Saturday, November 17, 2012


There is a big place in my heart for Charleston, and for the friendships I have from there.  In my years since graduating college, I've found it to be increasingly difficult to make the drive to the edge of America, but adding a baby into the mix took it to a whole new level.  So when my mom said that she'd come with me, and jump in the back seat and entertain George for the drive, I knew I needed to jump on the opportunity to see some of my most favorite people.  We found a house on Isle of Palms, and it was right on the beach, and such a perfect place for Saty, George, and me.  

We got into town on Thursday evening, just in time for a walk on the beach, dinner, and then straight to bed for everyone.  It's been a while since I've made the 7-8 hour drive, and we were all exhausted!


First thing Friday morning we headed to the South Carolina Aquarium.  This could have been the most fun George has ever had.  I could do an entire post just about the aquarium, but that would probably only interest 1-2 people.  
 George had so much fun in the toddler play areas on each level.

 He was captivated by the fish.

 Then we found a scuba diver who swam right up to George!

 Charleston Harbor with Saty and George

 I don't know why, but this picture cracks me up.

 It was a little chilly, but we always made time for the beach post-nap.

George loved being able to walk on the beach!

 Friday night, Saty and I went to a fundraiser for Palmetto Medical Initiative.  My friends, Michael and Amanda O'Neal have worked for PMI for the last three years in Uganda, building a hospital that is now run by the Ugandan community.  It was such a special night, and I was so glad to see the fruits of their labor.
George stayed at the house and we got our first babysitter ever.  The reason there is no picture is because George and the sitter never met.  We put him to bed at 6pm, and he didn't wake up until 7:30am the next morning!
 We left the fundraiser a little early and had an incredible dinner at Cypress with the Crane ladies.

 My very first friend from college, Margaret, and her mom.

 Saturday morning Saty took George out to the beach while I got ready.

 We headed downtown, and walked through the farmer's market.

 We had to go through campus- it's just so beautiful.

 Oh the Cistern.  So many memories.

 We had lunch at Saty's favorite, Rue de Jean.

George LOVED his mussels.
Just kidding...but he did try one!

Saty took George back to the house for a nap, and I got to spend the afternoon with Amanda.
It was the most perfect day, and then we took George to the beach for sunset!
Saty and George loving the beach.

 Late Saturday afternoon, my college friends who are still in town came out to our beach house and George had SO much fun with them!  They fed him, played with him, and loved on him so much.  It made my heart so happy to see him loving these friends the way I do.

 John feeding George 1 of 1,532,345 chips of the night.

Charleston friends.

This was an extension (so-to-speak) of my thirtieth birthday celebrations, and it was such a perfect trip. George was possibly the happiest he's ever been, Mom and I were able to do fun things with George, and do a few fun things just the two of us, and we got to be in one of our favorite cities together.  I will always be thankful for the ways my four years in Charleston shaped me, broke me, and laid the foundation for who I am today.  It always blows me away how the friendships from this season of my life have grown stronger in the seven years since graduating college (but has it been seven years since graduation?!)

Oh Charleston, you always treat me right.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Yesterday I turned thirty years old.  I had a little bit of anxiety was totally dreading the day that I reached a new decade.  I don't know if it's the fact that we almost bought a minivan a few weeks ago, or that I have a little one who calls me 'mama', but times, they are a-changin'.  I was talking to a friend the other day, and she was asking me if I'm struggling with my identity.  As we talked through it, I've realized for the first time, possibly, in my life, I am not struggling with who I am, or who I need/want to be, at all.  More than ever before, I am able to rest in my identity as a daughter of Christ.  So, all-in-all, I'm feeling like thirty is a good place for me.

If you know me, you know that birthdays are a really big deal.  I blame this 100% on my mom, because every single birthday was a bigger celebration than the last one growing up.  Now having had George, I can totally understand why the day of your child's birth is a major celebration, not only for your child, but also for you as a parent.  To some (maybe even Clay), the celebrations this year may seem a little excessive, partly because they're not even over yet.

They actually started last Thursday with a surprise dinner at Highlands Bar & Grill downtown.  Clay pointed out this year that it is nearly impossible to surprise me, which is such a paradox because I love to be surprised.  Maybe I should insert 'frustration' instead of the word paradox.  Anyways...I was SO surprised to show up to our reservation for 2 and find eight of the most important people in my life gathered around a table in the corner.

 Highlands' Sweet & Salty cake.  Favorite.

Clay and Saty switched out George since it was a girls' dinner.
Thanks for making this night so special!

Friday night we celebrated at the Cochran's house.  Drew and I have birthdays close to each other, so we celebrated both of our birthdays as a family.  Chase, Hank and George all wore their Halloween costumes, and they all had so much fun!

On Saturday, we had a birthday party at our house to kick off my thirtieth year.  Clay went over and above and planned the most perfect birthday party for me.  He invited my friends and our families, and it meant so much to me to have everyone there.  I did not take a single picture, but luckily my Aunt Marianne was there and now I have a disk with almost 100 pictures from this night.  Thanks, Marianne!

 THE best birthday cake.  Ever.

 My neighbor, Claire, and our boys.

 I forgot to get candles (my only job for the day), so we decided that it's my '1st' 30th birthday.

 Love of my life.

 What's a fun way to pass time?  BUBBLES!

 Clay and his dad.

 Thanks Lee Family for coming!!

 The Dynamic Duo.
These two need a name like the '3 Musketeers', or 'Sonny and Cher'.

Georgie loves his Uncle Scooter.

Finally, we had a Howell family dinner last night, as we watched some of the election coverage.
 If you're keeping tabs, this would be my third birthday cake.

 Snuggling George will never get old.

 Rogers helping me blow out my candles.

 George's first bowl of ice cream!

 George thinks Scooter is so funny!

He loves Aunt Erie!

I could not ask for better friends or a better family.  I look at the faces in these pictures, and I am overwhelmed with thankfulness.  I am thankful for the friends and family I have by my side.  I am thankful for a husband who leads me forward, and for a son who keeps me grounded.  I think my thirties are going to be the best decade yet.

Saty, George, and I are making the pilgrimage to Charleston, South Carolina tomorrow.  I know the car ride may be tough, but I know on the other side of the 7-8 hour drive will be friends that I can not wait to see.  My friendships from Charleston are some of the most treasured in my life, and I cannot wait for George to meet them too!  

I absolutely love old hymns.  I love singing them over George as I rock him to sleep.  I love the richness of the words in hymns, and lately I've loved reading them to understand more of their depth.  This is the last verse of my new favorite hymn, and my prayer as I go into this new decade.

"Haste thee on from grace to glory, armed by faith and winged by prayer.
Heaven's eternal days before thee, God's own hand shall guide us there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission, soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Hope shall change to glad fruition, faith to sight, and prayer to praise."
-from 'Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken'