Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009 in Murrells Inlet - Friday

Will played golf Friday morning with a big crowd from Myrtle Beach, so GranGran, Kelli and I took the children to Broadway at the Beach.  We had lunch and then took them to ride a few rides.

It was too cold for ice cream, but they couldn't resist having their picture taken at Ben & Jerry's.

Amelia LOVES a merry-go-round, so that was her first stop.  Olivia, of course, wanted to do whatever Amelia did.  She'll be a great babysitter one day!

McIver was disappointed in the rides - he knows that there's a 'nostalgia' area with bigger rides, but Amelia wouldn't have been able to ride anything.  He made do with this Frog Hopper, even though he could have climbed up the pole faster than the ride went!

I promised the children a trip to It'Sugar - a huge candy store.  Each child filled up a tube with colored/flavored sugar.

Just what they needed before a long car ride home!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009 in Murrells Inlet - Thursday

Once McIver discovered the creek bed, he was happy to just explore.

Olivia & Amelia on the porch playing with Tex (who had moved on to more exciting things).

Tex found his spot in GranDaddy's lap again.  I love the look on JuliAnna's face - she wasn't quite sure what to think of Tex.  She has two cats at home, Daisy and Maddux, so she's not so used to dogs.

Will and Olivia borrowed Uncle Sammy's boat for the day so that we could enjoy the beautiful weather. Everyone was so excited to get out on the water.

Tex's first boat ride - he doesn't have his sea legs quite yet, but he did love the beach when they stopped by The Point on the way home.

Mamoo was glad to have the chance to hold Jenna.  She's a sweet, sweet baby!

Holding Tex came in a distant 2nd to holding her great-grand daughter.  But Tex didn't mind playing 2nd fiddle - he stayed in Mamoo's lap for a good long while.

Will, cousin David and brother Jay (far right) manning the turkey fryer.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009 in Murrells Inlet - Wednesday night

We loaded up the car for our trip to Murrells Inlet, SC for Thanksgiving with the Merritt clan.  Olivia and McIver had pretty much forgotten how great the creek house is because it has been so long since we had been there.  Once we arrived, though, it didn't take long to get settled.

Walked along the boardwalk while we waited for our table at CreekRatz and spotted this giant 'fish' just waiting for a photo with Olivia and McIver.

We had a great table at CreekRatz - right near the chalkboard room.  Not quite as entertaining as the sandbox at Lupe Tortilla in Houston, but pretty close!

Let the turkey prep begin!  Will fried two turkeys this year.  He used the marinade that he's always used and also made his own this year.  Both were delicious!!

While Will tended to the turkeys, GranGran had some help making the place cards for the Thanksgiving table.  We had almost 20 people so it was quite a job.

McIver even joined in the fun.

Tex found a spot in GranDaddy's lap and made himself at home.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Feline" Groovy

Charlotte has started a blog ... "Feline" Groovy.  Not really, but she has discovered that if she is up and out of Tex's line of vision (on the counter, desk or on our bed), she's a much happier kitty.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New chairs are in

Our new chairs arrived and are super comfortable.  It was totally worth the wait and the hassle of hunting down three different fabrics.  (Olivia had a friend spend the night on Friday and they insisted on being in the picture.  Everyone loves dressing up in Cacoo's old dance costumes!)  It's kind of hard to see the print on the chair, even in the close-up with just Olivia and Tex, but it's a gold leopard-ish print with red spots.  I will admit now that I worried a little bit about the chairs taking up too much room once we got used to just having the sofa in the kitchen.  But, the chairs are awesome - they're just the right size and are a go-to spot now.

Monday, November 23, 2009

More Tex

No matter where you are, or who you are, if you sit down and are still for any length of time, Tex will climb onto you, curl up as best he can, and try to fall asleep.

Evidence A:  McIver and Tex were running around in the front yard the other day.  McIver had worn himself out, so he came to lay down on the step near me while we watched Tex explore.  It took about a minute, if that, for Tex to find the most comfortable spot he could and settle down.

Evidence B:  Side View

Evidence C:  Woman, why do you keep calling my name when I'm trying to rest!?

Surprise Visit from Nanoo

Nanoo just couldn't stand the idea of having to wait until the week before Christmas to meet Tex, so she decided to drive up for a quick visit to surprise Olivia and McIver.  McIver was just heading outside with Tex when she drove up.  He saw her and turned to tell me that she was here, then realized that was unusual - a big grin appeared on his face and he said, "Nanoo's here!?" like he just couldn't believe his eyes.

After a quick tour around the house to see what all was new since she was last here (when we moved in), Tex crawled up in Nanoo's lap so we could all visit.  We decided to try out a new mexican restaurant called Cantina 76 which turned out to be pretty good.  It's not as good as Lupe's, but it'll do for our go-to place in Columbia, I think.

Move over Pele!

Tex loves to play soccer.  Olivia checked out a book about raising puppies from the library at school.  It mentioned how puppies need lots of playtime and that lots of puppies like to play soccer.  We immediately headed outside to see if Tex was one of those puppies . . . he is!  He loves to chase the ball and even attacks it when we kick it (softly) toward him.

Thought this picture was a good way to show just how tiny Tex is.  (Took him to the vet today for his shorts - he weighs 6.07 pounds.)

And, this, is what Charlotte thinks of Tex.  We had gotten down some boxes and packing paper that we saved for the Isemans' move and Charlotte finally found a spot where she can see Tex, but he can't see her.  She spent about 3 days heading to this spot when he first came home.  Right now, she's on the desk next to the computer as I type and he's curled up in my lap.  I can even hear her purring.  We're making progress!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

YaYa Weekend in Atlanta

I was lucky enough to be able to spend last weekend in Atlanta with the YaYas.  Sarah was our cruise director for the weekend.  She made all of our reservations for the weekend, including our hotel, The W in Buckhead just a short walk to Lenox and Phipps.  Turns out that we never even stepped foot in either mall, but we did get our money's worth out of our hotel rooms.

Dawn, Sarah and I arrived on Friday afternoon and had plenty of time to just relax and catch up before our dinner reservation.  We caught a cab to Seasons 52 which had delicious food.  It was hard to believe that it was less than 475 calories (if you click the link, you can see what I ate for dinner - YUM!).

We didn't have to feel guilty choosing from one of these tiny desserts!

Sadie went off to bed, but snapped a quick picture of Dawn and me on our way to the rooftop bar at the top of The W hotel.

Ashley drove up from Augusta on Saturday morning.  Once she got there, we hopped in the car for a little shopping and some lunch.  Found a few cute little toy/children's clothing shops and went to the bookstore at the Cathedral.  Then, we walked across the street to Fellini's for lunch.  The weather was gorgeous and the company couldn't be beat.

After lunch, we went back to the hotel to relax and regroup.  Four naps and several episodes of whatever reality show was on Bravo, we got dressed for dinner at Livingston.  Our waiter was FAB and hilarious so that made for a great dinner.  After another stop at the rooftop bar, we called it a night and headed back to our rooms.

Sunday morning, we walked to breakfast at The Corner Bakery which is attached to Maggiano's (another YaYa fave).  Sadie headed back to Chattanooga while Dawn, Ashley and I checked out and went to see the Michael Jackson movie, This Is It.  The songs were great, but we wanted more behind the scenes action.

Once we said our good-byes, I was so excited to get home to see how Tex was getting along as the newest member of our family!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Meet Tex

Will and the children went to Sumter last night to pick up our newest family member . . .  meet Tex!

Olivia and McIver already love him to pieces.  We were up until 10pm last night just watching him, snuggling with him and playing with him.  They wanted to hurry up and decide who gets to feed him every day and whose responsibility it is to take him out to potty, etc.

Olivia was first to wake up this morning.  She came BOUNDING down the stairs about 6:30.  Unfortunately for her, I had already been up and taken Tex out to potty and given him some breakfast.

Couldn't you just eat him up!?

This is the happiest McIver has been this early in the morning for quite some time.  Once he got dressed, he took Tex to the dog run to play until time for carpool.  I think he has met his match energy-wise!

Will mentioned to me last night as we were going to bed that Murphy had a ticking clock wrapped in a sock in his crate with him when he was a puppy.  So, it was my mission this morning to find one for Tex.  Did you know that it is not an easy task to find a clock that ticks these days?  I went to Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond and finally found one at Walgreens.  He already loves it!

Now that Tex is all settled in, I'm headed to Atlanta to meet the YaYas for the weekend.  Will is going to hold down the fort with Olivia and McIver.  I fully expect Tex to be crate trained, potty trained and following at least 2 basic commands by the time I return on Sunday!  (tee hee)

"Tex" is home!!

I'll post pictures as soon as I can...

Suffice it to say that we had a pretty long, restless night.  But this is one cute puppy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Congaree National Swamp

Sunday was so beautiful that I decided we needed a little family field trip.  I had heard of Congaree National Swamp but had never been there.  We packed a little cooler bag full of snacks and hit the road. Olivia and McIver weren't quite as 'into' the adventure as I was, but they were troopers as we drove to the swamp which was further away than I had anticipated.

We started out in the Visitor Center.  They had an exhibit with a 'sweetgum tree' that had fallen over to show all of the different types of animals that can live in the habitats it creates.  Olivia's peeking inside to see the borers (gross!).

My sense of direction has been sub-par lately so we decided to follow the 2.5 mile boardwalk trail through the swamp.  We had a field guide with 21 numbered stops along the boardwalk so we had a little bit of a 'treasure hunt' along the way to keep everyone interested.  We saw a huge expanse where a tornado hit during Hurricane Hugo and all the 'new growth' that has sprung up in the last 20 years, an old iron box where bootleggers used to hide their still, Weston Lake and so much more.

The Ranger at the Visitor Center gave each child a Junior Ranger Workbook.  It was full of information about the swamp and all kinds of activities for the children.  They 'interviewed' trees and guess-timated their height, circumference and age.  Both Olivia and McIver surprised me by being really 'into' the workbook activities.

Olivia was so into it, she didn't want to stop walking to write.  After completing the trail, we stopped back by the Visitor Center to show the ranger their workbooks and they had both completed enough activities to earn the Junior Ranger patch.

McIver with the 'cypress knees.'  (He really was happier than he looks!)

At the end of our visit, the Ranger told us that the makers of Shrek filmed this swamp to use as inspiration for the swamp where Shrek lives in the movie.  It has been a while since I've actually seen the movie (I've listened to it several times from the front seat while we were on long drives, though.), but I think they hit the nail on the head... especially with the dark trees and cypress knees.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Deep Thoughts by Olivia

So last night after dinner...
Olivia: Mom, which super power would you choose if you could choose any one you want.

Before I could even think about it long enough to come up with a good answer, she blurted out her answer (like she's been thinking about it for a while).

Olivia: I would like a fast-forward and rewind button.
Me: That sounds nice, but I think a pause button would be pretty cool.
Olivia (looking at me like I have 2 heads): Why?
Me: Well, remember the other night when we were all sitting on your sofa reading together and we were all happy and relaxed, giggling and telling stories and not worried about anything at all? Wouldn't you like to be able to just pause that moment and enjoy it even longer.
Olivia: Sure. What's for dessert?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Puppies, puppies everywhere!

I took the children to Livingwood Labs this afternoon to check out their litter of all black lab puppies (6 males, 5 females). They were so precious - it was all we could do not to bring one home today. But, Will is in New Orleans for a bachelor weekend and we just couldn't make a final decision without him. We did, however, start calling one Tex. (Truth be told they were all so darn cute that any one of them could be Tex and I wouldn't know whether or not it's the one we chose today.) Anyway, just thought it would be fun to share a few photos...

The little one in the back is the runt - he's a tough cookie, but much smaller than his siblings.
Don't you want one!?
Sign me up!
McIver had four puppies in his lap at one point and was in puppy heaven.
This is the one we started calling Tex (Shh - don't tell Will!)

McIver's Soccer Party

McIver's soccer team met for their party during our regular soccer practice time last week. We met at a local (new to us and very tasty!) pizza joint. It was a good thing we met so early because it was loud and rowdy.

Mac raising his hand for either more pizza, cake or his trophy.
SO proud of his first soccer trophy!
Olivia wanted in on the photo action.