Monday, August 17, 2015

Hiking at DuPont

Ryan was off on Saturday (yay!) so we took the opportunity to check out a few of the waterfalls at DuPont Forest in North Carolina.

This is the big thing to see - Triple Falls. 

This is at the bottom of the first falls. It was very crowded - the parking lot was packed and we parked alongside the road. 

We packed a picnic and ate at the top of the highest waterfall. Scout enjoyed sampling Cheetos and PB&J sandwiches!

We saw lots of people swimming, but also saw a few large snakes slithering around on the rocks. That's enough to keep me out!

I'm so glad that we are in our last week of this hard rotation for Ryan. Hope your week is off to a good start!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Birthday Fun & A Hike

I'm so happy to report that Ryan's first week of critical care passed and he says it went as well as he could hope! I feel like we are back in the swing of things and that's always a good feeling!

Last Wednesday we celebrated our birthdays at Augusta Grill -- the chocolate creme bruelee was amazing!

Ryan was off on my birthday and we had a fabulous day of going out to eat, playing tennis and going to the movies. And sweet Ryan made me a chocolate cake -- we were out of candles so he improvised with matches!

Ryan worked Saturday morning and I went with some friends to a barre class and then out to lunch. He was home by early afternoon and we tried out the driving range in Traveler's Rest. Then we ran into Pace & Alex at Community Tap and had a great time catching up. We are planning a camping trip and the more the guys talk about it the tougher it starts to sound. There was talk of a 10-mile treck into the mountains - don't think that's going to be happening!

Sunday afternoon we headed to Jones Gap and hiked to Falls Creek Falls. This was our favorite hike we did last year and it was just as good the second go around. We took Scout and he had a blast.


It was amazing how cool it is under the falls. It made me ready for fall!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Garden Talk XIV

It's been awhile since I last posted about what's going on in the yard. When I started this post the pink lilies in the front were just about to bloom and now they are just about finished. The main theme of late July/August is water, water, water. I try to give everything a really deep soak at least once a week if we haven't gotten any rain. Fortunately, we got a good afternoon rain shower yesterday and have the possibility for rain all week.

The pink lilies trying to open -- a few weeks ago now. I believe these may be 'Stargazer.'

Tiger lilies showing off:

With all lilies it's important to wait until after all the leaves turn yellow before cutting it back. 

The zinnias are so big and full of blooms. 

And are attracting many butterflies -- this little guy wasn't disturbed at all by my picture taking!

Althea in the back. This is one of those plants that you tend to find at old houses across the South. It is low maintenance and won't wilt when it's hot and dry. It's almost impossible to kill. We've got three of them -- two purple ('Minerva') and one white ('Diana').

We've gotten a couple of handfuls of cherry tomatoes and the heirloom tomato produced only ONE tomato!?! The Big Boy tomato plant looked so bad when we got home from vacation that I just pulled it up. The squash is still flowering but NO squash to be seen. The herbs are doing okay and I've enjoyed using them in the kitchen!

There is one little watermelon...

Overall, I'm not impressed with my little garden. I think I need to work on my soil and trim some trees along the edge of our yard to get it more sun. 

I am happy with my window boxes!

These pink vincas are right outside the window over the kitchen sink -- making dish washing much more pleasant! 

Watch my garden grow: III, IIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIX, X XI, XII and XIII.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Full House

Hello, blogland! Sorry for the recent lack of posts, but we've been busy, busy, busy with company. Ryan's brother, Jason, and his crew came in late Thursday night and left this morning. We had so much fun showing them Greenville!

I thought having seven people in our little house was going to be tight squeeze, but we all just fit right in. There always seemed to be a line for the bathroom, but that's okay!

Silas (the littlest guy) was so excited to play golf with Uncle Ryan. 

Ryan was able to join us Friday afternoon for a tour of downtown. The bridge and waterfall at Falls Park is always impressive. 

Silas, Eli and Harper in front of the Roots tree (also in Falls Park). We listened to music downtown Friday night and then headed to supper at one of our favorite places, Sassafras. 

Saturday morning we checked out the downtown Farmer's Market and then completed the "Mice on Main" scavenger hunt -- and took the obligatory picture in front of each mouse. 

We stopped by the park for a quick game of baseball/waffle ball. 

These two manned the grill for a cookout on Saturday night. 

After hamburgers we sang Ryan an early "Happy Birthday" with his favorite seven-layer chocolate cake. His real birthday is today! It was so nice that Eli is old enough to babysit. He stayed home with the younger kids and the rest of us went to the Comedy Zone for a show. 

Sunday afternoon we took a picnic of Bi-Lo fried chicken and potato salad to Paris Mountain. Then we hiked and enjoyed some water time at the lake.  

Eli had left us far behind by this point and so missed the group funny selfie. Jason didn't quite get the message we were making silly faces. So he says ;)

Monday we hit Discovery Island - it's a county pool on steroids with huge slides, a lazy lagoon and a surf area. 

We made lots of great memories and their visit was the perfect distraction from the fact that this week starts Ryan's critical care rotation (one of the hardest of the year). The "easy" schedule we've enjoyed for the last couple of months is over, but we are excited by all that is coming up!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Beach Reads!

Does the summer seem to be going by too fast to anyone else? All of a sudden there are back to school commercials on the TV and my teacher friends are clogging up Pinterest with classroom ideas! And I haven't read nearly all the books on my summer reading list yet! Usually on a beach vacation I make it through at least one book a day (my original list). This year that didn't quite happen and I'll blame it on these three cuties and a husband who wants to play beach games instead of read. But I wouldn't trade any of that!

BUT I did make it through these three and started a fourth. They were all really good!

The Heiresses by Sara Shepard is a twisty-turny murder mystery full of scandal that follows the ultra-wealthy Saybrook family in NYC and their secrets and streak of bad luck. This is the first book I've read by Sara Shepard (she's the author of Pretty Little Liars among many others) and I can't wait to read more of her work.

The Time Between by Karen White is set Edisto and Charleston and is also about family secrets and family drama. Very good!

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes was so, so good! Net took this home with her and called me to say she stayed up to midnight reading it! It's that type of page turner.

The Island by Elin Hilderbrand looks like it's going to be just as good. I'm about half way through this one and it's turning into a page turner as well!

Happy reading!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Soaking up Edisto

We spent last week vacationing on Edisto Island with my sweet family. It was the most wonderful, relaxing, rejuvenating time.

Gang's all here - minus Thomas & Laura - and most of us are looking somewhere near the camera. We tried Dad's selfie stick but, fortunately, a nice beach goer stopped and offered to take a "real" picture.

Edisto is just gorgeous and very natural. There are no condos or high rises just beach homes, one Bi-Lo grocery store and a handful of shops and restaurants. And a little history lesson: In 1666 a British expedition found the island's inhabitants, the Edistow Indians, to be very friendly and welcoming. They went home and reported they'd found the perfect place for a British colony. However, when they returned the Indians had changed their minds and sent them a few miles north to the natives in Kiawah country -- what we now know as Charleston. 

It's hard to sum up a week of fun in just a few words and pictures! 

Elizabeth Magee loved the beach. I think she definitely has Dad's enthusiasm for all things beach related. Above, she's showing off the whole sand dollar they found. She also loved watching him ride the waves and stayed out in the water far longer than I would have imagined!

The girls, however, prefer to stick to the sand and read and talk and read and talk. I could do nothing else and be completely happy! I finished three books and got a good start on a fourth. 

Poppy didn't really warm up to the beach until the last day. She did rock a hat and sunglasses though and preferred to stay on a towel. 

Mary Thorne, however, loved every second of the sun and sand. This girl marches to the beat of her own drum. 

Ryan, Net and I went crabbing one evening and caught a few crabs for Net's gumbo.   

EM watching Dad "ride the waves." 

Ryan brought a kite and bocce ball for beach toys. He and Oliver are not "beach people," but they are coming around with the aid of beer and 3G cell service:) 

The Siggi Show was in full force all week -- these girls love Siggi and one would say "My Siggi" to make the other two cry. 

EM had the kite flying down. 

On our last night we checked out Flowers Seafood. The crab cakes and fried shrimp were amazing. 

Sis and I went to check out the cemetery at the Presbyterian Church - this mausoleum was mentioned in a book we both read during the week, "The Time Between" by Karen White that is set in Edisto. You can read about the legend here

One of the best parts about the week was being feed by all these great cooks in the family! Net spoiled us all with seafood gumbo, boiled shrimp and shrimp salad. Mom made great vegetable stir-fries. Dad made us this cheese dip pork dish that I can't wait to try. And Oliver brought his ice cream maker and made strawberry and cookies 'n cream. Ryan made his vanilla ice cream one night. And I'm leaving off some, but needless to say, we ate well!

Besides eating and playing on the beach, we also saw quite a bit of sea life!

Like this huge sand ray...

and a shark that was caught by a man fishing on the beach. Yikes! Wouldn't want to see what his jaws could do! 

And in the non-freaky category, Mom, the girls and I came across this newly hatched loggerhead sea turtle early one morning. 

He was headed the wrong way towards the road so we moved it a few feet from the ocean and watched him swim into the ocean. A sea turtle rescue person told us that out of 1,000 eggs only one turtle will make it to adulthood. Sad! There were markers all along the beach showing where the nests were buried. On our last night, we saw one start to hatch. 

There were pelicans everywhere. Hopefully, not eating the baby turtles!

That fin is (thankfully!) a dolphin. We saw big pools of dolphins several times. So cool! Although, I did do a double take every time a little fin would pop up. 

It was a wonderful trip and we can't wait to go back. We extended the feeling of vacay by wearing our Edisto Marina t-shirts all day on Sunday!