Sunday, August 31, 2014

Beach Week 2014: beach pics

It's been raining all day so there seemed no better time to finally wrap up our trip to South Carolina.  I got some pictures on my real camera our last afternoon at the beach.  The older girls were always on the move, and the littlest was fairly quick to get in on the action when she could.

best photobomb ever

Crazy Girls - what will we do with a boy in the mix?
These two were fast friends.

"hey guys, wait for me!"
At least I got a good one of the Wheelers!
Matt was kind enough to build a sandcastle for the girls (to destroy).
Expert sandcastle squasher
Kate loved the ditch her daddy dug.
The week was also full of some excellent tea parties.

While we were on Sullivan's Island, Ellie saw many of the animals she has read about in her books.  We saw:  a horseshoe crab, a hermit crab, jellyfish, minnows, seagulls, pelicans, a whelk, a blue crab, dolphins, and a shark!  We were walking back from the tide pool one evening and Ellie said to Pete, "Daddy, what's that?" (we had seen dolphins the previous evening).  I was looking for seashells and I suddenly heard Pete jump a few feet in the air as he said, "Whoa!  That's a shark!!"  Sure enough, there was a three-foot long shark, about four feet away from us swimming along the shore.  It swam alongside the shore as we walked along for a few feet, and eventually turned its tail and headed back out to sea. 

For Rachael and Julie:  Yes, the food post was from memory.  I used the picture dates to help me get everything in correct order, but the entrees are etched on my mind!

It was a great week with great friends - can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Beach Week 2014: Good Eats

Obviously we go to Sullivan's Island for the beach.  It's family-friendly, there are wave-free tide pools for the kiddos, and you can ride your bike just about anywhere.  We also go for the FOOD!  Charleston has quickly become an area that is known for its uptown cuisine with a laid-back attitude.  We have favorite stops that can't be missed, and try to find at least one new place each time we visit.

Saturday was Pete's birthday and he had one request - TACO BOY!  We eat at Taco Boy at least once every time we are in the area and have since we were all in town after Adam Bitters' wedding in 2008.  The guac is delish, the drinks are good, and, obviously, the tacos can't be beat.

2008 - our first visit
2010 - the whole gang (ellie 5 weeks gestation)
2011 - ellie's first Taco Boy trip at three months old
2012 (Kate 5 weeks gestation)
2014 - Caroline's first trip to Taco Boy
Sunday we had to eat at our next must-stop location:  Poe's Tavern.  Anyone who has ever been to Sullivan's Island will tell you it is not to be missed. 

Mmm, so tasty.  The fries are also amazing!
I usually get the Annabelle Lee -comes with a crab cake on top, and Pete gets the Tell Tale Heart - comes with a fried egg and bacon. 

Ellie enjoying her first Poe's cheeseburger
Ellie's first Poe's visit in 2012 - not old enough for her own cheeseburger :)
Caroline liked it, too.

Monday we picked up dinner from Home Team BBQ, which is across the street from Poe's.  It was fine, no City Barbeque, and certainly no Betty Rose's, but it was just fine for our hungry clan.  The smoked chicken on Ellie's quesadilla might have been the shining star.  That or the barbeque tortilla chips which tasted great, not weird at all as I had thought they might.

Tuesday was a big night for us - all four of us went to dinner - WITHOUT OUR CHILDREN!!  Jen got a babysitter recommendation from a coworker, so, after the kiddos were snug in their beds, we were off!!  In all the excitement and enjoyment of our night out, the only picture is from Pete's phone:


I think we would all agree, the Best Entree of the Week award would go to SALT for their shrimp and grits.  Neither Jen nor I ordered it, but we each had a bite of our (wise) husbands' dinners - and I can still taste it to this day!!! SO GOOD!!  My swordfish was fine, and Jen's pesto gnocchi was also really tasty, but those grits, with andouille sausage, my word.  I would also order the She-Crab Beignets appetizer again.   

Wednesday morning, we hopped in our cars to go to a local bakery:  Joey Bag-a-Donuts!  The donuts all looked really good - very appealing to the littles with googly eyes and colored sprinkles, but their taste was just so-so.  The coffee drinks, however, were fantastic!  I had an iced salted caramel macchiato (surprise) and the Wheelers each had an iced coconut coffee - and we both raved about them.

Picking out their treats.
A pleasant morning outside.
Nom Nom Nom
Wednesday night, Pete and I got to go out again!

Wearing mascara two nights in a row - that's crazy!!
We decided to try 82 Queen.  Our favorite restaurant, FIG, is booked all the time now, and HUSK is also similarly full.  82 Queen is owned by the folks who run Low Country Bistro, where we've been once (or twice?) before and had a great meal.  82 Queen is supposed to be a fancier version.  Which it was.   

We're going to be in our fifties and he'll still look fifteen.
However, and we didn't see this noted anywhere until we were seated, the whole place is OUTDOORS.  It's situated in one of those little alleys for which Charleston is so famous.  Which may be okay in October in Charleston, but in August, with my hair down, and Pete wearing pants,  well, we were warm, to say the least.  Our meal was fine.  I think it was our waiter that made our meal not as good as it could have been.  He was okay, I'm just a better-keep-my-glass-of-water-full-kinda-girl or I'll give ya the stink eye.  My cocktail was so sweet I couldn't drink it and the pimiento cheese mashed potatoes didn't have much flavor.  My crab cakes were excellent, though.  We were too full to order dessert.

Thursday morning we rode our bikes to Cafe Medley (also across the street from Poe's).

 A little porch rocking.
Great atmosphere, great pastries - I had a scone, Pete had an amazing looking bagel with nutella, Jen had a piece of blueberry pound cake, and Matt had a piece of coffee cake the size of my laptop.  My coffee was just okay.  Not as good as Joey Bag-a-Donuts.  After breakfast we decided to keep riding our bikes down to the end of the island so we could stop at Fort Moultrie.

Whoo-hoo.  A Cannon.
We lived in coastal Virginia for four years and had season passes to Yorktown and Colonial Williamsburg, and probably a few others.  So if I never sit on another cannon in my life, I will be okay.  But Fort Moultrie was a great place for the girls to get out of their seats and run around a bit, and they did have a section underground that was full of actual uniforms, magazines, posters, etc depicting life at the fort in various wars (it was active in the Revolutionary, Civil, and World wars), and I enjoyed seeing that.

That evening it was Matt and Jen's turn to go out on a date - yay!  They went to The Granary.  I don't remember what Matt ate, but Jen raved about her Duck 2 Ways.  The duck itself was great (pan seared and duck confit), but the real show-stopper, according to Jen, was the brussels sprouts.  She ate them all!!  This from a non-vegetable eater!! 

Pete and I got Poe's takeout for our dinner back at the house.  He had the Amontillado (burger with guac and chipotle sauce) and I had the grilled chicken salad.  I've had it once before - it's one of the best salads I've ever eaten - amazing dressing and it comes with pimiento cheese toast.

To finish out our week we went back to Taco Boy for lunch on Friday and stayed home for dinner.

This is Caroline's give-me-more-guac!!! face
Hope you enjoyed reliving our meals with me - I enjoyed thinking about them as I wrote!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Beach Edition

When we were scrolling through my camera Friday night to see if we captured any good images, I gasped when this one came across the preview screen.  I think you'll understand why.

1982 (?)
These are pretty good, too.  Though Ellie is the mini-me, not Caroline.  And Ellie didn't have a bonnet. :(

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Real Time Update

We interrupt the recap-of-vacation blog posts to bring you these images:

Baby Girl started preschool yesterday.  It's the same location as her daycare, just a different hallway.  But now she will go five days a week from 8:30-11:30, with extended care two days of the week.

Here she is after school (after dinner, in fact) showing her handwriting skills.  Pretty impressive for a not yet three-and-a-half year old!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Beach Week 2014

Hooray!  We're home after a week at the beach.  We rented a house with the Wheelers in Sullivan's Island, South Carolina and just had the best time.  Vacationing with friends is the way to go - other kids for your children to play with! free babysitting!

Two kids plus sunscreen and towels and chairs and hats and umbrellas and sand (did I mention sand?) doesn't leave much room for my big camera, so all of these photos are from my phone.  There are some good ones, though!  I did make a point to bring my camera to the beach on our last afternoon in town, but am saving those images for another post.

Matt's parents live in Tennessee and were kind enough to let us stay overnight at their house on the way down.  We really are so lucky that our friends have parents who love our kids when our family is farther away.

feeding the fish with John
playing blocks with Peggy.
Saturday morning was Pete's birthday - so Peggy had a candle in the banana bread!
sticker girl
Saturday morning we drove four hours to Matt and Jen's house where Pete was quickly adopted by Kate as her second Daddy.
she has a thing for tall guys - and the only guys taller than her daddy are Pete, Adam, and Mike :-)
 After a quick lunch we headed for the beach!

Helping her daddy assemble his birthday Legos
It poured rain on Sunday, and we feared that the whole week would be a wash out.  Ever the ones to make lemonade out of lemons, the boys took to the street with the kayak.

testing out the (street)waters
watching her Daddy be silly
Our house had both a front and back porch, so we could eat lunch in or out.  I also gave Pete some popsiscle molds for his birthday, so we enjoyed those after lunch.

Sharing with her sister - yes, I'll have to get this one printed :-)
  The front porch was great for morning storytime.

Ellie reading to Kate
Pete reading to Kate and Ellie
I got to take a walk with this girl during Caroline's morning nap
It's not a Crawford vacation if we don't seek out a mini-golf course, so one sweltering morning we hit the green and grabbed hot dogs and root beer for lunch afterwards.  This was Ellie's first time to play.

Brief instruction
The best her form looked all morning!
obligatory family photo
Then, during one afternoon nap, I got to go to the beach ALONE!  It was amazing and surreal.  I got bored very quickly, though, and could not wait for my girls to wake up and join me.  This cutie was awake and available for entertainment, though.

Kate LOVED the water.
Pete wanted to run over the Cooper River Bridge at least once while we were there, and, luckily, there is a great pier and playground underneath the bridge.  So we all loaded up one morning and made the quick drive towards Charleston.

Ellie especially liked climbing on the dolphins. (and looking like a grown-up girl)
Reading Dragons Love Tacos before heading to Taco Boy for lunch.
We each had a solo date night and had a sitter come one night so the four of us could go to dinner.  (Of course we got no pictures, even though we were all dressed up and on a double date for -we think- the first time in four YEARS.) If we weren't on a date, we were playing board games.  That's what everyone does during a vacation, right?!?  In the course of the week we played Phase 10, Monopoly, Sequence, and Rummikub.  And had so much fun!!

I lost this and two other rounds of Rummikub - almost unheard of. Jen was dominating that night.
And then, as if all of a sudden, the week was over.  It was time for us to pack our things and gather our shells, and hit the road.  Just as we were loading into our cars, it occurred to us to take a picture of the house.  So glad we did.  Next time there will FOUR kids - can't wait!!

Our beach house at Station 29