Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lazy days on the beach

We have had such fun the last few days at the beach.  We head out at low tide so the kids can handle the waves.  They've been learning to 'surf' with GranGran and GranDaddy.  We're hoping some uncles will be available over the weekend to take them out since I've already proven that I don't know what I'm doing.  

Here's McIver practicing his balance in the swash.  
Olivia gives it a try.
How sweet is this!?  Olivia (or "YeeYaa" as Amelia calls her!) has LOVED hanging out with Amelia.  She has played 'big sister' all week and has assured me that "Mama, if you and Daddy have another baby, McIver and I will be so helpful."
This little guy was not at all happy that I was playing papparazzi.  He snapped at me every time I got close.  Brave GranGran finally caught him in our bucket and moved him to safer quarters - away from us and the tourists.
Eating watermelon on the beach, juice dripping all down your face, arms and belly then running to rinse off in the ocean.  Really, does it get any better than this!?
GranDaddy joined us for a little while at the beach today.  I'm not sure why, but McIver was not interested in the waves today.  So, Olivia pretty much had GranDaddy all to herself.  She loved it!
Once McIver came out of hiding (he was under his pirate towel for about 30 minutes while everyone else played), he decided to have some fun in the sand.  He let me bury his legs and build drip castles on them.
McIver took a step back to admire his handy-work - helping to cover Olivia with sand.  Amelia was in on the action, too.

Family Kingdom Amusement Park

An Evening-o-Fun at Family Kingdom Amusement Park

We had a great evening last night with GranDaddy at Family Kingdom Amusement Park.  (This would be the same place that he took the kids to last year and went MIA for a few hours - long enough that Ginny and I were about to start calling the hospitals and trolling the neighborhood streets!  Go to "August 2007 - That's What GranDaddies Are For" to read the full story.)  You KNOW it's a fun night when Olivia and McIver, even when food vendors are within sight, do not once ask for food...  There were just too many rides to ride!  

Our first ride was the Hurricane - you know the one - it goes around in a circle forwards, then backwards with loud, loud music and sirens!  Olivia insisted that I join them for the first ride, even though she knows I prefer rides that do not go around in circles.  But, I got the feeling that if we didn't start out on a happy note, then the whole evening might go ka-put.  So, we all hopped right on.  They had a blast and I could barely walk straight afterwards.

Then we hit the bumper cars.  GranDaddy and I both had to ride b/c of height requirements.  GranDaddy was a crazy man behind the wheel!
After patiently waiting for the train, Olivia and McIver rode it by themselves.  They got a great view of the park and ALL the rides it had to offer.  They had a list of must-rides by the time they returned to us.
Will and I are so proud that we have raised roller-coaster fans.  They rode this ride about 5 times - just getting off and getting right back on b/c there were no lines to speak of.  They rode in the front, the back, the middle and everywhere in between - and held their hands up in the air much of the time!
Olivia rode the swings by herself b/c McIver wasn't tall enough.  So GranDaddy took him back to his favorite ride (surprise - it involved shooting targets with a gun - "don't worry, Mama, they're just pretend,"  he told me).  So, O and I took this self-portrait while we waited for them to find us.

Columbia visit with Mamoo (stop #5)

After breakfast with the Dachs and picking Olivia up from Julia's house, we hit the road for Columbia.   I will admit to being very excited to be getting back to Columbia, even if only to drive thru for a few minutes trying to picture us there this time next year.  We drove through the SCOA parking lot so the kids could see where Daddy will be working.  We also drove by a few houses for sale in Shandon that I had seen online.  

But, the main purpose of our visit was to see Mamoo.  She looked great and seems to be getting around pretty well with her walker.  Olivia and McIver gave her big, big hugs and visited with her while they ate lunch.  Then, they discovered her new television which gave me a chance to catch up with her.  

All told, we visited 17 people in a 24 hour time period.  It was very busy, but so good to see everyone.  After our time with Mamoo, it was time to head to Myrtle Beach!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Greenville visit with the Lewises (stop #4)

OK - I don't seem to have it in me to figure out what's wrong with the pictures, but didn't want to waste anymore time getting them posted.  So, these are out of order, and I can't figure out how to get a few of the pictures rotated (it's not rocket science, I know).  Anyway, here's an out of order snapshot of our visit with the Lewises.  

That night also turned out to be Olivia's first sleep-over at someone else's house.  Julia invited her to watch the Hannah Montana movie and spend the night.  Olivia was super-excited!  It was great from start to finish (which included waffles for breakfast - topped with ICE CREAM!).

Marina and me with the girls before the Hannah Montana 3-D movie started.
McIver - so NOT into the HM movie that he was more interested in putting on a play with a baby doll and a (somewhat creepy) toy squirrel.

Olivia and Julia hugging when we first arrived.  They were so excited to see each other (in their Hannah Montana gear!).

Here they are with their 3-D glasses waiting for the show to start (with artwork and everything!).

Olivia and Julia are friends from WAY back.  They have known each other since they were about 6 weeks old.  Their birthdays are one day apart; Marina and I were next door to each other in the hospital but had not yet met.  We met at our first playgroup about 6 weeks later.  Then, again, at a different playgroup.  So, we saw each other twice a week for a good portion of the girls' infancies.  Marina was also in the Bible Study group that I loved so much in Greenville.  Olivia and Julia shared their first three birthday parties when we lived in Greenville.  

Greenville visit with the Dachs (stop #3)

Stop #3 was the Dachs' new house.  We were so glad to be able to see their beautiful new house and spend the night with them.  Kait just turned 2 and was so much fun to be with.  It took her just a little while to warm up, but then she was happy to show us all around.  Steph and Brian had evening plans, so as they prepared to leave, we made our way to the Lewises house.

Steph made breakfast for us on Sunday morning.  McIver slept late while I played with Kait downstairs.  Then, he and Kait totally bonded over breakfast and playing.  Here they are saying good-bye.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Greenville visit with the Rhodes-Hornes (stop #2)

After the Nixons', we went to Stop #2 ... Tiffany and Anderson's house to meet Baby Henry for the first time. He's about 3 months old and is PR-ECIOUS! I held him most of the time and got my baby fix. Then, passed him off to his Mama when he started to fuss. Turns out he was only hungry, so it was easy to settle him down. It sounds like T&A are adjusting very well to life in the (parent)hood!

Greenville visit with the Nixons (stop #1)

Emma and Olivia were so glad to see each other when we arrived on Saturday.  The trip took longer than I remembered it taking, so we were all a bit antsy by the time we got there.  The girls immediately picked up where they left off last summer and ran off to play and make the most of their time together.

McIver made himself at home - let himself in the front door and went straight for the toys.  He and Sam played well together, although they don't remember each other as well as the girls do, of course.  
After a bit of a meltdown (which is a complete and total understatement!), McIver settled down when we got to Maggie Moos for icecream.  Apparently, Twizzler ice cream was just what he needed.  His fit was a result of being tired, but it was totally ridiculous ("I want to ride in Stacy's car.  I don't want to ride in Stacy's car.  I want to go on a field trip, but I don't want to go on a field trip" and the like.)  
This was only my second time meeting Mary Elizabeth.  She's beautiful and looks just like her mom!  Here she is waiting for another bite of ice cream.
It was a short visit, but I think we did our best to make the most of it.  We're certainly looking forward to being just down the road from our Greenville friends.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Macon Visit

Our time in Macon has been great fun. We pack up tomorrow to spend a night in Greenville and then head to Myrtle Beach to spend the next week with Will's family. Here are a few pictures from the last few days in Macon.

The kids with Grandma Janet - again, what is it with 6 (and a 1/2!) year olds and bunny ears. She has no shame!
Thanks to the wonders of Facebook, I reconnected with 2 friends from high school. We had lunch together yesterday (at a Mexican restaurant, which I find funny considering I came here from Houston!) and spent a few hours catching up. Mostly, they told me how much fun I missed at our 10 year reunion (Olivia was like 3 weeks old or something and I just didn't have it in me to go) and caught me up on folks that I've lost touch with. Although, Facebook is really pretty cool - I have actually 'talked' with a bunch of folks in the last few days and it has been so fun to be back in touch with people, especially since I'm in Macon where it all happened!
McIver called me to the playground earlier today to show me his collection. He found a ton of screws, washers and other left-overs from the new playground construction. He's such a boy! Here he is explaining it all to me.
McIver and Lady
McIver & Olivia love the new playground. The old one was crushed when a tree fell on it during the tornado on Mothers Day. Rather than just let the kids play in the rocks that were left, Pop had the guy come build a new playground the week before we got here. The kids have loved it.
I spent most of the day at the hospital with Grandma Myrtle who had a heart cath (and ended up having 2 stints put in). She was resting relatively comfortably when I left early this evening. Please keep her in your prayers as she recovers over the next 5 weeks in anticipation of a spleen-ectomy over Labor Day weekend. Really, how else would you like to spend a long weekend!?
And, finally, Happy 10th Anniversary to Will! I love you more than you know and will give you a gift of tin/aluminum in honor of our 10 years together (b/c Hallmark says I should!) when we get home in August.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cacoo's 16th Birthday

We raced around Sunday morning cleaning up so we could get home from Big Canoe in time for Cacoo's 16th birthday party. It was a small affair - nothing like My Sweet 16 on MTV that I get sucked into watching whenever I flip through and see that it's on! Anyway, she just invited some girlfriends over to swim and cookout. There wasn't much swimming, but there was plenty of talking and visiting, eating and opening of gifts. It was fun to be able to be here to celebrate with her.

McIver loves when Cacoo or Fielding throw him up in the air in the pool.

Olivia especially likes when Fielding throws her up b/c she goes so much higher.

We are all loving the new pool. It's not all the way finished yet (the gazebo is still being put together), but the hottub and waterfall are great fun (especially when 3 water guns are in action in and around the pool - the hot tub makes a great hiding spot.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

More Big Canoe

We spent the rest of our time in Big Canoe relaxing, going to the pool and beach, playing Uno and enjoying the decks.

McIver's first attempt at the rock slide didn't go so well. Apparently, he doesn't weigh enough (or wasn't going fast enough) going down the slide to make it through the current where the end of the slide meets the water. So, he got stuck - and panicked a little bit. No worries - Big Canoe life guards to the rescue! They jumped in and 'saved' him which he thought was pretty cool. He was NOT at all happy, though, that there was a 2nd, smaller slide that he had to go down in order to get to me. So, this picture (and the smile) is from the first attempt!

Subsequent trips down the slide involved me getting in the FREEZING COLD water and being there to catch him at the bottom. And, he was fine with that. Both Olivia and McIver thought it was just great that I was in the water with them. We had all had a blast, but Olivia especially loved it - even more so when she went with just Cacoo and Fielding. Check out the look of pure joy on her face!
Here we all are at the top of the 2nd slide. I realize that it looks like I'm the only one having fun, but I promise, they had fun, too!
McIver and Pop heading out in the paddle boat.

Since Nanoo likes to have the kitchen to herself, Pop and I cleared out of there both afternoons to take the kids to the Wildcat Pool. Plus, Olivia and McIver liked riding in the jump seats in the back of the cab of the pick-up truck they keep at the mountains. It was a pretty relaxing way to spend a few hours - with the side-benefit of completely wearing the kids out before dinner.

Another shot of Pop with Olivia and McIver (in front of the 'planks' from the treasure hunt!)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

From the mouths of babes (or McIver!)

McIver has gotten quite into burping lately. He's usually very polite about it and excuses himself immediately. Last night, though, he got Nanoo all tickled at the dinner table, which got me tickled and, then pretty much the whole table started giggling at him.

So today, on the way back to the house from the pool at Big Canoe, he was drinking a Sprite and burping up a storm. Excusing himself after each one. I told him that he needed to stop b/c it's very rude, even when you say Excuse me, and that he needs stop drinking Sprite if he can't quit burping. Or, find a way to keep them to himself (by keeping his mouth closed, etc.).

He immediately changed the subject (or so I thought):
McIver: Can Daddy help me build a tree house in our backyard?
Me: Well, probably not, b/c we already have a playhouse on our swing set and we're going to move out of our house next year.
McIver: Well, I want a tree house and I want my own rules. And the only rule is I can burp with my mouth open!

Side note: On the way home, we stopped and watched a mama deer and two Bambis (spots and all) on the side of the road. They were beautiful!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Trip to Macon

We had a great flight to Macon earlier this week - the kids were total and complete troopers when we got to the airport and had to wait in a pretty long line to check our bags. There was a bit of a scare that we might not make our flight, but that turned out not to be the case. The kids were great going through security - although, they did really, really search Olivia's backpack b/c of the hand sanitizer that we forgot to pull out to go through the xray machines. Our flight was smooth, the kids watched a video together while I flipped through a magazine and even got a quick cat-nap. We didn't know if Cacoo was coming with Nanoo to pick us up so that was a special surprise to see her waiting for us.

True to their word, the spilt second we got to Nanoo's house, the kids ran to see the new pool. Bathing suits were donned and they dove right on in. One of the waterfalls is up and running, but they're still waiting on the 2nd one. They even have 3 stools in the pool like it's a swim-up bar. Hello!? How cool is that!? The rest of the evening was spent going back and forth between the new playground and the pool. Grandma Janet joined us for a dinner so we got in a good visit with her. No wonder McIver went to sleep without any trouble at all.

Then, Thursday morning, we went over to Grandma Myrtle's for a visit. Even though it has been over a year since they've been to her house, they remembered exactly where the toy closet was. It took about 1.5 seconds for toys and games to be scattered all over the den. But, the coolest, by far, is that Grandma let the kids bring a kid guitar and some wooden whistles home with us!

Then, we raced home, loaded up into the big, white van and headed for Big Canoe!

Treasure Hunt in Big Canoe

We found "Captain Jack's Treasure Map" this morning during breakfast. It was a very elaborate and old map (we could tell b/c the edges were all torn and burned). There was a detailed diagram along with step-by-step instructions to get us to the treasure. So, we set out this afternoon to see what we could find. Fielding (Cacoo's boyfriend) was our guide - he held the map and read the instructions while Olivia and McIver took turns leading the way.

1. Behind the building of the deer (the garage has a deer weather vane on top), our journey begins - Do Not Fear.

2. Up the hill several footsteps make, then turn right - Walk the Planks.

3. Three canoes - green, yellow, and red, point to the right - the direction to head.

4. A pirate's footpath you will find, with Pirate's Gold ... 18 pieces you mind.

5. A pirate flag will point the way, stay on the path - Do Not Stray!
6. A pirate ribbon marks a tree, the treasure if very close to thee.

7. A fallen tree points to the spot, a thicket is where you'll find the lot.

8. Beneath the leaves 2 swords will make The Mark of X, for goodness sake.

9. The treasure is within your reach. It is not buried very deep.
10. Though the path to the treasure is very steep. My Pirate Treasure is Yours to Keep!

And, let me tell you, the treasure chest was FULL of treasure - pirate rings and necklaces, pirate t-shirts and beach towels, pirate bracelets with jibbits, pirate jibbits for the kids' crocs, little bags of 'uncut gems,' and more. Both kids loved it! Thanks, Nanoo and Pop, for a very special treat!