A Visit to Hilton Head.

It’s been over a month since mine and Chris’ annual anniversary trip, and I still haven’t finished this blog post about it. Because every time I try to write, I find myself in this situation….

I’m supposed to be blogging right now. But instead, I’m browsing online, trying to figure out the best way to use credit card points to take another vacation with my husband.

(Repeat above paragraph fifteen times on fifteen different days.)

It’s an addictive thing, time away. On the first day back, when I was supposed to be enjoying the rapturous beauty of my children’s angelic faces, I was thinking repeatedly, “They talk so MUCH. They are so LOUD. They ask SO MANY QUESTIONS. I forget … how do I normally stay calm and sane?”

But then I remembered my last interaction with Noah the morning before we left.

IMG_7011“I’m gonna need a LOT of hugs today before you leave, Mommy.”

Okay. They’re pretty awesome. But I really, really, REALLY like time away with my husband, also.

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We rarely do much deep talking and we NEVER do that thing where couples go away and spreadsheet and calendar out their entire year and their goals and their budget and their hopes and dreams. No, we’re more of the vacating type of vacationers. We do a lot of sitting on the beach, eating (I totally ditched my sugar rules for the trip), photo taking, running, and biking.

(I get that last part might not feel like vacation to some. But it feels like vacation to us.)

This year, I even remembered to bring my tripod along to get a decent picture of the two of us – a rarity for certain.

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As I stared at my phone to click the shutter button that would send the message to my camera, Chris complained about being feasted upon by the very angry South Carolina Gnat Army. It was all very romantic.

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This photo was much more realistic of the magical moment.

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But wait. Let’s start at the beginning of the trip.

We spent the first night in Savannah, arriving at 2am because we really really wanted to get vacationing as soon as possible. We woke up late the next morning and took a very circuitous walk to lunch. Strolling through countless historic Savannah squares and taking pictures of water fountains, all while Chris recounted monologues in his Kevin-Spacey-in-The-Garden-of-Good-and-Evil voice and style, is a perfect start to vacation.

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At one point, we were deep in one of these very silly conversations, and had accidentally walked between some orange cones.

“Hey!! HEY!!! This sidewalk is CLOSED!! What did you think those cones were doing there?? GEEZ!”

Oops.

I guess we thought they were there for decoration?

He was not amused.

But we didn’t let that angry utilities guy take away from the magic of Savannah, with buildings dating back to far before there were utilities or grumpy utility workers.

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We enjoyed lunch along the waterfront, watching the giant shipping boats and other charm of the Savannah riverfront.

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Chris wanted to remember our day with a selfie. I don’t believe in this sort of photography, because it’s never flattering (or maybe I’m just a bad selfie taker.)

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So when he asked me to send him the picture I took for him, I sent him this one instead. Again. Much more realistic of the moment.

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After enjoying Savannah to the point of dripping sweat (seriously it is SO HOT AND HUMID there), we drove on to Hilton Head, an island off of South Carolina of which we had never visited before. A lot of our friends rave about it, so we had decided to give it a try.

We had been gently warned by the hotel concierge the week before that “we really like our beiges in Hilton Head” and everything is “very beige.” We prefer bright beach colors ourselves, but we figured we could take a beige vacation every now and then.

She did not warn us, however, that the original planners of the island must have decreed that no roadside visibility was allowed for any establishment.

Want to find the beige Publix? Good luck. It’s hidden behind half an acre of trees and don’t expect there to be a sign telling you it’s back there.

By the end of the trip we were highly amused at how many shades of beige we were now able to differentiate between. And how many grueling hours local builders must put in, studying the spectrum of beiges they were allowed to use to find JUST THE PERFECT beige. When we’d come across a gray house we would squeal with excitement.

DID YOU JUST SEE THAT IT WAS GRAY!!! IT WAS ALMOST AS IF THE ISLAND HAD COLOR!!!

Hilton Head is basically the Uncle Knit Knots of islands.

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But seriously. We didn’t mind. (Too much.) And the skies made up for the lack of color every morning and night.

(Although maybe this would explain why I did the unthinkable and actually woke up for two sunrises on vacation….I was color deprived.)

Sunrise #1

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Sunrise #2

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And of course, we caught many sunsets, further satiating my need for bright and bold colors.

Sunset #1

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Sunset #2

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Sunset #3

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We even caught a full moon over the water.

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And of course I tried to get some @happyroadkill shots, but y’all – EVEN THE ROADKILL WAS BEIGE.

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The only place we found true color was at the lighthouse, which must have existed before The Beige Decrees or surely it would’ve been a lovely stripe of light beige and light-medium beige.

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But it didn’t matter.

It was FINE.

We relaxed. And we were happy. Even in the beige hotel basket.

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(Although woodgrain was a really daring shade of beige for the island.)

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…And now it’s time for me to get back to searching for our next vacation.

Revisiting The Past.

I know that the trendiness of photo re-creation was at its peak a couple of years ago, but for some reason, it peaked with me over the last couple of weeks.

First, there was a soccer picture of my brother and I. We were more of a baseball/softball family, and we only played one season of soccer. The date for soccer pictures fell right after I’d fallen off my bike and scraped myself up substantially, as well as right after I’d lost my front teeth. I looked like I’d just played an AMAZINGLY brutal season of soccer, even though in reality I’d touched the ball with my cleat two times all season (I swear back then they had six-year-olds playing on full-length adult soccer fields. Or maybe it just felt like it.) Meanwhile, my older brother looked pristine and untouched. As such, it’s always been a family photo favorite.

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As Noah and his cousin Andi finished up their soccer season, it was my goal to recreate the photo. Andi is my brother’s daughter, so how much more perfect of a recreation could you get (other than my brother and I putting on our soccer uniforms again…which wasn’t going to happen.) Plus, it just so turned out that Andi had quite conveniently just smashed up her own face in some random kid accident, so she was the perfect fill-in for my role. She, however, actually was a complete beast at soccer, so at least she deserved the tough girl look.

So after the last game, we snatched them away from the bright green cupcakes just in time to snap their picture before they covered themselves in sugary stains.

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Yup. It was, indeed, perfect. Except that they don’t mind standing closer together than we did. And their shorts are a more decent length. And they didn’t tuck their shirts up to their chests.

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A few weeks later, a photo showed up on my Facebook memories. It was nine years ago, and it was Ali and her best friend AJ, who have been best friends since before they could walk.

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The adorable unpredictability of toddler poses just made me so happy, and it just so happened that we had a playdate scheduled at their house later that day. I felt a re-creation was in order.

I texted Ashley.

“Does AJ still have her Elmo?”

“No, I’m sure it got thrown out.”

I asked Ali.

“Do you still have your Elmo?”

“Yes! I just saw it the other day!”

Lucky Elmo.

I found the bench, cobwebbed in the basement, and got Ali to bring Elmo.

I told the girls. “Okay. You two are old enough to get this PERFECT.”

I started arranging AJ’s fingers just right around Elmo’s arm. She began giggling and couldn’t quit. I couldn’t really blame her. But, after a bit of studying of facial expressions and poses, they delivered.

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It was as good as it could be, considering 9 years had really given them a chance to grow out and off of that bench (Ali remarked, “Good grief that bench looks like it shrunk by 5 years!!”)

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After we finally let them achingly stand up from that tiny bench, they pleaded. “Please don’t make us do this when we’re 20!”

I like how they think we’ll be able to make them do anything when they’re 20.

Motherhood: The Ghost Story.

Quiet time is for Mommies.

My kids have a set time period each day where they can play on their iPads and watch two television shows. The purpose of this is not for my children’s electronic pleasure. It’s 100% for me. It’s so that I can get computer work done, edit photos, blog, or in general recover from being a mother (which may or may not include a nap.)

On Wednesday, I was editing photos. After agonizing over a particular shot for a while, I had it nearly how I wanted it, and then – *poof* – it disappeared.

Whoa.

Where did it go and why.

I clicked back to my art board and there was the photo – with zero edits. Somehow the whole project had gotten cancelled out. I knew I hadn’t hit the escape key – there was no way – but it sure seemed like I had.

This was not happy news. But I opened the photo and started again. Halfway through this time…

*poof*

GOOD HEAVENS WHAT IS THE DEAL I HAVE LOTS TO GET DONE WHY ARE MY PHOTOS POOFING.

Then I noticed my computer making sounds like it was trying to type.

I clicked over to Excel and slowly removed my hands from the keyboard so that I could see what it was wanting to say. I’d had this happen before – when somehow a drop of something sticky found its way underneath my 4 key. My angry computer had wanted to type 4s repeatedly and manically for three days.

But this time it was different. Very different.

Like a Ouija Board, it began typing. Slowly, thoughtfully, not in rhythm, not in any sort of order, and not one key over and over.

This is what my computer told me over the period of a couple of minutes.

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I watched, frozen, feeling a bit like I was in a horror movie, and wondering what Vanuatan Hacker was entering a bank-account-eradicating code into my computer.

Or was Kim Jong or Putin putting in a launch code. Was I about to be a weapon of mass destruction?

Or was my computer an eighth Horcrux and Voldemort was finally trying to get out? Was I about to have a conversation with Tom Riddle?!?

I was genuinely a bit scared.

And I did not have time to be scared.

I had pictures to edit.

Then I noticed something. It was all numbers and characters that were on a keypad. No letters.

An idea began forming in my head.

Could it be….No.

Wait a minute…I think I had left it out…It has to be.

I stomped downstairs, rather indignantly. My cherubic second-born was sitting on the couch, eating a snack, his hand draped casually over the arm of said couch.

Positively cherubic.

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Sitting on the end table, inches from his fingertips, was my bluetooth keypad – the one I use when I have to do lots of numbering.

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“Were you playing with that??”

“Yes…because I didn’t think it would work from here!

I snatched my keypad up and stomped back upstairs.

Bluetooth and children. They don’t mix.