Friday, January 30, 2009

Be a Tourist - Birds of Prey

Today, BecBec and I took the boys to The Center for Birds of Prey.  It was amazing!  I would highly recommend visiting this place.  We got there right in time for one of the flying demonstrations - a hawk, falcon and owl all showed their flying and hunting skills.  It was so cool to see these birds up close and in action.  Hughes slept through the demonstration but soon woke to check out the bald eagle and others.  Banks just pointed and said his infamous "hot" - not really sure he means hot but he says it all the time for everything.

Bald Eagle - hit by a car and had foot and spine damage.

Quick photo op in front of one of the many hawk exhibits.  Hughes couldn't stop saying "look, look".  He was running ahead of us, so excited to show us the next bird.  Banks brought up the rear exclaiming "hot, hot".
Check out this puff ball of an owl.  I forgot his name, but he was my favorite owl.
Flying demonstration with hawk.  It was interesting seeing how the hawk approaches his prey (fake albeit but nonetheless impressive).

Everyone had a great time - if you haven't been, you need to go.  We finished up our visit with lunch at the Sewee Restaurant.

Be a Tourist - Fort Sumter

On Tuesday, Suzie and I took the boys to Fort Sumter.  I haven't been there since I was a small child so I have no recollection of it.  Despite the cold wind coming off the ocean, it was a great adventure.  The boat ride to the fort was fun - the boys had a great time looking at other passing boats, birds, etc.  Once docked, we saw some porpoises playing.  It was cold but lots of fun.

Hughes and Banks enjoying some brotherly time on a gun beside the ticket office - no, they didn't have these kind of guns at the Fort, more like cannons!
Banks still enjoying the big gun.
Hughes and Conley inside the Fort.  There is no climbing on any of the structures or cannons - this made for a lot of "don't climb" and  "get down" by me and Suzie.
Hughes and Conley climbing the mounds right next to the sign "stay off the mounds".  They were being so sweet - picking flowers (more like weeds).  Conley was giving his to his mom.  Hughes kept his!

Hughes and Conley on their way back to the boat.  Been there, done that, check it off!

Be a Tourist - Cypress Gardens

After Mepkin Abbey, we ventured to Cypress Gardens.  The boys had a great time.  We didn't do the boat ride - I was a little nervous about two boys on a boat even though we had 3 adults to their 2 - it still made me nervous.  We opted to take a walk around the swamp instead.  It was a beautiful day and I'm glad BecBec and PopPop could join us.

Why does Hughes never look at the camera?  
Big ol' alligator sunning himself.
Zebra Butterfly

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Charlie sure knows how to leave his mark . . .

Let me say this first, Charlie has never been allowed upstairs.  We don't allow him because we have carpet upstairs and we don't want him to get it dirty.  With that said, please read below but beware - poop is discussed!

Well, this morning started off rocky.  While putting my shoes on this morning, I heard Hughes whimpering - totally normal - he does this in the morning when he's trying to get his pajama pants off to go to the bathroom.  I walk towards his bathroom and he's standing at the top of the steps with diarrhea surrounding him.  I immediately called for reinforcement.  David grabs Hughes and takes him into the bathroom - he's clean, pull up dry, pjs dry - we were stumped.  Then, I realized this was not child poop but dog poop - to be more specific - Charlie Poop.

We're not sure if this was during the night or early morning, but one thing is for certain - Charlie had diarrhea inside the house!  He, obviously, came upstairs to try to wake us up to let us know but couldn't hold it.  So, he got the carpet upstairs, all the rugs(5) downstairs, all over the hardwood floors downstairs, and David's new Clemson hat (Charlie must be an AU fan).  It was disgusting!  Our entire house smelled of poo!

David cleaned up the hardwood floors and what he could on the carpet - diarrhea is not easy to clean up!  Charlie is so pititful - how can you be mad at him?  He tried to come get us but just couldn't make it.

The carpet cleaning guys are here now to do everything!  On a positive note, we had been talking about getting the carpets cleaned for awhile now - this just gave us an immediate reason to do it today.  On a downside, there goes $200!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Be a Tourist - Mepkin Abbey

Last Friday, Mom and Dad met me and the boys at Mepkin Abbey.  It is a Trappist Monastery in Moncks Corner.  You may have seen it on the news last year.  PETA made a huge stink over the monks raising chickens for egg production.  Needless to say, the monastery no longer produces eggs but has moved on to honey and mushrooms.  Anywho, we were out there in the morning and it was absolutely gorgeous - right on the Cooper River, sun shining through the oaks, and no noise.  We opted out of the tour that included a noon-day prayer service.  I figured two rowdy boys would not be appreciated in a quiet service.  We stayed in the gardens and wondered around.

View of the Cooper River
Helping Banks down the stairs - he now thinks he is suppose to step down them like a big boy instead of sliding on his stomach - He thinks he's 3 like his brother!
Hughes thought these tombstones were pretty cool.
PopPop and Banks going on a little walk.
This is the best I could do to get a picture of both boys together - will I ever get a decent one?

After Mepkin Abbey, we stopped by Delta Pharmacy so that Dad could visit with some pharmacist friends.  We, then, decided to hit Cypress Gardens. - next blog!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Be a Tourist - Middleton Place

On Monday, we went to Middleton Place on our Be a Tourist pass.  We took a horse-drawn carriage ride through the plantation and the rice fields.   I can't say the boys appreciated the history but they did love seeing alligators, birds, horses, and other wildlife on our tour.  After our tour, we had a picnic lunch on the steps of the original plantation.   The boys had a great time running up and down the lawn.  It was gorgeous - right on the Ashley River.  After our picnic lunch, we walked over to the stable yard to check out the horses, cows, goats, pigs, etc.  The sheep just had a baby which was sooooo cute.  I fell in love immediately!  

Getting ready to do the tour.  Our carriage driver was from Ohio and the other visitor was from Canada.
Our horses were May and June.  Sisters who only worked together.

The gates of the original house.  It was burned during the Civil War.  Yankee troops had a dinner at the house and then torched it.  A few years later, an earthquake finished off the remains of the house.  The site has never been touched so who knows what's buried in all that rubble.  
This is the front lawn of the original house that sits on the Ashley River.
Behind Banks are the steps we had our picnic on.  You can also see the rubble beside the steps.
Mama Sheep and baby lamb

Had it been a little warmer, we could have easily spent half a day here.  Unfortunately, it got quite chilly and Hughes had speech so we had to cut our visit short.  

Monday, January 19, 2009

Be a Tourist - Yorktown

On Saturday, we ventured out to Patriots Point.  We knew the boys would love it.  So, we bundled everyone up and bared the cold!  Man, it was cold on the water!  

Banks pointing to an aircraft carrier and saying "ha, ha"  (what we thought was hot, but he says it for everything - sometimes in the appropriate situation - pointing to the oven - but he uses it a lot)
Hughes getting ready to take off in his fighter jet - I wonder if he'll follow in his PopPop and Bull's footsteps and become a pilot?  I just hope he doesn't work for a man named Lorenzo!
Tobogan Clan - when you don't have much hair on top, you gotta do something to keep the heat in!

We visited the submarine but had to make an early exit due to a bathroom emergency.  In fact, we were only on the sub for about 10 minutes so we exited through the entrance.  Well, this 10-year oldish boy told me I needed to go all the way through the sub to exit.  I quickly shot him my teacher glare and told him politely that we had an emergency.  I had a few other words in my head but kept them to myself.

The boys loved it - as we knew they would.  We are really enjoying this Be a Tourist pass.  

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dinner Time

Here is the dinner table tonight:

1.  Banks refusing to eat.  Instead, he throws his noodles all over the floor with Charlie gladly eating them up (thank goodness for dogs, less food to clean up off the floor)

2.  Hughes refusing to eat mac'n cheese which is not abnormal.  The abnormal thing was that he had two helpings last night at Suzie's.  I guess hers is better than mine.

3.  After telling Hughes to take a "dinosaur bite" instead of "bird bites", he looked at me, took a bite, and then flapped his arms in the air and made the "tweet, tweet" sound.  It was all I could do not to burst out in laughter.  He continued to do this the rest of the meal.

4.  After Banks was released from his chair, he decided he needed to sit in one of the regular chairs.  He stood up.  I told him to sit down.  David told him to sit down.  Hughes then chimed in , with his deepest voice "sit down Banks".  Again, I had to hold back my laughter but didn't do such a great job.  

5.   The boys are very picky eaters for us.  I think we keep Oscar Mayer, Kraft, & Coburg in business - hot dogs, grilled cheeses, & milk.  Maybe we should buy stock!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Be a Tourist - Children's Museum

Another adventure with our Be a Tourist pass:  The Children's Museum.  Here is Hughes playing in the water room (my least favorite room because Hughes always ends up wet).  

Banks with a loaf of bread in the castle room.  He was very clingy and protective of me.  Another kid put his hand on my knee and Banks pushed it away.  He was staking his territory.
Hughes and Conley in the art room.  Conley made a bug, Hughes practiced cutting.

What's for lunch?

Okay, if you can get over the flashing lights and loud noises, Chuck E. Cheese is not a bad place to take the kids for lunch.  Of course, the day we picked was not the best:  teacher workday which equals lots of kids and after-school programs bringing the kids for lunch.  If you have a coupon (which you can get off the internet), $24.95 gets you a large pizza, four drinks, and 50 tokens.  Well, for two adults and three kids it is perfect.  The boys had a blast.   Banks rode with Chuck E. about 5 times and rode the carousel about the same.  He definitely had his favorite.  Hughes was into watching the older kids play the games and eventually played some himself.  Conley won us 17 tickets that we got to turn in for 2 dumdums.  That's right, I said 17.  You get one ticket just for playing a game.  We did a lot of ride-on toys!

Banks found this slide that was just his size.  He could climb up the wide stairs and slide down all by himself.  And to top it off, it was right near our booth!
Hughes on an important business call with Chuck E.
Conley is deep thought while on the carousel.
Banks' favorite ride - yee haw, ride'em cowboy!

I did want to break out in "teacher mode" a couple of times.  The older kids were wild:  standing on the stage with the motorized characters, climbing on the games that shouldn't be climbed on, yelling or should I say screaming.  One kid had three bags of cotton candy!  The after-school workers were basically just warm bodies.  No one was monitoring.

Be a Tourist - Firetruck Museum

Because of the frigid weather currently, we are sticking to all indoor activities.  Yesterday we went to the Firetruck Museum with Conley.  Once we got there, Hughes went tearing into the museum to get on the firetruck simulator.  There was this man hushing him.  I thought, "that's odd, no one has ever told us to be quiet before".  So, I went into the museum only to find Mayor Sumney (North Charleston) shooting a commercial.  That's why Hughes had to be quiet.  Thankfully, they were wrapping up.  I spoke with him briefly but he really took a liking to Suzie.  Of course, Banks pulled me away to another exhibit and I left Suzie to discuss politics with the mayor.  That was our big celebrity spotting for the year!

Hughes and Conley driving the firetruck simulator.  Hughes could have driven that firetruck all day long.  Unfortunately for him, another group came and wanted to drive it.  This did not go over well with Hughes.  
Future Fireman of America
Banks and Mom riding in the back of the firetruck.  Banks was really concerned with Hughes' driving!
Fireman Hughes, Fireman Banks & Fireman Conley

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Banks the Engineer

Banks absolutely loves his Cozy Coupe.  Everyday he sits in it and proceeds to reverse all the way down the hallway.  He loves for you to push him and, also, to put stuff in the "trunk".  Hughes has also gotten some miles off of it.   A few days ago, I received some hats and toys from my good friend Lisa.  She passes clothes, toys, shoes, etc. down to me from her 3 boys.  I don't know what I would do without her.  The engineer hat is just one of the many things that my boys have loved from her.  Banks has laid claim to this hat.  He has put it on every morning and afternoon since receiving it.  Maybe he will be an engineer just like his Big John!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Be a Tourist - Magnolia Gardens

This year I decided to get a Be a Tourist pass.  It is a pass for locals to use to do a lot of "touristy" stuff:  plantations, historic houses, etc.  It is good for the month of January and since it was a beautiful day today, I thought we should start our January adventures!  

Today, we went to Magnolia Gardens.  The boys had a great time in the petting zoo and, I think, could have stayed in there for over an hour - pigs, rabbits, peacocks, goats, sheep, deer, birds, chickens, roosters, etc.  We bypassed the food to feed the animals but still managed to get our hands on plenty of animals' mouths.

Banks near the sheep with a rabbit in the background.  This was about the closest Banks got to the animals which I am thankful.  Although, he did like the pig.  They had a sign that read "Beware of small children near the goats"!

Hughes annoying this goat.  Once Hughes got close enough, he started moving his head slowly in the ramming motion.  I, at once, ordered Hughes to back away.  He loved the bench.  Stood there for most of our visit.
Check out this fat pig.  Man, did he have a nasty snout!  Hughes loved him b/c the pig let him rub him all day long.  He was pretty gross!
Beautiful peacock strutting himself around the grounds.  Hughes tried to chase him (Rule #2 Don't chase the animals) but he jumped on top of another cage to get away.

After the petting zoo, we moved to the Conservatory.  It was so peaceful, that is, until my boys showed up.  I had to keep reminding Hughes to use his inside voice.  We were the only ones in there except for a volunteer who was working peacefully restaining some chairs.  

After the Conservatory, we boarded the train for the tour.  Hughes kept yelling "All Aboard".  I didn't think anyone else could understand him, but another tourist yelled back "all aboard".  This made Hughes grin from ear to ear.  We saw some alligators, ducks, and lots of birds.  It was a 45 minute tour - Banks fell asleep about half way through, Hughes fell asleep with only 10 minutes left of the tour.  That left me with two sleeping boys at the end of tour that had to be woken up to get to the car.

After our adventure, we headed home where I promptly pooped out on the sofa.  Thanks goodness David came home a little early from work today!