away together

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So, we spent the very last week of September as a family at one of our favorite getaway spots: Isle of Palms, SC.  This place was where Brandon and I honeymooned over nine years ago, and we come back to it whenever we can because there’s something about the power of place.  Do you know what I mean?  There’s something about certain places that help us remember who we are, what we love, why we are alive.  There are certain places that call us back to ourselves when we’ve lost our way, that call us back to the Lord when we’ve trailed off.  You see this all over the pages of Scripture, the importance of the Promised Land as the place connected with the Israelites identity as a people.  You see it in the way God had the Israelites set up monuments and stones of remembrance as they traveled through the wilderness so that when they visited these places, it would trigger for them memories and milestones in their walk with God.

What are your places?  Places that for others are ordinary, but for you are profound, like balm for your soul amnesia?  I think for our marriage, Isle of Palms will always be a simple but powerful place for us.  It’s nothing special, really.  It’s quiet, home to only a couple of hotels, boasting a tiny strip of shops and restaurants, and a destination spot for more surfers and paddle boarders than big loud vacationers.  Which is precisely why we love it.  It has a quieter and simpler and smaller feel, and we’d rather see bare coast line and wildlife than a cluster of resorts or attractions any day. Plus its only a four hour drive from our home in the mountains of North Carolina.

This time was special because it was our first chunk of time off together as a family in two years (and Brandon’s first week off in two years, except for the week he took when Philippa was born, which you all know is no vacation).  Also, it was Philippa’s first introduction to the ocean!  She absolutely loved it, crawling straight into the waves, fearless.

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We also got to spend a couple of days with family, some time biking over to Sullivan’s Island and back, watching sunrises and sunsets, reading + painting alone on the beach, fishing, visiting our usual spots in Charleston, watching dolphins, running through the rain to Ted’s Butcherblock for lunch, staying up late to see the Super Blood Moon + capturing it (though fuzzy) on camera, experiencing the highest tides of the year on the island combined with the heavy rains from Hurricane Joaquin.  We stayed in a little yellow house and had to leave a day or so early because of the heavy rains + flooding.  We realized on this trip that it’s really not easy to go the beach with three children ages 4 and under and have the kind of relaxing vacation we were imagining.  The sooner we adjusted our expectations and communicated really clearly with each other what we needed to have happen to feel rested + refreshed, we enjoyed our time more.  The reality is, this season is busy and a ton of work, no matter where you are (maybe even more work when you’re not at home).  But it is still good and important for us to get away to a place that reminds us of the early days when we were brand new and so in love.  Somehow it always makes us fall in love all over again.  It’s a fight sometimes to really r e s t, but such a thing worth fighting for.

So now, I feel I can officially say goodbye to summer + hello to the glory of fall in these beautiful mountains we call home!  Yay!

weekend getaway to Charleston

Sometimes I really underestimate the power of a few days away.  It seems like all the hassle that goes into packing up two kids and a pregnant momma for a mini-getaway just isn’t worth it, until you are sitting on the beach in the sun listening to the surf.  A family friend had offered us his home in Charleston, SC for a long weekend, so we went with my parents and had such a fun weekend!  We all got a bit too much sun and too little sleep and had a blast.  We came home so refreshed and thankful!

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^ That moment when you first hear and see the ocean after a long time away ^

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^ Me and my love enjoying the beach (and I was roasting to a crisp, unbeknownst to me) ^

One of our favorite times to be on the beach is at sunrise or sunset, when the lighting is just gorgeous.

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^ They’ve started holding hands a lot lately {it kills me!} ^

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The next day, since we had all gotten a bit too much sun the day before, we decided to head into Charleston for the day instead of being out on the beach.  We ended up happening upon some really fun, cool things like the bustling Charleston farmer’s market (and we regretted that we had already eaten breakfast) and a wonderful lunch spot with live music under white tents by the wharf.  It was an absolutely gorgeous, perfect day to be out and we just lingered and enjoyed it.

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See that sign that says “Beignets?”  That was our next stop.  🙂

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Dad waiting in line for the beignets.  And they were incredible!  We wandered on and found pony rides for kids for $3.00.  Our little girl had her first ride on a pony and loved it so much.

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^ Daddy & his girl ^

Then we headed down King Street all the way to Battery Park.  Here’s my girl with my parents.  It was so fun to do this trip with them and make these memories together.  It was our first time doing a “beach trip” together and we had so much fun and just were so thankful for their help, too.  They did lots of carrying kiddos on these walks. 🙂

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Then we hit Battery Park and I snapped a billion pictures because it was gorgeous and so full of childhood memories for me.

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Then we were headed out of Charleston back to the house when we passed this cute little restaurant with white tents and BBQ smoking and we just had to stop.  I’m so glad we did!  It was the best BBQ I’ve ever tasted.

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Photo credit: http://www.carolinaheartstrings.com)

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Our last day, we enjoyed time on Sullivan’s Island and being back out on the beach.  My parents also watched the kids while Brandon and I stole away on bikes and had a lovely little outing on trails around the house we were staying in.

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We’re so thankful for any time we get to steal away as a family and I hope you have some time away with your family and loved ones this summer as well!