We also sold our Honda Accord, don't ASK me why!! Toph's idea. So, we only have one vehicle, which I get to drive, and Topher rides his bike to work! FYI it's 10 miles. FYI there's no shoulder. FYI for the first 5 or so miles, it's not a paved road. It's a dirt, pot holed, non-lit, swampy road. Oi. Topher is crazy. Especially because he actually seems excited to head out on his bike every morning. Silly boy. Oh, and if he wasn't skinny enough to begin with, biking and PT with his division seems to be making him lose more weight! What in the?!! Not fair.
Grace is...Grace. She is ridiculously energetic, very strong willed and stubborn, she loves to push ALL her limits and her mommy's, and she is hilarious. She is of course still talking off anyone's ear that will listen to her. I'm convinced that she really does talk about nothing sometimes, just to hear herself talk. She has a wild imagination. We cleaned her play room spic and span, no boxes in there anymore! And her playroom looks awesome now. She played in there and Topher and I just sat and chuckled at the stories she was making up and how she talks to her babydolls in such a condescending "I'm your mommy and youre gonna LISTEN to me!" sort of way. She sighs and groans and gets frustrated with her dolls for not going potty before they left and threatens "sassy sauce" to them if they talk back to her. Its a hoot. Until of course I realize that her sassy ridiculous attitude is indicative of how she perceives ME! haha. Oh well.
I'm enjoying being out here as well. My close friend Martha from Bountiful came out to visit a couple weeks ago and we LOVED having her. Such a ridiculously awesome houseguest! She was so patient with us and our hectic little family. She was so so wonderful! I was not ready for her to leave and Grace cried for 2 days afterwards because she missed her so much.
When we first moved Grace didn't really realize that we were away from all of our family. She would mention them occasionally, but not much. (Sorry family! no offense! she does love you!) But I was surprised that she didn't seem to miss them. However, it turned out to be not that she doesn't miss them, but that she really just didn't comprehend everything. As of last week, she has cried to me several times, especially at night, that we don't live in Bountiful anymore. She says that she misses her cousins, and aunts and uncles, and Gamma and Gampas, and that we can't see them because we moved to "Sow Cawoyina". It makes her really sad and she is constantly asking me when we are going to back to Bountiful or when people are going to come stay with us. So, to all of you family out there I say, COME VISIT US! If not for me, than for a spunky, energetic, affectionate little Gracey that misses you all terribly. :)
Well, we love you all, and miss you TONS. You can always call us, or Skype with us, we LOVE it, (Grace especially does).
It was definitely fancy, not complete with the chandeliers I had always assumed were there, but still very nice. There were important military personnel there that Topher told me all by name, and there were even retired WWII veterans present. The food was really nice and the speeches were really interesting. Everything was perfect except the music. Can I just say I found it totally inappropriate that at a Formal Navy Ball, they were playing Hip Hop music???!!! Because I do. Find it totally inappropriate. Not that I don't like to dance to silly hip hop songs, because I do. But thats at my house, when I'm by myself and in pajamas. Not when Im in a formal gown at a Ball with retired military. All i could keep thinking was that if my parents had gone to a ball like this they would have been sorely disappointed because they loved to dance and were dang good at it too.
So after 15+ minters of ridiculous music that only the extremely drunk couple was dancing to, I approached the DJ to ask that he play something classy that everyone would want to dance to. He told me that the current song was the last song and he wasnt taking any requests. Yeah, I don't think so!!!! I begged, and demanded that he play something appropriate for the occasion, and he complied. :) heheh. He played one slow song for me and almost EVERYONE danced. Obviously had he taken that kind of advice for the whole dance portion of the night a lot of people would have danced. However, then the drunk couple wouldn't have as easily been captured on video by over five people for YouTube purposes later.
Anyway, it was a fun night. I loved dressing up and seeing Topher in his dress whites. Have I mentioned before how much I love that boy in uniform??? Because i do.
Im putting in these last two collages just because they are so cute. This little dress Grace is wearing was actually mine when i was little. Its a German dundel(spelling?? Sorry mom!). Anyway, Grace wore it the other day and i was in love with how adorable she was in the dress! So cute!
We have explored Downtown Charleston enough now that we can actually find free parking along the battery and we don't get lost anymore! We know exactly where we want to go and what we want to see and can get there in no time flat! The Hydrangeas and Crab Myrtle trees
We have taken a little excursion to see Charlestown Landing, followed by Waterfront Park right on the Harbor in Downtown. Grace loves the Pineapple Fountain that you can walk around and splash in.
We were able to make it to our Ward's Ice Cream and Kite Social. Other than all the ice cream making big puddles around their cooler in the sand, it was a fun day. It was the day they were holding the Piccolo Spoletto (sp.?) contest which is a really neat Sand Building contest. The entries were really impressive!
In response to the heat, Grace & I have tried to take advantage of opportunities to get out of the heat! We play at the local County park and Splash pad once a week, go swimming at our community pool across the street (YAY!) & try to find fun things to do inside. Finger painting
When Topher's parents visited us, they helped us out tremendously in getting us an Aquarium membership. We have been able to go almost on a weekly basis for Grace to see fish, alligators, turtles, sting rays, sharks and otters. It has been a lot of fun and Grace is slowly getting more and more brave each time we visit. Last time she actually TOUCHED a snake! I mean, really, just touched it. Not pet it, just kind of poked it, then buried herself in my shoulder. Silly girl.
We also had the opportunity to go the Temple with our Ward last weekend. It was so neat to have the Ward put together rides, babysitting, food, and everything else we could need. I guess this was the Ward's first time having a really organized Temple trip like this where there was babysitting provided right next door to the temple and having Vans transport people...but It was such a success I hope they do it again! The temple is beautiful of course, but much smaller than any of those I have visited in Utah. It was neat to see that no matter the size of the Temple or the amount of workers, the Temple functions in the same way, doing just as much good here as in any other place in the World.
After the Tram ride Topher joined us from work and we went in their little petting zoo where there were billy goats, peacocks, bunnies, snakes, and a really really cute cat of some sort. Like a jaguar only much much smaller and supposedly native to South Carolina the way it was hundreds of years ago.
The gardens were so so beautiful to stroll through. It was relaxing, beautiful and just a lot of fun.
A couple of weeks ago Topher's family came to visit us. We had a very busy, fun filled week! Curtis found a 10k that is a pretty big deal here in Charleston, it's called the Cooper River Bridge Run. It literally has 40,000 runners and walkers and is the single largest 1 day event in all of Charleston. It starts in Mt. Pleasant, runs across the 2 mile Ravenel Bridge and ends going through historic Downtown Charleston. He signed us all up for it too! Which is funny seeing as how really only Topher and Anni are runners. But, you give this family a challenge and it will meet it. So, Venice, Curtis and Meg all got to training, (me, not so much) and we all managed to run it start to finish, (again, me not so much. I did have a stroller...and am in no shape at all). It was so neat to run and to be in that super charged atmosphere. Everyone was so friendly and you could just tell that everyone was running with their own personal motivations, and it just made it feel like you were doing something really worthwhile. The weather was great, the views were beautiful and the energy was just really neat.To reward everyone for their efforts Curtis and Venice got us all a beachfront hotel room on Isle of Palms. The plan was to just play at the beach for 3 days...but after everyone got sunburned on Day 1, people weren't quite as eager Day 2 or 3. Not to mention Curtis was bored by the late afternoon Day 1. Ha!! I guess it also posed a problem that on the morning of Day 2 we woke up to an absolute down pour. Not really the best beach weather. But, for the first day at the beach we really had a blast. Topher and his sisters skim boarded and boogie boarded. We built a sand castle...sorta. Made Gracey and Meg Mermaid tails. We had a lot of fun.So when there was the rotten weather we instead went to the Aquarium and played downtown. We also went to the U.S.S. Yorktown over on Mt. Pleasant and while they were here we enjoyed some awesome food! We went to a place called Hominy Grill where their slogan is "Grits are Good for ya!". The atmosphere, food and service were all awesome! I had fried green tomatoes, shrimp bignets, fried okra, deep fried cheese grits and shrimp bog!! What a southern feast eh?! So yummy though. We also went to, what in my mind, was the equivalent of a Southern Baptist Church Picnic type restaurant. The decor was ceramic pigs and the tables were of the picnic variety. We had styrofoam plates and there was an entire lunch cart just for coleslaw and pickles. :) Again, so so fun.
I have to write this down before I forget because it was seriously one of the funniest conversations I have EVER had with Grace. And that, if you know Grace, is truly saying something.
Gracey and I were eating breakfast this morning on our screened patio. Grace was looking at my legs and found a bug bite. She asked me, "Mommy, is that a bug bite?"
"Yes", I said.
"Ugh! Mommy! Those bugs bite me all over. When I was at the park they was like biting me all over! And, and, and they didn't even say sorry! And, Daddy says its because they don't have mouths. But, they do. They have mouths. Mommy...they just, those bugs are just, uhhh, they are just RIDICULOUS! Uhh! Mommy, they just, seriously, I don't like bugs! I HATE bugs!"
I should mention that that ENTIRE paragraph was spoken with me only occasionally nodding and "mmm" ing and looking at her sympathetically.
At this point I just told her I was sorry. But, she was not done.
"Well, why there all those bugs anyway? (She has her hand out by the way, with the palm up, and one hand on her hip too) There were no bugs in South CaroLINA. Why there bugs here? What they DOING here? Bugs are just creepy...Seriously. (she tilts her head down and raises her eyebrows and looks at me very seriously) I hate bugs."
Now maybe none of that sounds as funny as it really was. But if you had heard the tone of her voice, seen her facial expressions as she raises and lowers her eyebrows, or when she juts her hip out with a hand on it and has the other hand out in the air with her palm up, like she just can't believe what a crazy world she lives in. She was so ridiculously cute and I was repressing laughter so that she would just keep talking because it was so so funny and was just making my day.
Anyway. That's all for now. :)
As I said in my previous post, on the eve of the 6th day of our travels we stayed in Columbia, so when we woke up on day 7 we had about an hour and a half drive to Goose Creek. We got there around 8:30a.m. so we could do our "final walk-thru" with the builder and this was the first time Topher had seen the house with all the upgrades and options I had chosen! In case you weren't aware, I flew out to Charleston in November to select all our options for the house. Topher couldn't take off any school at the time so I had to come by myself, and have crossed my fingers ever since that I didn't pick out the wrong thing!
On Day #6 we left Manchester and drove about an hour and a half to Chattanooga, Tennessee. This very quickly became our most favorite day and destination of our entire "cross-country" road trip. Our primary sub-destination inside of Chattanooga was actually Lookout Mountain. A very large mountain that rises up in the corner of the Chattanooga Valley, half of the mountain is in Georgia and the other half of the mountain is in Tennessee. On this mountain were several different things to do and see, and we wanted to try just about all of them. Our first stop was Ruby Falls,
A 145ft. tall waterfall that is 1,120ft. underground. I know! Cool, huh?! An underground waterfall?! That is just awesome. So, we went there and got a military discount, (yay!) and took about a mile long tour inside these underground cave systems that led to, finally, the beautiful Ruby Falls. This was so much fun to explore and we really loved it. Grace seemed to really enjoy everything as well, until we got to the waterfall and the way it works is that the lights are off around the waterfall and then they turn them on for 7 minutes per tour group. They also turn on some loud, but pretty, music as the lights are on. I guess this thoroughly creeped her out so she screamed and cried for the whole walk around the path surrounding the actual waterfall.
After the cave tour and pretty Ruby Falls, the tour spit you out at their Gift Shop of course, to get you to spend even MORE money! haha. So, we bypassed the gift shop, but did head out to the exclusive and very large playground that is only accessible to those who go on the tour. :) To say the least, Grace LOVED it. It didn't hurt that a sweet little southern belle named Kaylee took it upon herself to play with and take care of Grace either. She adopted Grace for about 35-45 minutes and just played with her all over the playground. Carried her, held her, spun her in circles, lifted her up to the top of the slides and then caught her at the bottom, scooping her up and talking to her. How adorable, right?! Grace loved it, because hey, any mommy other than her own is top notch in her book! This sweet little girl couldn't have been older than about 9 or 10 and she was just such a sweetie! Grace STILL talks about her. I went and told the mom what a sweet daughter she had, and that whatever she was doing, she was doing it right, because she had one sweet, maternal and friendly daughter on her hands. She was shocked, because I guess Kaylee is the 'bossy one' in their family. Well, this made me feel slightly better. If that is how bossy little girls turn out, then maybe I can stop worrying about Grace. :) Maybe someday she will make a great big sister.
After Ruby Falls, we continued up the Mountain to a Civil War sight. In the Civil war there were several battles fought in the Chattanooga area, and so there is now a National town park, and a little museum and gift shop all teaching about the battles fought for Chattanooga. This, obviously was Topher's favorite thing on our entire trip. Watching the little mini diorama drama was thrilling for him, don't ask me why, but it was. They had a little mini theater with pictures displayed on a projector screen, and then narrated description of the battles fought, and where they were and how they plotted their strategies and all the battle outcomes. All the while, you are looking at the diorama that has all the miniature men in uniform and the rivers, and mountains, horses, camps, and everything is lighting up with miniature light bulbs as they become part of the narrative.
I don't know if that makes any sense at all. But, it was Topher's favorite! He even bought himself a Navy Sailor hat back from the Civil War era and authentic Civil War bullets found in the Chattanooga Valley.
When we left the Battles for Chattanooga we thought it was only about 2:00 or 3:00. Well, little did we know that we had lost an hour, and then to top it off, it was Daylight Savings! So, we lost 2 HOURS!! This was not cool!! So when we got in the car to head to Rock City, (also on Lookout Mountain) It was 5:30! We got to Rock City, they informed us that they sell the last ticket at 6:00 and that the park is only open until dark. So, Topher and I proceeded to try and race through it as quickly as possible! After a while, we realized that really we had plenty of time to just enjoy the scenery, and luckily, it had started sprinkling before we got there, so everyone left!! We had the whole park/garden to ourselves!!! Boo-yah!
Rock City is just like a giant landscaped rock garden. It starts on one walking path and continues through a huge maze of rocks, little cliffs, bridges that overlap one another and then just beautiful trees, flowers, fountains, ponds. It was a lot of fun, and ended up being my favorite of the whole trip.
There is a spot in Rock City, where they have 7 state flags displayed. The reason for this is that they have found a spot where you can see 7 states at once. There is a plaque pointing in each of the 7 directions and telling you how many miles to that state border. This was our first view of South Carolina!
Like I said, it had sprinkled a little bit just before we got there, and a little bit while we were there, so were probably 3 of the 10 total people visiting the garden. So, no lines for Funnel Cake! yay!!!! (Dacia, I missed you! You needed to be there to eat funnel cake with me.)
There is one spot at Rock City that I had seen pictures of and was the most excited to see and that was Lovers Leap. Legend has it that 2 enemy Indian Tribes lived close by. The daughter of one and the son of another fell in love, and when they were forbidden to be together, the boy was put to death on this cliff, and then the girl jumped to her death to be with him. Not a very happy story. But romantic, in that sick sort of way. Haha. Anyway, this is the supposed cliff, and its really beautiful. If you are wondering why the water is green...they dyed it for St. Patrick's day. Lol.
We left Rock City around 7:30 or 8:00 and drove to Augusta, Georgia. The plan had been to actually make it to Goose Creek, but because we had such a fun day, and we lost 2 hours, we didn't think we'd make it there at a reasonable time, so we instead just drove to Augusta and got there at about midnight. :)
Stay tuned! Day #7 we close on our house!
Miles today: 392 miles
Total Mileage: 2,176 miles
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