We recently returned from a very busy, but fun two week trip to North and South Carolina with a little Georgia thrown in for kicks. The highlight of our vacation was meeting my new nephew Ryan. Whom my SIL and BIL just adopted from Russia. He is in a tight competition with Braden for sweetest little boy! Braden and Ryan not only have similar personalities, but they are also have the same build...let's just say these boys don't miss many meals! All and all we are very thankful to have this wonderful, healthy, precious new addition to the family. The only downside is that they are so far away. Thank goodness my Christa loves to take lots and lots of pictures!
Our trip started out on different flights. Jimmy had his first solo experience flying cross-country with Audrey. He passed with "flying" colors, but I think he has a little more appreciation for all those trips I took with her on my own. They are such a good team, although I think she is a bit easier on her daddy. We were all supposed to arrive in Charlotte within 30 minutes of each other but due to a two hour delay at SFO Braden and I arrived quite late. Despite the late hour we hit the road and headed towards Atlanta. We made it as far as Anderson, S.C. (quite apropos don't you think ;-) after resting our weary heads for a few hours we continued on to Atlanta. Our first stop was a delicious brunch with Nick, a former colleague of Jimmy's whom he worked with in DC, and his family. They have since moved to Decatur, GA and have also added a little brother to entertain their daughter Audrey (also 2.5). The two little Audreys had a blast "entertaining" the other diners with their songs and making quite a spectacle of themselves splashing in the fountain. I am pretty sure the wait staff took a good long sigh of relief when they saw us leave.
After brunch we continued on to the other side of Atlanta and met up with our dear friends Lee and Shari and their two kids Amelia and Gavin. We spent most of the afternoon splish-splashing in their local pool. The water felt so wonderful to us tepid Oregonians who had just arrived in "HotLanta!" We ended the evening with a fabulous BBQ at the house and plenty of lively conversation. I love friends that you may not see often, we hadn't seen the Rivas family in over a year, but when you are together it is like no time has passed.
We ended the Atlanta portion of our get away with a fun lunch with Jimmy's best bud Tim. Then we hit the road en route to Columbia, SC, stopping briefly in North Augusta, SC to pick up Jimmy's mom. We spent a week in Columbia where Jimmy attended a class for work. Audrey spent the week glued to her Grammy Liz (poor dear, nothing like zero to constant toddler). The hotel we get to stay in has fabulous made-to-order breakfasts each morning and 24-hr yummy sweet tea in their lobby. I enjoyed the daily maid service. The highlight of the week was when Jimmy's sister Christa, her husband, and the kids visited on Wednesday. This was our first chance to meet Ryan. We all (except class-bound Jimmy) went to the Columbia Zoo. It was a great day and cousins Audrey and Andrew made up for lost time exploring and just genuinely enjoying each other's company. The coolest part was feeding the Giraffe. She was so fascinating. I can't recall ever being that close to a giraffe before (my mom says we used to be able to pet the giraffes in Portland, but I was just a babe - apparently one stole my baby hat).
Our second week was spent in Charlotte at Christa's home. We took advantage of the home base and just tried to relax and play most of the week. We set up a kiddie pool on their deck with provided relief from the heat and humidity which was used often in between 85+ degree rain and thunder storms. Our one adventure was a two-hour drive into the mountains of NC to visit Tweensie Railroad. The kids had fun riding the rides and the train. The grown-ups had fun on most of the rides (sorry Jimmy and Andrew - not tilt-a-whirl fans). It was a fun adventure and reminded me of some of the little amusement parks I used to visit on our family trips to Texas.
Toddlers v. Babies ...I think it is clear who won!
We bought a little pool for the babies. The big kids called it the "hot tub" and decided it was more fun!
Ok, so some of the big big kids enjoyed the pool too!
Now we are home trying to settle in to the "norm"(whatever that is). Jimmy and I are making final decisions on preschool for Audrey (starting this Fall) and making remarkable progress on the potty-training front. I'm a proud mama! Braden, as is the norm, took all our travels in stride and continues to be our sweet laid-back baby.
Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable Summer. I, as always, hope to be better about updating this blog.