Friday, July 29, 2011

Day #3 at High Hampton Inn

The grounds all around High Hampton are gorgeous.  The Campiones, Jane's sister's family, showed us the herb and dahlia gardens.  The front desk gave us a pair of scissors and a mason jar to go and cut flowers to bring home.  

Olivia cutting dahlias.

Here's our bouquet.

We had hoped to go to Sliding Rock after lunch, but it sprinkled off and on while we were in the gardens so we tabled the idea for a little while.  Then, the bottom really dropped out.  I was glad we were already tucked away in our cabin.  I read my magazines on the porch for a little until the rain started coming at me sideways.

McIver enjoyed his DS for the first time in days.

Olivia took some time to read a bit.

Olivia was a big help with the children all weekend, but Eliza really kept her busy.  She's on the move now, so we took her for a walk up and down the hallway while we waited for everyone else for dinner.

The last picture of our trip ... after a delicious dinner and lots of laughs!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day #3 at High Hampton Inn

High Hampton is super dog-friendly.  Some cabins are allowed to have dogs and there is a self-serve kennel for guests who are staying in a pet-free cabin.  McIver met these precious pups while we were waiting for everyone to gather for a morning excursion.

Then, we made our way to Whitewater Falls.

Whitewater Falls is 411 feet tall and is the highest waterfall in the Eastern United States.

Off to the right of the viewing area, McIver spotted the stairs that led down to another viewing platform and off he went.  Robert offered to go with him and sweet little JuliAnna was holding my hand and asking if we could go, too, but I wasn't so sure since there were so many stairs.  Jennifer said she would go so the three of us headed down, too.  We met up with Robert and McIver on one of the landings for a quick picture.

JuliAnna and Jennifer at the next platform... the view was totally worth the hike back up all of those steps. 

On our way back down to the parking lot.

McIver saw the deposit box for making a 'donation' to the park.  He was happy to leave my money, but flinched when I suggested that he use his BINGO winnings (tee hee!).

Our next stop was Silver Run Falls.  It didn't take long to get our shoes off so we could cool off in the cold water.

A nice man with children too small to climb to the top of the falls offered to go up with McIver.  Check out how excited he was to get there!  (This was about 10 seconds before he took one step closer to the edge and the nice man, and my hero, grabbed him and they headed back down!)

Jay and his family.

Robert and his family.

I think Olivia sat by Eliza for every single meal.  Look at Eliza's face ... she did not see what was so darn funny ... she wanted a sip of that lemonade!

This post was getting pretty long with LOTS of pictures, so you'll just have to wait until tomorrow to see what we did after lunch.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day #2 at High Hampton Inn

Breakfast at High Hampton is the BOMB!!  Every meal is a buffet but you just can't go wrong with breakfast - bacon, sausage patties and link sausage, eggs, grits, tons of fresh fruit, biscuits with homemade jellies, pancakes and more.  There's just no way anyone could leave breakfast without a full tummy.

McIver found the best climbing tree of all after breakfast.  Then, he met up with GranDaddy, Olivia, Catherine and Catherine's Papa for a long morning hike.

Jane, Robert and I went to a tennis clinic and played in the round robin on Saturday morning.  The tennis pro was great and we had fun meeting some other folks who were visiting for the weekend.  After tennis, Jane and I stopped at the market for a beer and a chance to visit uninterrupted.

These balloons were a hit all weekend long.  They took forever to blow up and then the kids let them go to see how far they would fly.  They made a terrible screeching noise that the kids loved.

Playing in the lake after lunch.

Everybody loved the paddle buoys.  They're like an early version of a paddle board.  We've got to get one for the lake.  The kids all loved to climb on the board, stand up and let Uncle Jay wiggle the board until they fell off.

The waterfall near our cabin was the back side of the dam at one end of the lake.  I loved being able to sit on our porch and listen to the water.

GranDaddy with all of his grands.  
(McIver had just discovered the 'library' in the main part of the Inn... it was home to the first television he had seen in two days.  Anytime he went missing from Saturday night on, I knew where to find him.  So, it was all he could do to sit still and smile for the camera.  Let's just say that is one painful "cheese!")

Me and my sweet girl.

Mamoo joined us for two nights.  She loved seeing all of us together and enjoying each other's company.  The little girls kept her in stitches during most of the meals.

GrandDaddy with Amelia and Olivia.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

High Hampton Inn with the Merritts

What a treat!  The children and I just returned from four glorious days at High Hampton Inn in Cashiers, NC with (almost) all of the Merritts.  (Will wasn't able to change his call schedule so he held down the fort for us in Columbia.)  Many, many thanks to Will's parents for treating us to such a fantastic trip.

Arrival on Friday.

The view from our cabin ... overlooks a lake and we could even hear the waterfall from inside our room.

View of the mountain from one of the lawn areas.

High Hampton has 'afternoon tea' every day at 4:00.  McIver found the Game of Skittles while we waited for the staff to set up the cookies and tea.  The game was a hit with guests of all ages.  You wind a string around a top and spin it with the goal of knocking down as many high-value pins as possible.  I think Olivia got the most of our family with a whopping 380 points in one spin.

Visiting with Mamoo on the lawn.

Swimming in the lake.

Mamoo with six of her eight great grandchildren.

After a delicious dinner in the dining room, anyone who wants to participate meets in the lobby for the evening entertainment.  Our first night was Bingo.  McIver managed quite a few cards.

Olivia and Catherine were glad to see each other again after their last visit in Myrtle Beach.  Catherine has been to High Hampton before so she showed Olivia the ropes.  They came 'soooo close' to winning Bingo.

But, McIver was the only winner of our crew that night.  He won $15 (had to split a $30 pot with another winner) on the 'picture frame' Bingo.

Catherine knows all the great climbing trees in High Hampton.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tennis Clinic

Olivia and five friends spent their mornings with Brad, the tennis pro at Forest Lake.  I'm hoping that Olivia's interest in tennis will stick and that it will be something else we can do together.  

All smiles before clinic on Friday morning.

Not too bad-looking for an 'after' shot after two hours of playing tennis in the heat of Columbia on a summer day.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

I have seen several bloggers talk about having their blogs printed in book form.  Originally, this blog was created to help our family and friends in Georgia and South Carolina keep up with our goings-on when we lived in Houston.  It was easier to do this because I didn't have to worry about loading pictures to Shutterfly and figuring out who to send them to (and whether or not they actually wanted to look at all of our pictures).  I also loved that I could write and give the story behind the pictures.  Anyway, once I heard about being able to have the blog printed in book form, I knew that's what I eventually wanted to do.  

I finally took the time to order the first year and a half of the blog for myself as a birthday gift.  I was so excited to check the mail and open up my books (there will be a different book for each year).  The most fun thing, though, has been going back through the book with Olivia and McIver.  They have loved reading about themselves and hearing stories about when we lived in Texas.  They remember some of the stories, but many they do not.  I hope these books will help them remember their childhood and know how much they mean to me to continue to tell their stories.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Harry Potter Legos

Olivia and Will headed to Allendale, SC to celebrate a friend's 10th birthday with a Daddy/Daughter night at Maggie's grandfather's house.  There were four girls and four dads and they left about 10am on Saturday.  Will took the jetskis for riding on the Savannah River and not-quite-enough-bacon and pancakes for breakfast.  

McIver and I had an entire day to fill.  We read some Harry Potter (book 5), went to Target and bought (and completed) a Harry Potter Lego set and rented the fourth Harry Potter movie.  We had a great time putting together The Burrow and talking about whatever was on his sweet little mind.

I was also able to snap a few pictures... working hard and concentrating.

Big smile for Mama ... still a long way to go.

The Burrow - home of the Weasley family.

McIver insisted that I take a picture of just The Burrow so I could get a close-up.

McIver doesn't know it, and I feel safe telling on the blog because he doesn't read it, but he's going to be the lucky recipient of the Hogwarts Castle Lego set for his birthday.  He mentioned to me while we were putting The Burrow together that he would love to have Hogwarts Castle.  I reminded him that we saw it at Barnes and Noble the other day and it was pretty expensive so maybe he should think about asking for it for his birthday.  He said that he would 'love whoever gives me that for the rest of my life!'  So, I texted Nanoo and gave her the hint.  Can't wait to see his face when he opens it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quick Trip to Macon

The kids and I (well, to be honest, I!) decided to make a quick trip to Macon last week.  I knew we were going to be spending some time with Nanoo and Pop in St. Simons in August, but we didn't have any plans that involved visits with the great-grands any time soon.  So, we packed up last Wednesday and headed to Macon.

Our first stop was at Grandma Myrtle's house.  She's selling her house - the only one I've ever known - and moving to a smaller apartment in August so she was unloading some things.  McIver was THRILLED to receive Bob's (my grandfather) old metal detector.  What fun he had figuring out the knobs and searching for treasure!  She also gave me this portrait of my dad.

Wasn't he handsome?  I think this was when he was in high school because there was also a portrait of my aunt and she was wearing the drape like we wore for our senior pictures.  Anyway, it was a fun visit - we walked around reminiscing and figuring out where she's going to be able to put furniture in her new home.  Unfortunately, I didn't take a single picture.

On Thursday, we went to see Cacoo's new house which was the house that Nanoo and I moved into when I was in 4th grade.  Then, after Nanoo and Pop got married, we moved to Pop's house and Grandma Janet and Pappa moved to Macon and lived in that house.  Grandma Janet moved to a smaller apartment after a fall and subsequent knee replacement surgery.  The house has been empty for a while, but now Cacoo and a friend are living there.  The house looks great; they've got some furniture moved in and are still working on getting settled.  The two new puppies they rescued Wednesday night out to make it look lived in really quickly!  But, I can understand how hard it was to leave this sweet face on the side of the road.

The kids and I took Cacoo to lunch at Moe's to celebrate her birthday a few days early.  Then, Cacoo took the kids to the recycling center on Thursday while Nanoo and I went to a fabric store.  My (and their) understanding was that the proceeds would be split between the three of them.  Cacoo had other plans which, to my surprise, Olivia and McIver let slide pretty easily.

I went to see Grandma Janet and meet her sweet Mama Kitty.

Grandma Janet rode back to Nanoo and Pop's house with me and I was able to get a few pictures.