Okay, yah! Now we are getting to the good stuff! Been stockpiling images of our actual trip! So excited to share these with you!!! So our sweet nanny Happy dropped us off at CHS, we gave her a big hug and we were off on our new adventure. I think the moment I got to CHS airport, I felt great, like this is finally happening after all of this planning and packing and cleaning and arranging. No looking back now. We had a 4pm flight to Miami which was a breeze. I had the backpacks packed full of goodies which kept both of the kids occupied the entire ride. I don't think I used any iPads that entire flight, which always makes me feel like a triumphant Mommy. When we arrived in Miami, we had dinner next to our terminal and took turns walking around the airport while the other (parent) ate dinner...this is usually how we roll, my kids don't sit still, nor do they eat a lot of food (we are working on it Mom). After dinner, I changed them into their jammies and Steph went to get some milk for their water bottles. I wanted to make sure they were both super comfy. I think I also told them both 100 times that it was night time on the plane and that we would be sleeping on there. Steph took Graham and I took Lulu. We were actually in different rows, which kind of worked out great for us so the kids didn't disturb each other. Graham had a great flight and slept the whole way, Lulu was an absolute terror and tossed and turned and I felt just horrible for her. We watched the Good Dino on repeat on the back of the plane seat and that helped a little bit but I had a lot of difficulty comforting her. Of course she fell asleep around 1 hour before we were to land. Luckily we were next to very sweet people who didn't mind her crying or unfortunately for most of the flight, kicking them.
I love this pic of my little traveler, Lulu. I can't wait to show this to her when she is grown up, she is such an independent spirit.
Mr. Cool. Couldn't go to Argentina without our Babiators
This in the Buenos Aires airport EZE, after we had gotten through Customs. The Customs people were SO NICE to us. Lucie was out of control and they moved us to the front of the line, I was so appreciative! We had a car waiting for us that we had arranged through a friend of a friend. I can't even explain the feeling of finally getting somewhere you've imagined and dreamed of in your head for so long. I call it travelers high, where you have an extra pep in your step and you are like "heck yes, we made it to South America"!!! I felt this way as soon as we got to the airport and could not wait to hit the ground running!
Lulu seemed pretty happy too, even after her horrible overnight.
Graham was taking it all in - I put this pic in here just to show you how much we brought....it was pretty easy to move around on one cart.
The kids loved the taxi (no carseats!)...please overlook Lulu's gigantic diaper. Up next...scenes from our first 2 weeks in Buenos Aires!!!!
I must say the last day before our trip, I was a little bit of a mess. Not only was I frantic about the departure (we packed up until the very last minute), but I am also such a sap for goodbyes. It's so interesting that even a two month trip out of town, or moving out of your house, can really make you stop and see just how good you have it! While I was in our new rental on John's Island, I finally had time to reflect on the most epic holiday season full of fun parties with friends, lots of dancing to Justin Beiber "Sorry" and lots and lots of wine! I said goodbye to friends over lunch and had a play date with Graham's best bud James. I am so thankful for the life we have built and the friends we have made since we moved to Charleston and I think just the mere act of going away made me really see this more clearly. I wrote a long, tearful note to our sweet Nanny Happy, who is starting a new job, and told her to read it after we left, I just could not bear saying goodbye to her. We took Goosey to a farm on John's Island where I am sure he is having a blast! Lucky boy! The kids really didn't know what was going on, we hyped up the airplane and Argentina and I think they were more excited for the grand adventure than anything. It was a lot of emotional goodbyes and then Happy whisked us off to the airport (thank you for everything, Happy!!!) Here are a few pics of the morning we dropped Goosey off at his farm. (Charleston peeps: I interviewed everywhere and I found a really great long term boarding option for dogs, happy to share!)
Before we left, we of course had to get Passports for our kids. Steph also needed to update his...glad he checked!!! Luckily, we had three months to do so, but we did this as soon as we decided to go on this trip to ensure timely arrival. We travel a lot domestically and occasionally out of the country so we decided to apply for Global Entry
, which would automatically make us TSA Pre-check eligible and save us a little bit of time on any return home through customs. We basically get to skip the Customs line, which is huge with a two and three you old who can't sit still and are easily upset after a long travel day. We made an overnight out of this trip since we had to interview in Atlanta. We visited the Columbia Zoo and the Atlanta Aquarium so it was pretty epic for the kids. Here are a few pics of the 24 hour adventure.
My kids are obsessed with elevators!! We could have spent the whole time in this elevator in Atlanta.
Here we are on the way to the ATL Aquarium, which is AWESOME!!!
And here we are waiting for our interviews, which took approximately 15 minutes each. It's a pretty serious ordeal and there is even a security guard there and we had to be super quiet...but I think/hope it will be worth it in the end when we wave "adios" to all the people waiting in the Customs line.
This picture was outside when the security guard told us we were being too loud and they were conducting some very serious interviews. He was as nice as could be about it, I totally get it.
A few people have asked me what I packed for 2 months abroad. I bought two Black Hole
bags from Patagonia, the 120L and the 90L. We also brought two small carry ons, one with extra clothes and one with the kids creature comforts (blankets, snacks, books, etc). And each family member had a backpack with things like computer, magazines, toys for kids. I packed all new goodies in each of the kids backpacks so it would be super fun for them to open and see what was inside. I swore I would be screen free but caved at the last minute and brought iPads. I'm so glad I did because there were times during the flight when we really needed them. I also packed one empty bag to bring back some goodies!
We are doing a little bit of homeschool for Graham-jam. Thanks to Graham's teacher Ms. Lauren, who recommended this book, Handwriting Without Tears
. Thank you, Ms. Lauren!!! Graham is learning the alphabet and of course I am trying to teach him Spanish words while we are here (as well as his Nanny Juli). We will enroll him in a few camps in Buenos Aires, I think perhaps the best way for him to learn is to play with other children.
After we packed up and handed over the keys to our cousins, we were off to country living on John's Island. We are renting a friends house, which is a 1 bedroom and is available for us as we need it, which is perfect for us...I did not want to sign a 12 month lease anywhere. We were there in January and will be there in April and May before we head to Kiawah Island for the summer. We looked downtown in Charleston as well but thought we would give country living a try for a while.
I think this is a great idea if you want to check out another area of your city, especially if you are relatively new to town. Steph and I tried living downtown
a few years ago. We did sort of the same thing...packed up our stuff and gave it a try. It was the most romantic year of my life. I am so glad we got to experience city life, in the heart of Charleston, South of Broad. Trying new homes really does give you perspective on what suits your family. And moving to a smaller home certainly gives you an idea of what you can live with and what you can live without! We downsized to a 1 bedroom and brought the bare minimum. I noticed that Steph and I argued less over chores and spent way more time outdoors and with each other and the kids. Here are a few images from our month on JI. I don't have a ton, I was a little busy doing last minute shoots and working out details for our trip but I hope to get more when we come back in April.
I should also clarify - there is a king bed, where Steph and I sleep, and a little bunk in the wall, where Graham sleeps. Lulu is in her pack and play. Graham and Lulu are in the living room together. I knew this would be an adjustment for the kids with their bedtimes but it was also a good trial for us before we left for South America. I think I get stuck in my head with bedtimes and rules and it's healthy to just get out of your house and all of your creature comforts and just roll with it.
We tried to take as many sunset walks on the dock as possible, it is so beautiful out there!
We had a fire every night and I had a lot of wine...I mean isn't it kind of mandatory to have wine with a fire??? Yes, I think so. Here is our first firewood delivery, the kids were pretty stoked about it.
Graham learned how to make a fire and we did this every night, sometimes we started the fire around 2 or 3pm, after nap.
Apologies for iPhone photo but here are the fruits of our labor...reading a book with Daddy while keeping toes warm.
Lulu celebrated her birthday on John's Island. Steph's Dad and girlfriend came to visit and we had cupcakes from Sugar
, it was perfectly relaxed.
Look at this sweet baby girl!!!! She is kind and loving and considerate....a gentle soul, just like my Mimi for whom she is named.
This was one of the last images I got of the kids before we left and I am in love with it beyond words. I can't wait to blow this one up when I get back home. My sweet little Patagonia babies.
" post is any good without an after post! So here are a few pics of our home after the purge! If you want to travel and need to Airbnb
your house to make it happen, I think this is a wonderful exercise in cleaning up shop, mainly because you have a deadline!!! I had no choice but to get this done! I had to take some images before I left because I don't know when the house will look THIS GOOD again! I was truly so proud of all we did to organize everything and get rid of the things we don't love or need.