Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Charleston and Hilton Head Island Trip 2013

As I mentioned in my last post, RJ left for Hilton Head Island on Sunday morning. Laura, Chelsey and Trevor and RJ all left on Sunday morning and Big Reed and I both flew in on Tuesday evening. 

I flew into Charleston and RJ and I stayed overnight there on Tuesday and spent Wednesday walking around and checking out the beautiful city. 

We did some window shopping (and actual shopping), drove around some of the neighborhoods, walked around Battery Park, walked by the water and went in the visitor's center. 

 When we were walking around, we walked by a beautiful church and stopped to admire it. The pastor happened to be outside and saw us checking it out, so introduced himself and told us a little bit about the church. The church was Trinity United Methodist Church and it has the oldest congregation in Charleston, dating back to 1786 (the building wasn't ! (More on the history on their website here). 

The church has gorgeous white pillars and huge wooden doors:


The pastor invited us to wak around the sanctuary and that's when we met John, a member of the church and "greeter". He showed us around the sanctuary and said if we had a minute, he wanted to show us something special in another part of the church. Of course we had to see what he wanted to show us and I'm glad we did ... it was the most beautiful stained glass window!

When we admiring the window, John said something I wanted to be sure to write down and remember. "When you get to be my age (he was 75), you realize that the things of the world.. well, they don't really matter. The only thing that matters is your faith." Said in a perfect, Charleston gentleman drawl. 

Wise man, that John. 

After walking around exploring the city all day, we had dinner at Poogan's Porch which had been recommended to us. It was delicious and we got a great seat on the patio!

After dinner, we headed out to make the 2 hour drive to Hilton Head. 

Thursday us ladies sat by the pool while the guys went golfing. 

Later that night, we went on a sunset sailing trip with Captain Bob! 

We were able to pack a dinner to eat on the boat which was really nice.

You really can't beat a beautiful sunset over the water!

On Friday RJ and I went for a long bike ride and then met the rest of the group at the beach later in the afternoon. 

The guys had to get some football time in before Trevor had to go to the airport. He flew home a few days early to do a market on Saturday morning. 

Saturday was our last day by the pool and while us ladies did that, Big Reed and RJ played more golf.

Saturday was our last night and we went to San Miguel's, which is probably my favorite restaurant that we've tried on the island. I guess it's not surprising that a Mexican restaurant is my favorite!

After dinner we took a family portrait, minus Trevor who was already back in Cleveland (and Halley & Shawn who unfortunately weren't able to come this year). 

Thank you Laura and Big Reed for another wonderful trip!! 

Part of the reason I love having this blog is to look back on our past memories. Below are links to past posts on the Stith Family Summer Vacation:

Drew's Visit : May 2013

A few days before our Hilton Head trip, Drew came to visit and stayed with us for a few days. He got in on Friday afternoon and we hung out for a little while and then decided to walk to the park.

There's a really nice and big park about a 15-20 minute walk away. The weather was gorgeous so we wanted to go for a walk and visit the park. When we got to the park the guys threw the frisbee for a little while.

Later that night, we met Dad and Mary at Three Palms, a fantastic restaurant in Hudson with specialty pizzas. It was actually opened by Drew's former boss (the chef from Downtown 140) and mentor.

After the pizza, we headed to the bowling alley. RJ and I had given dad a "family bowling night" for Father's day, so we wanted to make sure to do that while Drew was in town.

Not surprisingly, Dad was actually pretty good! 

On Saturday, Drew and RJ and I decided to go for a hike at one of the Metro Parks close by. We went to one of my favorite ones, called the Gorge. The best park about the Gorge is that you can go down by the water and actually put your feet in the running water! 

Saturday evening we went do Dad and Mary's place and Drew made a fantastic dinner (with help from Mary the sous chef). 

He made a chicken roulade that was delicious! 

Sunday morning, RJ left early with most of the Stith's for Hilton Head. I wanted to work at least two days so didn't leave til Tuesday night. Drew stayed here at our house until he dropped me off at the airport on Tuesday in the late afternoon. 

Harvey (and the cats) loved having him here.. extra attention! 

It was perfect weather to hang out on the front porch. We got Mexican food one night and Drew played golf a few days. 

It was so great to have him home for a few days, we all love him very much!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Saying Goodbye

When we first took in Grace a few months ago (Remember?), we went back and forth between thinking that we would keep her or find her a new home once she was healthy. We had an ad on Craigslist for a long time just in case the perfect family came along. The deal was, if we found a family where we thought she would be happier, we would let her go. Until recently, there were no good prospects.

We love her so much, but knew she would ultimately be better off with a family with a large yard where she could run around. With our tiny, unfenced yard, we always had to take her out on a leash (multiple times a day!) and had to take her for walks everyday. She loved walks, but how much more fun is it to run around off of the leash? 

She had gotten better about the cats, but still chased them. Craze always wanted to go spend all day outside and Steve was always hiding in the basement, so we felt like we didn't even have cats anymore! 

Harvey grew to love Grace when she was calm. He still got irritated when she was in a hyper mood, always afraid he would get trampled. 

Our realtor, Debbi, is a dog lover and we had talked to her a little bit about Grace.

A few days ago, I got a phone call from a realtor friend of Debbi's. Their family dog had recently passed away and they wanted to adopt another. They live in the country on 4 acres.. 

She, her husband and her son came over to meet Grace over the weekend. They loved her and she loved them. 

Everything was looking good except the fact that we would have to say goodbye. 

I wasn't sure I could do it!

Luckily, they were having their carpets cleaned early in the week so didn't want to pick her up until Tuesday. 

We know that having a <real> dog that is young and wild is a pain.. so logically speaking, we were thrilled! No more walks in the rain, chasing cats and barking at the mailman! 

Emotionally though, it was (and continues to be) very difficult. We love that darned dog!

Yesterday the new family came to get her while I was at work (don't think I didn't plan it that way!). Saying goodbye before I left was heart breaking but I was also so happy about where she was going. 

Her new mom (*tear*) emailed me last night to say things were going great so far and that Grace loved the yard and spent all afternoon frolicking and rolling in the grass. That made me so happy and I know she will love long walks in the woods and being a spoiled only-dog. 

The new family does have a cat so I hope she behaves herself around it.. 

If not, she may be returning to us. We told them that if there were any issues, they could always send her back instead of taking her to the pound. 

It may not sound like it because I'm having a hard time with it, but I really really want it to work out with the new family. They gave us their address and said we can visit any time which I plan to take them up on! 

It was really hard to come home from work to a quiet house last night.. but also really nice to not have to take her out on a leash right away. (See how I'm trying to remind myself of the little annoyances?). 

The cats were thrilled and loved sitting on our laps again at night without fear of the "big, scary dog".

I am 100% sure this is for the best and so happy for our girl to be in a loving (hopefully forever) home. I can't wait to visit her at her new digs!

She may not be the most beautiful dog and she snores and farts..
but we'll always love her. 

Goodwill Fashion Show

Back in the fall, I was asked to participate in a really neat Goodwill event - the Goodwill Good Style Fashion Show. They gave me $125 in Goodwill gift certificates to shop for an 8-10 look "collection" with a distinct theme. The theme I chose was Stripes & Florals - my favorite mixed print. Since the event was May 9th, I wanted it to be springy and fun.

After months of shopping and a few model fittings, the event was last Thursday and it was soo much fun! There were 450 attendees in the audience so introducing myself and my collection was really nerve wracking, but it went really well!

Here are all ten looks - including what I'm wearing which was also part of the collection! All that for $125! Some of the belts and all of the shoes were not part of that $125. Also, my friend Sarah made the fun flower crowns some of the girls wore. 

Before the show, our models got their hair and makeup done by Brown & Aveda cosmetology students. Below is Chelsey getting hers done:

 This is my cousin Chrissy (RJ's cousin who've I've adopted as my cousin too) :)

Chelsey, Chrissy and Sarah:

 Mackenzie, Michaela, Sarah, Chelsey and Chrissy:

Trevor's sister, Mickie, was also one of my lovely models:

The two girls on the left (Julie & Amanda) were two of my volunteer models, they did a great job! The girl on the right was part of the Bridget Boudreaux collection I believe:

And now for some runway shots!

After all my looks went down the runway, they had everyone walk down together which was really fun!

All my models did such a great job and I loved how the outfits turned out! 

Big thanks to all of my models, especially Chelsey who rallied some of her Cleveland friends to be models!