The Family

The Family

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Note on Where We Stayed

The swings on the screened-in back porch are large enough to be a bed.

The chic decor prompted questions from the children throughout the weekend.

And I should mention the free breakfast and mimosas weren't too shabby either.

Andell Inn, a hotel that recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, is THE place to stay when visiting Kiawah Island. Sure, there are many rental properties nearer to the coast, but you can't beat the value and accommodations offered by this boutique hotel.

We had a suite, with a full kitchen and more room than we ever needed.

The hotel is located at the end of a square, so plenty of restaurants and shopping are within walking distance. There's also access to a public beach nearby.

For days after coming home both of my children went on and on about how much they missed the hotel. If we ever do make it back to Kiawah, there is no question about where we'll be staying.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Rainy Day on Kiawah

A rainy day on Kiawah Island, S.C., led my husband to announce we were going for a drive. Charleston was about 30 minutes away, so we decided to head in that direction.

I didn't expect to find anything to do with the children in Charleston. Matt and I visited there on our second anniversary, and I couldn't recall anything to do for kids.

That's because I didn't have kids at the time, and didn't pay attention to the kind of stuff that gives me so much pleasure now and would have back then had I thought better about how to spend a worthwhile vacation.

Before we were even out of the parking lot at a Kiawah restaurant, I'd discovered the South Carolina Aquarium.

After leaving the aquarium I wanted to kill some more time before heading to dinner. We hit the GPS "attractions" button and discovered the Charleston Museum, which claims to be our country's first museum, less than a mile away.

This place, by far, was so much more awesome than we could have imagined.

Two places we had no idea existed hours before made a rainy day in Kiawah our most spectacular day!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Kiawah Island

The swampy marshland known as Kiawah Island, S.C., sure is a good location for a wedding.
That's what brought us here this weekend, and tonight, as I type this post on our last night on this beautiful island oasis, I can't help but be thankful for the tranquility of this weekend. 

It's also a great place to spot horseshoe crabs.

Jack has been wanting to see one up close since we read about them more than a year ago. When we went to Massachusetts last spring I was sure we would see plenty on the shores of Cape Cod, but we were to be denied.

Not so this weekend. And because we hadn't even considered the possibility, it was a fantastic surprise!

Kiawah is also filled with gators. We didn't see one up close enough to snap a picture, but we definitely saw a few from a distance.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Discovering the Devlins

Last year we came across a book that instantly warmed our hearts. That book, "Cranberry Thanksgiving," started my love of all things Devlin.

Wende and Harry Devlin published an entire "Cranberry" series as well as some books known as the "Blueberry Witch" collection. We now own the entire "Cranberry" series. I bought "Old Black Witch" on a whim not knowing how my two might react to it. Mattie was scared the first time I read it, but has asked me to read it countless times since.

The "Cranberry" books, part adventure and part holiday tale, have unforgettable characters in Maggie, Maggie's grandmother and their fisherman friend Mr. Whiskers. Wende is the author and Harry the illustrator, and I have to share my favorite picture from "Cranberry Thanksgiving," complete with crinkled pages from us turning them so much.

"Old Black Witch" reminds me so much of our time spent in New England. I keep imagining spots in Maine or Massachusetts we've visited as the setting. And I absolutely love reading the witch's chants in my best cackling witch voice.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Field Trip Double Dose

In trying to simplify life, or at least live where I don't feel like I'm rushing from one place to the next, I've made a conscious attempt to limit our commitments lately.

But when I got notices about the two field trips we took this week, I knew these were commitments to make.

On Thursday we visited the Planetarium in Montgomery, Ala. The moderator there told us they were Montgomery's best-kept secret. Apparently, because the place has been open since 1968, and a native of Alabama, I never knew it existed until two years ago.

While small, it has a lot to offer. The shows that run on the domed ceiling are fantastic. My favorite part was when the moderator pointed out what the night sky in our area looks like, with Venus and Jupiter currently visible above the horizon. This fact gave me a real thrill because a few weeks ago we sat in the backyard as the sun went down and could clearly see both. At the time we weren't sure what those were, but now we know they are planets!!!

She also pointed out the brightest star in the sky, Sirius. We all loved that because our dog is named Sirius. Now we named him after the Harry Potter character, not the star, but I have a feeling JK Rowling got quite a few character names, including Sirius, from constellations or ancient Greek. Characters such as Regulus (brother to Sirius), Draco and Remus are a few other examples. And to make the connection even more clear, did you know that Sirius is the "dog star?" Pretty cool, huh!

Then on Friday we headed out to the Poultry Science Research Center here at Auburn University to learn a bit about chickens. Truth be told, I wasn't sure my two were going to be that keen on chicken research, but boy was I wrong.

The hour-long program was fantastic! All the children enjoyed drawing their own chicken inside of the egg.

They talked a lot about chicken and egg facts, which all the children - and adults - found fascinating. We learned why some chickens lay brown eggs and why some are white (hint: the color of their ears), how long it takes a baby chick to fully develop inside an egg (21 days) and all about chicken anatomy (do you know what the comb and waddle are?).

At the end they brought out a HUGE chicken for the children to observe and pet. My two were all about it until the chicken started pooping everywhere. To say Mattie had a minor meltdown about the poop would be an understatement. And in the interest of full disclosure, on the inside, her mother was having the same said meltdown.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Because Some Mornings Call for More Noise

I'm one of those people that loves quiet. Thing is, with two children home with me all day, I don't get much of it.

I especially have a hard time with all the noise in the mornings. That's the time I feel like I need and want quiet the most.

But in an effort to embrace the energy and noise, some mornings I join in the hooping and hollering. Yesterday, I even encouraged it.

My children love to jump on the bed. They find it especially fun when I take the sheets off to be washed because I slip the bottom sheet off one side just enough to puff it up and make a big bubble.

Then the jumping, rolling and laughter ensue.

 And while I don't usually join in on the jumping, I can't help but joining in on the laughter.