Monday, April 20, 2015

Oh The Places You'll Go

Well....SO much has happened in the past few weeks.  Where to begin??

While we were in Maui, spring came to Charlotte.  All the flowers and trees started blooming and everything got so pretty.



The week I got back, Lindy and I met Ashley at Paco's Tacos for lunch and we sat outside for the first time all year and it was wonderful!!


The flip side of all these beautiful trees and flowers and sunshine is that the pollen is out of control here!  I think I have swept and mopped my porch about 5 times in the past month.  But I sure am glad I get to spend time out there again.  It's one of my favorite places on earth.


On March 19th, we celebrated my mom's 74th birthday together.  My girls and I took her out to lunch.



She is doing so well despite her illness.  Every day she gets up and gets dressed and just lives her life the best she can for that day.  She can still drive, so she goes to get her hair and nails done.  Sometimes she meets friends for coffee or lunch.  She also has lots and lots of visitors who come by to check on her or bring a meal.  And she keeps in touch with her family and friends through emails or texting.  She can no longer talk much at all, so she either uses a text to speech app on her iPad, or she just writes on a dry-erase board.  And she has a harder time eating and swallowing.  She has lost about 30 pounds in the last year and is very thin.  So, about three weeks ago she got a feeding tube to help supplement her calories and build some muscle mass back.  Walking for long distances or climbing stairs, etc are really challenging for her.  She has such a positive outlook, though, and just enjoys each day that God gives her.  I am so thankful he has given her these wonderful 74 years!

This sweet boy also had a birthday!



We had such a good time celebrating him turning one!  How did that year go by so fast??




We have actually gotten to spend lots of time with David, Caroline, and Will this past month.  David started t-ball a few weeks ago and is the cutest thing ever!


Over the past month, we went to Discovery Place Kids one day and we have grilled out hamburgers...


We made guacamole and Will LOVED it.  He had about ten helpings and got it from head to toe!


We went to Food Truck Friday and got yummy popsicles...


It rained a lot during Spring Break, so one day Grandaddy went to the mall with Ashley and got everyone ice cream at Chick Fil A and took them to the Disney Store.


He told Caroline she could get ONE thing at the Disney Store, but he said apparently she shops like the rest of the ladies in the family! :)  He laughed about that for a long time!


Plus, we have just had fun doing regular stuff like playing outside and being cute.






We had a wonderful Easter.  The kids came over and we dyed eggs on the porch.


And Easter day was absolutely beautiful.  We went to church, then went to Steve's mom's house for lunch and an Easter egg hunt.  She has the most beautiful yard and is always so sweet to host us every year.




The week after Easter, Laura got her wisdom teeth out, so Steve and I flew to Boston to stay with her for a few days and have some fun before her surgery.  She is always a fun hostess and we had the best time.  Steve had to work on Friday, so I did lots of shopping and exploring on my own that day.


 I met Laura for lunch and we got to visit for a while and I mostly just shopped in Harvard Square and browsed the Harvard bookstore.  I never get tired of doing that!


Friday night, we made dinner at Laura's house and played Bananagrams with her and her roomies.



Saturday morning, we went to Union Square Donuts for breakfast.



Laura is a foodie and knows all kinds of great restaurants and coffee shops to go to.  This was a really fun place with every kind of crazy donut you can imagine!  I got the salted carmel bourbon and it was so good.  Next time, I want to try the peanut butter and jelly!

Saturday was absolutely beautiful.  Boston was so excited to finally say goodbye to their crazy winter and see some sunshine and warm weather!  We hung out on Newberry and Boylston Streets for most of the day.   Boston was getting ready for the Boston Marathon, and opening day at Fenway happened while we were there.  Lots of exciting stuff!






For dinner, Laura took us to the North End where we got some amazing Italian food at  Antico Forno.  Boston's North End is a little Italian community and you can get very authentic Italian food there.  It was delish! Then after dinner, we walked to Caffe Vittoria, which is known for its desserts.  They had everything from cannolis to cheesecake.  We got coffee and tiramisu, which, by the way, won Best Of Boston.  They had Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble music playing...so  you  know I loved that!  It was a fun night.



On Sunday, we went to church with Laura.  She goes to Reality Boston.  It was a great service.  Then we met some of her friends for brunch at a little place called Aquatane,


She has the sweetest friends and I am so happy that she loves where she lives and has such a great group of people to share life with.


Monday morning, Steve flew back to Charlotte and I took Laura to get her surgery.  It went great.  It only took about 15 minutes and she was done!

The next few days, I stayed with her while she recovered.  We got coffee and talked a lot and watched movies and rested.  She never really had a minute of trouble!  I had such a fun time hanging out with Laura for a few days.  She is so in her element in Boston and I love seeing her enjoying her life!


I kissed her goodbye and came home on Wednesday.  I always tear up when I have to say goodbye to my kids.  I hate goodbyes.

In between all that, we also got some pretty exciting news!  First of all, on April 1st, Lindy got offered a job in New York City!  We all thought she was April fooling us, but she wasn't!  She is leaving  this Thursday to start a job in fashion PR firm.  We are so proud of her!  She has been wanting a job in New York for a really long time and God has finally answered her prayers.  I know she is going to love it!  I have to admit I will miss her so much, though.  She has lived at home now for two years and we have had the best time together.  I will miss all of our lunch dates, shopping, great conversations, and all the shows we love to watch together.  She has been such a sweet daughter and good friend, but I know it is her time to fly and go do her thing in the big city!  Plus, we share a love of New York, so this will be my chance to take more trips to the Big Apple to see her!


We celebrated by taking a shopping trip to get a few things she needed.  And we have just been trying to hang out as much as possible and soak up all the time we have left together.

Meanwhile, while I was in Boston, Mark called and gave me the news that he has been awarded the Boren Fellowship to study in Amman, Jordan for a year.  He will be leaving in September and returning that following August.  Of course, I am so very proud of him.  This was a competition and it was an accomplishment to be chosen.  He has a love of world cultures and all the politics and history that goes along with it.  So, this is right up his alley.  It will also open lots of doors for him as he pursues his career.  BUT....I have to admit that I am not a fan of him going to the Middle East.  It is just such a scary place right now and I can't help but have a little bit of apprehension that he will be in a place so far away for so long that is so near to danger.  I love my boy so much and I just want him to be safe.  Plus I will miss seeing him for a whole year!!  Makes me sad just thinking about it.


I saw this on Instagram last week and I thought it needed to be my new mantra...


I know God put dreams and aspirations in the hearts of my kids.  He gave them all gifts and talents and the desire to achieve their goals and do amazing, adventurous things.  I want that for them!  Ever since they were little, we have been preparing them for the day they would fly out of our little nest and start lives of their own.  But it sure can be hard on a momma's heart.  There is a book that I always read to my class at the end of the year.  It is called Oh The Places You'll Go by Dr. Suess.  I love the words of it and when I read it to my sweet kids, I always imagine all the things God has in store for them as they grow up and set out into the world.  And I have thought about those words so many times this week as my kids are about to start these new chapters of their lives.

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.


You're off the Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!




Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Maui

Steve and I just got back from a week in Maui.  We were talking about it while we were there and we both agreed that it was definitely on our "Top 5" list of places we have ever been.

I really didn't have an expectation at all when we left.  Steve had a conference to attend and told me I was going to get to go to, but I have been so busy with life and everything going on here, that I really didn't think much about it.  I knew lots of people who said they absolutely LOVED Hawaii, though, so I figured it would be pretty great!

We left really early on Saturday morning.  Mark was home and drove us to the airport around 5:30 am.  It took us 10 hours to get there.  Oh my word that is a LONG flight!  If it seems far away and exotic, that's because it IS!!

We were there for over a week so I won't drag you through each and every day.  I will just tell you some of the highlights.  We only stayed in Maui so that is what you will see here.  Someday I hope we can go back and visit all the other islands.  I'm sure Maui is just the tip of the iceberg.  But I will say that since we had 8 days to visit that one island, we were able to see and do a lot there!  I felt like we were able to see a big part of what Maui has to offer.

Here are the things that I enjoyed the most:

1-THE BEAUTY

Seriously.  You cannot top Hawaii for the beauty.  It is just as exotic and amazing as you would ever imagine.  The mountains meet the ocean, there are flowers and unique, tropical plants and trees everywhere, and the water is crystal blue.  So many days I was totally in awe of the beauty that surrounded us.








2-THE FOOD

Oh my word...I don't think you can get a bad meal in Hawaii!  Every single thing we ate there was soooo good!!  And with the exception of maybe two places, I'm pretty sure we ate every single meal either outside or in open air.  I love doing that!

Some of our favorite restaurants were...

Tommy Bahamas



Longhi's in Wailea (this was us on our way out to dinner there.)



Fat Daddy's Barbeque in Kihei - I didn't get a picture, but this is just a little local restaurant.  The barbeque was excellent!

Three's in Kihei (we went here for lunch and I got really yummy fish tacos!)



Mama's Fish House in Paia (this was totally at the top of our list!  We went twice it was so good.)


And for lunches we loved Cheeseburger Island Style in Wailea...



and the fresh fruit at our hotel poolside bar! (Marriott Wailea Resort and Spa).


One day was rainy and cool, so we went to Rock and Brews in Paia so Steve could watch the ACC Tournament.  I got Hawaiian style chicken tacos with pineapple salsa and they were delish!



There was also a really great restaurant called Migrant in our hotel that we ate at several times and really liked!  It was Asian fusion.


I can't remember what this dish was that we got at Lahaina Fish Company, but I do know it had won some awards in Maui, so we decided to try it.  We loved it!


Food trucks are huge in Hawaii.  One day, I got stir fried shrimp and veggies from a food truck on the Road to Hana and it did not disappoint.  Yummmm!


And Shave Ice is a Maui staple.  You have to get some if you are in Hawaii!


Fruit stands are everywhere, too.  I tried fresh coconut milk for the first time so that was fun!


3-THE CULTURE

When we go on a trip, one of the things we love to do is explore the area and get a feel for the culture and the people.  We rented a car and drove to lots of different parts of the island.  We did things like snorkeling and hiking and touring lots of different beaches and volcanic mountains.

We drove to Lahaina the first day we got there.  It was a little cool and windy that day, but we had a great time listening to live music, shopping, and exploring that little town.






 We watched the surfers from a cliff on Honolua  Bay...


We drove on the Road To Hana one day.


That was the curviest road I have ever been on, with 56 one-way bridges that you had to cross.  We saw so many unique tropical plants and flowers!  The day started out okay, but about 3/4 of the way up, it started POURING rain.  We felt like we were in a tropical rain forest!






And, on our last night in Maui, we attended a luau.  That was so much fun and a lot like going to a Hawaiian version of a backyard barbecue or church picnic!






4-RELAXING AND HANGING OUT TOGETHER

Hawaii is one of those places where it is a couples' paradise.  We had the best time just hanging out,  relaxing by the pool, and being on Maui time.








One day we were taking pictures of the sunset and a girl walked up and offered to take a silhouette picture.  It is totally cheesy and looks like something that would be on a Myrtle Beach t-shirt, but I like it anyway!


We had the BEST time.  I was so sad when we had to leave.  I hope we can go back again one day before too long and see more!!  It was definitely a trip I will always remember!