I was pretty excited yesterday when I received an email asking me to join and contribute to the Alpha Gamma Delta Blog Network! You better believe I joined right away! The site is pretty new and one of our fellow Alpha Gam sisters started reaching out to bring more Alpha Gam girls together. I know that several of you blog, so consider this my own personal invitation to you to join the AGD blog network with me!
Join here! If you're an Alpha Gam, but not a blogger, you can "follow" the network! :)
An LP gift card arrived for LP's (me) birthday! Woo hoo! Can't wait to head downtown for shopping! After all, I am now living in an island town so I need some Lilly! Thanks Mom, Dad & Keeton!
We purchased this Boeing painting from a local artist after making friends with her brother!
It's the new 787 Dreamliner that Josh is working on. The city below is Charleston! It's a limited edition, so we were excited to snag it!
How to Make a "Home" of a Hotel:
Bring a laundry basket for your dirties. And also bring your laundry supplies to use at the coin machines. (Deep down in there is also a change bag full of quarters -- these are essential because it costs a small fortune!)
Display your toothbrushes in a Kentucky horse mint julep cup to remind you of home!
Always display your alma mater(s)! Coasters serve as decor and are functional!
Ladies, you will definitely need an over-the-door rack to store your shoes! After all, those hotel closets are tiny!
Display a sweet picture of a sweet furry friend! Look at this daily for a guaranteed smile!
Bring your computer, printer, and a variety of office supplies! The job search must go on!
How to Move from a House to a Hotel to a Two-Bedroom Condo:
Pray that the movers can make that tight turn while carrying your furniture up the stairs. Then when they do, thank God for answering prayers!
Stay out of the way of the movers so that you do not interrupt their progress. And when the legs to the dining table finally show up in the delivery, put that table together! Yes the movers will do it, but do we really want them there longer than necessary? Nope.
Learn the "Bingo" system for making sure your ENTIRE delivery arrives......all 138 pieces.....I am proud to say that not only did EVERYTHING arrive, I mastered the system of checking off the chart as the movers called out the numbers.
Look at the ever-growing mound of boxes stacked in your new home and just sigh. There is no need to get overwhelmed - that won't do any good! Decide one thing you absolutely must find and after you find it, don't stress about the rest! In my case....bed sheets! I looked all over the place and finally found them tucked away. They immediately went to the washing machine and I was relieved once the bed was made. If all else fails, at least we can get some vital sleep!
See that semi out your window? Thank God that you were not the one trying to maneuver that baby around your new neighborhood!
The "wardrobe" boxes.....pretty cool design! However, they are stinkin' heavy! You might also find that you will have lots of ironing to do because items were stuffed in there like sardines.
That pink tool set you have from college....let the big tough mover men make fun of it.....and then enjoy when they need a screwdriver to put furniture together and they have to ask to use it! hahahaha!
That stack of boxes just keeps growing! But it's okay! You learn how little you really can live off of! Plus, you might think it's funny that they label every other box as "wedding gifts!"
Apologize and feel regret for the rain forest that was destroyed for the sake of your move. Geez! And this is only a small portion...no kidding!
Be thankful that the weekend you move in coincides with the twice-yearly community yard sale. And because you had built-in cabinets at your house in Kentucky, you realize your TV now needs a home. So you set off on your bike looking for something perfect. And you think you must be dreaming when you find this Pottery Barn piece for a steal of a deal! So you send your hubby off on his bike to go get the truck while you barter with the lady who owns it. And you don't care that it's actually supposed to be a bar because you need it for a TV stand, by golly! So your husband and new friend from church team up to drill a hole in it for electrical and cable cords. And each time you pass by it, you look at it and think "that's just perfect....it's exactly what we needed!"
And that my friends, is just a small taste of our move from Bowling Green, Kentucky to Charleston, South Carolina!
When the stress of moving day becomes too much, I remind myself there is a palm tree out my window...and then it gets better! :-) Here is to a day of moving, unloading and making a home of our new condo in SC! We are getting things together and will be ready for visitors soon, so make your plans soon!
Call me a dork, but I often measure random things in fractions and percentages. I don't really think much of it and normally I keep it to myself (not as a secret that is being withheld, but because I deem it unimportant and understand that others might not think it's so cool), but Josh seemed to think it was funny today in conversation when I knew we were exactly at 90/10 on our extended hotel stay. We have already completed 90% of our stay, with 10% remaining. Of the 30 night stay, we have slept here 27 nights and only 3 remain. He laughed and said he was glad I was keeping practice of my math skills. I took that as a compliment.
All that to say......our time living at the Embassy Suites is coming to an end......and I am saddened! Of course I'm thrilled for our condo on Daniel Island, but there is some charm about our temporary E.S. home that I will miss.
The first things that probably come to mind of those who have stayed at E.S. is the luxury of a housekeeper, omelet maker, and bar tender. Our suite is serviced each day -- good thing my math skills are shining because my bed-making skills are not being put into practice. Each morning I walk downstairs for complimentary breakfast, which includes a chef who will make my omelet just like I order it. And each late afternoon/evening there is a reception with complimentary snacks and an open bar. All those things are great and I'm so thankful, but that's not what I'm going to miss about residing here.
In addition to the fact that I will miss having only one house payment (because tomorrow we add the expense of our condo to our house in KY), there are some other things that I know my heart will long for when these days have passed.
The first, and definitely most important, is getting to pick Josh up from work so that we can grab lunch together before I drop him back off. Our hotel is so close to his work, plus I am currently not working, so we have taken advantage of this sweet opportunity a few days each of the past few weeks. I have known it was not to be taken for granted. I will miss our mid-day meetings.
And then there's the fruit............oh the fruit! Each morning when I go to breakfast downstairs, I am greeted by fresh fruit that has already been prepared in bite-size pieces. A glorious and anticipated moment each day for this morning person! You see, I love fruit -- I already knew that......but how often do I neglect eating fruit because it's not prepared? When we move to our condo in a few days, I hope I continue my inspiration to buy lots of fresh-fruity goodness and chop it up so that it is ready and waiting for me each day. Yum!
And the coffee.....it's pretty much a mini Starbucks, just without the barista. Machines where all I have to do is push the button of my choice -- latte, mocha, steamed, lots of fancy choices. However, I usually just go for my plain black coffee......and it is sooooooooo good! I enjoyed morning coffee before the E.S. days, but something about the strong smell of the coffee grounds takes away the goodness when making my own. However, just pushing the button and my mug is filled.....glorious! Why yes, I will have another cup, thankyouverymuch!
And then there are the towels. Plain white towels that are fresh every day. With their subtle, yet clean and fresh scent. And each day when we are done using our towel, it's okay to drop them in the floor (in one pile, of course).....and later in the day the rack is filled with fresh towels to use next time. That's a habit that is guaranteed to stop in a matter of days -- towels to the rack after each shower once we're in the condo!
I really am so excited about our condo and having our own furniture again and a few "things" (bikes, clothing, jewelry, books) I have missed that the moving company currently has stored. I am really thrilled to live on Daniel Island, which is an active biking community surrounded by water and populated by courteous people. I am excited to "make a home" together in a condo. I am excited to get past the moving company making their delivery -- because it's a long and stressful process and I know that already. I am excited to make friends in our new community. I look forward to having guests come to stay with us so that we can welcome them into our home and show them our new city. I am excited to settle down in Charleston with my sweet husband.
But I sure will miss my "home" at the Embassy Suites!
What a great weekend for a birthday! Not only did this weekend mark my 26th birthday, but it is also our last weekend living in a hotel before we move into our condo. So that means that lots of fun was to be had!
This was my view from the front seat of the kayak on Saturday (9/18) morning.....here we are setting out for what was nearly a 3-hour tour of the Wando River!
You can see here that this was a 2-person kayak that our friends generously loaned to us. We loved the kayaking excursion, but that thing was the devil to load and unload - there were times while carrying it that I doubted I would be even make it to the age of 26. Seriously, so heavy I thought I would die!
The Ravenal Bridge was a fun place to set our sights on!
Sometimes I liked to quit paddling.....all of the sake of photo opportunities, of course! This is a candid action shot of Josh powering us.
And this is a staged photograph with Josh and the Ravenal Bridge. I did make him take a break from paddling for the sake of this photo!
Then we traded the kayak for the paddle board! Here is Josh making it to the buoy in the far distance!
Here I caught him after paddling around the back side of the buoy!
Crabs are everywhere! Check out this one fiddler crab with the one funny looking claw!
Here I am trying my way at paddle-boarding. Every time it gets better and better!
And Josh carrying the board before we headed to meet a friend for lunch at Daniel Island Grill!
My birthday morning started off with a Boston Creme donut on the way to another fabulous church service at Seacoast! Then we headed down town to A.W. Shuck's for a seafood lunch!
Our Oyster Appetizer!
Josh with his steam-pot lunch!
A sweet special birthday delivery from my sorority big sis and longtime friend Sarah! Seriously made my day! What a precious and thoughtful gesture! I love you SB!
Enjoying the birthday afternoon at the beach! Due to the high currents from a hurricane in the distance, many locals were out showing off their surfing skills! Which reminded me of my boxed DVD season collection of "Gidget" - I look forward to unpacking those now that I also live in a beach town!
And what birthday is complete without cake?!! Here we are at Cupcake, a local bakery specializing in cupcakes. I chose Red Velvet! Yum!
And Josh enjoyed a vanilla/chocolate combination!
And the hotel delivered fruit and wine this evening for us to enjoy in honor of my birthday! What a nice thing to do!
I have had a wonderful birthday in my new city! We are loving it very much! I appreciate all of the cards, calls, texts, facebook messages, etc! They have warmed my heart! I am blessed with such wonderful family and friends - thank you all! Here's to a great 26th year!
Me, Mama, Diane & Ashley on her wedding day - 5/17/08
Twenty-six years ago today my sweet friend Ashley was born into this world! Little did our mamas know what was in store for them when I was born two days later and they were together in the hospital with us! We were raised to be best friends (and pretty much thought we were sisters - we used to tell people we were twins!) -- our Moms would take us to McDonald's, Chuck E. Cheese, Sesame Street Live, shopping -- we did it all together! As we grew older, we would spend time together every weekend, vacation together, go to each others school dances and birthday parties, and then we were engaged within two weeks of each other, married within months of each other, and have since enjoyed catching up over pedicures! Ashley, you are a very special friend to me and I love you dearly! I know there are many miles that separate us on our birthday weekend this year, but I want you to know that I am thinking of you and hoping you have a wonderful day! Enjoy the celebration and know that somebody in South Carolina loves you!
I just realized it's been a week since my last post! And it's not because I didn't have anything to share....instead we've been so busy living it up that I haven't spent the time making posts!
The weekend was great ! I had been needing some Japanese in my life, so we were thrilled to discover Sake, a new restaurant in the area! Fantastic! Saturday morning I got up early because I had signed up for Serve Saturday. I plugged in an address to GPS and after driving for quite some time, I found myself nearly in the middle of nowhere (it wasn't that bad, I exaggerate) where I was to join other volunteers in passing out water at a half-marathon fundraiser for the Mt. Pleasant Fire Department. Many volunteers were there so some of us were without duties.....no complaints from me because that is how I was blessed to meet my new friend Jill! We were able to get to know each other during the runs. She is so sweet and a fellow Seacoast girl!
The one sad thing that happened is that I hit a squirrel. I swerved some (but not so much that I would wreck or cause anyone else to do so), but the squirrel moved.....in the direction of my tire. And I know from looking in my rear view mirror that I did in fact hit the squirrel, so there was no pretending in my mind that there was a chance it got away. I like animals and I would never intentionally hurt one (with the exception of snakes and spiders), so it really does grieve me that this happened. Nearly a decade of driving and this had never happened....I would have like to keep my clean record. To add to the heartache, my sorority mascot is the squirrel.....so I pretty much felt like I ran over a sister. Not good. I knew my day was only headed up after this unfortunate event! Poor squirrel.
Later Saturday evening we were invited to dinner at the home of a couple who is also from Kentucky. The man and I are from the same tiny hometown and he and my uncle have been friends since childhood! We enjoyed a yummy low country style meal with them as well as chatting about "back home." They were so nice to welcome us into their home and we appreciated chatting with them and also a meal that is home-cooked (i.e. not from a restaurant)!
Sunday morning Church was fantastic, as always! We headed downtown for lunch where we dined at Hyman's! This is a well-known hot spot and many people dine there. We were seated at the table where Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michael Phelps and Danny Glover had once sat (there were engraved plates on the table noting previous celebrity visits). Our crab legs, oysters, and fried pickles were absolutely amazing.....ohmygoodness!
Tuesday night was loads of fun with the R family! We spent some time on the Wando River together. The activities were fun - paddle boarding, jumping from trees, rope swinging, swimming, catching shrimp and small fish.....just a sweet reminder of our love for our new home and all that it has to offer!
Brave L before she jumped out of the tree into the water!
Josh paddle boarding.....this is right after he started his long journey!
Action shot of Little L jumping from the tree into her mommy's arms!
Look how far out Josh paddled!
C & C with the creatures their daddy caught in the net! Those fish and shrimp can jump!
The adventurous R family!
Little Crabs are everywhere!
C with a sculpture of sand!
B swinging on the rope and Josh with the paddle board!
We had such a wonderful night with the R family! After all of this fun on the Wando River we had worked up at appetite, so we enjoyed eating together at Orlando's Pizza, also on Daniel Island!
Yesterday (Wednesday) I enjoyed one of my last few opportunities picking Josh up so that we can have lunch together. After we enjoyed our lunch together, I returned him to Boeing and then headed to Daniel Island to meet my new friend Ashley because she had invited me to join her on a walking trail. Moments after we started on the trail we saw an alligator in the pond! Crazy stuff! I knew they were around, but this was my first sighting! Ashley and I watched the gator for a while and it definitely was aware we were there because it would move when we would! Next time I go on a walk, I need to bring a camera to document these encounters! We continued talking and walking, even stopping on a boat dock to enjoy the sunshine and water before continuing our walk. When we looped back around at the end of the water, the gator was still there! Wow!
Josh and I returned back to DI later that evening after dinner and enjoyed throwing ball at the park together. This park is just a few hundred feet from the condo we will be moving to next week, so we look forward to getting settled and enjoying what our community has to offer -- water, nature trails, parks, biking community, pool, palm trees!
This morning I joined my new women's Bible study group at church where we began our study of Exodus! This is going to be different than any other study I have done before, but I am excited for the new perspective and knowledge I will gain from it. I was completely blessed to sit between my new friends Jessi & Katie during the class, so I was able to get to know them better. And the more I spend with them, the more I love and adore these ladies! They are the perfect examples of a Woman of God, so I look up to these ladies and want to learn from them about being wives, mommies, and children of God. Then a couple other new ladies and I joined them (and little ones) and their Mom to lunch after the study! The lunch was so much fun -- 7 women and 6 little kids all 3 and under! I really enjoyed the time and can't wait to do it again!
We have plans for dinner tonight to meet with another couple for dinner on Shem Creek, so we are looking forward to that!
I could not be more blessed during this experience! In addition to the blessings I've previously mentioned with amazing new friends, our fabulous church, and the R family taking us in as their own, I have also noticed that I have "lived in the moment" more now than ever before! It is so refreshing! It's hard to explain because I am looking for a job and we are waiting on our house in KY to sell (both are big things in my mind), however we are doing what we can for those things and just believing in God's provisions for what is beyond our control. It is such a freedom and so wonderful! Again, I am not saying that life is perfect, but I am saying that I'm completely content with this moment. And that is a huge PTL.....PRAISE THE LORD!
The weeks (really a couple of months or more) leading up to this move were some of the hardest I have ever experienced, but now I feel so blessed and we know we are where we are supposed to be! When Jessi and Katie were inquiring about my move this morning I was trying to explain this when Katie suggested that perhaps I am an early griever.....I dealt with the difficulties of the move before it happened, anticipating the hard times to come. Therefore I arrived in Charleston having already experienced those emotions and ready to move on and enjoy life, which is exactly what we have been doing!
Jessi and Katie have both experience several moves. In fact, Jessi is preparing for a big move a few weeks from now and she is a huge encouragement to me. She has literally moved from coast to coast before -- as a young wife and mommy! She admitted that there were hard times, but in the midst of those it is always easy to see the many ways you are being blessed because of the move....I like this analogy! When spouses stick together during moves, it is also known to be a major strengthening of marriage and I already see that! What a blessing! We have relied on each other more than even before and we are having so much fun together making our way in our new home town!
Moves are hard, but so rewarding!
There will be ups and downs along the way and we are aware of that. After all, that's life.....no matter where you live! But for now.....we are living it up in Charleston!