Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Charleston (March 2015)

Way back in July, Ryan asked me what I wanted for my 40th birthday.  I thought about it and decided I wanted a couples trip in early 2015 after Levi was old enough to leave. We decided to go the week after Ryan turned 40 and just make it a big birthday celebration. I've never been to the Southeast (only as far as Texas and Virginia) and I'd always wanted to see what it was like.  My friend who lived in North Carolina for a few years INSISTED we visit Charleston for our first Southern exposure.  

It was probably the best trip I've ever taken in my life. And this is why:

1. vacationing with your husband of 17 happy years is just so dreamy.  You know each other so well that there's no guessing on what the other's thinking or what they'd like to do.  Basically, I dream of spending all day every day with him and to do it for 6 days was beyond fun.  He loves to be active, he loves to do whatever I want to do, he's learned over the years that spending money is worthwhile on vacations.  And he's so so so cute.

2. No kids.  I love them and my job as their mom so much, but not having to do anything according to a carpool or nap or crabby baby timetable was THE BEST. Plus you can do any activity you want, because you're not times-ing the cost or the effort by 8, just 2! (Thanks to my fabulous mom who loves to watch them, never seems stressed, barely even contacts us when we're gone and entertains and loves them better than I do.  I'm so lucky.)

3. I did tons of research and picked the best places to stay.  Our first 3 nights were in downtown Charleston at this fabulous place I found on AirBnB.  Cute little walkout basement room that was cozy, clean and central.  Plus: TWO CUTE BIKES that we used every day all day. The last two nights we spent in a relaxing resort on Isle of Palms and used the tennis courts and jogged on the beach two mornings in a row.

4. CHARLESTON.  People: It's the best city in the country.  I'm not kidding.  It had everything I could ever want in a vacation: history, walkable/bikeable streets, beauty, great weather, gorgeous buildings everywhere, tons of beaches, the BEST food, friendly people, easy transportation.  I honestly cried the morning we left because I was so sad to leave and go all the way across the country back home.

5. I need to talk about the food a little bit more:  My friend Jessica has a brother and sister in law who live in Charleston. This fabulous girl sent me paragraphs about what to do and what to eat and I read every word over and over.  I basically take picking the right food very seriously when I'm on vacation and she helped so much.  She sent her phone number and was the sweetest about responding to texts when I was trying to decide on restaurants and areas and what to order.  I am seriously indebted to her for her help.  It really made our vacation easier and awesome-er.

(Jeni's ice cream)

(Swig and Swine)

(Magnolia's fried chicken)

(Magnolia's Fried Green Tomatoes...officially the favorite thing I put in my mouth the whole trip)

Shrimp and Grits

We got to spend 36 hours in Atlanta with my brother and his cute family.  I'm having picture issues but I found this one of us with them in the church at which MLKJr preached. They are so far away and I felt so glad we took the time to drive to see them.

I seriously know this is obnoxious to gush and gush, but I just have to record it for my personal history.  It will bring my joy every time I remember it and I wanted to blog it before I forgot.

A rundown of what we did, in case you want to copy my trip...as you should:

Carriage ride through Charleston.  

Walking tour (using some random online app) South of Broad

Edisto beach (also known as Boneyard Beach):

Biking the Ravenal Bridge

Exploring Sullivan's Island

Drayton Hall Plantation:

The gorgeous drive through rural SC on the way to Edisto

Canoeing at Cypress Gardens
 (we saw 6 alligators...one was walking across the path 5 feet in front of us!!)

Happy 40th to US!!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Tammy's wedding

I've been friends with Tammy since high school. She's an incredible person and I'm grateful that she's so good at maintaining relationships because our friendship has been a blessing to me all of my life. That's why when she asked me to sing at her wedding, I said yes. A 25 year friendship is about the only thing that could've done it.

Here are the issues:

  • I'm not a "cool sing folksy rock songs at a wedding" kind of singer. I'm a "sweet, kind of classical songs at church" kind of singer
  • I wouldn't get to practice with my guitar accompanist before the wedding AND there was going  to be a microphone 😳😳😳
  • I have some stage fright issues that I constsntly work on but never go away
Here's why I said yes:
  • As a 40 year old, it's not like Tammy had a big need for wedding presents. I figured this could be my gift to her
  • I tell my kids to do hard things/get out of their comfort zone all of the time. I knew I should do it to show them that your whole life you'll need to stretch and do things that make you nervous. 
  • Emma agreed to sing with me and she's so great at harmony and I knew we'd have a good mom/daughter weekend together. 

The song is What I Wouldn't Do by A Fine Frenzy and it is the cutest song. We practiced and got digital recordings via email from the guitarist (who was so fabulous) and got some advice and microphone time from our resident live music expert (George!). I felt like I'd put the time in but still didn't love how it sounded. I was literally sick the entire week leading up the wedding. (Which is too bad because I didn't enjoy my weekend till I got it over with).

Emma and Levi and I flew to the Bay Area, stayed with my dad and Genie (always relaxing and fun). The wedding was in the Santa Cruz mountains and a stunning location. I loved getting to see high school friends and, of course, Adrianne. We did quite a bit of set up and then had a few minutes to practice with the sound system. We started and as soon as Emma came in with her harmony and it sounded awesome and people milling about gasped (because it really sounded good!!), I finally relaxed. I knew it would be okay. And it was. Lots of compliments and appreciative faces.

I love Tammy's husband and family and was so happy to get to be a part of their wedding. It was a joy to see her parents and brother and extended family, all of whom were a big part of my high school activities. I was happy to have some alone time with Emma and enjoy her on an adult level. It was actually odd to be 40 with lots of people that I was 14-20 with... This weird dynamic where you can't quite figure out how old you actually are. 

Genie and dad were so nice to watch Levi the whole day and we loved eating and playing mini golf and bocci ball and chatting with them.

It was a good weekend. Yay for getting out of our comfort zones and the feeling of accomplishment and confidence that comes with it!