Tag Archives: vacation

Beach, Boogie Boards, Brew and Buddies!

6 Sep

Our trip to Tybee Beach is now a week behind us but the memories are still as bright as our smiles were while we were there.

The Beach
Bean has always been our brave one when it comes to battling the waves. Nate, well, let’s just put it this way, when we told him we were going back to the beach, we didn’t get excitement and joy like we did from Nia – no – Nate actually started to cry a bit and said, “I don’t want to go!” We calmed him, assuring him that he could just chill on the sand.

As we walked out to the ocean for the first time this trip, we were prepared for the freak out fest – but he didn’t. In fact, the next day, he was running and playing in the calm low tide salt water pools – checking out a ton of tiny hermit crabs and throwing his Spiderman Scuba guy all over the water. All that helped him face the waves. He pumped himself up as he headed farther and farther out, “Natey, McNatey, you’re goin’ far now. Natey, McNatey, you’re doin’ it now.” And he did. By the time we were ready to leave for home, he was cruisin’ his newly purchased boogie board, just like his big sis.

Boogie Boards
Bean is a boogie boarding princess. She seriously could not get enough of surfing the waves. That also meant Andrew was exhausted because he was the one who helped her fight her way farther than Nate – or even I – would venture. (This all made my mom very nervous. Nate and I as well. Peas in a stress pod, us three.) Nia looked so grown up, smiling the whole time, as each wave she caught carried her closer to shore. She didn’t want to stop. I love her spirit, energy and bravery. Last year, a jellyfish got her good but you would never know it. I hope she always holds that strength – and carefree beach attitude – with her.

Brew Fest
During our time near Savannah, we also got to very much enjoy the annual Savannah Craft Brew Fest. We had tickets numbered 30 and 31. That’s how excited we were for this fest. Since Andrew’s been brewing his own beer and always appreciates a good brew, this was something he was really looking forward to. I was just ear to ear happy to be there with him on a date and with good friends and his sis surrounding us while we all sipped and laughed. (Thanks to Honey for spending the afternoon solo at the beach with the kiddos!)

As for Andrew’s favorite flavor, he says Cigar City’s Cubano Espresso and the Wild Heaven Brewing Co.’s Invocation Belgian Ale were at the top. He said the taste for both was unexpectedly good. He also enjoyed a cigar – that I actually kind of forced him to buy because he mentioned that one might be nice to have but then did his whole “neither here nor there” stance. Why not? It’s just one brew fest afternoon, after all.

My favorite sips would have to be either the Woodchuck Fall Limited Release Hard Cider or the Lagunitas Brewing Co.’s IPA. I mostly enjoyed just being there with some of my favorite people, across from beautiful downtown Savannah. A gorgeous view, brew and, yes, buds.

It made my heart so happy to see former co-workers and my old boss at WSAV. I’m not going to lie – I teared up a little seeing that newsroom that I spent so much of my life in. Heck, both of my babies were nurtured in my belly in that place – complete with the food from the fast food joints nearby it. It was so great getting to see them and they made me feel right at home. Great memories there. Where I grew up.

Our trip to Tybee wouldn’t be complete without our fix of seeing our dear friends, the Heidels. I wish we could have spent more time together but I’m so very thankful to have the brew fest hours and Sunday beach time with them. Miss Camille is such a sweetie and it was so fun watching her bury her dinosaurs in the sand. We were also spoiled to share in Ginger’s leftover football fixins. Can you say stuffed mushrooms? Buffalo chicken awesomeness? Even without that food and the constant great conversation we share, they are all always loved and missed like family.

We also got super lucky to see our good friend Paul and Matt, Shirley and Avery Fischer. We always cherish our time with Paul and my mom loved to have him as a porch buddy, enjoying an ocean view and excellent conversation. Meanwhile, Nia and Avery were picking up right where they left off a year ago. They were born to be buds and it’s even more awesome that we parents like each other too!

Beach time near Savannah also means getting to hug and squeeze our nieces, Ellanor and Magdalene. They got to sleep over and it was a blast! I love how the four cousins play so well together. They had some short beach time and spent a lot of condo time drawing pictures and chomping on popcorn. They couldn’t be happier!

I’m also so thankful my mom said yes to the stress-inducing layover flights (in rough weather no less). She loved sitting on the porch and watching the kids enjoy the ocean from her beach chair under the umbrella (when she wasn’t worried about their safety!). She also knows how to souvenir shop and braved a plate of crusty critters with me. (We laughed and gagged the whole way through.) I couldn’t ask for a cooler, more caring mom. Thanks, Lady. I love you lots.

Hope to see you next year, Tybee – with all the perks!

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Surf, Sting, Sleepover and Some Other Super Stuff

6 Sep


Our recent trip to the beach showed us our children view the whole surf and sand experience very differently. We couldn’t get Nia out of the water and it took forever for Nate to finally get into the water. (Or even close to it.) Nate didn’t even want the “mud” on him.  (That’s what he called wet sand.)

Instead, for a large chunk of three days, he worked up the nerve to run lightning quick in the shallowest of water, cried some, chased and fed birds, built a few castles, played his video game and then, eventually – toward the end of our time – tackled and conquered his fear of the water.

Beach Beauty

Beached Boy

Cool Wave Rider

Brave, Unbeached Boy


As the pictures above show, our beach beauty couldn’t get enough of the waves. Even a nasty jellyfish sting didn’t keep her sidelined for long. A lifeguard saw Andrew carrying her as though something was wrong and gave us some “Jellyfish Squish” spray. The sting beached her for a bag of chocolate-covered pretzels and that’s about it. She went right back in the water and acted like we were making too big of a fuss out of it.

Sweets Gets Stung

Chocolate Makes It All Better


This adventure marked the first time Nia and Nate shared a room. It featured two twin beds and a television that was almost as big of a deal as the beach. (They don’t have tv’s in their rooms.) The first night was a bit of a challenge for all of us. We let them watch some tv but then after that we heard quite a bit of commotion and then Nate came crying out of the room. When all the drama was calm, he informed us he had been building a “bridge” from his bed to Nia’s bed when he slipped and hurt himself on the bed. It’s all fun and games until …

Nate's Bed Bridge

Some Other Super Stuff

This beach trip also offered some great quality time with friends and a first for Nate.

We had such a wonderful time visiting with the Heidel family, who sacrificed their college’s opening weekend football game to spend Saturday at the beach with us. (Did I mention they are great friends?)

Snacks are better with buds at the beach.

After a day at the beach, we enjoyed dinner, drinks and caught a few innings of the Savannah Sand Gnats’ game. This is where Nate’s first comes in. He’s never seen a professional fireworks show before. This weekend though, he experienced two of them. One after the Gnats’ game and the other while sitting on the beach in celebration of the Labor Day weekend.

Enjoying the Fireworks

Nia also got a very special treat. One of her bestest buds ever, Miss Avery, visited us. Nia and Avery were basically born to be friends. Exactly a month apart, they were side by side crib mates at daycare and became inseparable until we moved away. The time and miles apart have not hurt their friendship at all. They picked up right where they left off and immediately began playing pretend “iCarly” while hitting the waves.

Reunited Friends

Our mini-vacation to the beach was so nice and memorable, Andrew was already, seriously, asking when we could go back. Nate, on the other hand, was ready to head home. Nia was just fine whatever we decided (as long as she’s getting a souvenir or two). Me? Well, I’m happy just making memories with them – even if one of them involves a jellyfish.

Happy Beach Fam

The Good, The Bad and The Kid Locked in the Car

1 Jan

Before I leave you wondering…

Yes, I locked Nia in the car. I really did that.  I was one of those people.  I will tell you all about the hour of fun we had while waiting for Triple A to show up a few sentences later in this post because there was just so much that happened. I think it’s best to break out the bullet points!

  • The visit to my sister’s house was GREAT!  It was so wonderful getting to see her home and spend time with them there (and eat tons of delicious homemade cookies).  Even the drive to Cleveland was awesome!  Nate was like a completely different boy!  He didn’t cry at all!
  • As soon as we got to good ole’ Weirton, my mom and I hit the road to Pennsylvania to shop.  There weren’t even open handicap spots!  It was nutso!  I almost ran a stop sign too!  That should have been the first sign that my brain was struggling.
  • That same night Andrew and I headed back up to Pittsburgh to catch up with our friends Chris and Julie. Lola watched the kids for us so we were able to have some couple time.  Chris and Julie made it possible for me to do something I never did before – enjoy a Primanti Brothers sandwich! If you don’t know about them – they are YUM.  They put cole slaw and french fries on the sandwich.  Again, YUM.
  • The next day with Chris and Julie was also a great time. We took Nia ice skating and she had a blast.  She kept wanting to go around and around but it was getting harder and harder for daddy and mommy to go that slow and bear her weight.  I took some really cute pictures of her skating but sadly, I cannot share them. That is a “bad” that I have to tell you about but first, now it’s time to talk “kid locked in car.”   Yep, this is when I did it.  We were leaving the ice skating rink and I had the task of getting Nia buckled in as Andrew paid for parking.  It’s a long explanation of how I did it – but in the end all that matters is – I did it. I put the keys on the car seat, buckled her in and then closed the door.  All of that would have been ok if I didn’t have the doors locked and if Nia could get out of her child safety seat.  And she certainly was not learning how to do it through a window as her parents tried to mime to hert.  She kept saying, “Just come in and get me!”  We finally got through to her that we couldn’t come and get her – that a man was coming to help.  She tried to help.  She tried to pull her stay-puffed coat arm through the buckle’s strap.  Nope.  She tried using her Barbie to reach the lock.  Nope.  She picked up a book to read.  (She could reach that but not the keys!)  It’s so funny too because there I was so upset and she was totally fine.  Like, “Whatever – I’m waiting for the man to come.  Is he here yet?”  I love you Bean.  I’m so sorry I did that – trust me – it will NEVER, EVER happen again.  I’m sure I’ll do other bad things along the way – but you can take this one off the list.
  • Christmas was a wonderful day.  The kids loved opening presents (they had 3 rounds of opening that day) and Nate is at that age where everything he opens gets a “OH” and the really great things get a “WOW!”
  • The next day my sister and I braved the shopping crowds and scored big on some sales!  I loved being able to hang out with just her.  We haven’t been able to do that in a really long time and it was needed!
  • I also loved being able to celebrate Nate’s 2nd birthday with family. Even though he was pretty sicky that day, he still did great and blew out his candles like a champ!  (Getting us all sick in the process…)  After the party, we got to hang out with my good friends from high school Julie (another one) and Mary Lou and their families.  It’s so crazy to think that we all have children!  We’re like all grown up now and hardly get to talk but we can meet up like we just talked yesterday.  I love that!
  • Andrew and I got to have date night!  At the movies!  My mom watched the kids for us so we hit the theater to see “I Am Legend.”  We really liked it – but not the theater experience.  I’m sure I was annoying when I was a teen but come on!  Taking flash pictures, ringing cell phones and laughing loudly during the sad parts – a police officer came in to settle them down but it was during the last minutes of the movie!  I’m not sure when we’ll be back to a theater – why spend $20 there when we can just buy the DVD and enjoy it in the comfort of our own home and annoyances?
  • Coming home was also an adventure.  We had a luggage carrier strapped to the roof of the Malibu Maxx and it started pouring rain the last hour of the trip – that rain came in through our doors because of the way we had to tie the carrier to the car.  We were using a coffee cup to catch the drips!  It was also on the way home that I so stupidly lost one of our camera’s memory cards.  The one that had the visit to my sister’s on it.  The one that had Nia ice skating.  The one that had all the Christmas pictures on it.  I think it was on my lap and fell out of the car when I got out for a potty break at a gas station.  Andrew called.  Of course, it wasn’t turned in to the gas station. I’m still so sad over the whole thing and really mad at myself.  I will always have the memories in my mind, but still.

So there it is.  Christmas 2007 is history and a new year of laughs, horrors, love and adventures has started.  I can’t wait to share another year with you!  Hopefully, it will feature more of the good stuff – even though some of the bad is more fun to read!

Beach Memories

7 Sep

Beautiful Beach
Where to begin? I just really don’t know. Right now, two days after leaving Tybee Island, the adults are pooped and the kids are sick.  I kind of feel like a need a vacation from the vacation. It’s not to say that I didn’t have a great time – I did – at times. At other times – well, it’s just hard being away from the comforts of home. It’s so hard to write about the negatives when, looking back on it all, so many positive things happened and some of them even came out of the negatives. That’s why I’m going to take a somewhat easy way out and basically summarize the entire trip (the good, the crazy and the yuck) through my experiences.

  • Great quality time, conversations and laughs with loved ones – especially sitting outside until 1 am-ish just hours before the storm rolled in and playing games (BUNCO! RULES and Nia and I totally need to stay away from Guitar Hero)
  • Getting to visit with friends – Paul, Karen, Brian and Baby Andrew – thanks for coming all the way out to share smiles!  Miss you!
  • Sharing the beauty of the beach with Andrew’s parents and my mom – Nia loved looking for sandy treasures with her Papa Dave – very special
  • Watching Nia and her BFF Avery play like they’re together all the time
  • Getting to see how much our niece (Baby Ella) is growing up – she has the cutest little voice and pronounces words so precise – it’s adorable!  The word “yes” is especially cute.
  • Getting to see (sort of) our other baby niece who is now comfy and cozy in her mommy’s belly (the prettiest pregnant lady in the world!)
  • Screaming children (Nate) in confined spaces
  • Screaming children (many) in awesome waves
  • Leaky roof, pots filled with slimy, brown water (when we called the rental agency, they told us there was a mop in the closet! ha!)
  • Laughing about the leaky roof and the
  • No power for an hour on our first morning
  • Andrew acting giddy because we have no power
  • Soaking rain for our first two days
  • Playing in the rain (Ginger and I being carefree and braving the rough waves)
  • Taking advantage of the sunny spots during the rainy days (we didn’t miss a day on the beach!)
  • Sick children (3 children diagnosed with strep – 2 of them also have ear infections and Nia is struggling with a high fever and sore throat now – so far no strep but she still has something!)
  • Happy children – (before, during and after the illnesses) – it was so hard to tear them away from the beach
  • Bad eye luck – Ginger was forced to bury a contact in the sand (she was on her last pair at the time) – Nate the Destroyer got his mitts on Andrew’s glasses at the same time one of his last contacts was unwearable – my mom accidentally dropped her glasses on the concrete and now has two chips right in the middle of a lens
  • Getting to go on a hot date with my husband of 7 years – we’re so glad we could share our anniversary with so many people we love
  • Eating my very own crab legs for the first time – I can’t believe I cracked them all by myself!
  • Can you say yum?  I certainly did thanks to Breakfast Chef Ginger.  (Eggs, bacon, grits, sausage, biscuits and gravy – I just had me some more of ’em grits today – I’m hooked!)
  • Four scoops of ice cream that ended up hitting the table before Nia could even taste it
  • Daddy making it all ok and telling both of his girls not to cry over spilled ice cream
  • New dents for Nate’s skull – I think he hit his head something like 3 times in 3 hours.  And don’t even get me started about one table that was the perfect toddler/infant height!  3 kids had bruised heads!
  • Speaking of heads and dangerous objects – this is all I have to say – ceiling fan. Those who know what I’m talking about will understand – those who don’t – you’ll have to ask me one day – it’s just too hard to describe on here without coming across as a complete jerk
  • Being on WSAV – I thought I quit?!?!  Paul – that was all for you buddy
  • Running after Nate as he chased birds on the beach yelling “B”
  • Witnessing the immense joy and excitement the ocean stirred up in the kids – their happiness topped everything
Hitchin’ a Ride
Getting Sandy
The chase is on…
The Happy Heidels
Givin’ Hugs
Death Grip on Daddy
Waving Bye to the Ocean
Loves the Waves

Internet, Earwigs and a Vacation

30 Aug

We are now legitimately back online!  We’re going to have a new email address though so I will let you know what that is when we have it 100% finalized.

Anyway, as far as the vallesfam goes – we’ve been keeping busy this week getting ready to head back to the SAV!  We’re renting a beach house on Tybee and I am just so excited to hit the road and get there!  I think it’s so funny how we could have picked any beach to spend our vacation (certainly there are more luxurious and tourist-friendly areas than Tybee) but we knew going back would mean we’d get to see our very missed friends and family.  That beats clear blue water and boardwalks anytime!

I just hope the Earwigs don’t eat the house while we’re gone.  Maybe one will crawl over the alarm sensor and set off the alarm.  That would be our luck.  I’m telling you – these things are wicked.  They just won’t go away.  I’m seriously afraid how many we’ll come home to since we won’t be able to kill them as we see them.  That’s another reason I’m so excited about our trip – NO FREAKING EARWIGS.  I say that but wait – one little bastard will stow away in our luggage or something.  You don’t even want to know the wrath I will unleash on it…

I need a vacation!

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