Sunday, September 21, 2014

Charleston Family Vacation - The Review - Part 2 of 2

6.  Battery Park

The famous battery park with the "rainbow row" houses seen in the first picture is an icon for Charleston.  There is so much history here, but the kids - well they enjoyed climbing it....the trees...and dads....and canons!

7.  The Charleston Acquarium

This is the entrance to the acquarium where you get a few of the famous S.R. Ravenel bridge (another Charleston icon).  The acquarium was expensive even with coupons, but our kids LOVE to do this in every city. It was neat to see it from Tristan's eyes.

Lots of interactive stuff.

I made a friend.

8.  Waterfront Park

It was about 90 degrees that day so the fountain was a welcome respite.  Ninja Tristan and his brothers couldn't get enough.  There's also the pineapple fountain (another major icon).  

9.  Southern Food and Waterfront Dining and Sunset on the Marsh

There's something very intoxicating about Charleston's palm trees and marshes.  But the food is really different too.  Fried shrimp on grits, fried okra, and chicken and waffles together?  Yum!

Shem Creek has some really nice waterfront restaurants.

10.  Carriage Rides & Charleston Market

I included this as #10 because well....Charleston is known for the carriage rides through town, but we opted to NOT do it.  It was so hot that morning and we know OUR kids, but your kids might really enjoy the tour.  We saw the city market and walked around town.  

There's a sarcasm about Charleston that was funny.

Since #10 was so uneventful, I need to include that the best part of this day was visiting with my dear friend Jennifer and seeing her new family! 

Overall, I would highly recommend staying at the Isle of Palms because the beach was the highlight, but we thought Charleston something for everyone: kid fun, history and food for mom, and destroyers for dad.   Most of our days looked like this!

Charleston Family Vacation - The Review - Part 1 of 2

A couple of friends asked for a review of Charleston because they wanted to take their kids.  When you think of romantic Charleston, you think it's such a grown up city and not very kid-friendly.  What was my recommendation?  A resounding yes.  Here's my top 10 list for kids!

1.  Patriots Point 

Where else can kids go to see the USS Yorktown, USS Laffey, and the Clamagore all in one place?  The submarine was really very cool.  Patrick had dreams about it later!  Even though I had boys, for any little person - it was interesting because they had enough things you could actually step in, or watch a documentary on, or read about and touch.The Laffey was in WWII with the Japanese kamakazes and that was totally fascinating.  There are $3 off coupons, you can pack a lunch to save $$ and you can eat in front of the gift shop cafeteria. 

2.  Boone Hall Plantation

It's just what you'd imagine.  Three hundred year old oak trees and a walkway back in time.  After doing the tour by coach, you can see the mansion and grounds.  There is a slave quarters section that's really amazing.  You go from one cabin to another and it's like a mini museum with TV, historical documents, artifacts (and there are interactive buttons that kids like to push!) They also have a butterfly garden.  We packed a lunch and sat under a large oak tree near the marshes.   Spanish moss anyone?

3.  Charleston Beaches

Hands down, best part!  So, there are five beaches in the Charleston area.  We chose one 20 minutes away.  Beachfront.  On the 3rd week in August, school starts in South Carolina so guess what?  Our rates were drastically reduced.  We paid $800 for the entire week for a 2 bedroom beachfront condo.  It was really quaint and cute.

We would start our day in Charleston by 9 or 10 a.m. and spend the rest of the day until dinnertime at the beach. Honestly, that would be the way to go - kids can't spend more than 2-3 hours on the beach anyways so it was nice to see the city, hang at the beach and pool, and then spend several hours of play in our cute little condo.

4.  Water Taxi


All kids like to ride a boat.  This one will take you for a 90 minute tour if you'd like (or you can just do part of the leg) but you can ride it one way for $6pp or $10 all day long.  Great deal and a neat way to see Charleston.  We even saw a few dolphins!

One exciting part of this trip was when Caelan dropped his flipflop overboard.  Oh my gosh, they stopped the whole boat and it was such an adventure to rescue our brown little flip flop.  Too fun!

5.  Children's Art Museum

For $8 all day, you can take your kids to this really interactive place.  It's not large, but there's a lot to do.  We spent several hours together in their art station creating together.  There were pirate ships, rock climbing walls, castles with dungeons and stables and a large kid grocery store with carts and scanners and mini-food.  So fun!

Can you believer there's more?  I hope this is inspiring you to take your kids. :)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Best of July -- Summer Fun!

This has to be the fastest summer I can remember. I didn't even blog once in July.  We hosted a big fourth of July shindig and I didn't even take one picture.  Wow!  Time does fly when you are having fun.  Our fast-flying summer happens several times a week at the pool.  It's our best laziest days.

Katelin, our college sitter for the last three summers, has been a tremendous help while I finish up some of my interior design clients.  So grateful for her!

I just came back from our Ladies Shepherd Group retreat and it was awesome in every way.  I mean that. 

Our Shepherd group also got together at Wolftrap on the lawn.  It was fun, but you can see why it was such an adventure:

About three weeks ago Scott and Susan adventured out with us for a getaway weekend.  It was their first sans kiddoes!  We went to Solomons Island and it was so nice to recharge!

and we renewed our vows at a beautiful vineyard...heh. :)

Several families got together at the Grande farm and had a fun family day which featured their homemade slip-n-slide.  The kids have outnumbered us as every family had three kids! 

My dear friend Karen treated me to a LOVELY morning out and it was a very nice time having brunch at Il Fornaio.  This is what I got!  Have you ever had pancakes where you could taste each ingredient?  It was that good and fresh!

With three boys HOME ALL DAY this summer, we have to be a little more creative and reduce our TV time.  It's fun to see them get into games this summer.  They just pull it out and start playing each other.  

 Mommy gets to play, too.  Remember those gals from my marriage study?  Well, we are FAMILY.  Um, I've got all my sisters and me. :-)   It's my TRAGIC version.

Our Shepherd group ended this past Thursday for the year and we'll pick up again in mid September.  It has been such a privilege to be leading this group.  I've learned so much about myself!  Before we broke, the group served a friend at our church by helping her pack up her entire house!

I'm glad I didn't forget to blog at least once in July.  It helps me to remember and give thanks. Building friendships and being intentional about our summer days -- it makes me so thankful for soooo much!

Friday, June 27, 2014


The first month of summer and things have moved very very fast in June.   The boys kicked off their June by going on a camping weekend with our church:  Dad & Kids Campout.  You know I've wanted a little girl forever, but this first weekend where the boys bonded with fishing rods and sleeping together in a tent-----suddenly I saw a lifetime of me, alone, having these weekend retreats to myself and I felt a sudden rush of giddiness! :-)

What did I do while they were gone?  Oh yeah, girls night Karaoake!  That Sunday they came back and we had the Hessel family over for dinner - they were in town from North Carolina.

Also this week marks the last day of school for my first grader!

I've been doing a lot of fun girls nights this month.   Love these girls!

Father's Day was very special (at least I think Patrick thought so) not a whole lot of fuss, but I did do a little video for him and the kids wrote cards and he got to celebrate his father as we picnic'd together at Algonkian park.  Beautiful day!

I've also been doing a Marriage Study with an intimate group of gals.  I am LOVING this study, but I'm really enjoying the women.  The lady who leads us has such a heart for mentoring and teaching the younger women what is good (Titus 2).  Also, our Shepherd group wanted to keep meeting over the summer while most groups break for the summer (wow!) and  Patrick is doing a wonderful job of leading them this year.

One of our neighbors is leaving us and moving to a single family.  We did a goodbye party in our backyard.  It was really a fun time and I'm really glad we started entertaining more outside!

And what would summer be without kicking off swimming lessons?  The boys were freaking out the morning we were supposed to go and I didn't know how to calm their fears and I finally just shared a time when mommy was 12 and couldn't swim and everyone laughed at me.  That got them feeling sorry for me and thankful that they have more and more chances to be a good swimmer. Whatever works!!!  First day: Micah swam the entire length of the pool and back!

We've had a few birthday parties (4 year old and a 40 year old), a lot of summer play dates and I'm leaving tonight for a Girls Overnight with my Shepherd Group at one of the ladie's lakehouse.  It's been a wonderful June - with intentional appointments and deeper connections.   I'm not going to lie - I love my life and I'm so grateful for so much.