I'm Back!

I hope I still have some readers after my long absence, but I'm so glad to be back from our summer vacation. It was an amazing couple of weeks for our little family and we made countless memories that I will cherish always. I'll spare you the majority of the bajillion pictures I took, and the really good beach pics may be our Christmas card photo this year, so I'm just sharing some of the mediocre ones. You're welcome.
We drove to Hilton Head, SC, stopping along the way at each state line for a photo opp and spending a couple of days in Atlanta, GA. FYI: July 4th is apparently the most popular day of the year to visit the Coca-Cola factory and Atlanta Aquarium because the fireworks display takes place in Olympic Park across the street, so unless you want to rub elbows with 14,000 of Atlanta's citizens and their suspected germs, go any other day but that one. We still enjoyed it but I needed a break from humankind after that experience.
The girls did well on the trip, thanks to technology and the ticket system (they received tickets when we started out representing each hour we would be on the road, redeeming them hourly for snacks and prizes they could use along the way). The older girls also played travel scavenger hunt and the license plate game. I still find myself examining unusual license plates searching for the few we didn't find. Tatum kept us laughing with her dry erase board that she used to express her feelings. As we approached Hilton Head, she asked, "How do you spell 'thrilled'?". On the return trip, somewhere in the middle of Alabama, we heard, "How do you spell 'bored'?".
As a child, I went to the beach often and loved every aspect of it - the waves, smells, sounds, even the sand that seemed to find its way into every crevice of my swimsuit. I couldn't wait for my children to experience it for the first time. They enjoyed it with caution, which made my paranoid mommy heart happy. Ava's favorite pastime was searching for shells. We found several hermit crabs, sea slugs/snails, a dead jellyfish and I actually scored a whole sand dollar (which someone promptly broke trying to cram it into her souvenir shell box. I'm trying to move past it). Gentry liked boogie boarding and body surfing until the last day when we had to get out of the water temporarily because someone saw 2 baby sharks in shallow water. I also saw a stingray in VERY shallow water, so once she realized there were "sea creatures" she was sharing the water with, her enthusiasm waned considerably. Tatum was content to play in the sand, making sand castles and burying her dad, transforming him into a very convincing and anatomically correct mermaid.

We visited The Lady and Sons restaurant in Savannah, GA (the earliest reservation we could get was at 9:45 p.m.!) and loved every bite. As delicious as the food was, our unanimous favorite was the sweet tea. Paula Deen has definitely perfected the southern sweet tea formula.
The one request I had for our trip was to take family beach portraits. I labored over the girls' dresses - white eyelet pillowcase dresses with turquoise ribbon and monogrammed initial. Adorable, right? You'll notice in the pictures above that said dresses did not see a grain of sand, due to the eye rolling, complaining and general aversion by all 3 girls. I chose to not ruin our vacation by forcing them to be worn, so we went with the tutus that I picked up in Canton on our way. After seeing the throngs of white-clad family groups (and a bride and groom) having their professional photos taken all around us at the beach, I'm glad we went with a little color. One of the photographers actually complimented them as she eyed my choice for background and composition (intimidating!).
The last big event on our calendar is my brother's wedding this weekend, and then I'll be back to reality. If you've emailed me (or facebooked, Mistee!) I have your order in the line-up and will contact you when I return. I have several new items I'm looking forward to sharing with you.
Have a great rest of July, and I'll be back soon!

Red, White and Blue

I found these photos of some bandana shirts I made for my girls last year. They wore them for the parade that always takes place in my parents' neighborhood on July 4th. Because they're one-size-fits-all, I pulled them back out this year and they work. Tatum can't quite wear hers as a dress anymore because of a serious growth spurt, but we added a pair of biker shorts and it becomes a top. These go together very quickly and are fun to coordinate with the ribbon. The bandanas vary by season, though, so I can't guarantee styles or patterns.
Bandana dress/shirt - $15
Happy July! Have a fun and safe holiday, and I'll be back after our first family trip to the beach!