Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Returning from the beach brought with it the reality of also returning to a normal routine. Kennedy is part of a local charter school that operates on a year round calendar. Our summer break is shorter than our friends and cousins summer breaks and I feel like it literally flew by! 

A new year brings an open house where we get to meet the teacher. Right off the bat I felt completely comfortable and at ease with K's new teacher. I'm so thankful that she was placed in this particular class because the teacher and her assistant are a wonderful blend of stern and orderly yet motherly and loving which is just what I want for my baby girl. One of the big adjustments for Kennedy for this new year was just dealing with her sadness over her entire K class not moving up together into the same first grade class. She has a few of her K classmates in her particular class, but they pretty much got dispersed and mixed up with the other K classes from last year to make up all their new first grade classes. Her BF Sophia and she were really hoping to be in the same class, but we discovered prior to open house that they would not be and they were both so sad about it. Luckily they see each other at lunch and recess and of course we parents promised them that we'd get them together as much as possible and it would ALL be ok. After open house night went out to eat with Sophia and her parents. The girls giggled and talked about school and giggled some more. It was a fun way to gear up for the new year. 

~Sweet little friends~
 The big First Day of First Grade!

 I can't say it was any easier on my Momma heart to leave her this year. Watching her hop out of the car in the carpool line and happily walk to her class was bittersweet. I adore my time with Kennedy and when she's not here I miss her (truthfully). It helps knowing how much she loves her friends and how much she loves her school but I'm thankful for all the time I get with her in the afternoons and on the weekends. 
 She was most excited about her new book bag purchased by her Nana as a gift prior to the new school year. Her book bag from last year was tattered at the zipper and most afternoons was totally at capacity and I knew this year was likely to bring home more stuff in her bag so it was a perfect back to school gift and she loves it. She chose the bag and the monogram style all by herself. Extra bonus: it glows in the dark and don't you know she tested it A LOT in the bathroom with the lights out just to make sure it worked.
So big. So beautiful. 
 That first week was all about the new class - the rules, the routine, the expectations, students getting to know their new teacher and the teacher getting to know the students as well as the students getting to know one another. Either the first or second week we got our first "get to know you" project to work on. 
 Projects like this in K basically involved me coming up with the concept, spelling everything out bit by bit for her and then heavily helping her with any of the crafting portion. This year, I pretty much got out my craft stuff and she made her selections and went to town (except for the adult help with the hot glue gun). I'll be honest...it's hard for me to be the passenger and not the driver with things like this but she needs to do it on her own and she does a great job and I'm proud of her. 

 I think it all turned out super cute. 
Now that we are well into the school year I can say that I still love her teachers just as much as I thought I would. They are wonderful. Communication is awesome and Kennedy has learned so much. She is reading SO much and loving it. She is learning how to spell and do subtraction and addition. She is learning about capitalization and punctuation. It's just crazy how much she's learned and has committed to memory. She still plays with Sophia EVERY DAY at recess and is overall having a fantastic year! I'm so thankful to be a part of such an awesome school. 

Tybee Island Beach Vacation Finale!

Each family usually sets aside a night for a date night out and or a day to do some type of one on one activity with a kiddo or something like that when we are all there and can help one another out (it takes a village). I'm such a people person that I'm typically all about the togetherness vs. a date night when we're at the beach (just keepin' it real), but we did do a one on one outing with Kennedy this year. Because Kennedy was 3.5 before Avery joined our crew she was well accustomed to one on one time with not only Tim and I as individuals but together too. To this day she craves and requests "dates" or "alone time". It could be more of a function of her personality than their spacing per say but either way it's a request that Avery has never made nor one I feel she's familiar with. So...we try to make sure to do special things with Kennedy and we've begun to do some of that with Avery too, knowing that whether she knows to want it or not...it's still special time for her. 

It's no secret that we like a little activity in our family so on our special outing we chose to take a bike ride on some of the trails at Fort Pulaski. I wish I could go on and on about how perfect of a choice it was and what an amazing experience it was but Kennedy struggled on our outing. I'm not sure if it was the late bedtime and increased activity and sun or what but home girl just couldn't really get herself together that day. She was struggling on her bike, it was muddy, there were mosquitoes, etc. Typically Kennedy is pretty tough and can go with the flow in just about any and all situations (except ones that involve mass amounts of people she doesn't know...she gets that from her Daddy ;). Well on this day, there were tears and LOTS of them. I could tell each time she got stuck in mud and was forced to dismount her bike that she was trying to regain composure but she just didn't have the fuel/resources on decreased sleep and energy to do so. We made the best we could of it but it was a MUCH shorter outing than what I anticipated. Lesson learned. 

The first of two trails we took led us out to the Cockspur Lighthouse. Lighthouses are so cool, aren't they? Even cooler - ones that have survived the test of time and are literally out in the water. This light house is estimated to have been built between 1837-1839. I mean, that is kind of awesome, am I right? We saw tons of scurrying crabs and oyster beds on our trek out to get a closer look, but this is about as close as we could get to it as it's out in the Savannah River. 

 My girl is an explorer and we both wished we could get out there to it and into that little door to see what we could see. Alas...there was no way for us to do so. After taking some pics we headed back down the trail (My Momma heart praying for Kennedy the whole way). 

 Once we got back up near the fort, we tried to convince her to take the trail around the perimeter back to the car but she just couldn't get it together. The mosquitoes were OUT OF CONTROL...like swarmed us as soon as we stood still they were just covering our arms and legs. Kennedy is super sensitive to insect bites so it helped her hysteria NONE. Tim rode around the fort to get some pictures and I took my girl back to the car. She ended up not even being able to make the ride back so I walked her to the car and then gathered the two bikes (getting eaten alive the entire way) and walked them to the car. Oh a Mother's love. 

 We decided this moat was likely the culprit for the plague like quantities of mosquitoes. We also learned later in the evening that two alligators apparently live in this moat full time - I wished we'd tried to see them. Perhaps next year. 
 I'm thankful that our super special date didn't end there because it would have just been pitiful. We went from the Fort to a little restaurant with great reviews on Trip Advisor called Coco's Sunset Grille. They have a catch your food and bring it in to cook it kind of thing going on and the food was DELICIOUS. Yummy hush puppies, yummy fried shrimp...just yummy fresh seafood. Growing up in Charleston I'm a tad spoiled when it comes to seafood and I pretty much don't eat it unless I'm in Charleston or in a situation like this where you know your food hasn't been on a plane, train or ocean liner for days before getting to you. High maintenance? Maybe, but it just is what is. Having said that, however, it makes delicious seafood all the more of a treat. Coco's did not disappoint. Kennedy was allowed to order whatever she wanted and she ordered Sprite, a hot dog and french fries. Ha! This little guy was right out our window. 
 This brings me to the end of my Tybee posts. We had a great time at the beach watching the kids play and interact. We learned some valuable lessons that I hope will only make this experience richer and more enjoyable each year to come. I think mostly I feel absolutely fortunate to be able to give my kids the experience each summer. It's not a blessing I take for granted AT ALL. If it weren't for the generosity of some very dear people, we simply could not afford to do this each year. This house is loaned to us for a week for free. I mean, really? It's just amazing. We just show up and promise to leave it how we found it and get to live in this amazing place like it's ours for an entire week...mere steps from the boardwalk that leads us to the beach. It is my hope that if Tim and I should ever be financially blessed enough to own a property like this that we would do the very same for others. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Tybee Island Beach Vacation Installment #5

Shew! #5! It's definitely a marathon...not a sprint. Let's get to it, shall we? I'm hopefully going to have some sweet baby goodness to share on here soon and I want to have completed our beach vacay. Cheers to being behind: oy! 

These pictures are from one of our overcast days at the beach...there are one or two or more every year but we trudge on because the kiddos need to get their energy out AND...well, your at the beach (rain or shine!). This first photo needs no explanation....those thighs! 
 This picture needs no explanation either...little Coppertone kid :)
 This child was as happy as a pig in the sunshine the entire time we were at the beach (despite getting an ear infection that required treatment!). He just ran around and found things to entertain himself. True 3rd child....pure joy. 
 Poor seagulls. 
 Cue the Baywatch background music. Ha! 
 Sea foam intrigued the kids...they poked it, jumped on it, blew it, kicked it...you name it: they did it. 

 Trying to get family pictures always makes me laugh. This was one of like 6 that we attempted and Kennedy looks in pain and Avery looks resigned. Whatever. 
 Our last day at the beach Avery found something very special. She very nonchalantly walked up to me after we'd been out there for like 10 minutes and said "Mommy, look what I found...what is this?"
 Are you kidding me?!?! Home girl found the first and only funny intact sand dollar we saw all week. Of course she would. Ha! Kennedy was determined to find it's sibling, but alas...Avery was the only one to find such a prize. 
 We soaked it and cleaned it and brought it home. It was SO pretty but sadly a few days later she wanted to hold it and broke it. We super glued it back together (read: Tim super glued it) but it was never really the same. Last week Tim moved something in the window sill and knocked it and it shattered. Maybe she'll score another next year. 
All week long at the beach we take turns cooking for one another - one family cooks for the rest of us each night typically. We usually reserve one night for leftovers because with this many people there's bound to be leftovers. On our last night we ordered Pizza and then went to a little local ice cream place - it was a nice easy end to the week...especially since we had to pack it all up and stuff the next morning. 
Declan preferred to take his ice cream to the face rather than using a spoon. 
 Oh Grey...two things that'll make a boy "hard cheese": ice cream and a camera. Ha! 
 Finally...a cheese out of this stinker. She only made me supply ice cream AND work for it all week. Way to play hard to get Ellie! Well played....

One more post and it'll be a Tybee Wrap! Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tybee Island Beach Vacation Installment #4

So, we witnessed something super cool while we were at Tybee this year. I wish I had super accurate information about the event, but sadly we only got word of mouth and a Google search has turned up NOTHING. An onlooker shared with us that this event was called Army Ranger Family Training Day. 

Let me back up some. Melissa and I were in the beach house fixing lunch for all of the kids and hubbies and as we waited for Steve and Tim to bring the kids up from beach/showers, we started hearing a noise that practically rattled the house - it was a reverberating noise that seemed eerily close and it ran us out on the deck to figure out where it was coming from. I wish you could have seen our faces as we stared at each other like "what the heck!?!?!?" A few minutes later, we saw the source of the sound but still couldn't really process what what was happening. 

 These two chinook helicopters were flying from a nearby army base (towards Savannah) and would wrap around the island and hover crazy close to the water (see below) before dropping 5 rangers into the ocean. Yeah..you heard me correctly - no life vests, no parachute, no anything - just boys in their shorts dropping out of a massive helicopter hovering so close to the ocean that the blades were making their own waves. After they landed in the ocean they would swim to a lifeboat/raft that was being operated by fellow rangers nearby. 
 It was mesmerizing. We seriously couldn't get enough of it and neither could all the other people who were surprised so pleasantly by this "Training Day". 
 Greyson may or may not have grunted from a guttural place for the next two hours exclaiming "HELICOPTER!!!". 
 Once the drop was complete they would fly back by in the other direction and this entire scenario would repeat itself a bunch of more times that afternoon. 
 This was an impromptu pose during our spectating. Pretty girl.
Seriously - he was BESIDE himself with it all. So cute. So boy. 
 I mean, check the dude out - legs just dangling from the back of a massive aircraft and all. Just another day on the job I suppose. ha! 
 If you look closely, you can see the lifeboat/raft to the right through the dunes. Check out how close that helicopter is to the water. Unbelievable. 
 After we got the babies down for naps and scarfed down our own lunch (with multiple runs out to the deck to see more of the action) Melissa and I took off on some of the beach house bikes so we could ride down the beach and get a closer look. 
 It was then that we saw there was a massive crowd and found out that this was called Army Ranger Family Training Day. I'm not sure how often they occur, but they are a way for the families to get a glimpse of what these guys do. I seriously was in total awe of it all. In this pic you can see one of the guys waving out of the window up front. 
 & now the guys in the back waving. 
 I couldn't get over how closely these helicopters would hover not only to the water but how close they'd get to one another too. I mean, I know they know what they're doing but I've just never seen anything like it. 
 Once we got down close to where they were dropping into the water it was kind of funny because there were all these people just at the beach for the day swimming (see lower left of next photo) and then there's all these rangers in lifeboats right there next to them. What a cool day trip to the beach it was for some to be right there under those helicopters. Crazy. 

My husband and Grey were totally geeked out over the whole thing but I can't tell a lie...I kind of was too. I'm super glad we got to see the whole thing...really neat. All that evening they were still flying and so we got to see the air crafts at night too which was cool. Call me star struck or whatever but I have a whole new level of appreciation for what these guys do. This was a fun day but I kept thinking...they likely go into enemy territory and do this. I would never be so brave. Thankfully, there are people like this who are!