Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Bed & Breakfast Near the Coast

Thanks for everyone's Facebook comments, texts and emails! Moose is doing well and fever free today! He perked up around 11 pm last night and wanted to play, play, play! I was thankful for his energy but tired since it was going on midnight! Today we are trying to get back on schedule and keep recouperating! If you missed the whole story on him, here is the link to that. Baby is well now and thats whats important!

I wanted to share all about our trip and review what we did and where we stayed last weekend. This blog is my little scrapbook and last weekends getaway was worth noting and sharing!! With the kids well and house {relatively} clean, I am going to jump right back into normal stuff round here!

A month or two ago, Hubby and I began planning a little trip to South Georgia. I had two friends wanting to do Trunk Shows and once the date was set, it actually worked perfect for he and I to take a mini vacation! We didn't do anything for Valentine's Day and our Anniversary is around the corner, so this was perfect. My parents kept the two big kids and we took the baby and looking for hotels or places to stay, I took that into consideration.

We originally planned on staying in Savannah. We have stayed at hotels on the waterway and while they are nice, I wanted something a bit more unique and something that we would not necessarily do if we had all of the kids with us.

I began looking at BnB's {bed and breakfasts} or Boutique Hotels in Savannah and after calls to over 17 of them {all full} and rates starting to creep to over $300/night, I decided to go a different route. There was a home tour or home and gardens show or something in Savannah last weekend and apparently between that and spring breakers, the city was hopping!

I began to research small cities near Savannah and the coastal islands and tried to find bed and breakfasts that may work. After multiple calls, I finally came across one called Open Gates Bed and Breakfast that had space. We have never stayed anywhere like this or really gone on such an unplanned vacation {like I didn't even mapquest it til we were already on the road} so I was a bit nervous but after this experience, I would do it again every weekend. It was so great!

The owner {Zach} was really friendly and accommodating and their rates were around $130/night. He said the baby was welcome {other places had a no kid policy which ruled us out} and we would be coming in late so we wanted to make sure that was okay since there wasn't like a manned front desk like a standard hotel. Zach was more than accommodating and gave me his cell number so I could just call when we were close. We arrived just before 10 pm and he was sitting on a rocking chair with the lights on and door open - ready to help with our luggage and show us around.

Open Gates Bed and Breakfast is located in Darien, GA and is about 45 minutes south of Savannah and about 20 minutes north of St. Simons Island and another 10 from Jekyll Island. It is a quaint little old house with a white picket fence, dreamy moss shading it and a pop of red adorning the front door. The porch had rocking chairs and a swing and it is near the waterway and across the street from a little city park....nothing really at the park, but nice for a morning walk. 

Open Gates has five bedrooms, a formal living room, a dining room, a sitting room - perfect for morning reading, quiet times, afternoon bridge playing {because I have a clue how to play #not} and coffee sipping. I have decided that I want to expand our house and make a room like it. There was also a pool, though it was chilly so we didn't bother going out there. Here is a quick picture of the living room! ...fussy baby in hand when I took it on my phone, so apologies for nothing fancier!

The sitting room as I mentioned above was my favorite room in the house. I handed off the baby to Hubby, so I could go back to snap pictures. You may have seen this already on my Instagram, but it truly was a dreamy little space and looked like it could have been torn right from the Coastal Living or Southern Homes magazine page! 

The dining room was a pretty traditional, standard dining room and the large table easily accommodated all of the guests! The house was full with the exception of one room and even with people moving around, we didn't hear much. Baby did well too, but I am almost certain that you could not have heard him even when he did fuss. For breakfast, since we had the baby, we put him in the stroller and just rolled him right up to the table. It was easy. The food served {pictured below} was plentiful and yummy and Zach's presentation was stunning. One morning we had fruit and omelets and the next was fruit and crepes.

We stayed in the "Blue Room." It was perfect...and like its name stated, it was blue! It had a private bathroom and a little dressing area. There was ample space for our luggage and us to move around and Zach had chocolate waiting on us and brought up a carafe of water.

The dressing area was key for us because while the pack-n-play fit easily in the corner of the room, it also fit perfectly into the little alcove. This allowed us to put the baby in there and him go to bed early/on schedule, then we could pull the door and leave the light on in our room and us stay up or chat without fear of keeping him awake.

Here are a few more shots of the room...sorry, I didn't tidy up for you, but this way you can see all angles and our little sitting area! I also felt like I needed to take this selfie since my Rory Necklace matched perfectly. 

I will post separately about the places we visited and ate, but wanted to share about our fun bed and breakfast find! If any of you are traveling to the Savannah, St. Simons, Jekyll Island, Brunswick area or even Jacksonville, Florida and are looking for a spot to stay, this is a great place. The owners are nice, the place is clean, food is great and location is good. It was relaxing and quiet but close to lots.  After taxes/fees, we paid $151 per night and we would definitely go back! 
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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Full Story

I want to share all about hubby's and my little trip south, but first I want to share the full story about Moose.

He came with us over weekend and has had a cough and yucky nose for about three weeks now. We figured with seasons changing, things in bloom, no fever and no other symptoms, it just kind of was par for this time of year. We have all been sniffling, so nothing odd.

Friday night, he was fine and Saturday morning woke up with eyes that looked red around the outside. He was not scratching them nor seemed bothered by them. We weren't sure if it was a pet he had recently been around, something in bloom for our new location or potentially something in the air where we were staying. Regardless, he was relatively happy as long as we had him, so we didn't worry and kept on as normal.

Saturday Night

Sunday rolled around and when he woke up, his eyes were full of yucky stuff. We were headed back to Atlanta, so we figured we would get on the road and assess that evening and see if we needed to get to the doctor on Monday. As we drove, Hubby sat in the back with him just to help entertain him and because his cheeks were flush and he felt a tad warm. The air was on in the car, but he was also on the side the sun was filtering in on, obviously making him warmer. We were within an hour of Atlanta, so we pressed on.

Sunday mid-morning
As we drove, I was thinking about plans in my brain. I for some reason was thinking about us walking in to Grandma's and something being wrong. I was imagining her not breathing and I envisioned myself telling Kristin to step out and get help, her fiance to call 911 and hubby to count for me as I did chest compressions. Once EMS got there, they would take over CPR, I would send hubby, Kristin and fiance in Dad's car and I would follow the ambulance in Grandmas car. I literally had walked step by step through that scenario in my brain - and little did I know that it would happen similarly, just with my child, not my grandmother.

I honestly don't know why I started thinking about all of this, but now I really know and believe God was speaking to me.

Once we arrived, my sister and her fiance met us at Mom and Dads and we left Moose {and the two bigs} with my parents. Moose felt warm, but we just told Mom and Dad to feed him and that we would be back in an hour and a half or so. As we got into the car, I saw Grandma's Honda keys in the console and knew they were there in case we walked in and had an emergency. After all, I had already role played the scenario in my head.

Hubby, Kristin, Benito and I headed out to see Grandma. Grandma is older and having some old people challenges and its been awhile since we have spent time with her. At Grandma's we were doing little things like getting her yogurt, refilling ice in water glasses, rearranging her tissues, trash cans and other little things for her. We were chatting and hanging out and eventually offered to help her to the bathroom before we left.

En route to the bathroom, my cell phone rang. It was in my pocket but I let it go as I was helping Grandma. Then Kristin's rang and I told her to let it be, as we were busy. I figured it couldn't be that big of a deal?? Then the land line in her apartment rang and we all looked at Benito and told him to grab it. Three calls in a row didnt seem good.

Benito told me I needed to come quickly and it was my Dad on the phone telling me that something was wrong with Moose and they had 911 on scene.

Basically, Mom had been holding him and his eyes rolled, he went limp and breathing was a bit labored. He never stopped breathing completely nor turned colors and the episode was not lengthy - just less than a minute or so. That said, she tried to call him, move him, touch him, etc, and he was non-responsive, so they called 911.

With me on the phone they were asking what to do. Honestly, I trusted my Mom, I knew Dad could handle the big kids and knowing he was breathing, I was at complete peace. I told Mom to make the call and EMS advised that they would transport if it were their kid, so they loaded him and left for Scottish Rite.

At some point on the ambulance, he became alert and decided to eat the wires. That's my Moosey!

At that point, the vision I had already seen in my head all came together. Rather it being Grandma with an issue, it was my child - but thankfully I was prepared. I turned to hubby and told him that Grandma's keys were in the console of Dad's car and for him to take it and go. We would get Grandma squared away and then I would follow soon in Dad's car.

Hubby had no idea even what car she has but apparently found it and took off. A minute or so later, Dad called and said, "He can't take Grandma's car. Keys are at our house as we don't leave them at her apartment."

I told Dad that hubby had already left in the car and that the keys were in his car. He seemed a tad surprised as he asked me if I was sure because they don't leave them in the car. I reiterated that CT3 was already GONE and driving it and he told me that it was the first time ever they had been left in that car as its not "what they do."

If you know my parents, you know they are pretty methodical. Their house is impeccable, Dad and Mom have their nuances and "everything has a place" and "you always put it back in its place, so it can be found." They function like clock work in that regards. I know that those keys were "forgot" or "not put back" for a reason that day and I cant help but know that the Lord went before us in every step...prepping me mentally, giving me the plan and then making sure the keys were in place. I had even noted them in place when we got in the car.

I know it sounds crazy, but when you have a vision like this and then it happens and everything is cared for, you cant help but give praise, thanks and share the testimony. Everyone kept commenting on how calm I was as well and its not that I was calm. Lets be honest. My baby had a seizure and I was not there for it. Someone else was calling the shots and there was little I could do. It not that I was chill about all of that, its that I had a heavenly Father who went before me and prepared me. After showing me what to do, there was no need to be anxious as I knew who was already ahead of me - and I was thankful. And calm. :)

Hubby made it to Scottish Rite not long after Moose and Mom arrived. I never felt out of the loop as Mom was taking pictures of my baby and texting me showing me he was okay and in good hands. I was thankful to see the pictures - even with EMS helping him as kind of felt like I was there....that is also why I have so many images...not cause Mom was snapping away but because I would say, "how is he" or "whats the latest" and get pictures of my chubby cheeked babe being loved on.

You can see he just did not feel well! Arriving to CHOA. 
I am also very thankful for all EMS, fire and first responders. Their ability to step in, assess and remain calm in these situations saves lives. I couldnt do that on a daily basis. If you ever see someone who serves in this capacity, pat them on the back, buy them a meal, pray for them or just give them a hug. Today it was my baby they helped, but tomorrow it could be any of us.

Anyhoo, we left Grandma's after finishing our visit and we did not rush. I wanted to spend time with her and my kids were all cared for. My in-laws were willing to do whatever needed and Team Train was in full force. I took Kristin and Benito to Dad's they helped with my big kids and I kept moving to the hospital.

When I arrived, they were getting papers ready to discharge him. He was treated for a febrile seizure due to fever escalating fast, an upper respiratory something or another and potential bacterial thing in his eyes.

We ended up going back to Mom and Dads, situating stuff, then loading kids and coming home that night {late} and Mom came just to be an extra set of hands and help the next day. I knew I would be up most of the night {thats when my anxiety kicked in! ;)} and she was going to take Annie M to school the next day and then go with me to the pediatrician to follow up, as the ER doctor had recommended. Kristin, Dad and Benito grabbed a late night Waffle House.

Aunt Kristin got a smile post hospital and before heading home. 

Home after the ER, and me holding him late into the night. 
It has been almost 48 hours since then and as of this afternoon he was still running a fever {100-102} and we are still doing Tylenol/Motrin for that and now on the antibiotic. His eyes look a ton better thanks to that and he is eating some, nursing decent and drinking some. I am hoping that we turn the corner tonight and that his fever is gone.

Monday morning and his poor eyes

Cleaned up and took this RIGHT after his bath. He does NOT want you touching his face and it was a 20 minute battle as he screamed and I tried to get him clean!!! 

I am very thankful for Mom and Dad acting fast, hubby being level headed, Kristin, Benito and my in-laws all being available and ready to jump in. Glad it wasn't anything more serious and now praying for no more medical excitement for our family for a long, long time!!! Thanks to all who have prayed and keep praying for a good nights sleep for him and us all! It will come, I know but I am looking forward to a few healthy weeks with the kids!

I was joking the other day about how it would take us a while to hit our deductible this year since I wasn't having a baby...I'm thinking two ER trips this month and one fancy taxi ride may get us close and its not yet April! ;) Pin It Now!

Beginning and the End

This weekend has been awesome and crazy. It started off with a weekend get-a-way for hubby, baby and me and ended with us {thankfully} back in Atlanta, Moose spiking a fever, having a febrile seizure and getting a fancy taxi ride to Scottish Rite. 

Thankfully, Mom and Dad acted fast as he was with them and I was out when it all happened. Moose is now getting better and was discharged later that night. While the weekend did not end as relaxing as it began, hubby and I still had a fun trip away! I took good notes on all things we did, places we stayed and saw and want to share. I'll update on baby too, but for now, I need to sleep and am just taking it an hour at a time and enjoying the extra snuggles! 

Please pray for my baby that he recovers fast. He is doing fine but a supernatural healing touch would be just fine by me! 

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Small Group Thoughts

Hubby and I have been in small groups {men's/women's groups} since at least college. For the past five years or so, we have been in some men's/women's groups, but mostly we have led young couples groups.

The whole "lead young couples" thing was kind of ironic since we would better fit the category of young couple who needs to be led, versus ones who are qualified to actually lead a group. We were trying to figure out married life {then married+kids life} ourselves. Instead of "leading" in the teaching sense, hubby and I took on the challenge and agreed that we would just be available, honest and open.

We would trust God with the rest, knowing that sometimes all it takes is just being there and showing up - and that we could do. I also knew that we were comfortable facilitating {by way of asking pre-scripted questions} and planning and that should all else fail, we would have food and dessert. Dessert would make people happy, so we were good to go.

I would send out the weekly emails to coordinate people, we would host often in our messy home, watch a 12 minute or so video {usually an Andy Stanley teaching} and then all chat about the study questions that went along with it. There was always good dialogue and we were always encouraged as we learned from others our age and formed relationships as we "did life" together. We were committed and trusted that God would do the rest.

The churches we have chosen to attend are big on small groups, relationship building and doing life in "circles, not rows." Nothing negative about "rows" and we do that Sunday mornings as we are fed, but to have the chance to really get to know people outside of big church in a living room environment is a really awesome thing. Small groups provide accountability, belonging and care {ABC's of group life!} and doing life together outside of Sunday morning has been a great thing for us.

That is where we have been, now fast forward to today.

When we moved, we obviously left our Middle Georgia groups behind. With a newborn, two other kids, dog and living with my parents for 4.5 months, we were in transition. We finally bought our home and moved, then we church hopped for awhile before settling in a church we love. In March, our church started up a new round of groups and hubby and I jumped in.

Honestly, it was a tad intimidating being on this side of the coin. When you are the leader, you know the time, place, plan and what to expect. This go around, we were just showing up, knew no one and it was nerve wracking. How funny is that? We are relatively seasoned at the whole small group thing, but we were both on edge about meeting new people, what would it be like, would they think we were weird {yes} or whatever.

The first night, we walked up to the front door and hubby and I just looked at each other. I was like "you knock." Then he was like, no you do it...then I said, "no you!" Then some strangers walked up, opened the door and we sheepishly followed them inside! Four weeks later, we dont even bother ringing the bell and just do a quick knock as we open the door to let ourselves in.

I was glad we experienced this because I so often say to people, "Just go! It will be fun! Why are you so nervous?!" and now I realize that it's a bit easier said than done. I can empathize and have a much better understanding of the feelings and anxieties - especially by someone who may have never been in a small group environment before. Anyway, despite our nerves, we were excited to get plugged in. We were excited too, to take a back seat from the weekly leading and just be responsible for showing up.

There were a bunch of other "young couple" groups from our church that were options for us to join. We thought about those as we are trying to make friends here still, however, hubby and I went a different route.

As we prayed about it, we decided that we would have no problems meeting people and couples our age. Between pre-school events, knowing a few friends out here who have included us and introduced us to others and then meeting young families in our neighborhood, we have met {and are still!} meeting lots of families our age.

Instead of going the comfortable route, we decided that we would join an older {errr, more mature?} group with people "ahead of us in the game." We wanted to meet other families who have been there, done that and would really build the sense of community for us. We wanted to know families who had been here for a while, had older kids and who we could learn from. People who could encourage us, advise us and counsel us as we grow in our own marriage and raise our babies.

I have heard that you should have people in your life who are older than you whom you can look up to, your age that you can reach out to and younger than you who you can pour into.

I feel like I have younger kids and youth that I can pour into and I feel like I have friends my age who I can connect with, but mentors for me, I struggle with. There are a few that I have and love, but they are in Memphis, Birmingham, and Macon and not ones that I see regularly or could just call for a coffee date. I need that in my life and I want that as I grow daily in my role as a wife and a Mom.

Group started a few weeks ago and hubby and I nailed it when we went for the youngest in the group category!! I think the other couple who had been married the least number of years was going on 27 years - and CT3 and I are soon approaching our 7th anniversary. We are also the only ones with little kids at home - though some of them still have teenagers, we again won for the youngest kids category.

As we left the first night, we knew we would for sure eat well. These Mamas and Daddies know how to cook and we have been spoiled in that regard! Each week, I have gone back for seconds and snuck an extra helping of dessert! No shame here.

We also knew and learned very quickly that with this group, we would be well loved and prayed for often. That is such a great feeling. I know that our family thinks of us and prays for us but to have others texting me with a "praying for you today" just because message is such a great feeling. On bad days, I know that I have people cheering me on and on good days, I know there are friends celebrating. 

I feel that some of the couples look at us with fond memories of when their babies were little and I love looking at them and seeing the joy in their eyes as they have gone through the good, bad and ugly of marriage and child rearing. You know that some of them have had it easier than others and you know that they have hurt together and fought together. At the end of the day, they are smiling, holding hands and fighting the good fight together and I love seeing that - and getting to know them more. It has been encouraging to be around them and a breath of fresh air just to share life - even if we are in different stages of it. 

As for the actual bible study, we are loosely going through the book of Nehemiah. What I mean by loosely is that while we are reading it and we do have questions to prompt and discuss, should the Lord lead in a different direction, our hearts are open to listening to that as well. 

The small groups we have been in previously, stay together for a while. These groups will switch more frequently and while I assume at some point we will hop in a younger couples group to get to know friends there {and because it will be easier on us to find sitters!}, I think we will continue to seek out older families and people who hubby and I can look up to and learn from. Its been a wonderful thing for us and we are so excited about our "new life" here and all that Atlanta has to offer! 
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