Sunday, December 30, 2012

Plans

I'm one of those people who gets bogged down in all my plans. I have lots of little ideas running around in my head. Usually, I can make it all happen. Some way, some how. I think I get that from my momma. She's the mastermind at pulling stuff off in her sleep, with her hands tied behind her back.

 I had PLANS to do lots over this Christmas break. Most of which involved making memories and being festive.

  • I had plans to take my boys ice skating at our local ice skating rink. It's a temporary attraction and quite a novelty considering our city tag line is "Famously Hot".
  • I had plans to go to several of the holiday lights hot spots. We only made it to two.
  • I had plans to take the boys to the Edventure New Years Eve at Noon celebration.
  • I had plans to make homemade pasta with my mom.
  • I had plans to make my Aunt Laynie some soup and yummy treats.
  • I had plans to make my little brother Puppy Chow because he was a little disappointed on Christmas day when he saw I hadn't made any.
  • I had plans to go on a date night with my hubby to dinner and to see This Is 40.
  • I had plans to take my Goddaughter to lunch.
  • I had plans to visit with my cousin who is in town from Texas.
  • I had plans to spend New Years Eve with my bunco friends.
  • I had plans to blog about our wonderful Christmas and the year in review.

It seems that my body had different plans.

Shan and I are on day 4 & 5 of the worst virus I think I've ever had. Shan's symptoms started Wednesday and mine started Thursday. Both of our flu tests were negative, but we've had the worst flu-like symptoms with no option to take Tami-flu. In addition, we've both had sinusitis and bronchitis to go along with it.

My dad took Shan to the hospital Saturday morning to make sure he didn't have pneumonia. He did not. Thank goodness. Shan's mom came to take the boys to the lake so we could sleep. I could not be more grateful. There is NO way we could have taken care of them with the 2 of us down.

 
John Lennon sang it best... Whatever gets you thru the night!

We are hopefully turning a corner, as we have both actually showered now and ventured to the store to get more Advil.

So the last 5 days have been a bust. And the few days before Christmas were spent tying up loose ends and visiting family. So my window of opportunity is extremely small now for all those plans!

One of my favorite sayings talks about a road to a certain place being paved with good intentions. I make lots of plans and get so disappointed when they don't work out. What I really want is a do-over. But that's not going to happen.

I happened to read this just as I was about to compose this post and it was a good thing.

So for now, I'm letting it go. I'm giving myself grace. I'm going to get done in the next few days what I can. I think the boys will understand. I hope.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Well...

Hello there.

Remember me?

Allow me to re-introduce myself...

I'm CTBaker in the Acres! I'm the mother of three blond little boys and the wife to a rockstar. Not really a rockstar. He's actually better because he tolerates me on a daily basis. God love him. This is "my place" to rant and share. It seems that I have fallen down on the job again. The only way for a blogger to end her hiatus is with BULLETS!

  • I last left you with Sambo's birthday. We were celebrating the wonderful 10 year-old that he is. He had a sleepover with few of his best buds. It was loud and it was stinky in my house for about 15 hours. But super fun as The Avengers, A&W Root Beer floats, and pick-up football games kept us all entertained.

  • Then there was the fair. I've done many-a-post about my passion for the SC State Fair, so y'all know the drill...
 
  • Then my favorite time of the year...HALLOWEEN!!! But this year I was quite glum, as my hubby had to travel the entire week before Halloween and the week of. I had to ZOMBIFY my little football players and go to the annual Pine Island Carnival all by myself with the boys because his flight came in really late. All was well, though. We met up with Nana, Papa, and cousins Kirstin and Madeline. The boys and Kirstin made a pretty spooky zombie squad and had their fill of carnival food, cotton candy, games, rides, and haunted hayrides.

  • The weekend before Halloween I tried to suck as much holiday out of Shan as possible. But he rallied on that Sunday before he left town again and helped me and my mom pull off The 2nd Annual Forest Acres Neighborhood Parade {last year}. We had another great turnout this year with lots of new little ghosts and goblins. The boys weren't interested in putting on all their zombie goop, so they just went as the football team and we were naturally the referees.


  • After a very busy, birthday and activity packed October, it was time to give thanks! We celebrated at my mom and dad's house. I was particularly thankful for a couple of reasons. My Aunt Laynie, who has been battling cancer, rallied and was able to join us. It just wouldn't be the same without her. And it was the first of many holidays that my mom and dad had all 4 children and 7 grandchildren under one roof. With in-laws and 5 different family schedules, we often can't coordinate a time that suits everyone so we stagger visits. At first, I was fearful that the Mayans may actually be correct in their end-of-time theory!

  • The week immediately following Thanksgiving could quite possible be deemed the busiest week of my life. It's the week of the Junior League of Columbia's Holiday Market. This year our theme was "Be Merry and Bright" and my placement was Holiday Market Co-Vice Chair with one of my favorite people on the planet. It is a week filled with TONS of hard work, events, shopping, damage control, and TONS of hard work.
We turn a warehouse-type building into a shopping wonderland with the most festive decorations and close to a hundred vendors from all over the country. My friend Erin has some amazing pictures of the Holiday Market decorations on her blog.  
After 6 years on the committee, next year Misty and I will be graduating to Co-Chairs of the market and we are so thankful for the leadership of Karen and Erica this year, or "Karica" as we call them, they have well-paved the way for us.
 
As usual, I couldn't have pulled that week off without Shan's help. He is the BEST! Any who... here are a few highlights.
 

Here are just a few other tidbits and pics from the by-and by...
  •  I turned 3*!
  • We duked out a pretty good Gamecock football season
  • The Ver-man completed his first soccer season and got a trophy!


  • We found lots of things to keep us "occupied" while Shan was traveling for two weeks. Face-Time on my phone became our favorite thing and he was able to join us as we made our Potato-Head Vampire and during Halloween festivities.
  • Oliver went on a trip to the farm and pumpkin patch with his buddies from school. I'm not sure who had more fun... him or me.
video
  • We also attended our 3rd and final Thanksgiving feast at the preschool. We received our 3rd Indian Tribe from Mrs. Frannie and my set is now complete. It was a precious, yet tearful moment for this mommy! I've been at that school now for 11 years and Oliver will be off to big-boy school next year. I'm trying to savor every moment in the "Jesus Bubble" that I can!
 
 
 
  • As I mentioned earlier, our hearts were full on Thanksgiving as we celebrated with my mom's side of the family. Not only were all my siblings in one place, but my mom's were too! She is one of seven. Her oldest brother and youngest sister passed away when I was a little girl. But we were so very thrilled to have the five of them all together!
 

Well...it's been a pretty busy fall. And we will soon be celebrating Christmas! I can't believe it. Where has this year gone?

I hope to better maintain my blog for my boys and hope too that y'all will stay along for the ride.

XO,

Monday, October 15, 2012

Double Digits

TEN years ago today, I saw the pinkest, most perfect little baby boy I had ever seen. My life changed for the best at that moment. I had become a mom!!! I had never loved so hard or deeply in my life. God blessed us with Samuel Waddell Baker and continues to bless us with him each and every day.

Sam is compassionate and with his heart of gold he is eager to please. He adores his family, has a true passion for the Lord, and he makes me smile every single day. His sense of humor is beyond his years and he gets a huge kick out of corny jokes and any time I get a good "stab" in at his dad.  He loves all things "boy"- riding his bike, playing outside all day long, basketball, baseball, football, and most recently, soccer.

His beautiful big blue eyes are without a doubt a pair of the kindest I've ever looked into. If the eyes truly are "the window to the soul", then he's got a good one for sure! His smile and giggle still melt my heart just like they did the first time! That blond peach-fuzz that was on his head the day he was born is now a thick blond mop, complete with a signature Dennis the Menace cowlick. We disagree weekly on how long/short it should be, as he has grown very particular in how he wears it. I'm unsure of his exact height but...I'm only a head taller than he is and he rubs it in every chance he can get.

He seems to be a pretty good little writer. His art skills are fantastic and he appears to be a natural on his guitar! He is helpful around the house and an excellent big brother to F & O.

Last night, when I tucked him in, I said, "OK bud! It's your last night in the single digits. Tomorrow we'll welcome you to the double digits. How does that feel?"
He just grinned and said, "Good."

Yes, Sambo! It is good. You are an amazing gift that has forever stolen the hearts of many, many people. I feel sure God has lots of greatness in store for you in this next decade of this life.

Happy 10th Birthday! We love you!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Let's see...

Where was I?
Here I am. Back again after almost a month. I'll spare you the mumbo-jumbo about how crazy my life has been with Shan traveling, Holiday Market obligations, Sunday School prep, soccer x3, 4th grade chaos, etc.

If I had to dedicate this post to someone other than my children...it'd be Beth. I get frequent reminders from her to update my blog. So this one's for you, Beffrey!!! Thanks for following me!

I'm going to back up about 5 weeks ago and highlight my precious Fu-bird's 7th birthday. All I have to say is...

Move over American Girl Store! This is how boy-moms do it!

It was "A Very Lego Birthday". In lieu of a party, Fulton wanted to make a trip to LEGOLAND in Atlanta. Since parties can be kinda "spancy", it was a pretty good trade off on our end. If you have a Lego-crazed child, you MUST go. It's very affordable and great entertainment for the whole family. We made it an overnight trip only because my boys and I have a sick fascination with hotels, but it can totally be done in a day trip.

Any who...here are the highlights in pics.
 My sweet boy was all smiles. He really enjoyed himself as he was completely surrounded by EVERYTHING LEGO! There was a Lego 4D theatre, a Lego Master Builder Academy, Lego City which was amazing, and a Lego Cafe with a pit of rubber bricks to build life-size creations and so many more exciting things to do.
Sam and Oliver didn't have any complaints either. They got to take advantage of all the fabulous attractions too. We were all in complete awe of Lego City with their perfect replicas of all the hot spots in ATL. The possibilities were endless for everyone to be creative and have a fantastic time.
On his actual birthday we continued the Lego madness. One of his new favorite things is Lego Ninjago. I don't get it, but all that matters is that he does. We had a Ninjago-style dinner at one of his fave Japanese restaurants. It seemed like the perfect spot! Muzzy, Boppa, Nana, and Papa joined us and we topped our awesome weekend off just right!

Monday following his birthday we had his celebration of life at school. That darn thing gets this sappy momma every time! To say it's flying by sounds so cliche...but it really is. We all enjoyed celebrating sweet Fulton. He is growing into such a fine handsome boy and we love him TONS!

I'm so far behind with this post and can't believe that we will be celebrating Sambo's TENTH birthday on Monday. So stay tuned for more catch up posts and Sam's bday!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Analogies and Updates

I've been working on analogies with Sambo. When I was drumming up examples for him this one popped into my head...

Laundry:Mountain::Blogging:Agglomeration
Relationship- What happens when things are neglected.

I have great intentions with both my laundry and my blog. I love the end result - fresh smelling clothes, fully stocked drawers and closets; organized thoughts, memories, and pictures documented for my boys, friends, and family. It's always the process of both that wipe me out. Washing, drying, and folding...I can handle that okay. It's the getting them from the baskets to the drawers that I can't stand! I'd live out of baskets for weeks if I had some where to put them that was out of the way. With blogging, it's finding the time at night and early in the morning when I'm super tired to jot something into a blog post, upload and edit pictures, and publish the post. All of the above requires time and energy, which I have very little of these days. Unfortunately, my housework and blog have both been neglected in a bad way over the last couple of weeks. And I now have that "mountain" and an "agglomeration"!

I have been working 'round the clock filling orders {To my customers out there...I'm loving all your great ideas for theme parties. I am so thankful that you let me bring them to life.}! The volume of orders I've been filling has kept me crazy busy. It's been great!

School. School. School. Sam is in 4th grade. Need I say more? The homework is a completely new concept for these Montessori folks here. Up until now we have only had monthly book reports and quarterly research projects. So all you mommas who've been doing it all along...KUDOS!

We have all had the crud. Head, chest, ears, scratchy throats...UHG!!! School is definitely back in!

I am so excited that Shannon and I just started teaching an adult Sunday School at church. We have been spending lots of time getting our ducks in a row for that. Look for a post really soon.

We celebrated Fu's 7th birthday. This year he chose an "adventure" over a party. So we headed to ATL for Lego Land! Stay tuned for that post. It was so much fun!!!

Shan and I actually got a weekend away by-our-selves for the first time in 7 years. We had been away with friends, but not alone. That post is soon to follow also. It was long overdue and much appreciated.

On top of all that I start subbing this week for our school district. I decided to do that rather than return to work full time. I think it will be great!

I'll be doing a little catching up this week on this here blog. I appreciate all of you who have sent me messages to find out how Fulton's birthday was and what's been going on. Thanks for sticking around and being interested in CTBaker in the Acres!

Now...On to tackle the mountain.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

My Fears Came True

Tonight I had just finished telling Sambo & Fu-bird the story about the night before Fulton was born. It went kinda like this...

I had just polished off a #21 at San Jose - our traditional pre-delivery last meal. I was sitting in my bed, anxious {imagine that} about having another boy {didn't know what we were having, but I was worried}, worried that I didn't have enough love for 2 children - much less 2 BOYS! I now have 3 and can't imagine it any other way. I didn't even have a boy name picked out and had to frantically call Muzzy at the last minute for family name suggestions.

Worried. Worried. Worried!

The next morning, September 9, 2005, Fulton Barnes Baker {which suits him perfectly} was born.

A second son! {No one told me I'd be so completely and instantly enamored.}

It was true.

All my fears were coming true and somehow...

It couldn't have been a bigger blessing!

Sam said "Wow, Mom! God works fast! And He made sure all that stuff worked out."

Fulton said, "Yeah! 'Cause you love me and Sam and Oliver to the moon-and-back-and-back-and-back-and... . He does work fast!"

Today, I am so thankful for God's plan! I have these 3 amazing little boys. And I love each one as much as the other, in all kinds of different ways.



Tomorrow, we celebrate the 7th birthday of the Twinkly Little Spirit of my darling Fulton!



We love you more than you will ever know, buddy! Thank you for being a part of God's lesson to me that there are no limits on how much a mother can love 1 or 101 babies.

You are such a special gift to all who know you.

Happy 7th Birthday, sweet boy!!!

Love,
Your Crazy Family

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Football Friday Widow

For about 13 years, on Friday nights, Shan has officiated high school football (and various other sports) for SCISA. In other words...he's a referee! My husband is quite possibly one of the most level-headed, decent, honest guys I know. I'm pretty sure the games he calls reflect his character. The parents, kids, and coaches who recognize him never fail to mention what a great guy he is. They're right.

What started out as a hobby, shortly after college and a means to have a little extra cash for us as newlyweds, has gradually turned into a passion for him. He loves it! And I can't argue with a hobby that he gets paid for.

Me? Well...I'm the Football Friday Widow.

Years ago, before children, I would go hang with friends, third-wheel to parties and our favorite night-life spots. When Sam and Fulton were babies I'd hang with my mom and dad and they'd treat us to dinner. Now, we just do random stuff - movie night, pizza night, sometimes an evening with hunting or fishing "widows" and their kids, or like last night... it was a random fast food dinner and a trip to Target with my momma.

 We tried on "fashion glasses"
 And bought a couple of mini-packs of Star Wars Legos
 Which we successfully assembled
And I had one little guy who wasn't feeling too hot, so I tucked him in early.

We find things to busy ourselves until he walks through the door. The boys are usually asleep by the time he gets home, but I wait up for him because it's always nice to have someone greet you when you come home...no matter what the time may be.

Sometimes I think it'd be nice to have normal Friday nights with Shan, but I'm thankful I have my buddies to entertain me and my momma near-by to keep me company. After-all, being married to an entertainer for 40-something years she was the "band widow" and has Friday nights down pat.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

GAME ON

It's game day, y'all!

You can feel it in the air! Everywhere you look there are Gamecock fans of all ages, shapes, and sizes decked out in their Gamecock spirit wear {including the Bakers}. It's an awesome sight to behold. Last year, I actually started a post on this particular phenomenon, but never uploaded the pics. Oh well! If you live anywhere near Cola., SC...you don't need my pics to understand.

Any who... I haven't posted about CTBakerDesigns.com in a while. And I realize I'm a little late in posting this, but I have recently created some fun theme invitations, as I had a client planning a tailgate engagement party. And NEVER FEAR! If you are not a Gamecock fan - I can change the culahs {colors}!!!

No need for fancy tailgate spots for a great party! Why not have a team spirit shindig in the comfort of your home?!?

Go for it! And GO COCKS!


 


 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

New Finds and Faves

Don't you love it when you stumble upon something and it suddenly becomes your new favorite thing? I do! That seems to have happened to me a few times recently.

A while back I was browsing the blogisphere and I read about a blogger's quest to find the perfect mascara. I saw some of the comments and reviews of other readers and thought mascara is such a personal choice. I think like most beauty products, there is not one perfect fit for all. You sometimes have to try a hundred to find the right product. Then I noticed I was getting low on my own mascara last week and had just been getting caught up on Just Ask Beth. I saw she had posted about a fairly new affordable drugstore mascara. I was in a pinch and decided to give it a whirl... and I LOVE IT too!!! And it's only about 8 bucks! Go get you some.

product image
 

 
The other day on FB a friend asked which meal plans others had tried and liked. I commented that I had tried Emeals and Saving Dinner. Both are subscription meal planning services which are really good, but I only felt guilty if I didn't use the suggested meals, so I didn't re-join. THEN another FB friend commented that she had just discovered the iPhone APP and Website for non-iPhone users called Food On The Table. It's awesome! It's free! And it's made me excited about planning meals again! Try it! You have nothing to lose.
 
It allows you to select your local stores, customize dietary needs and likes, and it automatically syncs with the local circular specials. You can select your meals according to what's on sale. I used the app and shopped by it on Sunday. It was kinda fun!

 
Then, there was the other day when I was cruising the streets of the Acres and I couldn't find a thing on the radio. I stumbled up a local station, 92.1 FM The Palm. I LOVE IT! From my understanding, it is a station that was started by a couple of our own home-grown superstars from Hootie and the Blowfish. They play "handpicked" music and I have heard so many awesome tunes from 10,000 Maniacs to Brandi Carlisle and old-school Dave Matthews. So glad to have found it! Makes me feel a little college-y again.
 
 
 
Any who! Just wanted to pass those along. Try them on for size. You never know...they may become your faves too.
 
XO,
 

 
 
 


Monday, August 27, 2012

40th Fanfare

I have been reveling in these amazing morning temps the last few days. It's been almost fall-ish! The 90 degree heat of the afternoon is a little more tolerable when you have a brisk morning. I guess I can thank hurricane Isaac for sending some kookie weather pattern our way, but I sure hope he takes it easy on the Gulf.

Any who, we had a great weekend! It was very productive, yet relaxing for the most part. We knocked out a few to-do list projects, which always feels good. And we went out for a yummy dinner in Harbison with Shan's family for our annual celebration of his and his brother's birthdays. It was a beautiful, crisp night and we literally had to drag the kids to the car kicking and screaming from playing in the fountain and on the playground outside the restaurant.

Thanks to my S-I-L for taking a couple of pics that I stole from her FB.

Should this caption be...The 3 Stooges or Like Father, Like Sons?
 
 I love Fulton "eyeing" the cake. Mrs. Baker had a cute reason why she put a 12 on the cake to honor both Shannon and Randy. Shan's is the 14th and Randy's is the 24th. She also said she didn't think it'd be safe to put 81 candles (38 and 43) on there. ;-)
 
Poor Kirstin.


We also celebrated the 40th birthday of my dear friend Anne Stuart on Friday night. Her hubby, sister, and sisters in law threw her a fantastic BBQ and party. My slack self didn't take the first picture either. Sometimes I'm just too lazy or having too much fun and I forget. I got a great but very dark video at the night's end, but will NOT be sharing that! ;-)


40th-birthday-invitations

In the last year or so we've started attending and hearing about lots of great 40th birthday celebrations... trips, fabulous parties, surprise gifts, etc. It kinda reminds me of when everyone was getting engaged and there was so much pressure for the guy to come up with the most creative scenario. So I'm saying it now...the heat is on! Shan and I have two years to get it together.

Our birthdays are 2 months apart and we celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary that same year so we want to do something out of the ordinary {for us}. I love that we get to celebrate that milestone together. We've thought of doing a once-in-a-lifetime trip together, individual parties, surprise/no surprise, a joint party for the 2 of us, a group party with several others who turn 40 at the same time, a mountain/beach weekend with friends...all kinds of stuff.

So many great options! What to do, what to do???

I'd love to know how other folks celebrate milestone birthdays. What's the best you've ever heard about or attended?

XO,


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Get into the groove...

So far, so good with the first week of school. We are gettin' into the groove!

This week I have been super busy, but trying to stay super organized too. During the summer I threw all meal-planning, laundry schedules, and anything "organized" out the window. I have a lot of catching up to!

This week, I've got the boys back on their "Hamburger Helpers" chore chart, I started a meal plan again, and have been trying to get my laundry system back in gear. So, it's not just the first week back for the boys...it's the first week back for mom.

While meal planning I thought about how great slow cooker meals are. I have always loved my using Crock Pot, but I think it only made it to my counter top once this summer. I decided to drag it out and dust it off.

{And you might have gotten married around 1999 if your Crock Pot looks like this...}

 
{Someone please tell my husband that I want need this one! Mine is 13ish years old and the plastic lid is now cracked.}

SCCPVP600-S Crock-Pot® Smart Pot Slow Cooker
 
I am hoping to return to work a couple of days a week this school year and thought it'd make my life easier if I did a few crock pot meals a week. So I started shopping around my favorite blogs and Pinterest for some new recipes.

The first first one I found was an Easy Crock Pot Lasagna... and it was! And it was also very tasty.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound (16 ounces) ground beef {I used ground turkey.}
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 (24 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce {shhhhhh! Don't tell my family!}
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 6 uncooked lasagna noodles {Whole wheat noodles work just the same.}

Directions

  1. In a large skillet brown beef and onion. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Drain.
  2. Add spaghetti sauce and water and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  3. Mix ricotta, 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, 2 Tablespoons Parmesan, egg and parsley.
  4. Pour 1 cup of spaghetti meat sauce into a 4 to 6 quart sized slow cooker. Place half of the noodles and half of the ricotta mixture on top of the sauce. Cover with 2 cups meat sauce. Top with remaining noodles (If the noodles don't fit exactly break them to fit) and cheese mixture and meat sauce.
  5. Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or until noodles are soft. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of mozzarella and remaining parmesan. Cover with the lid to melt the cheese and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.
  6. Do not overcook and don't try to speed up the process by cooking it on high.
  7. *Works best with a 4 to 6 quart size slow cooker.

No complaints from the fam, except for maybe a certain 3 year-old who happens to currently detest all food, so it's a keeper!

Next up...

This yummy Crock Pot Mexican Chicken and Rice from a blog I love called Skinny Mom. I'll let you know how that comes out too.

I'd love to hear if your family has any tried and true crock pot recipes.

Now, on to my pile of laundry!

XO,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer Highlights 2012


We are always a little sad to see the lazy hazy days of summer come to a close. This year, because of the school calendar changes, we had an extra week or two to enjoy. It was wonderful thing. It allowed us to squeeze in a couple of extra adventures.

I thought I'd share our summer highlights...

(There are a gazillion pics, but I blog mainly to preserve the memories for my sweet boys.)

Edisto with Friends
We had a great Memorial Day trip to Edisto with friends. (I posted about it here.) It was definitely a highlight so I re-posted it!


Boppa's Birthday
My Dad's birthday is June 1st. We celebrated at mom and dad's with my brother (Uncle Clayton, Aunt April, Madison, and Emma) and his family. The kids had an awesome time playing chase, kickball, and splashing with Oliver in the baby pool. They love seeing each other and I just wish it was more often! The moon that night was an amazing sight...I snapped a crummy pic with my phone that doesn't do near the justice.


The Baker Beach Vacay
Mid-June we savored every minute of our 10-day stay at the beach. We go with Shannon's family every year to the Garden City/Surfside area. His mom and dad, as a tradition {along with 4 or 5 other couples}, enjoy the "camping life" and we stay in a condo near-by with Shan's brother and sister-in-law (Uncle Randy and Aunt T) and and their girls (Kirstin and Madeline).

This year we were so delighted to have Shannon's cousin David and his children, Robert and Katie come in from Texas to visit. They stayed with Shan's Uncle Terry at our same complex. There was a lifetime of memories made among the cousins. TOO MUCH FUN! We are excited that David's wife Kitin will be able to join us next year. This year she was concentrating on some much need r&r at home and recovery. We are beyond happy that she is now in remission!

Annual Cheesy Beach Pics

Cousins
Kirstin 13, Robert 11, Sam 9, Katie 8, Madeline 7, Fulton 6, Oliver 3

The Fabulous Baker Bunch

Some Shady Characters

The Beach Boys

Soaking It All Up

And later...back at the camp
  
All Beached Out

As a newlywed and new mother I couldn't understand why in the world someone would want to stay in a camper for a week at a family campground. I personally, was accustomed to the oceanfront vacays my parents always took us on. Camping was out of the question. But MY HOW TIMES HAVE CHANGED! I am now the mother of a 9, a 6, and a 3 year-old boy and they love every minute of it. We are surrounded by the ocean, pools, mini-golf, playgrounds, duck ponds, nightly activities, an arcade and a camp store. there's no need to leave the campground. Never a dull moment.

There are some fantastic qualities to a family campground. I have never seen so many walks of life in 1 place...more so than Disney World. And they have some really funny rituals - too many to get into - but funny nonetheless.

But there is one I just can't resist posting about. It's the Golf Cart Strip where there's a whole-lotta-hands-slappin'-goin'-on! Decorated carts, loud music, dancing...etc. Think Vegas on a very mini scale!

Let's take a look...Shall we?
(see video below)


Awendaw
My cousin Allison, her husband Ed and their son Kyle opened their beautiful home in Awendaw to us again this summer. We spent a relaxing long weekend on the boat, cruising the Intercoastal Waterway.  I was so excited to get to go this time, as Oliver is old enough now to participate in the festivities.

The big boys enjoyed a day of off shore fishing. {Poor Shan got sea sick so he wasn't having that grand of a time, but S & F loved it!} Allison, Oliver, and I boated to Bull Island and played in the tide pools, collected sea shells, and had a picnic lunch. I can't complain at all...lovely day.

The next day we all went out on the ICWW and attempted to go shark fishing but the bait fish were a little hard to find. So instead, we took an amazing and long scenic tour. I snapped some pics of my dream house, a famous shrimp boat, a precious blue house boat that I must have, and my boys enjoying their life at sea. We topped our day off with dinner at the IOP marina. It was a another lovely day!!!

Sam and Fulton ADORE their big cousin Kyle. He is very musically inclined and oh-so-cool to my 9 and 6 year old. When we weren't on the boat, they were having mini jam sessions in Kyle's room and Shan and I were enjoying catching up with Ed and Allison and soaking in the amazing view from their home.

I have to admit...I'm sold on life-on-the-SC-coast. Shan just has to say the word and I wouldn't hesitate to change my blog name to "CTBaker left the Acres".

Our trip had a bonus...On the way home we stopped to visit my best child-hood friend and her family in Mt. Pleasant and got to meet her newest sweet baby girl, Aldyn Parrish Gage.

She is so sweet and tiny. I can't wait to see her again!


I feel like we lived in the water, sun, sand, and bathing suits this summer. We had a few trips to the coast and some refreshing days at the pool with friends. All-in-all...I wouldn't have changed a thing! In fact, it just might be a tough summer to follow. We were blessed with an awesome opportunities.
Now, if I could just get in school-year mode. Hmmmph.

XO,