Sunday, July 27, 2008

Friends and Blueberries...what more could you want?

Leslie, Isejah and Maya

Our friends from St Croix came to visit us over the weekend and it was so good to see them. Since they live so far away we don't get to see them very often and in fact, the last time they came here they came alone. This time around they had an addition to the family. Isejah, who is now 5 months old, was a trooper making the trip all the way here and we had such a good time playing, slobbering, yelling and crying. Yes, crying! We both welcomed new teeth (for Isejah his first 2 bottom teeth and for me my top 2 teeth!) and we let everyone know just how we felt. And let me tell you, it wasn't easy bustin' them chompers in!

Leslie, Buchie and Isejah came to visit at the right time! We are overwhelmed with our blueberry crop this year. We can't keep up with the production. Last night we went out for 30 minutes and picked 17 cups! Last year we only yielded 24 cups (800 year drought and frost on April 15) and as of last night we have already picked 45 cups. We took the recipe from our friends website and made a bumbleberry pie, we've made loads of the worlds best blueberry muffins (we could market these!), a no-bake blueberry cheesecake and next week we'll try blueberry beer and blueberry jam. The rest of the berries we'll plan on freezing for tasty treats throughout the year.

Mom and I have been a little busy with friends and work and will try to get the trip to Wrightsville Beach up soon. Enjoy the pics below and send us your favorite blueberry recipe and we'll try it out for you!

Tag team on the radio flyer

Even with the ladder we can't reach them all!

Berry Good!

We'll pick all the blue ones and then by morning it looks like we didn't even pick any!

17 cups in 30 minutes!!

Bumbleberry Pie

Walking in my Mother's footsteps!

Miss Cool!

Monday, July 21, 2008

5 Years! Mountains to Sea! Walking, Talking and Signing!

Have you figured out what the title to this blog post means yet? Well, I'm sure the last part is pretty easy to figure out but we'll get to that a little bit later. But first let me tell you what the first two parts are all about...

5 Years!

On July 19th Mom and Dad celebrated their 5 year anniversary! Do you want to know what they got each other? They gave each other a very special gift, one that everyone should give their loved ones after 5 years of being happily married. They gave each other a break! Yes, that's right, they took a break from each other. The only bad part is they had to choose who took care of me! Of course Mom won that battle and took me to the beach while Dad went to the mountains of Tennessee to go fishing. We had a great time but we're all wishing we were still in the mountains or back at sea. The best part of the weekend is Dad bringing home some trout for a special anniversary dinner!


I left Raleigh at 6am and headed for the Tellico River just south of the Great Smoky Mountains on the NC/TN border. It took around 7 hours to get there mainly due to the slow moving and often treacherous one-lane forest service roads. I met 15 of my friends up there for a long weekend of fishing and camping and to celebrate a good friend's marriage in two weeks. Not only did we catch a lot of fish but we saw some great wildlife. We saw a timber rattlesnake that was the size of my lower leg, 10 wild hogs, a black rat snake, raccoons and a black bear. We ate lots of fish and were smart enough to discard the fish heads in the river by our campsite so we could attract mountain lobsters. We hit the river by the campsite around midnight and caught enough mountain lobster to have for dessert!

If it weren't for the long drive I'd be up there every weekend. The mountains of east Tennessee are some of the most beautiful in the entire US. If you have never been then you need to go. And if you're looking for someone to go with you then just give us a call!


Since Mom is asleep right now I'll leave this part for her to return to in another post tomorrow night.

Walking, Talking and Signing:

I took my first steps over the weekend, starting signing again and added a few new words to my growing bank of baby garble.

Walking -
I have started testing my feet trying to mimic what I see everyone else on this planet doing but I can't seem to muster up the courage to get moving. I sway back and forth trying to talk myself into just doing it, but knowing that I am going to fall flat on my face makes it a little hard. I busted pretty hard tonight but I kept trying. Nothing more that 2 steps but remember, baby steps first! I'll be a terror on 2 feet in no time!

Talking/Signing - I have been adding a few words each week to my growing vocabulary and when I know them, adding a sign to the words. Most of you will remember that I took a sign language class a while back and the only sign I ever mastered was the milk sign. You have to make sure you know the important ones first before going on to master more. In the past, I would only sign if you signed it to me first. Now I am signing if you just say the word. Below is a list of my words to date and which ones I can sign.

Mimi (My Snake)
Teddy (My Stuffed Bear)

Change Diaper
Bath Time

If you just say the word Booby, Hear, Eat and More I'll show you the sign. If you say give me a hug or give me a kiss, well I can do that too...but only if I like you!

Below are some pictures of Dad's weekend. More to come tomorrow from our trip to the beach!


Tellico River

Now that's a stringer of fish!

Dinner time!

Timber Rattlesnake only a few hundred yards from our tent

Dessert! And even the baby mnt lobster were good!

We got this one boozed up before cooking him.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Our blueberries are in!! Tonight we went out for the first time this year to pick blueberries. We were only out for about 5 minutes and harvested around a half pint. There are plenty yet to be picked but we didn't have the ladder out. Yes, that's right, we need a ladder the bushes are so big! Last year we had a freeze on April 15th and we think it hurt the crop since we only got around 25 cups or about 13 pints. We hope to have many more this year since we have had some nice weather and some great rains. We're keeping tally and will let you know the total when the last blueberry goes down the gullet!

And if you stop by, who knows, you may just happen to be around when we have some...

Blueberry Muffins and Muffin Tops
Bumbleberry Pie
Blueberry Pancakes
Blueberry Vinaigrette
Blueberry Beer
Blueberry Jam
Blueberry Ice Cream
Blueberry Daiquiris
Blueberry & Asparagus
Blueberry Cheesecake
Blueberry Cobbler

...or many many more ridiculous yet tasty blueberry creations!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Red Shoes: Like Mother Like Daughter.

The other day when we were at Koka Booth for the fireworks I spotted a pair of orange crocks. They were the coolest shoes ever and I have decided that since everyone is wearing these lately I want to be part of the trend too. My friend Abi has a pair of Sponge Bob crocks, all the kids on the playground have crocks and even our neighbor has several pairs of crocks in really cool colors. So when I saw these orange crocks I realized that I NEEDED to have a pair.

For the past three days now every time we went by the crock aisle (you know, now they have whole sections in stores devoted to crocks) I let Mom know that I wanted a pair. She finally let me try on a black pair at Great Outdoor Provision Company and I screamed bloody murder when she said they weren't the right size and they didn't have my extra small size. Finally, today we were in the grocery store and they had a crock aisle (of course) and I decided to let Mom know that I needed them NOW! She finally realized that I wasn't going to let up so she selected a red pair (ironically the only color they had in my small size) and I latched on to those things and decided I wasn't going to let them go.

Mom tells me that her first pair of shoes were red too! She says they were red sparkly shoes like Dorothy had in the Wizard of Oz. When Mom got her red shoes she, like me, would not let them go. She even went to bed and slept with them on for a whole week (how did Grandma Mary let her get away with this!). So far, I road in my buggy with my new red shoes on, walked in the garden, played with my toys, ferociously pulled them back on every time they fell off and who knows, I may even sleep with my new red shoes on tonight too.

There's no place like home. Click Clack.

Bonus picture: I now "hear" things and sign to you that I "hear" them!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Fourth

Weeeeee! Weeeee!!

In case you couldn't figure it out, weeeee is my new word that I have been using for the past 2 weeks. It all started from the swinging motion of the hammocks and the swing, then it moved inside to Dad's spinning office chair, and more recently it comes from being pushed around in a shoe box. Yes a shoe box, you should try it, it's fun! I also yelled weeeee when I began to feel the tug of the seat belt on a curve that Dad took a little too fast. Who knows, I may have even yelled weeee when the fireworks popped.

Yes, we did go to see some fireworks this weekend and we grilled out and went on a picnic. Dad spent part of the afternoon teaching me how to grill. We then packed up the food and headed over to the Koka Booth Amphitheater for a picnic and some fireworks. The NC Symphony was playing and there must have been 10,000 people as we were hard pressed to find any picnic real estate with a view of the sky. As it turns out, we didn't need that view. About 15 minutes prior to blast off lightning filled the sky followed by a loud thunder clap. Everyone stood up cheering thinking the fireworks had started but we knew something wasn't right when we saw the hairs on our arm standing up. The lightning strikes kept coming and they were so close that you could practically feel the electricity in the air.

We knew that sitting in a groove of trees was not the best idea nor was getting wet something we looked forward to so we pack up and headed back to the car. We waited around for a bit to see if the storm would pass for the fireworks but they decided to cancel them and shoot them off the next night. So instead we headed back home and curled up in the hammocks for some natural fireworks and booming thunder.

We headed back to Koka Booth on Saturday so we could see the fireworks and arrived just in time. This time we stayed in the parking lot as opposed to going down to the Amphitheater. The show was incredible and the noise was tremendous. I never took my eyes from the sky as I tried to figure out what all of the commotion was for. I just sat back in my rocker, enjoyed the show and yelled weeee!!

Today we headed over to the Festival for the Eno in Durham. Another great year with great music, food and fun! We hope everyone had a great weekend and will continue to enjoy the summer as much as we are!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Carolina Beach

Over the past weekend we decided last minute to drop everything and get out of dodge. We have been going non-stop for quite a while without a break. We woke up Sunday morning, packed the car and headed towards the beach to camp for the night. We really didn't have anywhere in mind to go since we didn't plan this trip so we just drove to the beach and looked for the first sign to catch our eye. We ended up camping alongside the mouth of the Cape Fear River where it meets Carolina Beach State Park.

After setting up camp and heading to the river to enjoy the sunset we had a brief run in with a wannabe park ranger on a power trip over our camping spot (he didn't carry a gun so we knew we could win the battle). He had to call in the backup (you know, the one with the gun) and she not only set him straight but let us be to enjoy our little spot. We knew everything was going our way when we spotted a full rainbow stretching from the campsite to the ocean.

The wannabe park ranger wasn't our only obstacle of the weekend. We faced high and blinding winds while we tried to catch a few waves at the beach. We spent more time trying to get the sand out of our eyes than we did swim so we decided to pack it up, grab some dinner and head back to the campsite. The next day at the beach was much better and I enjoyed it so much. I played in the waves, laughed at them, drank from them, and almost got washed away with them. I even let Dad bury me in the sand.

The other highlight of the trip included a visit to the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher. The visit to the Aquarium was really meant to beat the heat during the hottest part of the day. We saw all kinds of sea critters and Mom and Dad bought me a stuffed sea turtle and we named him Crush (you know, from Finding Nemo fame. Dude!).

Before heading home we went for a hike in Carolina Beach State Park in search of the Longleaf Pine. For those of you who don't know, the Longleaf Pine is an incredibly diverse ecosystem that has been destroyed by man and is now an endangered ecosystem. Before this inconceivable destruction the Longleaf Pine ecosystem was so large you could ride on horseback from Virginia to Texas and never leave a longleaf pine forest!! One of the really cool unique features of this tree is that it only grows 1 foot off the ground for the first 8 years while it digs a deep tap root. Once the tap root is deep the pine shoots up fast to get above the fire line. Yes, this ecosystem is fire dependent and this tree knows how to survive in the heat. If the tree is in a fire when it is only a foot off the ground it will close up very tightly to protect the inside of the tree avoiding fire damage. Be sure to watch the slide show to see the different stages of the pine.

The Longleaf Pine forest is also home to one very amazing bird, the Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, a cooperative breeder that lives in family groups composed of one breeding pair and several helpers. They only build cavities in live longleaf pines and it takes several years to excavate the cavity. Keeping the longleaf pine ecosystem intact is crucial to its survival!

I really enjoyed the trip and am glad we decided on the spur of the moment to just pack the car and get out of town. It's the surprises in life that make it interesting. Not knowing where you are going to rest your head or fill your belly will always add excitement to your day!

I have posted a few pictures but also made a quick slide show featuring all of the pictures. I got tired of looking for an appropriate song so I just added on of my favorites. It's a little slow and sappy but a great song nonetheless!