Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Love Birds in the Carolinas

I'm seriously going through withdraw from the weather we experienced in the Carolinas two weeks ago - as I type this rain is pouring here in NYC. Ughhh. 

We headed down on a Thursday to stay with Uka's Aunt Kachi and her family. Last time we had been down there was the fall after we got married in 2009 so we were long overdue for a visit (you can see that visit here - on a sidenote kinda eery that during that vist we saw Where the Wild Things Are and the recent trip was around the time of Sendak's death). We decided to add an extra day to our trip to save money like we did before by flying into Charlotte (waaay less expensive than Greenville's airport where my sister's graduation was) and getting a rental car to go to South Carolina (about 2 1/2 hour drive to my sister's campus). 

We were welcomed by lovely weather in Charlotte
Our first stop was Mac's on recommendation of a fellow Jersey City mom. It was delicious - I got my usual pulled pork which is my fave BBQ item and DH got the wings which they're known for grilling. I'm not a big wing fan (I'm weird about bones in my meat - strange I know!), but I do have to admit they were delicious! We also ordered the macaroni and cheese which was very good. The reviews on Yelp were hit or miss but we were satisfied and on the debate between who looks better Hooters' waitresses or Mac's, Mr. Love Bird said Mac's waitresses win (yes, we're comfortable discussing stuff like that!).

After Mac's we headed to our Aunt's house and Nia was so excited to meet her girl cousins for the first time. She was in love (although a bit moody in the pic below)!

We bed shared and as I wrote in Nia's 21 months update we had some setbacks in weaning because of this but are slowly getting back on track. The next morning we drove to Anderson and thankfully the hotel had a crib so Nia slept on her own for two nights.

My sister majored in graphic design and our family met up at Anderson University's library gallery to see her work. She didn't know our Grandma Mary, Aunt Angela, Uncle Willie and Cousin Andrew were going to be there and she was so surprised! 

Next, we saw The Avengers - Nia came along, slept most of the movie but woke up towards the end. She was not a fan of the Hulk but keeps re-enacting him growling and making muscles. 

She's not a fan
Dinner was at Soby's in downtown Greenville. There just wasn't enough time and I really wish I could've walked around a bit to take more pictures as it's voted one of the best Main Streets by Travel + Leisure magazine.

Best shot of Main Street, Greenville I could get from our car
{On a sidenote I have to say coming from NYC, while delicious, Soby's is horribly overpriced, but apparently it's popular and someone is making money hand over fist there!}

Graduation day was gorgeous - we were a little late, but such is life with a toddler! It was nearly 90 degrees, but my dad picked wonderful seats under the oaks. Nia ended up making friends with other kids in the lawn behind the seating. It was the prefect place for kids to frolic!

Nia and her cousin Andrew
Nia loves her "Papi"
My Grandma Mary and my dad
I got in close to see Lauren walk across the stage, but I'm thinking next year I'll be ready for a zoom lens upgrade!

Me and My Siblings: Ariane, Lauren and Michael II
Next up we headed to Darwin Wright Park for the graduation party. The sun was super intense but it was gorgeous - I slathered some sunscreen on Lil Love Bird and let her explore the water. . . 

The graduates - Malakeia and Lauren

On a side note: I never really felt comfortable in the south - or should I say, less integrated parts of the south. On the way to the party I noticed one of the roads was named Manse Jolly. It prompted me to look up the history and I found this explanation. Here's an excerpt:

Manse Jolly was one of the first from Anderson County to join the Confederate Army, enlisting at Charleston. He served until the close, coming out without a scratch but a record for bravery that few soldiers equaled.
Manse Jolly was accompanied to the front with six brothers. Five were left on different battle fields. Only one accompanied him back to the old home where an old mother awaited them with open arms, the father having died shortly before the war. On his arrival home, Manse was greeted by the Yankee garrison, then stationed in Anderson. This angered him and he took an oath to kill five Yankees for every brother lost on the battle fields. He more than made good.

On to the end of the trip . . .

Back at the hotel Nia and Uka had fun spending some time in the pool. It was heated but to me was cold - Nia was shivering but didn't want to leave! Since then she keeps asking to get in the water so swimming lessons might be in order.

That night Uka returned to see The Avengers - this time in 3D with my brother who missed it the first time around as he hadn't arrived yet to see it with everyone else. Nia had been a little sick with a cold so it was fine for us to stay in and have an early night.  

We got up bright and early to head back to Charlotte and fly home. 

Dads do fun things like this, while moms look on nervously!
Oh and a celebrity sighting - Mr. Love Bird and I had just discussed Big Love the day before when we spotted Ginnifer Goodwin across from us at lunch in the airport with from her date Josh Dallas from Thor (I was excited to spot them cause Mr. Love Bird is always seeing celebrities and usually notices them before I do!):
Ginnifer and Josh sign autographs
 Anyway, congratulations to my sister, Lauren! I'm so proud of you!