Day #7- Arrival in Goose, Creek SC

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!

We got to the house and both of us loved it. It just felt so good to finally be there and to see how everything had come together.
After checking out the house we went to breakfast, and then headed to the Law Office for Closing.
Everything went smoothly and the only anxiety I had was over signing away our money for the next 30 years! It's sort of a relief to know that we don't have to stay there and be in debt for 30 yrs, month after month after month. Instead, we can move, have a moment of relief with no debt, and then go into debt again with a different Mortgage company!! Ahhhh...so nice. NOT! Oh well. It's a beautiful house, neighborhood and area and so we're happy.
We got our house keys and headed to our new house! Topher was the most excited about our Garage door opener. He was so excited to open our garage, and park inside it!! And then to not have to carry our luggage up a flight of stairs! Oh. Wait. We did have to carry them up a flight of stairs. Hmmm... At least it was inside the house? :)
So, at this point of the story I should probably fill in what happened between breakfast and the Law Office. Well, we got a phone call from the moving company, saying that their driver was in the South Carolina area. Not in the Charleston area, but the South Carolina area. Well, in our heads that meant we still had a couple hours. They asked if they could deliver in the next little bit, and I said that at the very moment it wouldn't work because we didn't have our keys yet. I said that we would be in the house by about 2:00 or 3:00 and would that please work? She said she would call the driver and then call me back and let me know and we could go from there.
Well, about an hour later, she hadn't called back yet. In that hour, I had also learned that we would be in the house by 1:30 or 2:00 instead of 2:00 or 3:00. So, I called her back and told her this and asked for an update, only to be told, "Oh, sorry. We already put ALL YOUR STUFF IN STORAGE!!!!!!" Saying that I was annoyed, is a massive understatement. I was miffed. Mostly, my miffed-ness stemmed from their estimated delivery date - 8 DAYS LATER. What?! You want us to live in an EMPTY house for 8 DAYS!!?
Topher and I both took our turn, calling them and politely asking if there was ANY way to get our things sooner, Topher was of course a lot more polite than me...but we both got the same answer - "NO".
So, we went to the grocery store, got lots of frozen dinners, and unpacked our sleeping bags (I knew they would come in handy!!).
For the next 4 or 5 days we basically just shopped all day for furniture. We knew we needed mattresses, a kitchen table, barstools, living room furniture, sprinklers, ceiling fans etc...and so we would head out in the morning, shop practically all day and then come home to a yummy t.v. dinner which we would eat on the floor in the kitchen or outside on the ground in our screened porch. We would then put Grace to bed on her makeshift sleeping bag bed in her room, and then put ourselves to bed in our makeshift bed out of sleeping bag pads and a sleeping bag.
Let's just say sleeping on the floor SUCKS. Topher and I woke up every single morning sore as can possibly be, and not wanting to move. So one of the first purchases we made were mattresses. A Queen for us and a Twin for Grace. UPGRADES! yay!! They came on about day 4. :) Also on day 4 in our new house, I was out at Target getting some groceries and some tools for Toph to install the ceiling fans, and someone said that it was the 17th. The 17th, the 17th...why should that date be important to me....what IS IT?!! - - -oh yeah. It's the DAY BEFORE MY KID'S BIRTHDAY! Can we just say that I'm a bad Mom right now, and get it over with? I'm a bad Mom!! I had completely forgotten about her Birthday up until the night before. I hadn't shopped, gotten a cake, decorations...nothing. If you remember my post for her 2nd Birthday, birthdays are kinda a big deal to me darnitall! And I forgot my own kid's! So, I stayed out shopping until 10:30 getting her a few things I knew she would like, an ice cream cake, a balloon and Tangled paper plates and napkins.

Then Topher and I stayed up past midnight wrapping the couple of presents I had gotten for her, along with the presents our family had sent with us (the wrapping jobs hadn't made it across the country) and assembling the pink tricycle we had gotten for her.
We woke her up singing to her that it was her Birthday and, to say that she was thrilled doesn't do her smile justice. She was so so happy. She came into our room where we had her presents laid out and was so excited and happy! She loved it.

Topher spent the morning pushing her around the hall in her tricycle and she carried her Belle doll from Aunt Dacia
EVERYWHERE. It was really sweet.

But I think the BEST present we got that day was an OMA!!! Mom had gotten into the area a couple days before and had been in Georgia with Sam's sweet daughter Kim. They decided we would meet half way in Augusta, GA and so Topher and I started the 2 1/2 hr.- 3 hr. drive there. We took a really beautiful scenic route there and had dinner at what, in my opinion, is the World's Largest Golden Corral. It was massive!! We had dinner with everyone, and Gracey got MORE presents, and then we took Mami home with us! YAY!!!! A whole week with my mommy all to myself!!. It doesn't really get better than that. I know that I was the envy of both my sisters. And rightly so. Mommy time is highly coveted time.
Mom helped us shop for barstools and outdoor furniture, install ceiling fans and just keep us company. She also went to our first week of Church in our new ward and I held her hand and even cried before we went in, cuz I'm a big baby like that. I miss my ward, and my neighbor who went to Church with me! I miss home! I tried not to hold her hand when anyone was around. Then I'd REALLY be a big baby. But I couldn't help it! She was there! And that brought out my instinct to cling to her! *sigh*
Well, on Tuesday we received our household goods and what a happy day it was!! The movers were great, very careful and attentive to me and where I wanted things. They delivered everything, and then they left the whole big mess in my house. Even worse, was that everything came out of the boxes just as dirty as I had put it into the boxes. What's up with that?! I thought things would come out brand new, like Christmas! Not greasy and dirty, like when I never cleaned them! It seriously made me not want to unpack anything. I did not want to put all this dirty junk in my brand new, shiny clean house.
Mami was so great to be there and be helpful. If it had been me by myself I would have sat in the middle of the room, on the floor and hyperventilated. But my Mom proceeded to put my house in order one box at a time, one room at a time, all the while encouraging me to get off my rear and do something productive.
She was so great!
After a few days of hard work, we decided to go to the Beach! It was a nice break and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.
Topher's friends came a few days later to go house hunting in the area, and that was fun as well. But not as great as having Mommy!! She was the best ever.
Sam joined us on Thursday and made Mommy much happier and then we went into town on Friday. We walked along Market street, took a Carriage Tour of historic downtown, toured the U.S.S. Yorktown and had a nice dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant downtown as well. Such a fun day it was!

They proceeded to leave at 4 a.m. the next day and I cried like a baby for a while. I'm such a mama's girl it's ridiculous. But. In all honesty, I'm just a 'family' girl. I miss my family so much while I'm out here. I can't think on it too long or I just start crying again. I am happy, and I am doing well. I love my house, I love our neighborhood and the scenery here in the South really is beautiful. It's green and lush and I do like it here. But it is most definitely not yet Home. Home is where the majority of my family is. And that is, and will for who knows how long, be in Utah. I miss my siblings and parents so so much. But I am grateful to be here, in a beautiful place, with my sweet Husband and crazy cute daughter. I know we are where we are supposed to be, and I hope my heart catches up with that thought soon, because being heartsick is no fun.

On a little bit more interesting note, it has been raining on and off, HEAVILY, for the past 2 1/2 days or so. It rains so much here when it rains! It does not rain the Utah way, no sir. It POURS. I took these pictures to show my very watered lawn. We even have a mini river in our backyard!

I left the front door unlocked when I went out to take pictures, and I when I came back, this is what I found...a Gracey, wearing my shoes, still in her pajamas and determined to come outside in the rain. Later on in the day, she escaped again, only this time in her rain boots, and very determined to find some puddles to jump in. Speaking of her rain boots...did you notice the picture up above a bit with her in her princess dress? She isn't wearing ballet slippers, or dainty church shoes. She's wearing her rain boots...per her request.
Anyway. Thanks for checking in! I will try to post again as we make
more progress on our house and unpacking. Hopefully things will start to fall into place a little more each day, and in the process we can start to build a new 'home' here in beautiful South Carolina.
Love you family!


Day #6- Chattanooga!!

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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Road Trip Day #5

On day #5 we crossed over the Mississippi River to go from Arkansas to Tennessee and decided to check out Elvis Presley's "Graceland".

I did a famous person report on him when I was in 8th grade and so I have always had some interest in him. Topher, well, he just went because he loves me and is a good sport. So, we got there, neither of us knowing what to expect in relation to prices, tours, what there was to see or do, etc... So, Topher went to the ticket booth, and assumed that this was important to me because I hadn't really considered NOT going, and so, the sweet boy paid $60 to get us both in to see Graceland. Well, I didn't have my glasses on, so I thought the tickets were $13 a person, not $31!! So of course i didn't say anything because I thought $13 was reasonable! Let's just say that Topher was a little confused when I was extremely upset that we had to pay so much! He thought he was going out on a limb and getting something special for me, and really I thought it was a ridiculous rip off and would never have paid that much to see Elvis Presley's living room!

But because Topher is a sweetheart he told me that it was already done, we couldnt change it, and so we had might as well enjoy it since we had to pay so much to get in. Well, it took a while to convince me to do that, but I eventually got there.

I still would say that it is a rip off, and not worth the money at all, but, we still had fun, and now I can say I took the Elvis Presley Tour.

Something else that bummed me out about Graceland though, was that we had only been thinking of spending 30 min. to an hour there, but because we paid so much for the tickets, AND they made us wait in line for an hour to get on the tour bus, we ended up being there for over half the day. This was disappointing to me because our next stop was going to be Nashville, and I had had a lot of things I wanted us to see and do there. But, no such luck when you get there at 7:00 p.m.

Needless to say, we got there really late, probably around 7:00 so it was too dark to see or do anything anymore. :( Next time hopefully.
We did stop at the true to size replica of the Grecian Parthenon, and that was really neat, but because it was so late, we couldn't take the tour inside or anything.

We then stopped at a White Castle to get some sliders, (that was our shout out to you, Karen!) and then we continued driving to Manchester, Tennessee.
Sadly, because I am writing this so behind schedule, i don't really remember any cute stories from the day.

The only thing I remember that was sort of cute is this: Before we left Utah, Dacia and I went shopping together. I picked up some Barbie movies for Grace for in the car because, to my dismay, she absolutely loves them. One of them especially, became her favorite for the trip and was probably watched on average between 2-3 times a day. By day #5 she had the songs almost completely memorized. When we were at the Parthenon, she kept running ahead of us and singing, and putting herself high up on the stairs, or anything that was set higher than us, and just singing. She would sit there, singing and twirling and with the biggest smile on her face, singing all the words to Barbie, The Swan Princess. It really was so very cute. I loved just watching her; that sweet, exuberant smile on her face, singing, and if she caught me looking at her, she would get bashful and smile even bigger, but in turn sing quieter. Such a sweet girl she was.
Every night she would ask us, "We going to nuddah howtail?" No fail, every night she asked that question, and then would ask if we could go swimming.
I just loved the way she said hotel.
Anywho...that was day #5.
Miles Today: 283
Total Mileage: 1,784

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