Adventuring

I haven’t said much about this and I likely won’t say too much more about it because what I’m about to say pretty well sums it all up: I started a new job in September and I Love My Job. The day in and day out is great, and one of the new things that is brought back into my life is doing a bit of work-related travel.

We went to NYC week before last for work, and I was able to extend my trip through the weekend to stay with one of my oldest besties from growing up, my friend Lisa.

Here’s a quick summary of Lisa and me: She moved ‘next door’ (you have to use your imagination with that one as we lived in the country, but having a friend that didn’t require a car to see was as next door as things could get and it was divine) from Germany when I was in 5th grade. At first we fought. A lot. In fact, I’m almost certain that we didn’t think that there was a chance in the world that we would ever be friends, but that shows you what we know. We were only in school together for 2 years–when I was in 5th grade and she was in 4th, and then again when I was in 11th and she was in 10th–but in a way I think our relationship is what it is because our time together was always ours. We moved seamlessly between each other’s houses, kept a drawer in each other’s dressers, we fought like sisters and made up like best friends. Lisa was with me the day that I picked out Grace at the SPCA, the day that Drew and I got married, and the day that we saw Asher on the ultrasound screen for the very first time. We always pick up where we left off and although I was 10 when we met, I can’t really can’t think of a time in my life when it feels like she wasn’t there. It’s a quiet and steadfast friendship, and one of the most essential in my life.

Anyone know which church this is in Midtown? It was ominous and lovely at night. Instantly made me think of Gotham City.

It was high time that I visited her as she has always been so good and kind about coming to us and I’ve not been as good about that. She’s currently getting her MFA from SUNY Purchase, so once my business in the city was done, I took the train to Greenwich, CT and we had a wonderful weekend.

We walked along Todd’s Point which gives a unique (though geographically boggling) view of the Manhattan skyline at sunset. It was without a doubt the coldest walk that I have ever taken in my life, but it was so beautiful and I loved that Lisa wanted to show it to me. Instead of taking away from the experience, the sub zero temperature gave our walk a little air of adventure and I have to say that it was pretty invigorating. The sunset over Manhattan was gorgeous and once the wind was at our backs we were almost skipping along with it’s assistance.

On Saturday we went into the city and walked around the galleries in Chelsea for most of the afternoon before making our way to Brooklyn to scope out some of the goods in Park Slope and eat at one of Lisa’s favorite sushi restaurants. We went to the movies both nights which was such a luxury for this mama, and after spending a day outside in the cold, it was kind of the perfect way to settle down for a bit and reconnect with the feeling in my toes.

Walking the Highline in Chelsea

Lisa is focusing on sculpture in the expanded field and particularly how we as humans connect and disconnect with our natural environment. To that end, I loved that my weekend with her was in an obviously very urban setting, that it was bitterly cold, and that we were outside the entire time. We walked for miles without ever breaking pace in our conversation, and as I was flying home on Sunday, I couldn’t stop thinking about how grateful I am to her for helping me let go of the notion that the ‘outside’ dies during the winter unless there’s snow on the ground. As I mentioned the other day, we’ve spent more time outside this winter than in any winter past, but I think I have been doing it on autopilot, just waiting for the Spring to come and the days to warm. I really am starting to see the demure beauty of the winter pallet, and although I’m always going to love open windows and lush trees more than just about anything, I’m really thankful that Lisa kind of gave winter back to me on our trip.

I’m really trying to make my peace with you, winter. I really really am.

Thank you Lisa for being such a divine hostess and sharing your tour guiding talents with me, and also for letting me drink all of your tea. I’ll make it up to you, I promise. xo

Savannah: Wedding Bells

The main purpose of our delightful trip to Georgia was to attend Will and Sarah’s wedding, and what a gorgeous affair it was!  While the rest of the east coast was being pelted with hail and tornados, we were standing on a marsh in Savannah watching the sun set over the water as two best friends said I Do with nothing more than a stiff (ok, crazy unbelievably strong) breeze blowing our hair up and giving us all that kind of wild wonderful feeling that always comes on a strong wind.  Wind can be so suggestive, and this one was particularly evocative, making me think that not only were these two coming together for a life-long commitment, but they were actually being forcefully blown together.  That clever wind.

Sarah is such a stunning bride and she had a gigantic smile with tears in her eyes and look that was something like, “bring it”, which I loved.

And I equally love how relaxed and confident Will looks…

Afterward we all chased them around for hugs and kisses and pictures:

And after that we headed into the tent for dinner and dancing, but not before we got to watch the sun turn the world golden over the marsh:

The reception was so much fun, they hired a great blue grass band (my apologies for not remembering the band’s name) and the food was excellent.  Will and Sarah were so relaxed and happy that it really just set the tone for the night, and before you knew it, shoes were getting kicked off and skirts were swirling, and we were dancing the night away.  Like really dancing hard, sweaty hair and rolled up pant cuffs and all. So. Fun.

You know you’re at a fun wedding when the bride and groom are the first ones to kick off their shoes…I just love this picture:

The dance party:

And here we are with our dear friends and traveling companions, Jedd and Megan (pre-dance party, that is):

The wedding was such a beautiful event, and I think that more than the thoughtful details and decorations, more than the food or the dance floor, or even the amazing view over the marsh, the thing that made this wedding so memorable was how relaxed the bride and groom were and how much Will and Sarah seemed to be enjoying themselves.  Everyone was smiling and laughing all night which is really a reflection of the two people that brought us all together, and I think that will always be the biggest detail that will stand out in my mind about this fabulous Savannah wedding.

Congratulations you crazy kids and thank you so much for such a wonderful time!!

Savannah So Far.

It’s official, we’re smitten.  I have a ton of pictures, so I think I’ll let them do most of the heavy lifting, but suffice to say, this is a wonderful little town.  I have been here a number of times throughout my life, but it would seem that all those times were about getting to the beach or finding stores or (I shudder) St Patrick’s day, and so this is the first time that I have been here with my head turned up with my eyes on the trees and the architecture and the boat masts and the gorgeous filtered light.  The city, despite it’s rich (in all senses of the word) heritage is unapologetically untouched.  The cobbled streets are hard to walk on, the building exteriors are a mash of brick and concrete and shedding layers of time, and the pervasive attitude is a sort of work with what has always worked mentality.  It’s so shabby that it’s elegant.  We love the rough edges, the contrast of colors and smell that being on the water provides and the feeling that anything goes so long as your exercising a bit of grace in your efforts.

Yesterday we walked around town:

And then gathered a crowd and drove out to Tybee Island to track down a bike ride on the beach and some seafood.

These two have been besties since elementary school:

And then it was on to a little dive on the marsh called Top Sail for some Korean influenced seafood.

Our new friend, Bruno the Mastiff:


(he brought us a milkbone to share, he’s a thoughtful man.)

Today we’re seeking out raw oysters, a disco nap, and then a gorgeous wedding.  Looks like another good one ahead of us.  So far?  So far so good.

More Red Stick Ramblins

So I told you it was a big trip and it was going to take more than one post to sum it all up.  This is me taking a stab at sharing some of the adventures in 4 parts:

Part one: Family, family, family.  We love our nieces, and they are seriously going to give Asher a run for his money.  Not to name any names here, but Charlotte, I’m talking about you.  It also does our hearts so good to see Asher with his cousins, and snuggled up with his grandparents and aunts and uncles.  And ya’ll, Asher knows.  He knows who is people are, and we had a number of moments where Asher nuzzled into his Grandpa or Grandma thoroughly rejecting any advances from his boring old parents.

Part Two: Drew loves the outdoors, something that he gets from his dad.  He loves the snow and the mountains, he loves a steep climb, a good long view, and the changing seasons, but at his heart, I think he really loves the waters of Louisiana.  If you want to see Drew get excited, put a fishing rod in his hand and tell him there is a lake nearby.  Drew and his dad got to spend an afternoon fishing and seeing the store that Drew’s paternal grandfather owned in a nearby town.  We also took in the urban outdoors with a quick trip to New Orleans one afternoon for po boys and flower laden balconies and the general sense of abandon that comes with NOLA’s big heart.

Part Three: Purple and Gold, honey child.  We watched those LSU Tigers with Drew’s mom’s side of the family last Saturday, and while the Tigers didn’t get a W up on the board, I thoroughly enjoyed an afternoon of gumbo and first and second and once removed and any other kind of cousin that we could round up, and felt like I fit right in with the purple and gold shirt that Drew’s aunt Christie gave me.  While I understand the game relatively well, and while I deeply hope that Asher doesn’t want to play football (I just heard Drew sigh in exasperation), I will tell you that I mostly like football because it’s an excuse to get together.  So even though the Tigers couldn’t pull one out, I thought the afternoon was a success, and just so so loved seeing Drew and (one day) Asher in his element.  It’s tough for a Louisiana boy to find solidarity all the way up here in Virginia, so you know that he was happy.

Part Four: Some nuts and bolts…This trip was also epic because Asher came down with pink eye, got his first serious fever (unrelated to the pink eye) and we ran into a little trouble with the airport.  Brace yourself for a quick rant here, but Delta!  What’s up! You’re terrible! Some of you may remember that the last time we flew to Baton Rouge, we wound up renting a car and driving from Atlanta to BR when our flight was canceled.  This time we got delays coming and going, and while we were stoked to get an extra day with our family, we were supposed to be home by 2pm on Sunday, and found ourselves walking through our front door at 7pm on Monday.  In the end though, this is a story about redemption because they gave us meal vouchers which we didn’t have time to spend, and so after picking up our bags from baggage claim, Drew marched over to a newsstand by the front door and asked if they accepted the vouchers.  They said yes, and Drew and I…well, it’s not a pretty thing to say, but we bought 50.00 worth of snacks before walking out the front door with our heads held high.  We have a lifetime supply of popcorn, chips, beef jerky, gum, mints, dark chocolate, and some delicious little pretzel chips if anyone’s in the mood.  As we were standing out on the curb waiting for the shuttle to the parking lot holding our child, suitcases, a stroller, and um, a bag of groceries, Drew looked at me and said, “Yeah.  We just did that.  We’re those people.”

Whatever.

I am going to do everything in my power to never fly on Delta again, and also to spread the word that our pediatrician (the one that made a house call last night for Asher’s lingering cold, that one.) is the coolest man alive.  He doctored over the phone, kept us calm, and joked with us that we had just learned one of the cold hard truths about parenthood: we pay for past life transgressions by attempting to go on “vacation” with children.  Ahh well, in the end, it worked out beautifully and Asher was his usual cool self, despite his warm head.

Are you still reading this?  Then I’ll finish with a picture that I think sums it up best and say this: We love you Deep South.  We love the family that you house, we love that it’s 80 degrees in October, we love that you love to be loved.  See you soon, mmkay?

And…we’re back!

If you’ve been wondering where we’ve been, we headed to the beach for a looooong and delightful vacation.  We started last Thursday and flew to Amelia Island (yep, you guessed it…my namesake) where my father and his family grew up.  We stayed with my aunt and uncle Mike and Leisha, and got to see pretty much all of my dad’s family.  I can’t believe that this is true, but it had been 10 years or more since I had seen a lot of this side of my family, so it was really special to bring both Drew and Asher home to a place that I spent many a summer as a child.  We gathered to celebrate my Grandfather’s 89th birthday and got all of the cousins together.  On Saturday we jumped into a car and drove the six hours from Amelia Island to Perdido Key, Florida to meet up with Drew’s mom Jo Ellen, his sister Ashley and her family, and Drew’s younger brother Neal.  We take this trip every year, and I have to say that we are really hitting our stride.  This year we managed to get in a minimum of 12 hours of sleep every day, we spent our time almost exclusively on the beach, by the pool or curled up in the condo, eating all of our meals in and heading to bed with the rising of the moon.  We slept better than we sleep at home (Asher had his own “room” in the walk-in closet in our room and that seemed to suit him just fine) and just generally loved having so much relaxing time as a family.  Jo Ellen had the inspired idea to bring baby pools for the kids, so we filled them every day and sat under the tent on the beach with Asher splashing around in his own private (and safer) ocean.  He was content to sit and splash for quite a long time, safe from sun and waves, but getting to take in his first week at the beach with a big sandy smile.  There are a lot of pictures and videos from the trip, but I’ve chosen a few of my favorites to share and am happy now to be back home with a headfull of happy memories from a wonderful week away.

Here are some pictures from the trip to Fernandina (Amelia Island).  A special note to the pitcture of me and Asher with my father and grandfather, his great grandfather.

And some pics from our time in Perdido Key: (The girls are our nieces, Charlotte, on the left and Caroline, on the right)

From the Outer Banks…

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As I mentioned the other day, I was fortunate enough to slip away for a quick vacation with my most wonderful friends from college for a couple of days of maxing and relaxing.  Winborne’s parents were kind enough to let us invade their beach cottage for the week, and it was wonderful to be around these ladies, catching up, singing a little bad karaoke, going on a vintage store extravaganza, and watching them surf while I held down the beach.  We try to get together as often as possible which is a little tricky with everyone being scattered all over the place, but we’ve managed to work in one beach trip a summer since college.  Claui had to head home before I remembered to bust out the camera, so she’s not in the pictures, but I loved seeing her before she had to hit the road.  Warren Wilson gave us a lot of great things, but my favorite by far are the people that we met there, it’s a pretty awesome group.

Winborne’s baby, Francesca:francesca

cabana

girlsFrom L-R: me, Alice, Mcghee, Winborne, Charlotte, and Francesca on Winborne’s lap

winborneTaking in the sunset…

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mcghee

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