Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dandy.

I took this picture last Thanksgiving.

 

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Every year, since before I can remember we have spent Thanksgiving (and Christmas) at my grandparents house. We all gather in that house, all sixteen of us. In a house far too small for us. In a house where we set up a table in the living room because there’s no where else to sit. In a house where at 27, I still sit am still a member of the kids table, because really, do you ever graduate to the adult table? We have grown from just the four of us grandkids to now there are three great-grand kids.

This time last year we knew Dandy was in poor health. Really, he’s been in poor health for some time now. He was diagnosed with macula degeneration, prostate cancer, and eventually heart failure. He survived quadruple bypass surgery, a pacemaker, and countless eye surgeries. But this past spring it finally worsened. He began hallucinating, staying up all night, and was constantly confused. That’s when they found his brain tumor. He quickly declined to the point where Nana had to place him in a nursing home because she couldn’t care for him by herself.

Nana and Dandy have been married just a few months shy of seventy years, SEVENTY. They’ve survived WWII, the Depression, the Vietnam war, and countless other moments in history. They mourned the loss of twins, and later raised two healthy daughters, my mom and my Aunt Pam. They built their home, which was a huge accomplishment in their time,  that home that we still gather in. They worked hard, Dandy was a barber, and Nana worked for Avon. They traveled the world together. They have been the center of that side of my family for as long as I can remember. Teaching us about gardening, and letting us cause chaos in their home. We built pine cone forts in their front yard, and roller skated in their basement. We would swing on that swing that still sits in their front yard.

This week I got a call from my mom telling me that Dandy had really declined. I drove up on Saturday and met my mom and Nana at the nursing home. I spent a couple hours talking, but I’m not sure Dandy never even knew we were there. Dandy passed away peacefully this morning at about 4:15. Last Thanksgiving I took this picture, and this Thanksgiving we will be celebrating his life. I think that even in the sadness of the situation, there is so much to be thankful for in these two.

Saturday I sat watching my grandmother faithfully by his side. She went to sit by his bedside every single day since he was moved into the nursing home. She arrived there before breakfast and left after she feeds him dinner. Even if he slept all day, she sat there with him. I’m amazed by that. Lord knows their marriage has had its hard times, and that at times he wasn’t the easiest man to deal with. They saw their share of trials and also shared plenty of joys. But here they are, together. It is the best picture of a marriage that I can think of. Those vows they recited the day they got married almost seventy years ago, they have kept.

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

They have seen the better and the worse, the richer and the poorer, the sickness and the health, and here they are. I am so thankful for that example in my life, and I never realized it until now.

 

 

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the Earth

Worship the Lord with gladness

come before Him with joyful songs

know that the Lord is God

It is He who made us and we are His

we are His people, the sheep of his pasture

Enter His gates with thanksgiving

and His courts with praise

give thanks to Him and praise His name

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;

his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100.

life in the lowcountry.

This past weekend we had the chance to tag along with my parents to Charleston, SC. If you have never visited this city, its a must see. It is the epitome of southern charm with quaint streets, beautiful old buildings, and waterfront views. Not to mention it has some of the most amazing food in this world. We left Saturday morning and made the trek to Isle of Palms, SC. Saturday night we ate dinner at the amazing Sullivan’s, on Sullivan’s Island, where I had the most amazing shrimp ‘n grits. Eating shrimp ‘n grits when you’re in Charleston is kind of like seeing the Empire State building when you visit New York City. When in Rome…right?

Sunday we spent wandering the gorgeous streets of Charleston, browsing the market vendors, and playing in waterfront park. I could wander the streets of this city for days on end and never get tired of how beautiful it is. This city has more character than any place I know, and I never get tired of visiting there. That afternoon we took Landon out on the beach to run around like a wild man. He is so happy with a tractor and some sand, and some waves to chase. He loves the outdoors, and loves the beach, just like his mama and daddy.

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Monday morning we woke up and went to waterfront park to take a few pictures in hopes of having one for a Christmas card. Let me just say, photoshoots with a toddler are beyond stressful. Behind that smiling family picture is a little boy having a meltdown and two parents about to blow a gasket trying to get said toddler to look at the camera for ONE picture. But hey, we got our Christmas card, right? Afterwards we enjoyed a big ol’ family nap, and a little relaxation from the balcony of our house. It was pure heaven, warm enough to sit outside, but cool enough to bundle up in a cozy sweater and blanket. A little salt air does wonders for a tired spirit.

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That night we convinced my parents to babysit while John and I had a rare date night out. We put on nice outfits, and drove into the city to pick our restaurant. All the restaurants display their menus outside, so after browsing about five different ones, we finally settled on Magnolia’s. John and I are not fancy people, let me just start with that. We live in a one light town, literally, and rarely eat out unless its casual, kid friendly dining. We just aren’t those people who wine and dine and have fancy meals, so dinner at Magnolia’s was an unusually special meal.

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When we arrived there was a short wait so we grabbed drinks at the bar (another rare occasion). Mine was called Southern Peach Punch, and was amazing. I’m not even sure what was in it, but it was peachy and yummy. Once seated we picked our appetizer, salad, and main course. The last time I ate a multi-course meal was on a cruise for our first anniversary. We ate the most delicious fried green tomatoes, which don’t sound fancy at all but were to die for, and salads with goat cheese and green apples. And for our main course we had parmesan crusted flounder. This meal was one of the best I’ve had, from start to finish. Let me just say, you know you’re in a fancy place when they use one of those little table scraper things to clean up the mess you’ve made in between each course. And I can’t remember the last uninterrupted meal John and I had together that didn’t involve wiping hands and corralling a toddler who is eating his mac n cheese. It was heavenly. While we definitely aren’t “that couple” it was fun to pretend for a night. Even better than a date night out? Coming home to snuggle your baby.

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Tuesday we drove back into town to take Landon to see the big cruise ship that had come into port the night before. It was cold and windy though, so we really couldn’t enjoy being outside like we had hoped. That afternoon, we packed our bags and headed home. I’m so thankful for a baby who travels so well. Landon barely made a peep on the four hour ride there and back, and was pretty content to watch Cars on the DVD player and snack. We’ve been so lucky with that.

It was a great four days, a quick four days, and as much fun as it was to go and explore I am so thankful for the comforts of my own home. My own bed and pillow, my own kitchen, my own mess and chaos. Traveling is sweet, but coming home is sweeter. Am I right?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Random updates and whereabouts.

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you have all had a good week. Here in the great state of North Carolina we saw our first snow flurries of the season. When you live in the south, you get excited about flurries, heck, you get excited about the possibility of flurries. They, being those smart farmer’s almanac folks, say that this winter will be extremely cold and wet- which kind of makes me excited. Its been a couple years since we’ve had a good snow. The last legitimate snow I remember was five years ago to be exact. So, lets hope those farmers are right!

Last weekend I took Landon out to take some fall pictures. Here’s one of my favorites you may have seen on Instagram or Facebook. He LOVES being outside, and was so happy romping through the woods. And of course, I’m happy anytime I can snag a few good shots of my busy guy. I was loving the light coming through the trees. This kid? He’s amazing me each and everyday. I won’t share too much since I have a two year birthday post coming up, but lets just say he continually amazes me each day with how smart and silly he is.

 

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We’re off to Charleston, SC this weekend for a long weekend getaway. My parents won a free week- so we’re definitely taking advantage of some time at the beach. I don’t care what time of year it is, I love any excuse to get to the coast. I especially love Charleston- walking the streets, eating the good food, and soaking in the south. I can’t wait.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

Happy Halloween! I can’t believe today is already November 1st, where in the world did October go?

I have to be honest, growing up I wasn’t all that into Halloween. I always felt completely awkward all dressed up, and have never been someone who enjoys spooky, scary, haunted things. So its no surprise that I didn’t enjoy Halloween. However, when you have a kid, holidays take on a whole new meaning and excitement, and Halloween is no different. Suddenly I get super excited about seeing Landon in his costume, taking him trick or treating, and handing out candy to the kids in our neighborhood. We live out in the country in one of the few neighborhoods that exists on these country roads, so our neighborhood is flooded with kids and families coming to trick or treat.

 

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Last year, Landon was only 10 months old when Halloween rolled around, so we dressed him up and took a few pictures, but that was the extent of his Halloween excitement. He was also fighting a little cold, so he was completely worn out and not feeling well and just wasn’t into being in his monkey costume. This year was not a whole lot different.  Wednesday night around midnight Landon woke up and immediately we knew he was sick. He had that awful, pitiful sound in his cry. And ran a fever most of the night and a little bit that morning. So much for his Halloween fun. Luckily sometime that afternoon, he perked up a little bit. Enough to where I felt like we could dress him up and go “trick or treat” for a few minutes.

 

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This year Landon was a doughnut boy. Several months ago, John brought home Krispy Kreme doughnuts on “National Doughnut Day” and brought Landon one of their cute paper hats to wear. Landon wore that hat nonstop for several months. I’m not even sure how I came up with the idea for Halloween, but I decided that we’d make him an apron with the Krispy Kreme logo, wear a white collared shirt and some khaki pants, and of course, his hat. Voila, a Krispy Kreme boy! I have to say it was the absolute cutest thing ever. My mother in law made a red bowtie to go along with his outfit which made the look complete.

 

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Happy Halloween Everyone! 

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