Thursday, January 2, 2014

And So It Begins...

Just last week Alden decided that he can sit up by himself completely.  He will sit for long periods of time and will stay in one spot reaching for toy after toy.  The day after Christmas he started scooting across the floor by pulling himself with his arms.  He even found his way under my parents' Christmas tree with his little arm waving in the air reaching for limbs!  Since we have been home from visiting my family, it has been nice to be able to plop him down in whatever room we are in, give him a few toys, and do whatever I need to do.  Today I totally underestimated the little guy.  

I was taking the full trash bags out of the garbage cans in the kitchen and when I looked down he was under my feet trying to catch the hem of my pants.  I picked him up and moved him a few feet away.  The next time I looked down he was playing with the bottom of the bag of trash.  I picked him up and moved him again.  I turned around to finish with the trash and I heard him shuffling across the floor but I did not expect him to be able to travel so fast!  I looked up just in time to see him batting at the vine of a plant that we have on a plant stand.  Before I could stop him the plant flipped over and landed right beside his arm.  He had potting soil all over his right side and he didn't get upset or let it slow him down in the slightest.  He was trying to reach with his OTHER arm to play in the dirt.  I picked him up to make sure he didn't get any in his mouth...and then of course I plopped him down to take a picture :)

Who could get mad at this face?

You would think that I would have known better considering that this was an all too familiar occurrence.  Here is a flash back to June 2012 when another little boy was very curious about this very same plant!  What's even crazier is that Kellan is 7 months old in this picture and Alden just turned 7 months on Monday.  The similarities between them are amazing.
Luckily I saved the plant when Kellan was attacking it in wasn't so lucky in 2014.

It was around this time that the plant had to find a new home for a while...I think that time has come again!
These boys are growing up way too fast for this mommy and it especially seems like it is going by even faster the second time around.  I can't believe that my smallest baby is already 7 months old and is on the move!  In just a week he has outgrown the Bumbo, the bouncy seat, his play gym, and his tummy time mat.  I can't wait to see what new milestones he reaches next!

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Legendary Santa

On our second attempt to see the Legendary Santa we arrived at the Children's Museum of Richmond a little earlier than our first visit and went on a Wednesday.  This turned out to be a great choice because there were only a few families in front of us. 

I could already tell where this Santa visit was headed when Kellan kept telling us "Santa is not anywhere.  I can't find him.  He is feeding his reindeer."  He repeated this over and over again as we waited our turn.

When you arrive to see the Legendary Santa, first you tell an elf which photo package that you would like to purchase, then you talk to the Snow Queen.

The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen talks to the kids and finds out their names. I guess that she is wearing a microphone or something because Santa is able to hear and calls the kids over to him by their names.  Kellan was not interested in talking to the Snow Queen or the fact that Santa knew his name.  He was hanging on to our legs and trying to keep as far from Santa as he could get.  I put Alden on Santa's lap to see if that would make him want to come closer.  Nope.  He couldn't have cared less.  He didn't even want to stand beside Santa.  Finally Michael had to plop him on Santa's knee (he slid off the first time) and run so that we would be out of the picture.  Poor Santa couldn't even ask what they wanted for Christmas because he had to struggle to hold on to two wiggly boys.  

Here is the precious moment that we caught on film :)  Oh it makes me giggle every time I look at it.  I hope I'm not traumatizing my poor children.  Alden looks like he's not too sure what's going on either but he's holding it together.  Kellan however just lost it and couldn't get off of that man's lap fast enough.

So that the entire experience wasn't traumatizing, Kellan rode in Santa's sleigh on a ride outside of the museum.  This made him happy :)

I wonder what he would have done if Santa had come outside and sat down beside him?  He WAS sitting in his seat.

Meeting Santa: The First Attempt

Alden had his 6 month doctor's appointment on December 6th and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take the boys to see Santa while Michael was already off for the afternoon.  Alden's check up went fine and our biggest ordeal was keeping Kellan entertained, off the floor and out of the trash can, all while continuously reassuring him that HE didn't have to get a shot.  We told him this at Alden's 4 month doctor's appointment too and he ended up getting the flu shot while we were there...I hope he doesn't have trust issues because of this.

He's such a smart cookie.  As soon as we pulled into the doctor's office parking lot he said "Its not my turn!  Its brother's turn!"

So Alden's appointment went great but he is SO wiggly and squirmy now!  He was trying to eat the paper on the exam table, flipping over and spinning in circles on his belly.  I sat Kellan in a chair with my purse, handed him my phone, and he immediately got to looking up his favorite shows on YouTube.  Thinking he was entertained, Michael and I both were standing at the exam table talking to Alden and doing our own check-up before the doctor came in.  Do other parents do this?  I think we're just obsessive.  Anyway, when I turned around, this is what I found standing in the middle of the room.

Someone was digging in mommy's purse.  He was wearing my sunglasses and even had my clutch in hand.  :)  I think he looks like Elton John when he wears my sunglasses.  Hilarious!
After the doctor, we had a late lunch at a nearby Mexican restaurant and made our way up to Richmond to go see this Legendary Santa that I kept hearing so much about.  It never occurred to me to check times.  I assumed this Santa was like the regular mall Santas and would be around all night.  Boy was I wrong.  About 10 minutes away at 4:00 pm  I double checked the location and noticed on the website that Santa departed at 5:00 pm sharp, line or no line.  We decided to check it out anyway and see what the wait was like.

Apparently they had such a crowd waiting before we got there that they had already cut the line off.  This was (and still is) crazy to me!  Santa leaves at 5?  And he leaves little children waiting in line?  There was nothing that we could do about it though and now I had a little boy in the backseat telling me that he was going to go see Santa Claus...probably because that was what his mommy had been telling him all day.

So if we couldn't see the Legendary Santa we decided that we had to find some kind of Santa.  First stop was Richmond's Grand Illumination downtown.  We had no idea this was going on and happened to find out about it an hour before it started.  So we zoomed downtown to find a parking spot so that we would be ready when all the Christmas lights were turned on.  

We were SO unprepared for this event.  When we left the house earlier that day it was 80 degrees outside.  I was wearing a light weight shirt, the boys were dressed in long sleeves and jeans but I hadn't brought them a coat, and Michael was wearing short sleeves.  We found a parking spot just across the street but were trying to figure out how we were going to keep everybody warm in what is now a very cool night.  Of course any other time our backseat is full of discarded coats and blankets...this night there was none to be found.  We ended up pulling the old towel (that protects the seat) out from under Alden's car seat and wrapped that around Kellan.  He also wore the ONE hat that we could find.  Alden went in the stroller and we wrapped him in Kellan's Christmas play sheep costume.  Michael, who never, ever takes a coat anywhere, had put his fleece jacket in the car so I wore that.  I do believe we used every piece of scrap fabric that we had in the car.  Poor daddy made due in his short sleeves.

Anyone that might have had some crazy notion that I had it all me I don't.  My baby wore a sheep's costume to keep him warm.
We really thought there would be a Santa there so that Kellan could see him and we could get started on our Christmas shopping.  No such Santa to be found.  It was cold and very, very crowded and its just no fun pushing a double stroller through that many people.  After the lights came on we headed back to the car and to the mall to find Santa.  

We found one but Kellan was less than impressed and only wanted to ride the coin operated cars in the food court.  The majority of them didn't work so we finally got him in to see Santa.  There was no line at all so we walked right up to him but he wouldn't get in his lap.  He wouldn't even stand close enough to him so that if I did take a picture, they wouldn't have been in the same frame.  With daddy's help he did finally whisper that he wanted presents and a train.  I just decided that he was getting good practice in so that when we finally did get to see the Legendary Santa, he was going to be a professional.

We did a little Christmas shopping and made one last stop at Chick-fil-A before we headed back home.  Kellan LOVED the indoor playground and little brother enjoyed watching him just as much :)

The next morning we had tickets to a Girl Scout troop sponsored, pancake "Breakfast with Santa" at FoSho, a local restaurant.  Kellan was way more excited about the pancakes than he was Santa.  When we walked in the door Kellan saw Santa and turned around and walked right back outside.  After eating, we talked Kellan into going over to Santa.  We convinced him to stand beside him and it was so cute to watch him try to hold Alden's hand without actually having to LOOK at Santa.  He did talk to Santa a little bit standing with daddy from a safe distance away.  He mentioned something about his favorite TV show, Paw Patrol, and to his (mine and Michael's too!) amazement, Santa knew the names of all the characters!  

Alden just doesn't understand what the big deal is...Santa has a pretty comfy lap!
I'll post soon about finally getting to meet the Legendary Santa!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: The Glass Onion and The Sea Biscuit Cafe

Michael and I love to try new restaurants and when we are on trips we are always on the look out for places that were featured on the TV show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.  We have eaten at several and they have never steered us wrong.  No matter where we have been or what type of food they serve, we have always had amazing meals when we visit places from the show.  

Charleston has several of them but The Glass Onion is the one that I picked to visit for lunch before we headed home.  They have a great website and the description of their "soul food" sounded awesome.  Their website states that their menu is full of southern style choices heavily influenced by New Orleans and the Low Country and they use as many local ingredients as possible from farmers and fishermen.  This place was nothing short of amazing.  Seriously it could not have been any better....OK maybe the deviled eggs could have been...

Located in part of a strip mall, the store front beside them was empty and boarded up, this would not be a place that you would think to stop just in passing...but boy would you be missing out!

We went at an odd time like 3:30, in between regular meal times, so they were not busy and we didn't have to wait at all.

Kellan and I with a picture of an onion :)
 One of the foods featured on the show was the Smoked Pork Loin Po' Boy and the video is located here.  Michael ordered this with a side of mashed sweet potatoes.  I am not a huge fan of sweet potatoes but these were so good I believe I could easily eat them everyday.  He also got a side of deviled eggs...they weren't really either of our favorites, but everything else was phenomenal.

Fried crispy chicken legs was another food item featured on the show but since their menu changes it wasn't an option on the day that we were there.  The link to the video from the show were the owner is making those is here if you want to check it out.  I got their fried chicken sandwich with a side of mashed potatoes and both were wonderful.  So that we could try both of them we halved our sandwiches and shared.

Don't worry we both shared with Kellan.

As if our meal wasn't enough we had to order dessert because they are all homemade and had way too many good choices.  We went with the strawberry cobbler and I do believe it is in the running for one of the best foods I have ever eaten in my life.  I'm not was extraordinarily wonderful.  

We sat at the table under the "Guy Ate Here" sign :)  If you are in the Charleston area please eat will be blown away.
Another restaurant that we tried was the Sea Biscuit Cafe.  It is not a Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives restaurant but I still wanted to mention it because it was really good as well.  The whole family ate here for breakfast on our last day.  My brother-in-law Shannon found it online and said that it had good reviews so we decided to try it out.
It is a really small place with just a few tables but the food was really good.

They use fresh, local produce and my veggie omelet was delicious.

Michael really enjoyed his banana pancakes, eggs, bacon, and corned beef hash.  We would highly recommend this place too if you are over in the Isle of Palms area in Mt. Pleasant, SC.  Great find Uncle Shannon! :)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Fort Sumter National Monument and Charles Pinckney National Historic Site

I'm still catching up on my posts and its taking me a little (ok a lot) longer than I had anticipated.  I still have one more after this one and at least I will be done with our Charleston trip that was in Easter!!!  Easter people.  I'm so far behind.  *sigh* I'm going to try to do better.

I have mentioned before that we are collecting National Park Passport Stamps for Kellan back when I blogged about our trip to Crater Lake.  We are always on the lookout for National Parks when we are on trips and there were two located in the Charleston area.  The whole family visited the first one, Fort Sumter, with us and Michael, Kellan, and I visited the second one, the Charles Pinckney House, on our last day before we headed home.  Here are a few pictures from our visits.

This was our ferry that took us over to Fort Sumter.

You can also tour the USS Yorktown and it sits in the same harbor as the ferry.  We didn't tour it this time.

Riding the ferry :) It was chilly and a little rainy.

Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge
The battle at Fort Sumter was an important one to our nation's history because it is the battle that began the Civil War.  On April 12, 1961 Confederate forces opened fire on this Union fort causing Union troops to surrender 34 hours later.  They tried to reclaim it for 4 years but never succeeded.  If you are interested in learning more you can visit the Fort Sumter National Monument page on the National Park Service website.
Approaching Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor...

It was REALLY windy!

Front entrance with a cannon hole to the left.

Overlooking the cannons and a side wall of the fort's remains.

These are the remains of the officers quarters and if I remember correctly it is where extra artillery and black powder were stored.

6 flags flying over Fort Sumter.  Two of them are the flags of the Confederacy during the Civil War, one is the U.S. flag from 1865, the South Carolina state flag and of course, our current American flag.

The family minus my sister who was taking the picture.
Here are a few pictures from our trip to the Charles Pinckney House.  He was a signer of the United States Constitution and is considered to be a "forgotten founder" which means his contributions to the building of our nation's early government often goes unrecognized.  This site was once one of his family's country properties known as Snee Farm.  George Washington visited the plantation in 1791.  

Inside the house is a museum that gives more details about Charles Pinckney, his family, and the signing of the United States Constitution.  There are also several exhibits sharing artifacts from the slaves that lived on the property including information about their Gullah culture and their influence on the Pinckney family.

Kellan was fascinated by the informational video that we watched inside the house.

Kellan's favorite part was exploring the grounds around the plantation.  We took a walk down to the wetlands and a boardwalk over a tiny creek.  The trail also leads you to an archeological site of what was once a Slave Community.

Kellan's Passport Book stamps from 2 South Carolina locations :)