A New Look!

After my month-long vacation from blogging, I’m back with a new look! I anticipate that this new platform will allow me to be more diligent with my posts. It seems to have an easier interface on my end. I hope you like the new look and content… Let me know what you think!

Enjoy browsing through the new platform by clicking the link below.  I look forward to your feedback.

www.lifeinthelowcountry.net


Remembering

Nine years ago today:

I had a very normal morning. No children yet. Working for the State Dept. Of Ed at a school in N. Charleston.

A teacher came into my office and told me to turn on the radio (it was a poor school) because a small plane had crashed into a skyscraper in NYC.

I listened in in complete confusion as other faculty poured into my small, windowless office to hear the commentators try to make sense of what was happening on CBS radio.

I remember the utter horror and disbelief I felt when I heard another plane crashed into the second building and that both were in flames.

Ran to the cafeteria, sent students back to their home rooms, and turned on the TVs just in time to see the first tower collapse on live TV. That image is forever seared into my memory. Watching in shock as the other collapsed and people fled in every direction.

I remember going back to my office and hearing on the radio that all flights were being grounded. I walked outside and the air above Charleston was filled with planes waiting to land.

The radio confusion about a plane hitting the Pentagon and the “missing fourth” airliner.  When they finally found United 93, they said it was going to be shot down. We later learned that courageous people crashed it intentionally to save the lives of others. “Let’s Roll” took on a new meaning.

Frantically trying to get in touch with my dad, a resident of Manhattan, only to be face with jammed phone lines. Thanking the Lord when we finally connected. He was there in NYC and didn’t believe me when I told him the towers had collapsed. All electricity in his office building had gone out and the phones had not been working. He knew only of a plane crash. Amazed that I knew more than he did. Learned that his only personal loss was his laptop computer which was being repaired in One World Trade Center.

Remembering the many trips we made to the towers growing up and how Papa used to work in one of them.

I remember watching the news with a deep sense of foreboding for days. Schools, jobs and sporting events cancelled. Flights grounded. Wondering what would happen next? I couldn’t tear myself away. I’ve never been more frightened in my life.  The death toll increased to a magnitude I could hardly comprehend. It seemed so senseless and unspeakably cruel. The posters of people looking for loved ones moved me deeply, making the horror more real to me.

Strange names and foreign lands filled the news. I remember thinking: What have we ever done to Afghanistan? Who is Osama Bin Ladin and why does he hate us so much? Al Qaeda, Taliban?

I remember taking comfort in the many stories of bravery and self-sacrifice that emerged over the next few days. Flags flew in unlikely places. Every vehicle on the road sported a patriotic bumper sticker. Our country came alive with a common cause.

I thought that things would never be normal again after such great loss.

Yet here I am, almost embarrassed…

That I can sit on my front porch swing watching my boys play in the yard while I type this post on my iPhone, while those who sacrificed greatly for my safety may not have that same luxury today. That this afternoon I will go watch a friend play in a tennis tournament and then watch college football. That life is so… normal.

That, as I type this, the flag on our front porch is waving in the breeze and I realize it has been a long time since I looked at it and reflected on all it stands for.

I say I will never forget. But as time passes, I want to be sure that I really never do… Not just on September 11th, but I want the lessons learned on that fateful day to become part of who I am — not just a distant memory.

May I always remember.

Photo of towers courtesy of my friend Kelly Benedict’s  Facebook photos.

Published in: on September 11, 2010 at 11:22 am  Comments (1)  
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The Ice Cream Man

So it’s a nice evening and we’re all in our PJs getting ready to play a serious game of Sorry and we hear the tune of the ice cream truck. We all run outside and wait for Mr. Dave to turn onto our street. For 10 minutes we hear the elusive sound. The big boys run from one corner of our block to the other accompanied by our older neighbor. Just when we almost gave up, Mr. Dave made the turn!! Everyone is happy now. Good way to begin the holiday weekend 🙂

Published in: on September 3, 2010 at 7:19 pm  Comments (1)  
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This kid cracks me up!!

I don’t know what it is about Miles but he makes me laugh all the time! He has an impish look (as seen in the photo) that makes me think he has more going on inside his little mind than I can imagine. I’ve always read that third children are charmers and entertainers. Well, he is definitely both those things! A friend of ours recommended that we read Kevin Leman’s Birth Order Book. I have to say that Dr. Leman has all three of our boys pegged… he is right on the money! I’m so thankful for the laughter this little guy brings to our life.

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 3:23 pm  Comments (2)  
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Back in the Saddle

After a busy first week of school, we sure enjoyed the weekend!!

We played games, built Lego vehicles, watched the Wizard of Oz, and ate good food. Boys are messy and loud (and it seems that every mosquito in Charleston found Davis while he was blowing bubbles in our yard yesterday), but they are inexplicably sweet. They have no idea why I’m always telling them to quiet down, clean up, use good manners, clip their nails and to come inside when mosquitoes are biting them instead of trying to catch them in a net! You see, I’m preparing them for their future wives who will appreciate my efforts 😉 But —  I love the crazy chaos of our household; even when it’s driving me crazy.

This morning, 5:30 came really early for me. But, once we got it going, I felt as if we were finally back in the saddle. The fall semester is in full swing.

Here are some fun photos from the past week:

Movie time!

Miles LOVES Mac & Cheese

Andolini’s Pizzeria

I love these special times with our family and appreciate it even more now that the bigger boys are back in school.

Psalm 127:3
Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.

A “lost” post recovered

The first week of school is behind us and we are starting the second one. My post from last week didn’t work from my iPhone so here it is:

August 16th, 2010

Well… Colin and Davis happily entered their classes this morning. There were no problems (except a teary-eyed mother!) Davis kept saying, “I’m thrilled to be in Kindergarten!” He was giddy with excitement. Their sweet teachers were so well-prepared for the morning and everything was perfect. On our way to school, it’s our routine to pray for our day. Today we prayed for a year filled with encouragement, friendship, and learning. I’m excited about watching the year unfold and seeing my children flourish. We love our school and know that they are in great hands with their teachers!

Here are a couple of photos. They are blurry but sweet memories. Colin took Davis by the hand and took him to his class. Precious 🙂

Goodbye Summer…

Where did the summer go?? I can’t believe that school begins again tomorrow. Colin is starting 1st grade and Davis is starting Kindergarten. You wouldn’t think that I’d have such a hard time with this but I really am struggling.

We had an absolutely magical summer. We celebrated two birthdays and Chad and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. We shared awesome time with family and friends and spent parts of the summer in a few beautiful places.

I’m increasingly aware of the fact that God gives us only so many days to spend on this earth. It’s up to us how we spend them. I’m always a little nostalgic at the end of summer vacation… I love this time with my family where schedules are a little looser, spontaneity is the norm, and family time trumps everything else. Goodbye summer…

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Happy SEVENTH Birthday to Colin!

Well, it has been a full month. June brought us Miles’s 1st Birthday, our 11th wedding anniversary, the passing of Chad’s maternal grandfather, Colin’s 7th Birthday, and Father’s Day. What a month! It has certainly been emotional for our family. Sorry for the delay in sharing… here are some photos from Colin’s big day:

Good Morning Colin! Happy 7th Birthday! (The boys camped out in the playroom the night before).

Miles and Papa wanted to wish Colin an early morning “Happy Birthday” too!

Toy Story 3 was the theme for our birthday table.

After a fun morning at Vacation Bible School (where we celebrated with a Cookie Cake), we headed to the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry for a fabulous party. The staff planned a beautiful party for “King Colin” and the other knights and princesses. Everyone had a great time. If you’re considering a birthday party in Charleston, this is the best venue I’ve experienced. Christine took care of everything and Crystal (our party hostess) was AWESOME with the children.

After the festivities at the Childrens Museum wrapped up, we headed to Taco Boy for a GREAT birthday dinner.

And then we went home to open presents.

We got Colin new golf clubs so that he’s ready to play with Daddy and Poppy.

Apparently Miles would like to play golf too!

We ended the evening by watching Toy Story 2 on DVD  (in new Toy Story PJs) and building towers with Colin’s new Citiblocks. It was truly an awesome day. The day wouldn’t have been complete without our traditional photo in the “birthday hat” though!

Colin is my firstborn son. I remember the shock of the first moment I looked into his eyes. I was filled with a love for this little baby that I can never put into words. I knew that I would love my child but I did not expect the fierce emotion that welled up in me. This happened with both my other boys too but the sheer strength of emotion shocked me because it was so unexpected.  I can’t believe that was SEVEN years ago. I’m so grateful that God chose us to be Colin’s family! I pray that we raise our boys well.

Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children…
Deuteronomy 4:9 ESV

Colin in the News!

I have to share the following article from the Daniel Island News about my budding angler. Captain Peralta was awesome and so was Poppy Johnson 🙂 The photo is small but my boy was REAL proud!

Fishing is a thread that ties the generations ~ by Greg Peralta – June 16, 2010

When my children share memories about their grandfather, the dialog often includes fishing. Thankfully, they enjoyed many fishing trips with my father and there is a significant pool of memories from which they can recall. In my experience, fishing is a thread that can tie generations of a family together. So when Terry Johnson called about a fishing trip with his grandson Colin, I was very keen to make the trip happen.

Given bad weather and conflicting schedules, we finally fished together last week. Prior to meeting Terry and Colin at the boat landing, I launched the skiff and caught several dozen shrimp with a cast net. Recently, the redfish, trout and flounder have had a definite preference for shrimp. With the live well full, I returned to the boat landing and found Terry and Colin waiting on the dock. Colin walked up, looked me in the eye and politely introduced himself. I was immediately impressed. We loaded up the skiff and made a short run to our first location. After staking out the skiff, I hooked a shrimp on a ¼ ounce jig, cast the line and handed the rod to Colin. Before I could get a rod ready for Terry, Colin caught his first redfish. It was small, but the excitement was great. After a quick picture, we released the fish. On the next cast, Colin caught a black drum. Two casts and two fish, Colin was proving to be quite the angler!

A steadily increasing southwest wind forced us to move to a small sheltered creek. The falling tide was concentrating fish in deeper channels. I staked out adjacent to a channel and had Terry and Colin cast to the deeper water. The bite was steady, but not great. At least we were out of the wind. After a brief casting lesson, Colin began casting and catching fish on his own. Colin was attentive, well behaved and a very quick study. He was also fast becoming a very good angler.

Slowly working the jig/shrimp combination through the channels, kept us in steady redfish action. Most were in the 18 to 20 inch range with a few larger fish mixed in. As the sun rose, it became unbearably hot. Rather than bake in the afternoon sun, we called it a short but memorable day.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at captaingreg@shallowwatercharters.com or (843) 224-0099.

Published in: on June 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Happy FIRST Birthday Miles!!!

Miles’s very first birthday was on June 1st. We had a ball! There are a lot of photos in this post so I’ll let the pictures tell most of the story…

Unlike my mom, I’m no cake decorator! Mom offered to make the cake for Miles but I insisted on doing it late at night on the 31st.

We celebrated with Miles’s first trip to the beach. We live 10 minutes away, but there hasn’t been a “good” time to take him in the last 12 months.

The expressions on the big boys’ faces in the photo below made me laugh. Were they jealous? They had cupcakes too!!

Then it was home for a nap and more celebrating!

The gifts were a hit! It’s always hard to know what to get for a one-year old. For my EIGHT friends who have babies turning one in the next six weeks, here are some highlights:  My folks did awesome with a Leapfrog Learning Table. Miles plays with it non-stop.  My brother’s family gave Miles a V-tech bug that he can pull around. It lights up and plays music. Great gift but needs a volume adjuster for the parents! Miles loves it though. Chad and I found this toy (I don’t know what you call it but the photos are below) at Target. Our pediatrician has something like this in the waiting room and kids seem to love it. Miles did too 🙂

Then we were ready for cake. Miles did not like our tradition of special birthday hats. He wouldn’t keep it on his head. It reads “I’m ONE today”.

And of course we have to get a photo of Papa and Gram Gram!! Miles isn’t looking at the camera but his sweet grandparents are.

It was such an awesome day. It couldn’t have been any better! I am reminded yet again of how unbelievably blessed we are.

Psalm 127:3 – Behold, Children are a gift of the Lord.

And here’s how my youngest “gift” acted when I kept putting that hat on his head… this photo cracks me up!! 🙂 Life is more than good.

Blog Vacation?

Apparently I subconsciously decided to take a blogging vacation!

Davis graduated from preschool recently and Colin graduates from Kindergarten on Friday. Then we’re in for the whirlwind month of June. I’m in the midst of planning Miles’s first birthday and Colin’s seventh birthday. Add our 11th wedding anniversary and Father’s Day to the mix and June is shaping up to be a very eventful month!

As you can tell, so much has been going on lately. Work has been incredibly busy and the end of school is always a super-challenging time 😉

Here are some recent photos:

Since we missed the ice-cream truck, the boys decided to have banana popsicles on the porch. Once Miles tasted Colin’s, we couldn’t keep him away!

Miles now has FOUR teeth and is getting HUGE.

Colin and Miles at a picnic at Waterfront Park on Sunday. Boy do  these kids need haircuts — again!!

Davis relaxing on our porch swing before sunset. We had a lot of fun on that evening. We all sat out on the porch until the first stars came out. We put candles on the table so that the porch light wouldn’t interfere with seeing the stars. Even though it was a school night, it was a great memory!

Here’s Miles looking like such a big boy!

On another evening, we all went down to the waterfront after the boys were already in their PJs. Of course, our reason for going was to look at the cargo ships!

Davis at his graduation from preschool

As you can see, life is crazy, busy, and WONDERFUL! I’m so thankful for the many blessings God has given me 🙂


Concert in the Park

The Concert at Smythe Park was absolutely fantastic this year!!

The music was fabulous and spending time with friends was pretty awesome too. All my photos were taken on my iPhone so they are pretty awful. BUT… you can get an idea of what it was like.

I love this event! Soon after we moved into our home overlooking Smythe Lake, the first concert at Smythe took place. It was an immediate hit! I couldn’t believe that this great event was right out my front door.

Now, it seems that people attend from all over Charleston.  In fact, one of our teachers (who lives in Mount Pleasant) came to the concert to celebrate her 12th anniversary. In years past, we have had to bring our own food. The spreads were amazing. This year, there was the option to purchase food from local vendors. Many still prepared their own food but it was great to have this option.

The boys had a ball (as usual). They ran into friends wherever they went. When we went to the concert back in 2007, I remember them being so little. Now, they acted like old pros 😉 This is a photo of Colin with my mom.

Davis wanted a photo too and Miles was too busy playing with his sippy cup to notice me.

We are really blessed to be able to take part in such fun events! I’m so glad that we continued with the Concert in the Park even though the Charleston Symphony Orchestra has fallen on hard times. The Jazz ensemble did a super job and everyone loved it!

Growing Up Fast

Today was a sweet day. I can’t believe the school year is winding down! Davis had his Preschool spring fling today and loved the jump castles and big slide. Davis will start kindergarten in the fall and Colin will be in first grade. Where does the time go? Miles will be ONE on June 1st! Unbelievable…

Here’s Miles at Balfour Park.