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To Be Aware of Happiness: The Closing of Another Grand Chapter

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A sign, in a window, downtown Charleston.

Right now I’m reading a book called Delicious!. The author is Ruth Reichl, the famous foodie and editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine. The book has received mixed reviews, but for me this is a summer novel (a rare treat), and I am thoroughly enjoying every page of it. It is actually the book that my book club is reading (hello Swain School moms!), chosen by the hostess of the month (hello Andrea!), and I’m missing this month’s get-together with my good friends because I’m here in South Carolina. Here’s my favorite quote from the book so far (I’m about 2/3 of the way through it) ~

“How lucky I was to be aware of happiness. Most people don’t recognize their own good fortune until it has departed. And then it is too late.”

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Above photo: I snapped this from my beach chair, as I sat at the edge of the water yesterday, at Hunting Island beach, watching my dear little ones (growing so fast to be big ones), as they played in the waves. I sat there, just me in my bathing suit, with nothing but my camera, the sun soaking me, and I absorbed the moment. I felt it — like, really felt it — the happiness that it was. The profound and deep happiness of that moment.

I am so lucky. I can be —and often am— fully aware, fully present, to savor my happiness. I can recognize happiness when I experience it. I live my life fully, knowing that life is too short, understanding that everything is short-lived, and aware that we only live once. Nothing should be wasted. I recognize my good fortune, my privilege, my luck, and I also recognize the hard work — hard work on so many varied levels — hard work that is daily and in the minutia of living, and hard work that is huge decisions at big forks in the road, and hard work that is numerous multi-layered sacrifices made in small and big ways.

Sitting there, watching them, in the moment of this glorious summer, I allowed myself to feel it fully. I got choked up, then started crying, tears of joy, sitting there in that beach chair. The salt water, the salty breeze, the salty tears, all mixing together. It was, and is, a profound happiness. I just felt it, and clicked the camera, hoping to get a shot that would allow me, someday, to remember.

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Braydon and I have worked so hard for what we have. This is not just in the traditional sense of “hard work” (our jobs, our careers, many years of strategic navigating), but also in the arenas of emotional work, psychological work, relational work. We have done the work that is involved in forging a life that travels off the beaten path; the work of choosing an unusual lifestyle; the work of plowing ahead in the face of challenges and challengers, failures and naysayers, histories and personal dramas. There is no such thing as a charmed existence. Behind the scenes, maybe years in the past, were decisions made and strategies employed and lots of stuff that was hard. That moment for me, there on that beach with my bambinos, was 20+ years in the making.

We are also extremely lucky that we were both born to privilege. We have maximized our advantages, and we have tried hard to use our privilege wisely. We have never taken our unearned advantages for granted. We have always tried to be careful with how we employ the advantages that we have.

It is an unexplainable mixture of hard work and pure luck and structural circumstances that explains where we are in our lives right now — living the life that we are — a life that we’ve built, from the ground up, despite the odds that have —oftentimes, and in many ways — been against us. We’ve built it from nothing but a dream in our minds. And it is a dream come true.

With the right circumstances, and some luck, what you dream in your mind can — sometimes — be built in your life. It just might take decades to get there. And it will often feel like you are in the dark trenches with no end in sight.

But then, you’re sitting on the beach one day and there it all is right before your eyes.

As our time in South Carolina comes to a close I feel desperate to preserve the memories, the moments, the precious fleeting feeling of pure and extreme happiness. This is the closing of another grand chapter.

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Wrapping Up Our July in South Carolina: Snapshots

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Three of my favorite snapshots of my bambinos— Meera, crabbing at Hunting Island Pier; she caught a blue crab! ~

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Kyle, reading by the pool ~

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Owen, swimming in the deep end ~

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And, some of my favorite snapshots from the past four weeks— The view from the back porch of the beach house, at high tide ~

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Playing bocce ball at the beach ~

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Owen, checking the crab trap at low tide ~

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M, K, O, checking the crab trap at high tide (we check the crab trap every time we pass it by, which is often!) ~

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Beware of Alligators ~

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Vegging out/Chillaxing/Unwinding with the iPads. Boys, by the time you ever get to reading this old blog some day, these things will be total relics of the past, and completely obsolete, but let me tell you: in the summer of 2014 you guys loved these things! iPads. Your favorite way to relax. What did you do with them? Mostly, played baseball and basketball (apps) on them ~

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Trying to draw the marsh at sunset ~

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Papi’s hand, on Kyle’s beautiful head. Father and Son. This is love. ~

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Sunset view from the back porch of the beach house at low tide ~

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Early morning coffee and — yes, Meera too — iPad! It is so quiet and still, the photo does not do it justice ~

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Shrimp boats off the beach at Hunting Island ~

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Food Friday II: Meera & Shrimp / K & O & The Hot Dog Man / Gratuitous Beach House Food Scenes

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My last Food Friday in South Carolina has come, and here we are. Food riches abound here in the Lowcountry. I could do a “food” post every day. And so, today, I tack on a Food Friday II because I have three food-themed-things I don’t want to forget about July 2014:

1. This is the summer that my Meera fell in love with shrimp. She suddenly, the summer she was six, loved shrimp — fried shrimp, Lowcountry Shrimp Boil (aka peel-and-eat shrimp “cocktail”), shrimp scampi — she loved it all! {note: yes, princesses dining with us in two of the three photos below.}

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2. We discovered “The Hot Dog Man” at Hunting Island’s South Beach this year. Actually, only K & O call him “The Hot Dog Man,” his business is actually officially called “Sea Side Hot Dogs.” He’s been there in the past, but we’d never given it a go. But we went for it this summer, and it was love at first bite for K & O. They swear that The Hot Dog Man’s hot dogs are 2nd only to hot dogs at Fenway Park (whoa, if you know my boys you know that this is a huge statement!). They quickly became The Hot Dog Man’s two biggest fans (and I think this guy became as much a fan of K & O as they were of him). This was a fun summer lunch for us this year and I know that K & O will want to visit The Hot Dog Man for as long as we are spending July in South Carolina, and as long as Sea Side Hot Dogs stays in business.

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3. July in the South Carolina Lowcountry is an embarrassing abundance of riches where food is concerned. I adore cooking here. And even shopping for food here is a pleasure (the roadside produce stands! the seafood sold right from the dock! the Publix grocery store that I absolutely love!). Growing up, I lived at a summer camp and ate “camp food” all summer long every summer. I think that might be partly why southern summer cooking is such a joy for me. I don’t want to forget the absolute joy I found in these days of cooking for my little family of five. We savor every moment of these gorgeous spreads and we never take this beauty for granted. I know I’m spoiling my kids with this — and I can’t imagine what sort of food lives they’ll have down the road — but I cannot help it: feeding them is a big part of how I do my love for them. It is an expression for me. I am always surprised when I go through the camera cards and discover what Braydon has documented — so often, it is food. He takes pictures of it. Which says something to me. I know he feels the love and appreciates every morsel. Which is what makes all of it oh so worth it.

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Food Friday: Peach Blueberry Cobbler

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Ok, so, being in South Carolina for July we are completely spoiled by the peaches. We have great peaches in Pennsylvania too, but the bambinos swear that the South Carolina peaches are the best. This recipe, though, works great with whatever peaches you can get (over the years I’ve made this in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina! — always delicious!).

You’re going to have to bear with me, though, because I’ve never written this recipe down or attempted to quantify — in any way — the ingredients. We just made this at the beach house this week but I forgot to write down the amounts. Just wing it and you’ll be fine!

Peach Blueberry Cobbler

1. Preheat oven to 375. While the oven is heating up, have your kitchen assistants peel and cut up a bunch of peaches. ;) When we made this the other day we used 6 big peaches. But use however many you’d like, to serve whatever size crowd you’re cooking for. I’d estimate about one peach per (quite large) serving. Cut up the peaches into bite-sized chunks and place in bottom of a baking dish.

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2. In a mixing bowl, mix together the following (I’m totally estimating amounts here, so just do your best and adjust to your taste! and, again, this was for six peaches and you’ll need to adjust to however much you’re making) — about 1.5 cups oats; 2-3 heaping tablespoons of flour; about 1/4 cup brown sugar; about 1 tsp salt. Melt 1/2 stick butter and then mix the melted butter in. Carefully fold in about 1 pint of fresh blueberries.

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3. Dump the mixture on top of the peaches to create a second layer.

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4. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the topping is browned and crisped and the peaches are bubbling.

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5. Serve with vanilla ice cream and/or whipped cream! Yummo!!!!!

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Observations: On Being a Black-White Transracial Adoptive Family in the South

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We have spent a lot of time in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Braydon and I have been coming to this area for twenty years now. But for the past four summers we’ve spent significant time in the Charleston/Beaufort/Sea Islands of the South Carolina Lowcountry as a black-white transracial adoptive family. We’ve had many blog readers, friends, and acquaintances — curious about it — ask us to blog about our experiences with, and perspectives on, being an interracial black-white family traveling in the deep South. I’ve put off writing about this for a long time because I don’t want to offend or insult anyone. But I’ve decided to go ahead and write about it tonight, and I’ve asked Braydon to do the same. With me having grown up in northern New England (the north of The North!), and with him having grown up in Georgia (the deep, Bible-Belt, south of The South!), we are coming at this from two different perspectives. We’ve spent hours upon hours talking about this subject, and this post will only scrape the surface, but it is an attempt to answer the basic questions we’ve been asked so often: ‘What it is like being YOU there?’ and ‘What on earth is the appeal?!’ We wrote our posts at the same time tonight, but without seeing what each other had written.

Here goes~

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HEATHER’S POST

The other day, while we were walking on the beach, I had a long conversation with Kyle about his thoughts and perspectives on our time in the South. I was pretty astounded with what he had to say — both in terms of how incredibly articulate and sophisticated his answers seemed to me to be (granted, I’m biased, I’m his mother!, but I do think his thoughts and feelings are pretty incredible for a 10-year-old boy!), and in how much his own observations totally lined up with my own. Here are some tid-bits from that conversation:

I asked Kyle what is more comfortable for him— being black in the South, or being black in the North. His answer: he feels more comfortable being black in the South, but his thinking meshes more with people in the North. He thinks that people in the North have values more in-tune with his own (“They’re Union! They fought to end slavery! We wouldn’t be our family if it weren’t for The North!”), but… interestingly enough… he feels more comfortable, being black, in the South. Specifically, he thinks Northerners are more liberal and progressive (which is in-line with his own views), but he feels more at ease with Southerners. When asked to explain why he feels more comfortable in the South, he said: “There are more black people in the South. But it isn’t just that there are more black people here, it is also that there is more black history and black culture here.” I was amazed at his ability to discern the differences between thinking and feeling, and I was stunned by his explanation regarding history and culture. As a white, progressive, anti-racist person, I agree with Kyle’s assessment 100%. It should also be noted that when we’ve been in the South during our summer visits, we’ve placed a huge emphasis on the black history and black culture of the area. So, Kyle’s experience with the South is not white-washed… if anything is is “black-washed” (if that is even a thing). But, like Kyle, I think the North is more in-line with me, but in many ways, I feel more comfortable in the South. Isn’t that so interesting?!

Next I asked Kyle this: “Now, specifically, just in terms of being a member of a black-white transracial adoptive family, where are you more comfortable — as our family? The North or the South?” His answer was clear and conclusive: “The North. Definitely.” I think that is interesting — and it is the same answer for me — I feel more comfortable, as “us,” in the North.

Lastly, I want to share what Kyle had to say about one more subject: being a kid. “Now, if you can, putting aside the ‘black’ question, and the ‘transracial adoptive family’ question, just in terms of being a KID — where are you more comfortable? The North or the South?” He said that was by far the toughest question and that he couldn’t answer that conclusively because he had very mixed thoughts and feelings about that one. We talked about it for a long time. “Expectations for behavior are more more strict in the South,” he said. “What kids do in the North would never be allowed in the South… The things that adults let kids get away with in the North just don’t happen in the South… Kids are expected to be much more polite and have good manners in the South.” He went on to explain that much of the behavior of the kids he knows in the North would never fly down South; that kids get away with “so much!” in the North; and that the lines between kids and adults are much more rigid in the South. All of this was very clear in his mind. The only question for him was which place he preferred to be — as a kid. There is a fine line between high expectations leading to security and happiness versus high expectations leading to oppression. And, despite us circling back to this conversation numerous times in the past few days, the jury is still out for him in terms of what he prefers as a kid — the North vs. the South. He does say, however, that he is leaning toward thinking that, as a kid, he’s more comfortable in the North because “there is more freedom for kids in the North.”

Of course, in truth, none of this can be separated out. Kyle is a black, transracial adoptee, kid, visiting the South. We are a complex family spending time in the South. It is messy.

As a family we’ve spent a lot of time talking about all of this, and one thing we do all agree on is this: while we love visiting the South, we would not want to live here. It is very important to remember that our time in the South Carolina Lowcountry is spent on purpose, with some very specific intentions. I think if you understand that, you can understand why we love it here.

As a black-white transracial adoptive family we always — always —stand out. At home, we get weary of the stares and questions and never-ending, incessant, exhausting attempts — from just about everyone it seems — to try to ‘get into it’ with us— to try to approach us, find out out story, figure out our deal, probe and probe and go deeper and deeper to know what we’re all about. We can’t get through the grocery store, or go anywhere, without people looking at us (often staring at us), and regularly coming right up to us trying to start conversation with us (often even when we clearly don’t want to get into it). Honestly, it is exhausting. This is what we signed up for, though, (at least, Braydon and I signed up for it), so we (at least, Braydon and me) don’t complain. It is what it is. And we (especially our kids) don’t really know any different. But, the biggest pull, for me, to the South in the summer is, quite simply: just to get a break from it. Here’s the thing: in the South, people just don’t ‘get into it’ with us. They leave us alone. They may not like what they see in us, or maybe they do, but regardless, we’ll never know because you know what?! They don’t try to go there with us. They treat us just like everyone else. In stores, restaurants, on the beach, in the city, or anywhere, we are treated just like everyone else. We are treated politely and with Southern hospitality. But nobody asks us anything. And hardly anybody stares. We are just left alone. Which is… honestly… just so incredibly wonderful.

You know what? It is totally possible that they leave us alone because they are, in fact, giving us the cold shoulder. Maybe they don’t stare because they can’t stand to look at what they see. That is entirely possible. But, for one month a year, I don’t even care what the reasoning behind it is— I just like being left alone.

Plus, layered onto all of this, is the fact that for the past two years we’ve lived on campus at Lehigh. So, there, we are even less anonymous. It is an awesome and amazing experience to live there — in such a tight community — where everybody knows us and everybody is looking out for us. It is incredible. But, again, everybody want to get into it with us, all the time. Then, another layer: the blog. We are recognized places: “Oh my gosh! I read your blog!!!” We are the opposite of anonymous. Our life is like a crazy open book. We aren’t Brangelina, by any stretch of the imagination, but in our own little mini-world, we are pretty inundated. And, as much as this is probably a surprise to people who don’t know me well in real life: I actually am a person who prefers nothing more than being out of the spotlight.

Remember the lyrics from the theme song to Cheers? “Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go…

WHERE NOBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME.

That’s the South for us. Nobody know us. Nobody cares all that much. And we love that. They are polite and they keep is shallow and superficial, right at the surface. And, for one month a year, we are perfectly happy with that.

People in the South don’t pry. They are very polite. And superficial. This is, of course, a huge sweeping generalization (there are obviously many exceptions), but for the most part— truly— they just leave us alone. If we offer up information, they just take it for what it is, they don’t probe for more. “Our sons were adopted,” I might say. In the North that would immediately lead to: “Oh, from where? How old were they? Why Haiti? Tell me the whole entire story, I’m so interested!” In the South it will be responded to with, “That’s nice.” End of story.

I wouldn’t want that all the time. Because, for me, that is kind of awkward, and it feels extremely shallow and surface-level (and I’m not a shallow of surface-level person). But for one month a year? Yes please! For us, this is a respite and a retreat and a break that we thoroughly enjoy.

Do people stare? Yes, they do. But rarely. And not nearly as often as in the North. I will say, however, that when they do stare (in the South), it feels hostile. Just a feeling — just the radar working — but that is my feeling on it. When they stare in the North, my sense — again, just my own feeling on it — is that they’re staring out of curiosity (and it does not feel hostile; in fact, often, it feels the opposite of hostile— like a weird interest in us, but that they in some way like what they see).

Do we have racist situations? Not often. But sometimes, yes. The other day I overheard some horribly racist stuff at a sandwich shop. I was with Meera, alone, and these two white men were saying some horrible stuff within earshot. It was the worst overt racism I’ve ever witnessed. It felt scary to me. I felt sick to my stomach. I wanted to throw up. It was the only time that’s happened. And it was explicit and rough. On a regular basis, though, we don’t find overt racism in the South (at least we’re not witness to it and/or it isn’t happening directly to us). We do find a more conservative set of social values in the South. This is often overt, even with regards to race. In so many ways, truly, I find that — as horrible as it is — it often feels better than what goes on in the North with the “colorblindness” and all — all — that is wrapped up with that. Again, it is just for one month a year. I don’t think I’d ever choose to live permanently in the South.

Do we feel safe? Honestly… we are (purposefully) renting a house in a secure, gated community. This should send off all sorts of class cues. Classism, yes. Huge. In the South. And the North. Do I let my two black dreadlocked sons go alone into a gas station, to use the restroom, in the South? No. Do I do that in the North? No. Where are they safe?

Do we recommend the South for other black-white transracial adoptive families? Yes. If for no other reasons, to put the white folks in your family in the statistical minority for awhile. (So important!!!) And, also, because there is no place better than the South to teach your kids — black and white — about the African-American history. This is the epicenter of it all, folks, and this is a unique place to explore all that you have been, all that you are, and all that you could maybe be. Kids from the North should have at least one experience visiting the South — if for no other reason than to simply see how different the various regions of the U.S.A. are.

P.S. I just need to include this: another thing I love about our July in the South is this: Moms here don’t play with their kids. This is, of course, another huge sweeping generalization (and, of course, there are exceptions to this), but wow, do I ever love this. I find huge relief in spending a month of my year here where the Exceptional Mothering (in my opinion: Excessive Mothering) is not in full swing as it is in the North. I feel like in this era of mothering — at this historical moment — the pressure on moms is extreme to be exceptionally incredible-enriching-playful-creative-to-the-Nth-degree Mommies. I am a mom who firmly believes in letting my kids play — by themselves. I will build a sandcastle or play bocce ball on the beach every now and then, but I do not play with my kids all day long. For the most part, they play by themselves. And I don’t like being made to feel badly about that. In the North moms are all about playing with their kids, being fully engaged with their kids 24×7, making every single moment magical all of the time. I enjoy some time in the South, where moms rarely do that. Moms here sit in their beach chair, diligently feed their kids sandwiches, and let them play. All day long. That’s my kind of place. I enjoy a break from the mothering madness that is The North. (And I think my kids do too!) So, for me, this is another aspect of the “break” that our July in the South Carolina Lowcountry provides me.

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BRAYDON’S POST:

I was born and raised in the South. Some would not really consider Atlanta the South, but when I was growing up there it was a lot more like a sleepy southern city than it is today. Although my parents are from the North, everyone I knew, all my friends, and everything I identified with was purely Southern. I did carry a little outsider sense of things, but I am pretty sure I understand the South, despite having not lived there for over 20 years. The South remains in your blood even when you leave. Even when you try to get it all out of you.

We’ve had many discussions about what is the difference between the North and South. Heather believes that the North is fundamentally represented by the Protestant Ethic. I get that and it resonates with me. I believe that the South’s foundation (and I mostly mean the White South) is based in God, Family and Tradition. And I believe that if you focus in on those three things –in reverse order – that the way the South works becomes clear (including things that continue to be problematic), including why the South continues to be upset by the American Civil War.

Which raises the question, if we understand things about the South, why would we bring our bi-racial black and white family to the South? Why on earth would anyone bring their black kids to the center of historical racism in the United States?

Well – we don’t live here – we’re visitors. I am confident we would not live here. But, as visitors, it’s an important experience for our whole family. An experience of living history and of a different culture.

One of the interesting things about the South versus the North is that in the North, stratification and racism is less visible. White people work hard to come off as accepting, not-racist and that equality is important. That’s despite the fact that racial and class segregation in the North is alive and well. I think that is sometimes easier and sometimes harder.

In the South, people are just upfront with their acceptance of stratification. In some cases, approval, in some cases disapproval, but in all cases, open recognition. There is just an openness to it. My theory is that this recognition is rooted in those tenants of Southern culture – Tradition, Family and God. Whatever the cause, just walking into a store, you can sense it.

For our family, one of the key differences we see is this: in the North, we are kind of considered a special, exciting and valued thing – a bi-racial family (I am not saying I think that’s ok or that we like that – but it’s definitely noticeable – I mean – when there is a certain kind of giddy excitement to have our boys over for a play date and then the pictures are posted in a large way on Facebook – it’s kind of obvious). In the South, we are intentionally ignored.

In the South, nobody asks about our adoption. Nobody wants to get to know us or inquire further. We are not shunned exactly (maybe due to our class status, I don’t know), but we are very much not a special thing.

In the North, white men chat with me about our adoption story and black men give me the unofficial head nod. In the South, I get neither – nothing. I think that’s Southern tradition speaking.





So – why would we come here? The American story and the Black American story is rooted here. The history of that story is living here; the experience of it is here. We may not want to live here, but how can we not visit?

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Sea Kayaking (with Dolphins!!!)

Posted by | BAMBINOS | 3 Comments

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Well, yesterday we had one of the most amazing and memorable experiences of our family’s life together. We went sea kayaking! With dolphins!

The five of us had a private guided kayak trip through the ocean inlet between Fripp and Harbor Islands. It was absolutely spectacularly unbelievably awesome. Meera sat tandem in Braydon’s kayak, and the rest of us went solo. Our guide, Eric, was an incredible wealth of knowledge. He brought us out to a spot where he knows a pod of Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins live (he’s been observing them there for the past ten years). We paddled along, into the inlet, and the conditions were perfect — it was low tide, the water was completely still, and — stunningly — sure enough, we had the gift of seeing so many dolphins. It seemed the whole pod was feeding there right as we arrived. Eric told us to stop paddling and just float there.

It was truly one of the most incredible experiences of my life. To be so low in the water, with total silence all around us, just us and this pod of dolphins. We could hear them blowing water as they’d break the surface. They were swimming and jumping all around us. So many of them. In the kayaks we were literally right there with them… they were as close as 10 feet away from us, swimming under us and all around us and popping up about the surface so that we could see their entire bodies — from the tips of their noses to the ends of their tails. It was unbelievably spectacular.

It was impossible to get photos of the dolphins because you’d never know exactly when, or where, they’d appear from second-to-second. The first photo below is the only shot I got that even shows a dolphin (right to the right of Kyle’s kayak).

We were on the water for 2.5 hours, exploring all around the inlet and salt marshes, and seeing so many spectacular sights. It was truly an awesome experience for the five of us.

If anyone is ever in this area looking for a unique and amazing adventure, get in touch with Eric at The Kayak Farm! Click here for link.

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Big Catches with Net Casting!!

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The bambinos have fallen head over heels for net casting! It is so much fun because:

  1. no big hooks!
  2. no bait!
  3. they don’t need any help with it! [they’ve mastered it and can do it entirely on their own]
  4. it is catch and release, so it makes it, in K & O’s own words/minds “True Sport Fishing”
  5. they catch all sorts of stuff! [they’ve caught more net casting than they have rod fishing]

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Happy Birthday Grandpa Robert!

Posted by | BAMBINOS | 4 Comments

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Today was Grandpa Robert’s 75th birthday! He and Miss Carol drove from Atlanta, and we drove from Harbor Island, and we all met for a day together in Charleston. It was a happy birthday, a great visit, and especially nice for us to get to see Carol! We don’t see her as much as we wish, so it was a real treat to have her all to ourselves for a whole day!

The bulk of our day-trip was spent at Patriots Point, on board the USS Yorktown. The J-Ms had never been on an aircraft carrier before, and given K & O’s love of airplanes (and Meera’s never-ending willingness to roll along with us for just about anything-and-everything), this was a pretty exciting adventure. Grandpa Robert is practically an expert regarding this type of stuff, so I felt like we had the added bonus of our own private tour guide. It was a very cool experience.

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Meera was much more into it than I had anticipated her being!

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She especially loved the Navy Flight Simulator. This is a 5-minute “ride” (sort of thing) depicting what it looks and feels like to pilot an actual military aircraft. At first K & O did it alone, but M insisted that she wanted to do it too. Kyle was happy to ride it again (Owen was happy to sit this one out), so Kyle and Meera went in it together. Here they are on their way in (excited)…

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And here they are on their way out (elated)…

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There was so much to see and do there.

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Afterwards we made our way into downtown Charleston for a “linner” (late lunch / early dinner) at our favorite bbq joint (Sticky Fingers, of course).

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We ended our day meandering Charleston’s historic district, getting another couple pounds of pralines for Owen (!!!!), and winding down our day, before we said goodbye. It was a good day!

HAPPY 75th BIRTHDAY GRANDPA ROBERT!

Pier Fishing Selfies

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Kyle and Owen have been really wanting to try pier fishing. Today we did it. One thing about fishing is that it can get pretty boring — just waiting for the fish to bite. So we ended up doing this… (and I ended up loving these totally unedited, totally unfiltered, pictures — 3 each — of me with my boys).

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Like I said, there was a lot of waiting for the fish to bite…

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Owen did manage to catch one before we called it a day.

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iPhone Uploads

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Braydon has been working regular work hours (which means many hours) while we’re in South Carolina. I’ve been working minimal work hours (which means very few, especially relative to my typical crazed work life). For the past two days, though, I’ve been full time with the bambinos as Braydon has been away on a work trip. Here are some snapshots from my phone camera so that Papi can get a glimpse of what we’ve been up to while he’s been gone.

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pool jump 1

pool jump 2

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P.S. The photo above was Thursday morning. We went for breakfast at a new-for-us place that was awesome (and that Braydon would love). If you’re ever in this area, I can highly recommend Lowcountry Produce, Beaufort Market & Cafe for a real, good, fresh, from scratch, old fashioned, home cooking, Southern breakfast! (Meera seriously thought she’d died and gone to heaven when I suggested to her that she get the “fresh made, glazed yeast donuts” and a glass of milk for breakfast.)