Friday, July 31, 2009

Visit in Greenville - The Dachs

We spent Sunday night with the Dachs.  Steph and Kaitl had spent the day in Atlanta so they were exhausted, but lasted long enough to get in a quick visit.  Kait thought Olivia was something else - she dragged Olivia all over the house.  It took Olivia a little while to get used to being looked up to, but then she really started to dig it!

Visit in Greenville - The Nixons

We were really looking forward to our visit with the Nixons.  Olivia and Emma were best buddies when we lived in Greenville.  Stacy & I took them to Meadors Sandwich Shop (which, sadly, no longer exists) just about once a week when they were little.  Once the boys came along, we took them, too.  Anyway, Olivia was super-excited to see Emma.  It took them about 2.3 seconds to hit it off and head into Emma's room to play.

Stacy and Bryant put together a cook-out on the fly for us (we didn't give them much notice that we were coming to town).  Everything was delicious.  We fed the kids first and then we had a chance to visit while the kids put together a 'show' for us.  Afterwards, everyone had a popsicle treat.

McIver and Sam have had a love-not-so-much-love relationship over the years.  McIver has always been a bit rougher than Sam, but the language of the Bakugan brought everyone together.  They ran off to play as soon as we got out of the car.  During the 'show,' though, Sam accidentally hit McIver with a drumstick.  Tears, screaming and yelling ensued.  But, 5 minutes later, they were in the kitchen having their treat.  McIver asked me if Sam had blond hair.  When I told him yes, he said:  Wow, Sam.  We both have blond hair and orange popsicles.  I guess we can be buddies after all.  

Visit in Greenville - The Hornes

We made a detour through Greenville on our way from Macon back to Columbia last weekend.  Will had to get some information together from GHS (Greenville Hospital System) in preparation for his oral boards later this fall.  Our first stop was to see Tiffany & Anderson and their little boy, Henry.  He's about 16 months old and is precious.  He had just woken up from a nap and was in a great mood.  He stopped moving just long enough for me to snap this picture with McIver.

Dinner with the Grands

Ginny and Jimmy were passing through Columbia Wednesday night on their way to the mountains.  We invited them, along with Mamoo, to join us for dinner.  Olivia went with me to Bed, Bath and Beyond on Wednesday morning to pick out a new tablecloth now that the leaves are permanent in our dining room table.  We also found matching napkins.  When we got home, Olivia helped me set the table - napkins, china, silver and crystal.  Then, she asked if she could make placecards for everyone.  I'm not really sure where she got the idea, but each one was personalized so it was terribly cute.

We had shrimp pilau, tomato/mozzarella salad, a green salad and bread.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and were particularly impressed with Olivia's placecards.  I'm sad to say that I didn't take any pictures.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Leaving Amelia Island

We took as long as we could to pack up to leave Amelia Island on Friday morning.  In an effort to ease the pain, we decided to stop by Savannah on our way back to Macon to try and have lunch at The Lady & Sons.  If you've never been there, you MUST try to go.  I say "try" because it's not easy to get in.  I overheard the hostess tell someone that people had been standing in line at 4:30 that morning trying to get on the list.  

When we arrived, the sign on the hostess stand actually said that they were already booked for lunch, implying that we would not be able to get a table.  I tried my luck, but she said that since my party wasn't complete (Will was still parking the car), they didn't have room for us.  But, I also overheard the hostess send another couple up to the 3rd floor, so we tried our luck again once Will got there.  It paid off!  The hostess gave us the magic card that allowed us past the front door and entry to the elevator up to the 3rd floor.  It ended up that we didn't have to wait at all, and there were actually quite a few empty tables by the time we left.  Paula Deen must have her reservation system down to a science.

As expected, the food was delicious!!  We ordered a plate of Fried Green Tomatoes and each had the buffet.  Fried chicken, fish, sweet potatoes, collard greens, green beans, cream corn, Beaufort stew and, of course, "The Lady's Macaroni and Cheese!" (And that's just what we at, not a full representation of what was available on the buffet.  We just knew what the best was!)  We also took full advantage of the cheese biscuits and warm hoecakes that someone brought to the table... not to mention sweet tea with mint in a to-go cup (a hard thing to come by in Texas - the sweet tea, not the to-go cup).

It was a great end to a great week! 

Amelia Island - Wednesday & Thursday

Our last two days in Amelia Island were as relaxing as the rest.  I don't have any pictures from Wednesday because it was more of the same - beach, pool, resting, reading, snacking.  Will played golf again with Flynn in the afternoon.  Then, his wife, Lori, met us at the hotel and we all had a drink together on our (oversized!) balcony before heading to dinner at The Surf.  Dinner was delicious and the scene led to some good people-watching on the dance floor.  Lori took the only pictures we have of the night so I'll have to get them from her and add them to this post later.  

After my massage on Tuesday, I convinced Will that we should get a couples massage.  Turns out that there's really no reason to do it together (there was no talking, I think he even fell asleep), other than maybe so that you can stick to a vacation schedule (which we did not have!).  Anyway, we ventured down to The Spa on Thursday morning.  There was a scheduling conflict on their end so we spent the morning relaxing at The Spa pool again.  (Will actually had to take care of some work stuff so he wasn't quite as relaxed as I was.  Good thing we got the massages after his work-induced headache!)   

If you haven't had a massage before, you may not know that you're pretty much useless afterwards.  You just end up so relaxed you can barely complete a sentence.  So, we packed a cooler and savored our last afternoon on the beach.  The humidity had settled in so the pictures are a little foggy.  That certainly did not detract from our relaxation efforts!

Once it started getting chilly (and, the cooler was empty), we decided it was time to get ready for dinner at PLaE (People Laughing and Eating).  They had the "chef's pick" for dinner, but we opted out of that with the hope of avoiding another non-seafood entree.  The best part was probably the applewood-bacon scallop appetizer.  We were the only people eating out on the deck which overlooked the golf course at Amelia Island Plantation.  Our waiter was happy to snap a quick picture.  (It's from my phone so is not the best quality.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

While the Cats Are Away...

... the Mice will Play.  And play they did.  Olivia and McIver had a BLAST spending the week with Nanoo, Pop and Cacoo.  They went to Lake Sinclair on Sunday afternoon for the birthday party of Catherine's friend Amy. 

McIver and Jonathan dug for clams.  Pop told me that McIver spent HOURS digging for them and then filling up a float with his finds.  
Olivia rode the jetski with Amy, the Birthday Girl.  I was surprised to hear that she rode with Amy first, instead of waiting to go with Cacoo.  (I should also say that they really started their Sunday with a trip to Bass Pro Shops to pick out new life jackets, which also ended up being a hit in the pool, too.)
Don't worry - He didn't actually drive it by himself.  He didn't even drive it with someone else.  He just posed for Nanoo.
They also celebrated Catherine's 17th birthday on Monday.  Catherine had a bunch of girlfriends over to their house to have lunch and hang out by the pool.  Olivia told me that McIver loved having all those girls around.  They also went to dinner at a Japanese steakhouse.  We had been there before so the kids knew what to expect this time.  The onion volcano impressed again.  We gave Cacoo a bunch of make-up goodies from Ulta.  Olivia helped pick everything out and they had fun watching her open all of the gifts wrapped individually in tissue paper.

Nanoo found some cool wooden puzzles to help keep Olivia and McIver busy while we were away.  Olivia had some help putting together the dollhouse, but I'll have to wait to see who takes the credit - I think Pop spent the most time on it.  There were also four sheets of wooden furniture to be put together.  I was able to take part in that effort - and, let me tell you, it was not easy ...  Pop has the patience of Job!

Nanoo found a cruise ship and dragon puzzle for McIver, but I think they realized he needs to stick with the 'regular' puzzles for a little while longer before tackling the wooden puzzles.

The kids also went to Camp Eagle all week.  Olivia made a few friends in the puppet theatre camp - they made puppets all week and then put on a production for the rest of the campers on Friday.  McIver went to 'safari camp' - and his teacher was MY KINDERGARTEN teacher from (uhumm!) 30 years ago.  McIver walked right into the camp like he already knew his way around (no surprise there!), but it took Olivia a little while to warm up.  Nanoo stayed with her until she felt comfortable on the first day, but then she had a great time - and was super-chatty with me about her camp every time we talked on the phone.  

Thanks for a great week, Nanoo and Pop!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Amelia Island - Tuesday

I spent Tuesday morning in The Spa getting a warm-stone massage.  It was absolutely the most decadent thing I have ever done.  I was able to take advantage of all the spa amenities all day because of my early-morning treatment ... the spa pool with the super-comfy chairs, relaxation lounge, sauna, etc.  Will spent his time on the driving range and then played golf in the afternoon.  There wasn't much picture-taking to be had since we spent most of the day apart, but we both certainly had good days.

We met up for dinner at Salt, the hotel's 5-star restaurant.  We were one of only a few tables so we had great service (which I'm sure we would have had no matter how many people were there).  We were treated to a glass of bubbly in celebration of our many 'events.'   The 'salt sommelier' introduced us to 5 or 6 different flavors of salt, jalapeno, vanilla, and others.  Rather than order dinner from the menu, we chose to have the 'Chef's Adventure' menu where you don't know what they'll bring.  Everything was delicious until (wait for it....), they brought antelope for the entree!  It was a bit rare for my taste, but I tasted it anyway.  It was okay, but I would have preferred seafood.  

Here we are on the lawn, again, waiting for our table.
A sampling of the salts.
Dinner was delicious!  That's sashimi on a block of salt.  The longer the fish was on the salt, the saltier it tasted (and the better it tasted, if you ask me!).

Friday, July 24, 2009

Amelia Island - Monday

Will played golf with Flynn, a friend from Myrtle Beach, Monday morning.  Apparently, Will had a pretty good round.  I spent the morning on the beach and by the pool.  

Dinner was at Baxters and was divine!  They do not advertise so we almost missed out on it.  Once we ate there, though, it was easy to see why they are confident that word of mouth is the only advertising they need.

After dinner, we found some chairs on the lawn by a chiminea.  A couple from Chattanooga joined us and we had a good time just chatting with them.  We didn't think to ask them to take our picture together, but here we are before they joined us.

Amelia Island - Sunday

Arrived on Amelia Island a little too early to check in so we drove up to the village in Fernandina to have lunch.  Ate at Brett’s Waterway CafĂ©, which was vaguely familiar to us from our last trip to Amelia 11 years ago for Jake & Ally’s wedding.  We wandered in and out of some shops and found a Christmas ornament from this trip.

Hotel check in was crazy-busy, but worth the wait.  The Ritz is shaped like a horseshoe and our room is right in the middle on the 7th floor (out of 8) so we looked straight out onto the ocean.  Our balcony is a little bigger than most and we loved spending time out there once the sun was behind us. 

Will enjoying the view - ahhhh!
My beach reading for the week

After unpacking and getting settled, we walked around the hotel to get the lay of the land and strolled on the beach.  We even had a tour of the spa … love it!  When we returned to our room, we had a nice bottle of champagne waiting on us.  My telling them all of the events we were celebrating paid off! 

The hotel is a little far from the village so we decided to eat at one of the hotel restaurants Sunday night.  We had a great table on one of the patios and the food was delicious.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Amelia Island

We're having a great time on Amelia Island. The hotel does not have free internet access, though, so I won't be updating the blog with pictures until we get home. Will had a great golf game with Flynn Jarrett yesterday and we're going to dinner with him tomorrow night. I had a warm stone massage this morning - wow! Heading out to lunch now.

Kids are having a good time at Nanoo & Pop's house. They helped Cacoo celebrate her 17th birthday yesterday. And, from what I've heard, they're enjoying their day camps at Stratford.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Living the High Life

After only a 3 1/2 hour drive to Macon (which actually felt a whole lot longer), we had a delicious dinner and the kids jumped in the pool.  Thanks to Disney's constant marketing campaign, Olivia knew exactly when the the world premier of "Wizards on Deck with Hannah Montana" was airing.  It's a combination of all three of Olivia's favorite Disney shows - Wizards of Waverly Place (my favorite, if I had to pick), Hannah Montana and Suite Life on Deck.  Pop turned on the TV in the gazebo so that Olivia and McIver could float around in the pool and watch.

The only sad thing is that I don't think they appreciate just how good they've got it!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lake Murray

GranDaddy, Will, Olivia, McIver, Mamoo and I all piled in our car yesterday to take our extra freezer up to the lake.  We had not been there since before we left Greenville four years ago, and I would even say it had been a while before that since we had been there.  Not one thing has changed - except maybe that the yard was in pretty bad shape which made Mamoo quite upset.  She kept saying that she was glad Papa wasn't there to see it - he took such pride in that little piece of Heaven on Earth.  

The lake has been special to Will and me for a long time.  It's where we got engaged.  I drove up to the lake from Macon one Friday after work.  We visited with Mamoo and Papa for a little while before Will took me to dinner at a restaurant on the lake (the Rusty Anchor).   He proposed in the boat on the way back to the house.  Mamoo and Papa knew that was his plan and were ready to celebrate with us when we got home.  One of our engagement parties was held at the lake house and we've spent many weekends there with friends and family.  We can't wait to start making memories there again with our children!

This is the view of the house from the lake.  Love all those windows.  The bottom floor is full with 3 sets of bunkbeds.  Of course, Olivia and McIver were staking their claims and planning which friends will sleep where when they come visit.  It's such a great house - perfect for hanging out with friends and family.  Lots of room to run around and play.  McIver didn't remember ever being there (and I'm not sure that Olivia actually remembers it - although, she has seen pictures of herself there).  

McIver found a little bucket and headed straight for the lake.  He watched the minnows and was as quiet as I've heard him in a long time because "you have to be quiet to catch fish, Mama."  Duh!

Olivia was grossed out by all the mayflies around the dock.  But, I was able to snap this picture of her with Mamoo.  Will caught a mayfly and tossed it into the lake.  The kids thought it was pretty cool to watch one of the brim snap it up.   

Olivia's "Housten bffs"

Things have been pretty quiet around here since we returned from Myrtle Beach.  Our neighbors are at the beach so Olivia and McIver have been entertaining themselves.  I found this in Olivia's room yesterday - it made me a little bit sad.  But, the good news is that we have discovered and downloaded Skype.  We have been 'skyping' with Shannon and Reagan for the last few days and that has been fun for all of us.  We hope that some other friends - and grandparents - will join us!

Mamoo came over for a quick visit yesterday on our way up to the lake.  I can't imagine what she must have thought when she saw Olivia's friends on the computer talking to her in real time all the way from Texas.  I know she has seen a lot of things in her 90 years, but that is pretty cool!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Myrtle Beach - Thursday

Ginny took Olivia and McIver to see Charlotte's Web on Thursday morning.  Kelli and Amelia went with them and everyone seemed to have a good time.  Amelia kept saying that she wanted to go back to see "Charlotte the pig."  She's only two years old, so we'll cut her some slack on that little misunderstanding.  

The girls spent part of the afternoon washing the golfcart.  It was a little rainy at that point, but not enough to spoil the fun.

Sweet girls in a clean ride!
Will played golf and had to sit out a little bit of a rain storm.  The kids and I held down the fort at GranGran's house until the rain stopped.  We had a bit of cabin fever and finally made it to the pool.  We were the only ones there and the water was really cold so we went to the beach for a little while. 

Myrtle Beach - Wednesday

We've had a great time in Myrtle Beach visiting with all of the Merritts.  We met Jay and JuliAnna at the pool on Wednesday afternoon right after our arrival.   Everyone had a great time in the pool!

Olivia loved playing with JuliAnna in the splash pad.
Amelia thought it was super funny that Murphy eats his medicine with peanut butter.
Olivia knows where to go for dessert - GranDaddy's lap.  I'm not sure if she shared the brownie once she got a taste of it, though.

Skipping Around

Things have been a whirlwind since we left Houston.  The kids and I had a longer than expected trip to Mobile on Sunday when we left town.  After a slight detour through (and past) New Orleans, we made it to Mobile in time for the kids to swim in the pool and then hit the sack.  Olivia took two showers in the 9 hours that we were at the hotel.  After a big breakfast on Monday morning, we checked out and had a very uneventful drive to Macon.  Olivia and McIver were complete and total troopers during our drive.  

We had just enough time in Macon to visit with Grandma Janet and Grandma Myrtle and load up some furniture from each of them and Nanoo's house to bring to Columbia.  Will drove all the way from Houston to Macon on Wednesday.  Mom and I left Macon early Thursday morning with the plan to unload the van as best we could before the Mayflower truck arrived about 3:30pm.  Turns out that Will, the kids, Pop, Cacoo and Fielding ALL beat the truck which didn't arrive until 7:pm.  They unloaded until 12:30pm and then we all crashed.

Friday and the 4th of July weekend were a blur of unpacking.  Nanoo was a workhorse and managed to oversee all unpacking.  Pop disappeared to Walmart, Target and several grocery stores to be sure we had everything we needed to get started - cleaning supplies, lazy susans, bath mats, roasting pans for our July 4th dinner and more.  Thanks, Nanoo and Pop!  Cacoo & Fielding took the kids to the Riverbanks Zoo one day (even though Catherine wasn't feeling too well).  

It has taken a while to get our internet service hooked up, but things seem to be back on track now.  I'm skipping around because our move-in pictures are on the other computer.  Coming up are picture of our trip to Myrtle Beach over the last few days...

"Beach Names"

One day while we were in Myrtle Beach, I took the kids to the pool.  Olivia and MaryAnn, GranGran's neighbor, took off to play together.  McIver made friends with some 11 year old girls at the other end of the pool.  They were thoroughly entertaining each other so I didn't get involved.

About 30 minutes later, one of the girls came over to me...
Girl:  Umm, ma'am?  We've like made friends with your son and wondered if he can, like, come to the beach with us.  You don't have to come or anything because my mom's like right over there and she'll watch us.
The beach is 'like totally' a long way from the pool, so I told her that I would go to the beach and watch them, but stay a respectable distance so that they could have their fun.
Girl (turning to McIver):  Okay, Thomasl you're mom said we can go to the beach.
Me:  Excuse me?  His name is McIver.
Girl:  Well, he, like, told us that people make fun of his name, so we should, like, call him Thomas.

For those who don't know, McIver's first name is Thomas, so calling him that is not out of the question.  I can't believe that my 5 year old is already giving out a 'beach name.'

I packed up our beach bag and followed them to the beach.  McIver ATE UP all the attention of the older girls!  And they never once called him McIver.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Moving In

For posterity's sake, I'm posting a few pictures of our family moving into our new house.  The process went pretty well - aside from the moving van not showing up to unload until 7:00 PM.  The movers worked so hard, though, and had everything off the truck by 12:30.  

Nanoo, Pop, Cacoo and Fielding came to help with the unpacking.  Nanoo and I left Macon early so that we could unload the moving van full of goodies from her house and each of my grandmothers' houses in Macon.  The rest of the gang showed up later in the afternoon.  While Pop ran errands all over Columbia (he knows his way around as well as any local!), Nanoo was an unpacking MACHINE.  She helped us get the kitchen organized, and make some semblance of order out of all of the empty boxes and packing paper.

The Merritts in SC!
McIver's room took a little while to unpack and get organized, because his method was to just pull out the packing paper and let everything fall out.  Actually, it didn't take long at all to unpack, but it took forever to get organized!
Olivia, on the other hand, unpacked and organized her own room.  A place for everything and everything in its place.  And, I have to admit that, for the most part, she has kept her room in great shape!
Boxes, boxes everywhere!
Just thought this was a funny picture.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Will's traveling companions

My husband is a SAINT!! He endured 12 hours of Charlotte meowing at him when he drove straight from Houston to Macon on Wednesday. I had the pleasure of her company on Thursday morning on the drive from Macon to Columbia (about 3 1/2 hours). She settled in a few favorite spots and checked out the sights, but mostly, she meowed! Murphy, on the other hand, curled up on his bed and napped.