Friday, April 28, 2017

Savannah - February 2017

Savannah is easily one of my favorite US cities.  This was our third visit to Savannah, and we still found it to be just as delightful and charming as ever.  We drove down on a Friday evening and arrived to our hotel around 9:00 pm.  We stayed at a Hilton right in the Historic District, which was so convenient because we were able to walk everywhere that we wanted to go.

Saturday morning we were up and ready for a fun day.  We started with our hotel breakfast.  Isaac ordered hard boiled eggs.  I guess we thought they might have some already boiled, but they did not and we ended up waiting at least 25 minutes for the eggs to arrive.  Charlie kept the boys busy by "sneaking" pictures of them.

After breakfast we walked down to River Street and were greeted with a view of an enormous container ship sailing in to the nearby port.  One of the construction workers who came by told us we were lucky to catch a glimpse so close up.  "Once in a lifetime" he said.  Unless you've already been to the Panama Canal, that is.  But we still thought it was cool and watched as it sailed past.

The boys were convinced that the stacks of containers were way too high to fit underneath the bridge and watched eagerly as it inched closer, just waiting for an epic collision.  Obviously it sailed through  to the port without incident, and we moved on to explore the rest of River Street.

We passed the Georgia Queen Riverboat, (which always reminds me of the Mark Twain Riverboat at Disneyland) and then were surprised to see another container ship sailing in.  

We were quickly distracted from the water traffic once we made it to the candy store.  Luke is a total sugar addict and this was easily the highlight of the trip for him.  River Street Sweets is an old fashioned candy store where you can watch as the confectioners make pralines, or candied apples, or operate the taffy machine.  It is a fun store with so many yummy things to choose from.  The boys go straight for the junk though.  There is a whole wall filled with candy bins of every type you can imagine.  Charlie lets them each fill a bag with whatever they want (and ok, Charlie and I filled little bags too).  

Luke remembered the giant gummy snakes from a previous visit, and those were the first things to go into his bag.  I suppose we may be awful parents for loading our kids up with bags of sugar on a Saturday morning, but the candy served as good motivation throughout the day when we needed them to keep walking or to go into another store.  

Isaac found the bin of Warheads candy and scooped several into his bag. We all got a good laugh as he tried out the first one.  He was laughing while fighting the urge to spit it out.  Just thinking about the sourness of those candies - which I haven't eaten in at least 20 years - makes my mouth start to water!  He convinced Charlie & Luke to try them too, and it was funny to watch each of their reactions.

We walked the length of River Street, stopping in various shops along the way.  The Peanut Shop is always a favorite, and we also visited the other old fashioned candy store at the other end of the street.  Isaac was in search of a candy called Toxic Waste that he learned about from a YouTube video.  (His friend told him about a guy called Guava Juice on YouTube that makes videos of himself doing all sorts of ridiculous things - like eating Toxic Waste.)  He managed to find a can of it and convinced us to buy it for him.  In case anyone is wanting to try it (sarcasm intended), the verdict from Isaac & Luke was that the Toxic Waste was actually less sour than the Warheads.  Now you know.

We boarded the water taxi at the end of the street and rode it back up towards our hotel.  Isaac thought it was cool to ride Titanic style at the bow of the boat.  Luke preferred the side view so that he could see over the edge.

We climbed back up a set of old stone steps back towards our hotel and made a pit stop at our room to drop off some of the things we had bought - including the wooden pirate swords that Luke somehow convinced Charlie to buy for him & Isaac.   

We headed back out and had lunch and did some more shopping.  What I love most about Savannah is the way the city is laid out around squares.  There are 22 squares and each is like a small park with a monument in the center and benches, trees, and other greenery surrounding it.  They are beautiful and peaceful and make the city seem quieter than it really is.  The squares are surrounded by old historic homes and businesses, all with stunning and unique architecture.  The trees are covered in Spanish moss, which hangs down and makes the whole city feel like it is wrapped in a fairytale.

I feel like it is impossible to capture the charm of Savannah with just photos.  But my photos aren't very good either, so that doesn't help much!

Besides the candy store, the other favorite for Isaac & Luke is Forsyth Park.  I always love stopping by the iconic fountain in the center of the park, but the boys always head straight for the playground.  The playground is fenced in and has some unique and fun play structures that they love.  After so much walking, you'd think they would be tired - but they could play there for hours.

We also saw tons of dogs at Forsyth Park.  I think I mentioned in a previous post how we count dogs everyday.  We reached a new record for our dog count that day - 162 dogs!  That blew our previous Hilton Head record (49 dogs) out of the water, and it may be awhile before we can beat that number.

That evening we had dinner at Paula Dean's Lady & Sons restaurant.  We have eaten there on every visit to Savannah, and while the food is good - we decided after our meal that we'd like to try somewhere different next time.

We boxed up some leftover food to take with us (Luke is always hungry about an hour after dinner), and ended up giving it to a homeless couple that we saw searching for food in a trash can on the street.  Charlie & I were SO full that we decided to do a little extra walking around just to get some of that food settled.  By the end of the night we had walked just over 10 miles!  The boys had been begging to go swimming, so we made a quick visit to the hotel pool before falling into bed that night.

The next morning we had to pack up to go home.  We had breakfast at the hotel again, and luckily they were a little quicker with the eggs this time.

We drove to Tybee Island to spend a few hours at the beach before driving home.  Unfortunately, it was overcast that morning and quite chilly.  We hadn't planned to swim anyway, but even playing in the sand we were all cold.  The boys dug holes, Luke chased seagulls, and Isaac walked up and down the beach making long tracks with his shovel.  We only lasted about an hour and a half before deciding to call it quits.  

We headed home from there and had an uneventful drive back.  It's about a four and a half hour drive for us, which makes it easy to go for a quick weekend trip.  I'm sure we'll be back again soon!

And to finish off this post, here is some video footage of everyone trying out the Warheads and the Toxic Waste.  Isaac never offered me one, and I'm not sad about that.

Warheads vs. Toxic Waste from Carrie Wood on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Week 5 & 6 - Cake Decorating and more Bike Riding

The week started just like any other - waking up to this furry friend cuddled up in my bed.  He is totally spoiled, and he hogs the bed and snores and wakes me up at night to go outside and pee.  But I love him anyway.  

I had a doctor appointment.  I was about 8 weeks pregnant, but I just didn't feel pregnant and in my gut I knew something was wrong.  Sure enough when I went in for an ultrasound, it showed a gestational sac, but no embryo.  The doctor told me my dates might be off and that the baby just hadn't grown enough yet to be seen on ultrasound.  I was scheduled to come back in a week.  But I knew my dates were right and I knew this was another failed pregnancy.  I hate that I have to deal with this overcrowded parking garage and pay for parking every time.  Too bad that's not even the worst part.  

I took Isaac for a haircut.  I meant to snap a before and after photo, but I only got the before!  His hair had grown quite long and I kept teasing him that he was like a shaggy dog.

For our activity this week the Laurels requested to learn some cake decorating skills from Suzy Neeves.  Suzy went to school to be a pastry chef, so her skills are pretty impressive.  I think I was maybe more excited for the activity than the girls.  We had a cake decorating activity when I was in YW and it's one of the few that I actually remember.  (Amy, do you remember your family came to visit from Nebraska that week and I think I decorated my cake to say "Welcome Casebolts" or something like that.  I remember your mom was so impressed by that cake.  Ha!)

Sydney, Sam, and Gloria with their cakes.

That's my cake in front.  Suzy taught us how to make different kinds of flowers.

My cute friend Suzy and her beautiful cake.

I don't remember how or why we got started, but Luke and I count dogs every morning on the way to preschool.  We live 2 miles into our subdivision, so when driving out we always pass several dogs out on their morning walks.  We have names for most of them - Furry Face, Shorty, Sniffy No Tail, etc.  On the road that leads to Luke's school there is some farm land and occasionally we see the tractor out on the road.  And on that tractor there is also a dog!  Sometimes he rides in the seat up front, sometimes on top of a load of rocks or hay in the trailer, sometimes sitting inside the front shovel.  His name is Tractor Dog and it's always a good day if we see him.  On this day I had already dropped Luke off, but then I saw the tractor coming and I hurried to snap a picture so I could show Luke after school.  It's totally blurry, but I want to keep this memory of our dog counts & Tractor Dog.  

And here's Luke after school with one of his Trio block creations.  Probably some sort of a gun or blaster.  We have a no gun rule, but boys will be boys.

We didn't make it to the bike park on Saturday, but after some yard work we got Luke out on Isaac's old bike with training wheels.  He had fun just going up and down the sidewalk.

And pretending to fall off and be dead.  He is such a ham sometimes!

The Bermuda grass that everyone has around here goes dormant in the winter.  If you roll in it, you get covered in dead grass that sticks to your clothes like a magnet.  Charlie pulled out the leaf blower to help get the grass off of Luke's pants.  He and Conner (our neighbor) thought it was hilarious and kept asking to get blown over and over again.

Sunday was the Super Bowl!  I normally don't care much about football, but for the past few weeks all of Georgia has been on a high about the Falcons going to the Super Bowl.  I was admittedly pretty excited about it myself.  We had "appetizer dinner" and watched together as a family.  The boys loved the commercials and the Lady Gaga half time show.  It was an exciting game and the Falcons had a big lead during the first half.  Every time we would cheer poor Cracker would get so nervous.  He crawled up on the back of the couch and hid behind my neck whenever it got too loud.  Nerdy dog.  Unfortunately, the Patriots made a big come back and the game went into overtime.  The Patriots also won the coin toss and took the ball, and the win.  We were so bummed!

Luke had a dentist appointment.  He hadn't been in a little over a year because the last one was so traumatic.  Luckily he did much better this time.  He has a pretty sensitive little mouth, and I could tell he was hating the whole thing (he kept wiggling his little legs and gripping the seat).  I was proud of him for holding it together so well.  

Somehow Luke ended up with my phone on the way home from school.  He snapped this photo (and about 100 more) while we were driving home.  That's Towne Lake Pkwy, and just a few of the millions of trees that we have here in Georgia.