Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Vacation Part Four: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Well, here we are!  The last stop on our vacation, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. AND, it's only taken me two entire months to complete the vacation blog entries. I've come to accept the fact that I'm a terrible blogger this year, you should too.  I'm sure it will only get worse as the birth of our third child is rapidly approaching.

Hilton Head Island was fabulous.  Loved it...can't wait to go back some day!

We did a little bit of shopping when we first arrived in Hilton Head.  Every store, business, and restaurant on Hilton Head Island is lovely and very well-manicured. Even places like Walmart and Wendy's looked fancy from the outside.

The entire island is also covered in shade.  There are huge live oak trees everywhere and they have gorgeous Spanish moss hanging from them all.  Did I take a single picture of them? No.  But I loved them.

We spent most of our time at the beach.

I love this picture.  It perfectly portrays how much fun they had.

Hayden proud of her sand castle she adorned with sea shells.

This boy keeps me smiling.
The kids wanted to be a mermaid and merman.  After some drama, (Deacon putting sand directly onto Hayden's face) we successfully transformed them into sand mer-people.

Hayden's sand castle

Because of all the trees on Hilton Head Island it does make it a tad challenging to spot different places by simply driving by.  One night we got on urbanspoon.com to find a good place to eat...that wouldn't break our budget.  I found "A Lowcountry BackYard Restaurant."  The reviews were great, the menu looked awesome, and it was family friendly.  

It took us several times driving around the same block to actually find it!  It was tucked away behind some other businesses.  However, I'm so so so happy we didn't give up on locating it.  It turned out to be our FAVORITE place we have EVER eaten.  It was that good, I want to go back just to eat there again!  We literally ate in the backyard, and while we waited for our table and food there were outdoor games for the kids to play and live music to enjoy.

Kerry and I both had the special that night:  crab-stuffed triggerfish--caught that day--covered with shrimp and some divine sauce, and then lots of yummy sides.  

Hay and I

always a clown
After entire days on the beach the kids crashed hard every night.  Look at my sweet babies.

Deacon and Hayden trying to jump over the waves, laughing the entire time.
On our last night in Hilton Head we went to The Salty Dog Cafe.  How could you not try out a place with this name?  While I still loved Lowcountry BackYard the best, The Salty Dog was pretty good too.  I also loved hearing Deacon call it "the salty doggy."
Gorgeous setting on the water
After the salty doggy, we drove over to the Harbour Town Lighthouse.  We arrived right around sunset and it was just perfect.  
We hadn't planned on walking up to the top of the lighthouse, but we had two little monsters who had near meltdowns when we tried to say no.  So, Kerry and I sucked it up and PAID to walk up over 100 steps to the top.

Now, I'm not normally what you would refer to as "in shape," but oh.my.word! Pregnant AND out-of-shape, I...was...struggling.  My legs were twitching and shaking for a good 30 minutes after the lighthouse stair climbing.
I was so happy to see this.
As painful as the climb was (i'm such a loser) the view was spectacular and I'm glad the kids "insisted" we go up.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Vacation Part Three: Savannah, Georgia

The third stop on our vacation was Savannah, Georgia.  Kerry and I were very excited about going to Savannah mainly because we'd never been there before, and to be perfectly honest, we couldn't wait to eat authentic southern food!

We arrived in Savannah early in the afternoon. We found some parking and headed to  The Lady and Sons for a late lunch.  The food did not disappoint and they had the best sweet tea we had the entire vacation.

After lunch we walked around and stopped in a few shops.  Kerry and I could've spent a few more hours shopping and just enjoying the downtown area, but our kiddos were getting bored.  So we decided to drive out to Tybee Island to check out the beach.

Tybee was really pretty.  There were hardly any people on the beach, it felt like we had the entire area to ourselves.

This was the first time for our kids to ever see any ocean, and they soaked up every minute of it.  They both roared with laughter each time the big waves crashed over them. It was so much bigger and better than they had imagined.

I love the beach so much.  I hadn't been since before the kids were born.  The peace and enjoyment of being on the beach, AND watching my babies live it up is simply immeasurable.

Gosh, I love them so.

Deacon was half freaking out and half pure excitement when Kerry took him into the big waves.  He had a death grip on Kerry's head.

The kids saw this giant shark head on our way to the beach.  I told them we'd stop on the way back and they could take a picture in it's mouth.  Hayden walked right in, Deacon was a little nervous about it.  It took some coercing to convince him it was safe.

The next morning we headed back downtown and ate breakfast at Goose Feathers (or Chicken Feathers as Deacon kept calling it).  This place was yum.  Freshly baked everything.  Deacon and I both had a raspberry filled croissant, Hayden ate a Belgian waffle, and Kerry tried the quiche.  Everything was divine.

After breakfast we walked across the street and checked out this quirky little kitchen store.  The kids picked out a Oklahoma-shaped cookie cutter.  This store had some gorgeous jadeite dishes that I longed for, but not wanting to spend all of my spending money I walked away. But, I still think about them...a lot. 

After breakfast we walked around downtown, did some more shopping, and looked at the riverboats.

I really wish I had taken more pictures of Savannah.  We did have to walk around in a light rain most of that morning, so I couldn't get my camera out.  Savannah is a beautiful city with lots of history.  I'd love to go back some time and check out all the things we missed.

Next up, our last stop: Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Vacation Part Two: Atlanta

The second city on our road trip vacation was Atlanta.  Kerry and I had been to Atlanta when we worked for Upward Bound several years ago.  So we already had a few places in mind we wanted to take the kids to see.

We left Nashville on Sunday morning.  What should've been around a 4-hour drive turned into 7 hours.  We drove through several storms that produced buckets of rain pouring from the sky.  We, along with everyone else on the interstate, were driving around 25 miles per hour for long stretches of time.  At one point we could barely see the road so we pulled over at a Cracker Barrel and ate lunch and then just stayed until the storms passed.

We made it to Stone Mountain twenty minutes before all the attractions (aka things my kids would be interested in) closed. The kids got to play in a tree-house type splash-pad called Geyser Tower for twenty minutes and that was it.  Luckily the park stayed open for a few more hours so we could at least walk around and look.
The kids in front of Stone Mountain

The next day we crammed in as much as the kids (really pregnant me) could handle.  First stop was the World of Coca-Cola, or "Coco-Coco World" as Deacon called it.  Coke World was my favorite place when we came with Upward Bound back in 2001.  Kerry and I both were excited to take the kids here.  

The kids watching the Coke be filled into glass bottles
Deacon was so giddy to meet the Coca-Cola Polar Bear.  He giggled and squirmed with anticipation the entire time we were in line.  When the kids finally got their turn to meet him Deacon was very excited to give him a five and a big hug.

The soda sampling room has soda from all over the world.  The kids of course went nuts in here trying all the pop they could.  

After Coke World we walked over to Centennial Olympic Park to look around.  We could hear lots of squeals and laughter as we got closer to the park.  When we got to the Fountain of Rings we saw kids everywhere playing in the water.  

We hadn't planned on playing in any type of water that day, but I did have extra clothes for the kids back in the car so Kerry and I decided, "Why not?"  We told the kids to go for it.  It was one of those times where living in the moment was such a beautiful thing.  I had such joy in watching my babies live it up!

After the impromptu water fun we headed back to the car, got the kids all dried off and in a dry set of clothing.  We then drove over to The Varsity for some lunch.  The kids and I got chili dogs, Kerry got a burger.  No offense to our friends that love The Varsity, but we thought it was just "okay." I actually ended up giving most of my chili dog to Hayden.

Next up was the Atlanta Zoo.  Deacon was actually a baby the last time we had taken him to a zoo, so this was like the first time for him.  

The first thing we saw when we walked in was the flamingos.  Deacon exclaimed, "Look, gooses!" Like I said, he had no recollection of the zoo, or animals in it.

My little meerkats

This gorilla held his foot the entire time we watched him.

Checking out the gorillas.  Several of them were nursing their babies.  Hayden knew what they were doing; Deacon was very curious...thanks, nature.

Checking out the pandas.  This one was enjoying a pile of bamboo.

After the zoo we planned on going to an ice cream shop that got some great reviews online. However, when we got to the location we decided to not to stop.  It was in a shady looking area with bars on the windows.

Instead we just went ahead and drove over to Turner Field and went in early for batting practice.

I'm not a big fan of baseball, but I love going to Major League Baseball games.  I love the environment.  I love hot-dogs (yes, this pregnant gal eats them). I love cotton candy.  I just love it.  Maybe the food has a lot to do with it.  

This was the first MLB game for the kiddos.  They both had a good time and we actually made it to the 7th inning before they tuckered out.  I actually tuckered out as well.  This was the only day of our vacation that my ankles and feet actually swelled.
Kerry and Deacon desperately hoping to catch a home run ball during batting practice.

Hayden and I were trying to take a picture when Deacon photo-bombed us at the last second.

Enjoying our cotton candy while we watched the Braves.  It was awesome weather.
Atlanta was great.  It's definitely better in May than when we went in July several years ago.

Next up: Savannah, Georgia!