Last weekend we had visitors! Grandmama came to Savannah and brought Auntie M and cousins Claire and baby Art along as well! The main point of the visit was to sew a dress for Lola Gray to wear for Aunt Boo’s wedding, but we managed to squeeze in a little fun as well. We all loved meeting baby Art, and Lola was thrilled to have her only girl cousin to play dolls and dress up and music with.
Not only did both the parents and kiddos survive camp, but Aunt Erin survived an 8 hour drive with all 5 kids in the car – and stayed in Savannah to visit for a few days to boot! It was wonderful to have her here, and wonderful to see all the cousins enjoying each other so much. We played plenty of video games, of course, but also visited the Ellis Square fountains, fed alligators at the Crab Shack, and ate ice cream at Leopold’s. But the most amazing part was the afternoon we spent at Tybee where we found ourselves swimming with manatees! It was an unbelievable experience. The manatees were less than six feet away from us at times, and you could see their huge, hulking bodies just below the surface. When they came up for air, their fuzzy snouts poked above the water and you could hear them snort. I know it is something I will never forget. And I hope the special bond Fletcher and Lola have with their cousins is something they will never forget.
NayNay and Grandaddy came to town for a quick springtime visit this past weekend! Their visits never seem to last long enough – zipping into town on Friday afternoon and back out again on Sunday morning – but we made the most of the time we had.
After a visit to the SCAD Museum of Art and fried green tomatoes and catfish at the Whistlestop Cafe, we boarded the Roseway schooner for a 2 hour river cruise. The Roseway was built in 1920 as a fishing yacht before being commissioned into the US Navy during WWII as a harbor pilot. These days she splits her time between Boston and St. Croix, with brief stops in Savannah each fall and spring.
Our river cruise was not exactly what I expected – I pictured sailing along a good clip and quickly putting downtown behind us in favor of marsh views. Instead we stayed within the downtown area and at times felt like we were barely moving but it was a wonderful experience none-the-less. The kids (and Raymond) got to help raise the sails and had fun playing with the ship’s resident dog Izzy. Grandaddy bought them each a Roseway baseball cap which they have worn constantly since Saturday, and we all enjoyed the sunshine and a relaxing sail.
Another Christmas has come and gone. For the past few weeks we have been wrapped in a flurry of school parties, play dates with friends, baking cookies and decorating gingerbread houses, long, lazy evenings watching movies, visits from grandparents, Christmas Eve cocktails with neighbors and Christmas Day oysters with good friends.
Fletcher’s favorite gifts this year were his much anticipated iPod Touch and the surprise Skylanders Giants, followed by his new Lego chess set (he is determined to teach me to play chess.) Santa brought Lola Gray the guitar she has been dreaming of, and her grandparents showered her with American Girl goodies galore. But Lo says her favorite gift of all is the betta fish from Mommy and Daddy. She named him Fishy Fishy.
My favorite gifts, cheesy though it may sound, are the amazing people around me, both big and small. I am so, incredibly lucky to share my life with them.
And suddenly the holidays are upon us, in all their dizzying glory! We kicked off the season in Roanoke this year for Thanksgiving with the Waldvogel clan. It was hard not to have my Grandmother there this year, and as always we missed Aunt Boo in London, but Erin’s friend Joel and his children joined us for dinner and the house was full of beauty and laughter.
My father and Raymond ran a 5K in the morning while the kids watched the Macy’s parade and Lola Gray continued the Waldvogel tradition of making Thanksgiving place cards.
Lola also insisted that she make the pumpkin pie this year, and NayNay graciously agreed. Despite the fact that I set the oven wrong and tried to burn it, it was delicious.
It was so wonderful to be home again, and wonderful, too, to return to our Savannah home and dive into December and all the fun it has in store for us.
NayNay and Grandaddy came to Savannah for a quick visit last weekend, so we spent Saturday with them at the Children’s Museum. The day was sunny and beautiful, and it was so nice to be outside. Fletcher led us all through several rounds of hide-and-seek in the maze, which wound up being much more fun than I expected. (I’m just so glad that he isn’t too old for that sort of thing yet!)
In the evening we had dinner at Leoci’s before heading back to their hotel for s’mores on the riverfront. And then the next morning after breakfast, they were gone. These visits are always too short, too few and too far between. At least we know that we will see them again soon.
Five summers ago we spent an incredible week with the Gaddy family on Anna Maria Island in Florida, and this year we revisited the vacation with equally incredible results. The family has grown since then, and Fletcher and Lola Gray were thrilled to have 2 little cousins around to play with all week. Grandmama and Grandaddy and their aunts and uncles spoiled them rotten, as they should. We spent one very hot and fun-filled day in Sea World, but mostly we lounged on the beach, swam in the pool, ate a lot and enjoyed the amazing Gulf sunsets each night. Lola was, predictably, a little fish – we could hardly get her out of the water to eat and sleep! Uncle Tripp taught her to dive and she has been practicing ever since. Oh! And the cousins all slept in Grandmama and Grandaddy’s room at night, which was a nice surprise after 5+ weeks of sleeping in close quarters!
Heading south again was a rude awakening. Man has it been hot this summer! Fortunately our trip south included at stop in Roanoke and a day on the lake with the entire Waldvogel fam!
I’m sure you already know this, but I have an incredible husband. And my children have an amazing father. He puts up with a lot – and has done a great job of dealing with my nerves as we get close to the launch of the UNSETTLEMENT project. (Just ask him – I have really gone off the deep end these last few weeks.)
Sunday we took a little break from my pre-trip insanity for Father’s Day lunch at the Distillery followed by a concert in the park with friends. Lola Gray learned how to make daisy chains, an activity sure to bring many happy hours of entertainment this summer.
The weather has been amazingly cool lately, and it was the perfect way to spend the evening.
Now, back to the craziness!
I keep sitting down to write about my dear Grandmother Sophie, but I haven’t been able to do it. It’s been a week now, and I still just can’t process it. My logical brain knows that it was time: she had 96 beautiful years on this planet and I am incredibly lucky to have had her in my life for so long.
But my birthday was this past Monday, and she didn’t call. She always called me on my birthday. And while my logical brain knows she is isn’t suffering anymore, knows that it was time . . . that hasn’t kept my heart from breaking.
I just really miss her.