My weekend was dreamy, and I don’t use that word lightly. Truly, it was the best I’ve had in a long time. For one, I celebrated my 21st birthday. On Friday, my husband woke me with a trail of notes on the floor, leading to wrapped gifts and a hot breakfast in the kitchen. I spent the rest of my day how I like it: being productive. I miraculously cleaned the whole house and managed to pack for an overnight weekend trip to the coast before too late. I even baked myself a cake to take along. This trip to Charleston, SC was a combination birthday celebration and last vacation in our favorite coastal city before we move out of state in January. (Yes, I hinted about some big changes here and here, and that is largely what I was referring to.) We wanted to take our daughter to the city where we got engaged and have so many memories, (even though she won’t remember it) plus savor the beauty to the last drop ourselves before we go.
We often over complicated our vacations in the past, but this weekend, we kept it simple. I pre-booked a more expensive hotel suite with a kitchen and living space so we could stay in and relax with the baby and save money by cooking most of our meals. It was so worth it. Before parenthood, we often got cheaper lodging and blew our money on dining and exhausting ourselves with activities and exploring. Although, it was great in that time and place, this was such a nice change of pace.
I can honestly say I’ve never had such a low key, truly relaxing weekend. (With a five month old, at that!) We held a schedule loosely to mesh with Baby’s eating and sleeping needs, but she shocked me by being an angel all weekend. (No car seat meltdows or stressful situations.)
Baby once screamed almost an entire traumatizing 45 minute drive to our house, and experiences like that make me apprehensive about being away from home. I felt uptight when we left, but my husband encouraged me to just relax and take one moment at a time. She slept a lot of the way there and back, hallelujah. I attribute some of that to my dj skills. Start off with her favorite beats to distract her, then soften it to a contemporary sound as she gets sleepy, then softer yet once she drifts off. 😉
We got lucky (blessed) this trip. I know it might sound cliche, but God’s favor was felt so strongly all weekend. This transition time has been intense, and it was like God literally sent us away for a much needed rest. We felt so cared for.
We ate out at Mexican for lunch. The restaurant we frequented over the years was gone, but we found another one near Isle of Palms that did not dissapont. My mouth is watering just thinking about my flavorful entree. Baby was enthralled with the loud music and all the people and lights, but surprisingly, I was able to feed her enough to hold her over until we were somewhere quieter. We headed to Isle of Palms next to give Baby her first ocean experience and kill time before we could check in to our hotel. It was pretty nippy with the wind, but the sunshine was so pleasant. Alex actually fell asleep to the lull of the ocean sounds and the movement of being carried in the car seat. Husband wanted to find a unique shell for a remembrance of Alex’s first ocean experience, so we walked the beach looking for treasures. Before long, he spotted a starfish! That was a first for both of us, and by the time we left, we had three in our stash- one for each of us. The last one was randomly given to us by another couple. That was the first of many special and significant moments. We came away with a pretty handful of shells, starfish, and driftwood. I’m always attracted to the unique, broken pieces with markings that tell a story. On our way to find a coffee shop, we drove past Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church where the nine members were murdered in a shooting earlier this year. There were a few others observing the beautiful building quietly. Such a painful story, but I am so proud of the forgiving spirit of the Charleston people. Forgiveness brings healing. I can’t believe we’ve been to Charleston countless times over the years without hunting for coffee spots. I can not recommend Black Tap Coffee in downtown enough. With steps inside the door leading up to the main platform, it’s a simple one room building with an urban hipster feel like most authentic coffee houses have. The latte art did not dissapoint, and we savored the delicious goodness to the last frothy drop. After coffee, we loaded baby into the car and headed to The Battery to enjoy the park and water view as a family for the first time. (You could say this entire trip was pretty sentimental.) We found a quiet spot, nestled under the shadow of a giant oak so I could feed my baby in peace.
It was perfection. The warm sun cast glowing, late afternoon beams across the green grass and my face, and I suddenly felt caught in between time. It was like an eternal moment, sitting quietly, nourishing my baby, with nature my seat. Once again, I tangibly felt God smiling down on me (on us) while the earth looked on quietly. It was the epitome of peace. I will never forget that moment as long as I live.
A group of teens chatted nearby about getting wasted later, and that only amplified my other-worldly feelings. Who knows what they thought of the crunchy, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, glass water bottle drinking family taking in the view next to them. We had a laugh about that later. I really did change her cloth diaper in the park. It was our first trip in cloth, and it went well! My husband has embraced the change like an old pro.Daddy’s beanie comes in handy when mom forgets the baby one. We checked in to our hotel only a few minutes away. Our hotel was across from a wharf, and our room overlooked some of the marshland. It couldn’t have suited us better. Normally, I’ll take any break I can get from cooking, but I wanted to save money and keep our food healthy. It was fun! Working in a different kitchen makes cooking a novelty. I can’t say our night was the greatest, but that’s ok. Alex wouldn’t sleep soundly by herself, and I think it was largely because of unfamiliar sounds of people and traffic. Even in our bed, it felt like she was always awake.
You know you are a mom after a rough night when you accidentally spray hair spray on your face instead of facial toner. True story.
Caleb had taken Alex with him to explore and get an extended checkout time to give me some space to wake up and get ready for the day, but I guess I was still a little bleery. I thought to myself, “Hmm, my face feels a little tight.”
Looks down at bottle.
“Well, hairspray would explain that!” We had a relaxing morning in with a pancake and sausage and eggs breakfast, some tv, and napping for baby. Then it was leftovers for lunch, dishes, and packing up before one last stop at our newest coffee shop find for lattes to fuel our trip home. On the way home, we stopped at Home Depot to mull over some cosmetic decisions for our new house. After little girl was asleep, we didn’t want to prolong her trip with more shopping so my husband dropped us off at home, then went on to spend the evening stocking up on groceries for the next weekend, like the sweet man he is.
My heart is so full thinking over the rest and fun of the weekend. There was no vacation hangover, and Monday was full steam ahead.
The next weeks are packed (no pun intended) and full of change, so it’s one step at a time- remembering His faithfulness thus far and anticipating it again for the future.