easy way while in Charleston. On a side trip to a plantation, however, we learned it the hard way.
We visited the Magnolia Plantation on our way out of town. On the way in, I noticed a sign saying no refunds for weather. “Luckily for us,” I thought to myself, “it’s a beautiful, sunny day.” And it was. We started at the petting zoo, and made a few friends
We then ventured into the gardens. They have a map with 20 something various sites to see that are all along a winding path around the beautiful gardens, so there we were wandering and gradually we noticed it was less sunny.
And then we heard some thunder in the far off distance. We still had quite a few sites on our list. And the wind. Oh, the wind came. Sudden, large, strong gusts of wind. Brandon and I looked at each other and said “uh oh….” but we were pretty much exactly halfway through the gardens–the only way to shelter was forward or backwards. We chose forward and continued on our way and then the rain started. It began absolutely POURING, and first we took shelter on a bench (the gardens are extremely dense and lush) under a tree. It worked for a bit, but then we started getting soaked and realized we should keep moving.
As a little reminder, I was 6 months pregnant at the time. And I was wearing wedge sandals. And a skirt. Anyway, we start moving (quickly) and then the thunder and lightning is directly on top of us, and we’re in a foresty garden area. At this point I start freaking out a little. The gardens are flooding and I’m running through trees in water in lightning in wedge sandals while pregnant and the storm is directly over us. I will admit I was terrified. We kept going, however, and we made it back to shelter to where a bunch of other people (equally as wet) were also waiting out the storm. A native of the area confirmed for me that being near trees is not a great idea, so it was good we moved.
Phew! Since we were on our way to Hilton Head already, we had our suitcases in the car and were able to change into dry clothes and get on our way. And speaking of Hilton Head, that will be the next post destination!
(All photos except the final 3 were taken with film)
Whoooopsies. I guess this is what happens when you are 6+ months pregnant and you take film photos on vacation and then go ahead and have that baby…your life gets a little crazy and you forget to develop those photos. ANYway…last year Brandon and I attended the wedding of my good friend in Nashville. We decided to make a trip out of it, and visit a few other destinations that we had been wanting to go to, namely Charleston and Savannah. We also added a little side trip to Hilton Head while we were at it.
I’ll separate this out into a post per location, so for starters, our trip to Nashville, in film:
Next up will be Charleston!
I really have to just stop apologizing for the infrequent posts and accept that as the norm, or get on my game. I’d like to do the latter, but we’ll see.
Anyway it’s been since April, so there is a lot of catching up to do. Now, to do an abbreviated catch-all post, or stretch it out over a few posts…how ambitious am I feeling? Decisions, decisions. I’ll start with the present and then hopefully backfill later. SO. Now we begin with today.
My sister and I have been wanting to hang out for a while, but between her kids getting sick and my work schedule, nothing has worked out in an embarrassingly long time. Today, however, the stars aligned and Eleanor and I went out to visit Aunt Jen and the cousins. Nothing like the self esteem boost you get when, upon arrival, you are greeted by adorable jumping kiddos shouting “Auntie B! Auntie B! ELLIEEEEE! Auntie B!!!”
We spent the morning attempting to put the littles down for a nap (success for Kieran, complete failure for Eleanor, but she was good humored about it all) and then making some homemade graham crackers (yum, I’ll have to find out where my sis got the recipe). Once the other little one got up we let Kieran and Ellie hang out for some quality get-to-know-you cousin time. Needless to say, it was Adorable with a capital A.
Notice Kieran holding Ellie’s foot in that last picture? Too cute. They mainly rolled around grabbing their toes and sticking out their tongues, which made us giggle. Jen got some video, I’ll have to post that once it’s up on the internet. Then came what I call The Great Thigh Comparison.
Eleanor and Kieran are around 6 weeks apart and about the same length. Kieran’s hands and feet are bigger than Ellie’s, and Ellie weighs about 3+ pounds more than Kieran, and the circumference of her thigh is about 5x that of Kieran’s. It was ridiculously adorable. And for those concerned, no I am not worried about the size of Ellie’s thighs, or worried that she is overweight. I know once she lengthens out and starts crawling/walking things will thin down. For now, I find them one of her most endearing qualities. I LOVE those thighs.
Post thigh time, we headed outside for a picnic lunch where Eleanor actually accepted some solids without tears for the first time–in fact, she seemed to enjoy them. I’m not sure if it was the much more smooth consistency (store-bought instead of home-mashed by me), the flavor (peaches), the setting (on mom’s lap outside surrounded by her Aunt and cousins) or just the fact that she’s had a few more weeks to get used to this new concept, but I was excited.
Next came naps for everyone under 4 (some shorter than others, ehem Eleanor) and then the most exciting part of the day: SWIM LESSONS! Claire and Conor have been in swim lessons for a couple months now and I’ve wanted to go watch but haven’t been able to yet. Wednesday night, Jen messaged me and told me that their swim school had a free trial and suggested that Ellie and I come along and participate. Great idea! We picked up Grammy, grabbed some In-N-Out beforehand and then headed over to the pool for some swimming fun. Ellie was a little bit crabby due to her massive nap failures throughout the day, but she seemed to not mind the lesson for the most part, and I think had she been more rested she would have actually enjoyed it. She liked the noodle-floating portion the best. Jen and I died of cuteness.
I mean, seriously? Between the bathing suit and those arms out while she floated along…I could barely stand it.
All in all it was a fantastic day, and now I’m anxious to find a place to put Eleanor in swim lessons more consistently.