The Tale of Two Cities

Hello! Have you forgotten about our trip that we took A MONTH AGO? Good grief, this is unacceptable.

Well just to refresh your memory, here was our vacation layout:

Fly to Jacksonville
Hang with the cousins
Get the runs within 20 minutes of saying hi
Play with the kids
Dirty up their house
Say Goodbye
Drive to Folly Beach, SC
Make a Pit Stop in Savannah, GA
Stay at the beach for a week
Drive back to Jacksonville
Arrive home with a few more sunspots on your face

That’s it in a nutshell. Bye.

Fine, okay I’m back… because I’ve gotta tell you about these tours we went on in. One was in Savannah and the other in Charleston several days later. It was yin and yang, fire and ice, oil and water, feisty and calm. I liked them both.

We left Jacksonville around 10am and had an uneventful 2 hour drive to Savannah. We like uneventful. We like spacing out. We like quiet.

I’m going to share something which may cause me to lose friends: Most of the time, I don’t like to listen to the radio.

I like silence.

That is, unless Boyz II Men are on and I can alternate octaves depending on my mood. If I’ve got eyeliner on and my hair brushed, I’m the bass graveling my voice a la Kathleen Turner. If I’m upset, it’s soprano all the way, wanting to go so high that my goal is to shatter the windshield. Then I’d be happy because my car would almost be a convertible. Then I’d be sad that I didn’t have a scarf for my hair. Then I’d be happy because if I were to have a scarf in my hair, I would feel the need to reenact Thelma and Louise. Then I’d be sad because I’m just not fond of driving over cliffs. All of those in between feelings would be sung via the Alto and Tenor boyz.

And that right there, folks, is why it’s normally silent. Too much drama.

Well, either silent or with a book on tape.

So, as we sat in blissful silence, pointing out different fauna or landmarks, we eventually arrived in Savannah. I have always wanted to come here and I want to go back. Two hours is just not enough, especially when you’ve got someone showing you around that didn’t make it on Jersey Shore… because she was too Jersey Shore.

We walked into the visitor center and when confronted with a billion different tours to choose from, saw a coupon for one and snagged it. That should’ve been our first clue. The coupon.

Because as we waited for take-off, we glanced at the trolly next door. There was literally a line from the visitor center onto it. Either they didn’t know there was a coupon over here, or their Fodor’s Guidebook told them to steer clear.
And clear they did steer. We felt lonely.
However, we did appreciate taking up the entire back row without guilt. And that’s always nice. So as a few more unsuspecting people jumped on, we headed out.

It was muggy.

So I chose to wear a cardigan, because that’s what you’re supposed to wear if you want sweat to drip down your back and you can’t pat it dry because in doing so it will cause your white shirt to get wet and maybe if you were still playing volleyball daily and were proud of your over-the-shoulder-boulder pebble-holder it would be fine, but hosting a post baby wet t-shirt contest due to a sweaty back while holding said baby is probably not the most flattering introduction you want to give to Savannah’s elite.
But I probably shouldn’t have been worried about making a good impression, there’s no way I could have, because our driver alternated between yelling at people with her microphone to get off their phone while driving, cackling when, as she pointed out a landmark, it looked like two people were doing the nasty. Then hollering back that we should have any kids on the tour close their eyes. There weren’t any children, except for Ruth. And she thought ‘the nasty’ meant they were eating avocadoes. She hates them so.

There was a brief pause of civility as we oogled over the lovely homes like this one…
…and then she was back at it: screaming at a girl on the sidewalk to turn around because she looked like Pippa and yelling ‘Nice horse!’ to a guy walking his great dane. Followed by You’re pretty cute, but I bet you don’t like women!

Ahhh, savannah southern hospitality at its best. I think my tactlessness would fit in just nicely down here. If not, I could always become a tour guide.
Ruth hung in there for the 90 minute tour. By the end we simultaneously juggled balls, patty-clapped, and stood on our heads to entertain her. It seemed to work, though, as several people commented on how well she did. No one seemed to notice the bedraggled lady holding her. Ah well.

We hopped in our car and continued on our way to Folly Beach. After a few stops before everyone settled down, it was back to silence with the occasional fervor of conversation.

Shortly we arrived and thus began our week with friends, a beach (briefly), and piñatas. On one of those days another couple and we drove into Charleston and did a tour there as well.

We waited in the shade for our ride.
Side note: J’s baby does not have a yellow perfectly oval with squiggly black lines face.

I introduced Ruth to a horse.
But she was mostly enthralled by this black one. I bet she knows how much I loved The Black Stallion growing up.
Our little carriage took off with only a few people. This was my fault, though, as I thought several other couples were coming with us and therefore reserved basically an entire carriage. In the end, it worked out for the best. More elbow room = happy mama.

The guide did not yell at pedestrians, nor drivers, nor the patrons, but instead gave a thorough (if monotone) background of everything we saw. It was calm, easy going, and breezy. Just what I needed after being sequestered in a bedroom with a teething baby girl (whose second tooth did in fact appear by the time we arrived home).

Ruth fell asleep on my chest, I semi-listened to the history of the town, and R took control of the camera. It was like he worked for National Geographic and just happened on a rare breed of animal.

Click-click-cliking away at everything. And I mean everything, including the little flag the guide would drop when the horse went tinkle. I mean, it was a Charleston tinkle flag, right? Therefore, it must be documented.

Like this one, I asked him later?
What is it?

I don’t know.


But he did capture things like this: a low-lying old tree in front of a big white old home that I would love to uproot and wheel back to Arkansas with us. So, it all evened out.

Ruth agreed with me.
Afterwards, we walked around a bit, ate a bit, and then drove back to the beach.

Two different tour guides and I liked them both. That pretty much describes me though. I like being around people that make me laugh, but at a certain point I like to ask, can we have a serious conversation too?

You need both.

And this trip, so far, had it.


Hey There.

I’m still unable to access my wordpress account at home. This has caused me to have to go to the local cafe, order a mocha latte, and sit in adult silence for a couple hours while uploading posts.

It really bums me out.


I love it.

So before we get into a side by side comparison of two city tours, I’ve gotta show you Ruth’s reaction to a new dvd set we bought for her. It has five discs, one of which is titled The Counting Numbers Song! I’m already kinda burnt out on it. Maybe watching Julie Andrews movies would be better, where she’d learn Do Re Mi instead of numbers. With an accent.

Yes, I’d love for her to have an accent. I’m going to work on that.

But for now we’ll stick with the counting number song that I’m not sure if Ruth likes or not.

Here’s the progress. I’ll speak for Ruth:

What did you just put in. What is that noise. What am I laying on.

My sports bra, Ruth. I’ll throw it in the other room. Listen to the song….

Hey, this is kinda cool! Let me get up to see it better.

Ehhh, what are those things singing. I can’t tell if they’re real or not.

Stop this right now! I can’t take it.

Wait, this is kinda funny.

Wait. Is it funny, really?

Counting One is Fun Fun Fun. Really.

Wuz Up Cuz

Lost of firsts going on in these parts:

  • First set of teeth
  • First official crawl
  • First official crawl to the nearest air vent
  • First official crawl to the nearest air vent followed by a loud NO by mama
  • First official smile at loud NO by mama
  • First official crawl back to air vent after loud NO by mama
  • First official sound of the ‘It’s so RELAXING having a baby. What’s the big deal’ balloon popping.
  • First official head side-tilt towards Grandma & Grandpa which they insist is because she feels sorry for them.
  • First official throw up
  • First official gag from mama at said throw up
But mostly, there was our first official family vacation.
A vacation for whom, exactly? I’m still not sure on that point, BUT it was a nice getaway to see friends and family in a new setting.
If you haven’t read our air travel adventures at The Mobile-Homemaker, please do. I think the main thing I took away from that experience was to really expect the absolute worst. Throw up, Diaper Explosions, Screaming. And then when it doesn’t happen, you’re trip has already exceeded your expectations.
Our initial trip itinerary was to rent a beach house with friends who’ve all had babies within a year of each other. This way we don’t have to make lame apologies or excuses to non-baby friends. We’re all in the same boat and get it.
But first we made a pit stop at my cousin’s house in the Jacksonville, FL area.

Here’s the trip layout:
  1. Fly to Jacksonville
  2. Stay with cousins a few days
  3. Drive to Folly Beach
  4. Make a pit stop in Savannah, GA on the way
  5. Stay at beach house for a week
  6. Drive back to Jacksonville
  7. Fly home
Not gonna lie.
I was nervous about all the travelling. It’s about four hours from Jacksonville to Folly Beach and even though Ruth is a rock star on road trips, I didn’t know how all of the action leading up to her time in the car seat would pan out.

So, we arrived at my cousin’s house on a Friday afternoon. She texted me to say she was picking up her daughter from school and to let ourselves in.  We were literally within minutes of arriving at this point. R was driving and I was telling him his next turn. We both are looking either way for a street sign and when we turned our heads back to the road, a cop was standing there waving us into a drive.
I’m not the best with cops. It usually ends with me asking if they hit their quota and them am surprised when I never get out of a ticket. This time I decided to keep my mouth shut.
He came over. R rolled down the window. I rolled my eyes and shut my mouth.
Hey there. I stopped you because you were going 11 over….
…The regular speed limit. And this is a school zone.
[Insert typical excuse here: Rental Car, Don’t know the Area, Didn’t see School Zone sign]
Well, normally it would cost $450, but I’ll just give you a ticket for Unlawful Speeding.
Okay, Thank you.
Guess what time it was: 2:08pm.
Guess what time the school zone was over: 2:10pm
Double Ugh.
The detailed instructions on where to find a beer was going to come in handy. Thank you, Cousin B

We arrived $150 lighter and marveled at their screened in porch that is the same size as The Shack., waited for our hosts to join us, then changed into our swimsuit for a dip in the pool.
Another first for Ruthie.
She loved it. And I mean loved it. We tried putting her in a little baby carrier pool thing, but she wanted to be held directly in the water so she could kick and flit freely like a little mermaid.
Our time there was short-lived, so I had to squeeze in as much bonding time as possible. To do this, within minutes of seeing my cousin, I grabbed my upset stomach and yelled for the nearest bathroom. The two other bathrooms were being used, so as I ran like a chicken with my head cutoff, she hollered ‘Go Straight, Turn Right, Light a Match’ like I was a rat in a maze.
But that’s how I roll: Hi B. Haven’t seen you since Christmas before Ruth, now give me a match. Strike that, give me a book of matches.
Whatever. She didn’t care.
It went uphill from there, thankfully. Candyland games, steak dinners, lounging on the couch with a glass of red wine and watching Betty White’s hidden video show, listening to R and B’s husband (B) sitting in the dark laughing at cartoons.

And listening to monsters growl from little boy B’s pockets. Here’s how a typical conversation with him went.

What’s up little boy B.
Oh my gosh! What was that?!!
[pulling open a pocket] That was Wolfman. He’s loud.
Do you always carry Wolfman in your pocket?
No. I let him out at night to play. Rawrawrarrrrr!!!
What was THAT?
Just the creature from the black lagoon.
Whaaat? How many do you have in there, I’m scared!
There’s five. They keep me up at night. It’s tiring.
Tell me about it, kid. I’ve got the same problems.

It varied from time to time, depending on the different monster in his pocket at that moment, but it all amounted to him being exhausted from taking care of them.

Until one time I heard Rawrawrrarrrrr!!!

Oh my gosh, was that Dracula!?
No one. It was my stomach growling.

Ruth’s stomach was growling too, so I used every one of B’s mixers to make some veggie slop.

No literally. Every utensil.

Hey, I just got up close and personal with your bathroom, B… can I now dirty everything within hands reach in your kitchen and then bail out on dishes after you only insist on doing them yourself one time. 

I did offer. Promise.

The saddest part of the visit was leaving. Little girl B told us several times that it would be okay if we just stayed there forever. I asked her to double check that one with her mom.  And a couple hours into our drive to Charleston, I noticed that we missed a call. It was little girl B. She wanted to tell us she missed Ruth.
Too sweet.
Up (kinda) next: Two City Tours. One of them was calm and collected. The other was Jersey Shore on crack.
Even Ruth thought so.