Saturday, October 10, 2009
Gone to Carolina
We recently took a trip to visit family & friends in North & South Carolina. We visited Em's cousins and one of her college roommates in Raleigh and spent several days in Spartanburg, SC, with Dave's extended family.
Ben did pretty well on his first plane rides, given lots of Cheerios, toys, bouncing, and repeated readings of his favorite books.
Dave probably doing the 4th of 92 readings of Is Your Mama a Llama?
On our first night of the trip, we got to have dinner with Em's cousin Christopher before he flew up to visit Em's parents in Detroit. In Raleigh, we stayed with Christopher's sister Andi, her husband Chris and their 4-yr-old daughter Phoebe. Phoebe was fascinated by Ben and wanted to know all about his pajamas, what he ate, what he liked to play with, and if he went to "baby school." They took us to experience NC barbecue and to a great steak place called The Angus Barn, which has won awards for customer service and also has a fantastic wine cellar. We toured the cellar and it was really neat. Ben and Phoebe made friends with one of the waitresses, who brought them toys (duck for Ben, sunglasses for Phoebe) and fussed over them!
Ben, Em, Phoebe, and Andi:
We also got to see Em's college roommate Robin, who is a linguistics professor at NC State. She took us on a tour of part of the campus. There are some lovely, big trees, and we also walked to a nearby rose garden. Sadly, we were not there long enough for her to start teaching Ben Swahili. Maybe next time?
We drove down to Spartanburg, SC, where Dave's grandfather grew up. We stayed with Dave's aunt Martha & her husband Joe and spent a lot of time with Dave's cousin Joy and her girls Caroline and Madison. Ben discovered the wonder of Duplo blocks that used to be Caroline's & Maddie's and played with them for at least a half-hour at a time.
Ben showed off his keyboard-banging skills to Joy, Martha & Joe, using an old laptop toy from the girls.
We went to The Beacon, a Spartanburg landmark since 1946. Ben was mad because he didn't get any of our burgers-a-plenty (hidden under a huge pile of onion rings and french fries). Also note that I ordered the small size of hushpuppies. I think there were about 10 for $1.60!
We spent Saturday afternoon at the Inman Fall Festival. Maddie and Caroline got their faces painted. Ben enjoyed people-watching and chewing on his new rain coat. Luckily, we got through most of the festival before the rain really started. Sadly, we did have to take shelter in the cars before I got my deep-fried Oreo!
We stopped by the biggest Krispy Kreme we'd ever seen to visit Dave's Aunt Dot while she was working. Ben tried on a hat and he & I were fascinated by the assembly line of doughnut machines, including the glazing waterfall. Okay, maybe I was a little more fascinated by it than Ben was. But he liked chewing on the hat and smiling at Aunt Dot.
We also got to spend a lot of time with Aunt Mary, who is Dave's great-great-aunt and therefore Ben's great-great-great-aunt. She & Ben cuddled, read books, and he did his "Let me see your teeth!" game. She was a better sport about it than Dave & I are at this point.
Aunt Mary also got to familiarize herself with the literary masterpiece That's Not My Dinosaur!
We also got to take a slight detour to the IKEA in Charlotte on our way back from Spartanburg to Raleigh. Ben had started to get fussy in the car, so we took his bottle in with us in case he kept fussing. He calmed down as soon as we got in the store, and was absolutely entranced by everything hanging from the ceilings and stacked on the shelves! He went 2 hours past his feeding time without protest because he was having such a good time staring and chattering!
We had a wonderful trip and were so glad we got the chance to introduce Ben to everyone! I hadn't met the SC crowd either, so it was a great pleasure for me to spend time with them. Thanks to everyone who took time out for us!