Thursday, March 26, 2015

Talking and Tea With Kelly

On Monday we got to spend a few hours with Kelly, and her sweet daughter, Clarice, before leaving Georgia. Clarice was in such a good mood and just smiled and laughed the whole time we were there. Rachel was really intrigued by her!
Kelly and I drank tea (I had Constant Comment tea which I love and is hard to find in Canada) and talked and it was so great to just spend some time with her.
I also got to see all the DIY projects she has done for her new house. I told her I wanted to hire her to come help me with our house. You might have thought I was joking Kelly, but the offer is open anytime!
Unfortunately, we didn't get to meet Lance, her son, but Sam and Rachel sure enjoyed playing with his toys. Thanks for sharing Lance, even if they did mess up your railroad tracks.
Since it was such a beautiful day, we spent part of the afternoon outside. It was so lovely to spend some time in Kelly's yard, see the flowerbed they've already worked on (which looks amazing!), and to hear some of Kelly's plans for their backyard.
The kids even picked us some dandelion bouquets!
It was an awesome afternoon and I'm really looking forward to the next time our paths cross. Thanks for such a fun time, Kelly, and every time I drink my Constant Comment tea, I'll think of you :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Flowers, Friends, And Cultural Immersion

When I started writing on this blog regularly, about four years ago, I had no idea that eventually I would become friends with some really great people that I wouldn't have met otherwise. And I also had  no idea that because of this little blog, I would have the opportunity to meet some of these people in person and get to experience a piece of their daily lives. But then I started to dream about just that -- taking a trip and meeting some of my blog friends in real life. And this past weekend, that dream started becoming reality.
Sam and Rachel on the playground at Cali N Tito's, a seriously delicious 
Latin American restaurant where I ate my first ever fish tacos.

If you're ever going to meet a blog friend in real life, and you are blog friends with Erika, you should really start with her. First of all, she is just as great in real life as she is on her blog and in her e-mails. Our online friendship just continued in person with no awkwardness. Second of all, when she heard we were coming to town, she and Matt invited us to stay with them. After an "That's so generous but are you sure you're okay with this?!?!" e-mail (or two), we did just that. Matt and Erika opened their house to us and Millie graciously shared her toys and books and room with Sam and Rachel. I drove with Erika and Millie in their car, while Erika gave me an awesome tour of Athens and answered all of my (many) questions. Really interesting things such as "Where do you do groceries?" (where I learned about Aldi) and "Seriously, tell me about these college football stadiums..." and "How does health care work?" and "Is Sonic as good as it appears to be?" (The answer is YES!!!).
This is a seriously huge football stadium at the University of Georgia but I was also holding the seriously cute Millie so my attention was elsewhere! Our professional sports teams in Canada have stadiums half this size. And our university stadiums are teeny tiny compared to this.

I appear to have gotten no pictures of Matt but he deserves a HUGE shout out because while Erika and I were checking out the campus, he was driving Dave, Sam, and Rachel around in our car, during which time Sam threw up in the car, and Matt just pitched in and helped clean up. By the time Erika and I got back to their house Sam was crying in the tub with Dave and Matt was reading books to Rachel, which made him her immediate BFF. Thankfully, Sam's stomach upset appeared to be related to a headache and not the stomach flu, and he woke up the next day happy as a clam and with his FIRST EVER LOOSE TOOTH!!!
He is now convinced that Erika's apples are magic and make his teeth loose so now he just needs to eat them whenever he wants a loose tooth. Ha ha ha!

After another amazing meal at Mama's Boy, we headed off to the State Botanical Gardens to look at flowers. Because what else would Erika and I do when we get together?!?!? Besides talk a lot. And yes, it was raining, but I wasn't going to let a little (and sometimes a lot of) rain stop me from seeing flowers.
It is going to be hard to return home to late Winter/early Spring after experiencing the beauty of Spring here.
The kids enjoyed running around like crazy people (half the time without using their umbrellas) and performing on the stage. Dave took pictures and I just soaked in the beauty that was surrounding me.
I love the enthusiasm Rachel is singing with here!

And then we headed back to Matt and Erika's for a game of Pandemic (which I want to buy now), and more conversation. It was such a fun weekend with them and I really hope we'll get to visit in person, and see some more awesome flowers, again. At the very least, Sam is going to want some more of Erika's magic apples!

I will eventually return to blogging about our time in Hilton Head but I also want to write about some of our current experiences so the blog timeline is going to be a little confusing for the next while.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Day We Took 475 Pictures

We seriously took 475 pictures on Tuesday. I'm not even sure why because all we did was play mini golf...
...go to the beach in the afternoon...
...and go on a dolphin watching tour at sunset.
Rachel did get to steer the boat for awhile so that was exciting.
But really, I can't figure out why we took so many pictures. It must have been the dolphins. And the ocean.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

To The Lighthouse!

To the lighthouse! To the shore!
To the water! To the store!

This literary masterpiece basically sums up our day on Monday, if not in that exact order. First of all, we explored around our timeshare a little, and while we didn't find alligators, we did find a lot of turtles. Then we headed off to Wal-Mart as Rachel, Dave, and I had no summer clothes and it was quite warm out. (Sam had zip-off pants so he was all set.)
For lunch we headed over to The Salty Dog Cafe. I grew up in Saskatchewan, a completely landlocked province, but I just love water, especially large bodies of it like lakes or oceans. I think it's because it's usually flat and you can see forever, just like the prairies! So I really loved being by the water for the afternoon.
Willem, Rachel, Sam, and Tessa with The Salty Dog.
I had she crab soup and a shrimp salad sandwich for lunch. I'm so glad I'm a vegetarian who eats seafood. Yum!
After lunch we walked around the South Beach Seaport for a bit and then headed off to Harbour Town to play at a playground and see the famous Hilton Head Lighthouse.
Rachel was a total trooper going up all the stairs of the lighthouse and charged up ahead of everyone. She didn't stop once and it was 114 steps to the top.
Can you see Tim waving from the top in the picture on the right?! We had a quick supper at our timeshare and then headed to the beach, just in time for sunset. It was gorgeous.
As much as the politics at the preschool have stressed me out this year, watching Rachel write her name in the sand (at her own impetus) makes it all worth it.

It was a perfect end to our first day in Hilton Head and we went to bed eager for another day on Tuesday.