Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Little More Spring

My little almond tree blooming for the first time!

One more spring to enjoy my yard!

My amaryllis bloomed beautifully this spring. I loved how the leaves really complemented the flowers this time.

Some birds decided to build a nest in my front door wreath. I took it apart before any eggs were laid. 

Here's What Micah's Up To...

First and foremost...Micah took his first bath in over a year without screaming! It's truly a miracle. He used to love baths. Then one day when Micah was about 9 months, Jarem was taking a bath with him and Micah slipped and his face went in the water. He had that scary moment where he felt like he couldn't breathe. After that, he refused to take baths and he would scream and cry and shake with fear any time we tried to put him in the bath. He would only take a bath if I got in with him and he sat on my lap or he would shower with me. His fear crossed over to the swimming pool and he didn't want to get in the pool for the first while last summer. Eventually he started liking the pool, but he still wouldn't get in the bath. Anyway, I'm sure you are wondering what made the difference this time...Easter Eggs!! The way I bribed him in the bath tonight was telling him he could play with Easter eggs in the tub. He's been so obsessed with Easter eggs since Easter. 

Micah loves bacon!! He also loves scrambled eggs, chicken, and most fruit.

Here he is pretending he is calling Dad on the phone.

First time with headphones in the car...such peace and quiet! :)

Too bad he only kept them in for a few minutes. On a side note, he loves his blankies..

Enjoyed riding on my back in a backpack while Jarem, Molly, and I hiked Dunbar cave a few times this spring!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Last Hoorah!

Our last night in Charleston, we can planned to go to a rooftop outdoor restaurant on the top floor of a hotel. We tried to make reservations, but it was first come, first serve. We got there at the time recommended only to realize that it wasn't really a restaurant, it was more like a bar. There were appetizer type things to order and lots of drinks. No tables were available and crowds of people were standing around waiting for a table. Most people had already had too much to drink and were a bit tipsy. We decided that this wasn't exactly what we had in mind for my birthday dinner, so we left and went to the nice restaurant downstairs. Their next reservation was at 9-something. It was just after 7, so we had some time to wait. We walked down on the pier and watched the sunset. By 9, we were starving!! We still had to wait another 20 minutes before they had a table for us.  The late dinner wasn't really what we had in mind, but it turned out to be very good.  Our meal was excellent. That last night we stayed in a hotel because I could not tolerate this air mattress on my back another night. Sunday after going to church, we headed home.

 Sunsets and people are always hard to capture together. Either the sunset looks good and the people are dark or the people are lit and the sunset is blown out. Here's one of both. I've heard photographers combine the two to get the perfect sunset pics.

Eric multi-tasking while deflating the air mattress.

We drove home through Asheville, North Carolina and the beautiful Smoky Mountains. The reason they are called the smoky mountains is little puffs of mist settle in the trees and it looks like smoke rising. It's pretty cool. I tried to capture some of these pockets of mist while we were driving home.

Our welcoming committee! When we got home, the kids had painted their faces to wish me a happy birthday. Jesikah did a good job holding down the fort while we were gone. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Magnolia Plantation

Eric let me pick all the places I wanted to go for my birthday weekend. The Magnolia Plantation was high on my list because of the gardens. It was among the highest ranked tourists sights in Charleston. Here's a little information about Magnolia Gardens:

 Magnolia has been selected as one of "America's Most Beautiful Gardens" (Travel + Leisure Magazine), and is the only garden honored with this distinction in the State of South Carolina! Founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, Magnolia Plantation has survived the centuries and witnessed the history of our nation unfold before it from the American Revolution through the Civil War and beyond. It is the oldest public tourist site in the Lowcountry, and the oldest public gardens in America, opening its doors to visitors in 1870 to view the thousands of beautiful flowers and plants in its famous gardens. 

We got there a little later in the day so we didn't have a lot of time. We bought tickets for the nature train and the house tour. Once we finished the two tours, we didn't have time to walk through the gardens, but it was still an enjoyable time, and I know we will be back to see those gardens!! 

They also have a petting zoo and these peacocks were just wandering around the property.

 On the nature train, we saw tons of alligators up on these ramps below. Each ramp I have pictured is a different alligator. Some were huge!! These gators can live very long lives up to 100 years old sometimes.

Very interesting how these gators sunbathe with the turtles on the ramps like they are best friends. Little do the turtles know that they may be the gators next meal. They only eat once every 3-4 days, so they may sunbathe happily together for a few days before one comes up missing.

This one was huge

Here's a stork and her two babies in their huge nest. The gators wait right under her nest in case a baby drops to become his next meal.

See the gator

 Gators and turtles sunbathing again together.

Huge live oak tree close to 300 years old. These trees live hundreds of years and their limbs were incredibly long. Very little can take these down. They rarely fall to even hurricanes. Ironically, the one thing that can take them out is the little black ant. They eat the core and then when the strong winds blow, there is no strength left in the tree. I couldn't help but think this is a great analogy about life. Sometimes it is the small things that wear us down over time and reduce our strength..

cypress knee is a distinctive structure forming above the roots of a cypress tree. Their function is unknown, but they are generally seen on trees growing in swamps. Some scientists have thought they may help in oxygenation to the tree's roots or assist in anchoring the tree in the soft, muddy soil.

I believe this is a common gallinule or common moorhen

More turtles sunbathing

Big and Little gators

Look closely to see the gator in the moss

We went on a tour of this house. It is called the Drayton mansion. It is on the property of the Magnolia Plantation. This whole property is owned by the Drayton family. There was quite an interesting history about this house. I love the beautiful wrap around porch that goes around the entire house. It's very beautiful. They were preparing for a wedding while we were there.

Mossy trees in South Carolina with a little of the wedding party at the bottom

The back of the house backs up to the river not far away. This was instrumental in the British Attack of 1780.

Back side of house

Heading back into town