2019
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January 2019  Slide Show

In January this year we went on a tour of West Virginia University with Zack. Zack went on the winter retreat with the Riverland Hills youth group to Winter Place ski resort and Amber and I drove up there to meet him and take him from there up to Morgan town to the University. While we were there though, Zack and Co. were snow boarding but Amber and I just did some tubing. I was being hard headed and didn't want to spend the money on a nice pair of snow gloves to use just once, but after one trip down the hill in that cold and I couldn't feel my fingers I went straight to the ski shop and bought a pair :-). When we were in Morgan town, a blizard came through while we were there and one day it was 0 degrees with a windshield factor that made it feel like -13 and the locals even said that it was colder then normal at the time. On our own time we checked out High Street which is the main drag for Morgantown where the college students hand out. During the tour we went to the down town campus, the Evansdale campus and a drive by of the Milan Puskar football stadium. Also while we were there we went to seethe Mountaineers mens basketball team play Baylor at the Coliseum. By the time we left Amber and I knew that Zack would end up there. Even though he had not made up his mind yet we could tell that it would probably be home for him for at least the next four years.


Zack went to Senior Prom this year with his friends; Bella, Matthew, Reilly, Nick, Allison, Dylan, Jordan, Zack and Jordan. What a great looking bunch of young people. They came to our house for dinner and pictures, then off for a night of elegance and fun!
April 2019  Slide Show



April 2019  Slide Show

Amber and Zachary made a trip to New Orleans to visit Loyola University as part of Zachary's "college world tour". They stayed in the Garden District area and rode the trolley around New Orleans. The trip included spending an evening hanigng out on the famous Bourbon Street, a tour of Loyola University and a self-guided walking tour of the garden district to see some famous houses including Sandra Bullock's, John Goodman's and Beyonce and Jay-Z's houses. They also did a food tour in the garden district, visited the WWII museum and Mardi Gras World where they got to see how they make the floats for the parade. Zachary checked off one of the things on his bucket list by eating a meal of crawfish and Amber had a beignet. Even though Zachary decided that Loyola was not the school for him, they had a great time visiting the area.


April 2019  Slide Show

This camping trip was to celebrate Amber's 50th birthday. Me, Amber, Allison and Bob camped at Ash-Grove outside of Brevard. The campground was nice and secluded but the walk back from the bathroom was like hiking up a mountain! Dinner the first night was one of our traditions. Allison makes salmon with black beans. The next day Me, Amber and Allison hiked to the top of Looking Glass Rock. The view was amazing and the weather was perfect!! While we were hiking, Bob went mountain bike riding. Afterwards, we all went to Pisgah Tavern where Amber bought a new pair of shoes and we had a celebratory beer. Then on to Ecusta Brewing Co. and finally Big Mike's for dinner. We finished up the night hanging out around the campfire, then home the next day.


June 2019  Slide Show

Zack is graduating high school!! Early in the month we had a small get together with just my in-laws, Dina and Ryan amd Bruce and Kay, friends of ours who came to town from Georgia to give Zack a quilt Kay made from some of Zack's old t-shirts. It was amazing and we can't thank her enough for such a meaningful gift. At one point during the month of May leading up to graduation many of the HS graduates who had gone to Ballentine Elementary went back to the elementary school for a "Senior Parade" to see some of thir old teachers and take a trip down memory lane. The graduation ceremony was really nice but they got Zack's full name wrong and left out his extended diploma and that he was an honor graduate, grrrr. I was a little worried that Amber would cry the entire time but it was actually our good friend Dina who was a total mess :-). She has always been like a second mom to Zack so I guess it is no real surprise. After the ceremony we had a celebration at the Carolina Ale House where Dina's husband Hunt is the General Manager and you can be sure he made it a great experience! The food was perfect and everyone was well taken care of... Thanks so much Hunt!!!


June 2019  Slide Show

The family vacation this year was to the Turks and Caicos Islands where we stayed at the Windsong Resort in Providenciales. Our room had a balcony with a beautiful view of the ocean! This trip we spent a lot of time just lounging around the resort, on the beach and in the water. They had these really cool circular floats with the bottom made of netting so we could stay cool while lying in the sun. One night while we were there, we went to the famous weekly Thursday night fish fry. The food was amazing and Amber bought a souvenir, a small bowl decorated by a local that was super cool!! I had no idea but of course Katie knew that Khloe Kardashian was there the week before we came to the island... apparently this is a favorite spot for celebrities. And what vacation would be complete without a stop at the local microbrewery so we dropped in at the Turk's Head Brewery. They had a great selection of local beer and we all ordered a flight that we shared with each other so we got to taste most of the beverages on the menu. I think I can speak for all of us when I say our favorite restaurant while we were there was "Somewhere". It was just a short walk from the resort on the beach with a great view and I must say the ceviche and the nachos were to die for!! Our big excursion was a private chartered ride on a catamaran that took us to a ship that was beached a couple of miles offshore in the shallows. Zack and I climbed up onto it and jumped off (Only outside of the US can you do such things) and I cut my big toe on that big rust bucket so I had to get a tetanus shot when we got back to the States. Next stop was Little Water Kay AKA... Iguana Island where the iguanas live naturally. There were also huge conch shells and we saw a nurse shark swimming near the boat where we were beached. This is the second nurse shark we have seen up close during our Caribbean tour. After that we went to a beautiful beach where we just hung out and enjoyed the sand and sun. There was almost no one else around so it was very peaceful. Then on the ride back we had the most amazing experience... a momma dolphin and her baby swam up beside the boat and we all got in and got to swim with them in the wild. Amber and Zack got the closes and I think the baby really like Zack. I watched her swim circles around Amber which was beautiful!! It was truly a great family vacation!!!

Jumping Ship :-)


August 2019  Slide Show

A couple of weeks before Zack moved up to Morgantown for school at WVU, Amber and I took him to Camp Muffly (nicknamed Camp Muffly Wuffly by Zack) near Morgantown West Virginia to go to Adventure Camp. It's a first-year adventure camp for rising freshman to the University. Once we dropped him off, we decided that it wasn't worth going back to SC for a week and then driving back up to get him. So we went to Niagara Falls instead. We took I79 into New York upstate, then I90 and got on to Hwy 5 and drove along Lake Erie until we got to the Dunkirk Lighthouse that overlooks the lake. We took the tour and got to go up to the top and look out over the lake. Neither Amber or I have ever seen any of the Great Lakes before and it was beautiful. We left there and it was off to the big waterfall. When we made it to Niagara we stayed at the Sheraton on the Falls and spent the first day exploring Niagara Park. The next day we took the Hornblower boat tour to see the falls up close and personal. It is truly incredible to see the immense power of the Falls up that close. We also went behind the falls which was really neat. They have caverns dug out beneath the falls and you can see the water gushing down from behind them. There was also a platform we got to go out on and see the falls from the side up close as well. After all that we worked up quite a thirst so of course we had to go to Niagara Brewing Company. They had great beer and we tried a few of them each. We like going to local pizza places when we trave so Amber had picked one out across the border in New York but when we got there it didn't look so good. Instead, we ended up at a place call Wine on Third which was fantastic. It was a Tuesday night and their special was two salads, a pizza and a bottle of wine for $30. The food was great and the wine was good too, I'm so glad we ended up there instead! Our last full day we went on a wine tour with the WINERY GUYS who took us to four different wineries. We met the most fun ladies that were on the tour with us whose names I don't remember but they were old college roommates, one was from Australia and the other was a native Canadian from Montreal. At some point the driver took us to Niagara on the lake, a beautiful small town right on Lake Ontario where we had lunch at the Stage Coach Family Restaurant. We had so much fun spending the day with these two ladies it was one of the memorable parts of the trip! After a long day tasting wine we went to dinner back at Niagara Falls and walked around the more cheesy part of town. It was interesting to say the least but I guess you haven't experienced all Niagara Falls has to offer until you have seen this part too!

Niagara Falls Videos
   



A life changing day... for all of us. Zack moves into his dorm the Dadisman AKA the Dirty D. at WVU. I'm so proud of Zack and happy for him too but it's kind of sad for me also because I am going to miss him terribly. After we dropped him off Amber and I went to Coopers Rock to hike some of the trails and see one of the overlooks. Then we hit the road back home to an empty nest. Good luck Zack I wish you the best but I sure am going to miss having you around the house!!
August 2019  Slide Show


September 2019  Slide Show

We went back up to Morgantown to see Zack for parents weekend. It was a lot of fun, and interesting to see how much he has changed in just a month of being on his own at college. He is definately growing into quite a young man. This time he showed us around instead of the other way around. It was so much fun seeing the University from his perspective I know he is going to do well there! Aside from the the tour Zack gave us of campus, we went to do a Zipline for some fun. It was a blast but Amber got stuck on one of the lines because her pully wasn't hooked up exactly right on one of the lines so we waited nearly an hour for them to haul her in. FYI, none of this was her fault, the guide messed up but no harm no fowl it was still a great time!

Zack and Amber on the Zipline
   



October 2019  Slide Show

Our fall weekend getaway this year was to Solitude Pointe campground in Cleveland, SC. Me, Amber, Bob and Allison went up on Thursday night and set up camp. We had a late dinner of grilled Salmon. The next morning we hiked the Falls Creek WaterFall trail, a challenging hike but not too long and well worth the effort. The payoff was a amazing view of the mountains and a beautiful waterfall! After the hike we drove into Travelers Rest to shop for souvenirs and have a beer at the Swanp Rabit Brewery. Allison wanted to go back to Columbia to see Sean play in the band and Bob and I convinced Amber to drive us back to camp in my truck so we could partake in a few extra beverages. So we piled the three of us in my truck and Amber had to listen to Bob and I sing all the songs on my playlist on the ride back and for the record Bab and I can sing a mean Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi! Later that night, the rest of the crew arrived - Laura, Ted, Holly, Clarence, Troy and Rebecca and Allison made it back as well. We drove back into Travelers Rest for dinner and live music at the Whistle Stop. The next day called for rain in the forecast so Amber, Troy and Rebecca got up early and hiked Carrick Creek trail. They were back at camp in time for breakfast with the rest of us. Afterwards, to make the best of the rainy day, we went to the Sky Top Apple Orchard then to Brevard. The Gamecocks were playing Florida at noon and I wasn't going to miss the game so I watched it on my phone in the car and at the apple orchard :-). In Brevard we went to, you guessed it... The Brevard Brewery and dinner at Casa Maya. The next morning it was so beautiful so before we checked out we "hiked" the Solitude Pointe trail. A nice ending to a great weekend!

Upper and lower Falls Creek Falls
   



December 2019  Slide Show

This December we went to stay at the Troy and Rebecca's house on Edisto Island for the weekend. It was Troy's birthday that weekend so we celebrated it while we were there. Rebecca made a chicken bog and Laura backed Troy a birthday cake. The ladies made him wear the traditional birthday hat and we just hung out had dinner, Bday cake and the guys all gave him some birthday booze. Laura brought a "service" bell they would ring when they needed another glass of wine and Amber got a little crazy with it. She kept bartender Ted busy making sure all the ladies had everything they needed! While we were there we went to Botany Bay, which has a stunning beach. Many refer to it as “Boneyard Beach” due to the fallen trees whitened by the sun that rest in the sand and weather-worn trees that stand in the water. One morning the ladies were feeling ambitious with a little encouragement from Rebecca got up at sunrise and did yoga on the screened in back porch. What they were thinking I have no idea. It was another great time with great friends. We are so blessed to have such good friends (especially friends who have a beach house)!


December 2019  Slide Show

Christmas was a special time of year as it always it. The kids were home nad interestingly enough those little Elves beban getting into trouble as soon as Katie arrived. It was nice having the whole family help put together care packages for the youth behind the fence at South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice where I work. It is somehting I like to do for them because I know how hard it must be to be away from your family during the holidays. Katie and Zack decorated our gingerbread house another tradition we have here and it looked amazing as always. Christmas morning Sandra and George came over to open presents and that night the whole family came over to our house this year. It was really nice having everone together!