So, this has been a couple of crazy weeks. We are just wrapping up our week at Hilton Head with my family. First, I’ll start with the few days I spent in Charlottesville last week. I drove up with Megan in my dad’s Highlander, which was a pretty sweet ride. The drive is gorgeous, but 6 1/2 hours is pretty long. I won’t be taking quick trips to Columbia like I thought I would. Driving that distance with two small children will require a little bit of planning.

Megan and I stayed for two nights with a family in the Cville 1st ward who volunteered to put us up when I sent out an email to a few friends saying, “Need a place to stay if possible.” Tons of people volunteered; the people are so warm and friendly and willing to help. We stayed with Emily and Jeff and their three-year-old Marin. They were so fun and nice. We spent the first morning shopping and getting ready for Megan’s school assessment (buying her a new outfit!) She, of course, did wonderfully– not only met all benchmarks for entering kindergarten, but met all benchmarks for entering first grade and half for second grade. During Megan’s 45-minute evaluation I checked out our new townhouse and it is so gorgeous! I’m so excited to live there. I measured windows because the builder said if I bought blinds he’d have his guys install them for free. Good deal.

When I picked Megan up she was so happy. Both her and her “teacher” had had a blast. Megan really enjoyed showing the evaluator how much she has learned. I had a long discussion with the principal, and she said she wished she could make the decision, but it was in the school board’s hands. She encouraged me to go to the meeting and be very polite and show them the test results.

That night I bought blinds from Lowe’s and then we ate dinner with Emily, Jeff, and Marin. Then we went swimming at their neighborhood pool, which was AWEsOME. The pool was incredible, and huge, and the greatest part was a waterpark-worthy waterslide. It was big enough to be fun even for me, but small enough that Megan could go by herself. It was about a story-and-a-half of stairs and then the slide, and Megan probably climbed the stairs and went down the slide 50 times. She is swimming so good now, just started a few weeks ago, and doing great. We slept well that night. The next morning Emily and Marin invited Megan to go to a family fun day (carnival thing) at the army base where Jeff works. They had fun despite the oppressive heat. I picked up Megan and left there in the early afternoon. I delivered the blinds to the house and drove to my friend Amy’s house. I met Amy in February when we visited Cville. Her husband will be a second year at Darden, and she’s LDS and has three little girls. It was so much fun to stay with them. Amy helped me out my watching Megan while I got ready for and attended the school board meeting. I made nice hand-outs with a bulleted outline of why I want Megan to start school, and attached a copy of her test results for everyone to see. I dressed up and made a nice speech during public comment. The meeting was so cold and, dare I say, boring. We got a letter in the mail a few days later… request officially denied. Whatever. They had no good reason to deny her admission into kindergarten. The state allows it, the money is there. She’s perfectly ready. The principal was fine with it. But no, a bunch of elected officials with no educational experience get to make the final decision about my daughter’s future. There’s public education for you.

Friday morning I drove home and started packing. Saturday the Carrolls left for Hilton Head Island. We have two condos, a two-bedroom and a one-bedroom, and it has worked out perfectly. Saturday night when we arrived, we hit the beach. Hilton Head is probably one of the most gorgeous beaches in the continental U.S. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again… California beaches have nothing on a South Carolina beach. Well, except for waves, I guess. But Hilton Head is clean and beautiful, and the water is warm and clear. Sunday I got sick and spent the day in bed. Just a bad cold. Monday we spent most of the day at the beach and I got a little sunburn despite liberally applied and reapplied 50 SPF sunblock. Monday my aunt Olivia also arrived with her three kids, a preteen girl and two little boys Megan and Gavin’s age. They took a bedroom, I got a bedroom, and my parents took a room. Devin, Ethan, and Allison got the couch beds. I totally scored. I’m sleeping in a king bed with Megan, and Gavin is sleeping in a Pack n Play in the walk-in closet. I love to put my babies in the walk-in closets on vacation. Dark, quiet, perfect.

It would’ve been the perfect week except for Megan’s asthma hit her hard. She has been coughing all night long. Thankfully I have a nebulizer down her and a bunch of Xoponex, but today I ran out and had to get a pediatrician to call in some more. Last night it was so bad I ran the shower full blast to steam up the room. She doesn’t cough when we’re outside in the humidity, just inside the condo or the car. She’s bothered by the air conditioning; she’s never lived with A/C before. So I have had some very sleepless nights given Megan breathing treatments and rocking her on the back porch.

Luckily, I’m with my family. My family is a huge help. I’ve got my parents here, who are both young (neither has hit 50 yet) and healthy and truly help me. Then I’ve got Uncle Devin, my 22-year-old brother, Aunt Caitlin, my 20-year-old sister who just got back from Africa on Wednesday, Aunt Allison, 16, and Uncle Ethan, 13. Between the 6 of them, I have been able to spend hours at the beach sans kids (during nap time), or take long, leisurely showers, or actually eat a meal at the dinner table. It’s been great. Today was the best day yet. Megan was up at 5:30 am coughing. At 8 am I gave up going back to sleep. Devin was throwing up, so Mom was taking care of him, and Dad and Ethan were going golfing. Caitlin and I packed up Megan and Gavin and biked to the beach. We are a few miles from the beach. It’s about a 5 minute drive or a 15-20 minute bike ride. We rented bikes for the week, and one bike has a seat for Gavin and one has an attached kids bike for Megan. So that’s been really fun. We spent a few hours at the beach and then Allison came down. She likes to stay at the condo watching TV, reading Harry Potter, and text messaging her boyfriend, so she decided to take Gavin, who was done, back home. Megan, Caitlin, and I spent a little while longer at the beach and then biked home. We cleaned up, ate lunch, and put Gavin down for a nap. Then Mom, Caitlin, and I went back to the beach (I wore a t-shirt) and spent all afternoon sitting on the beach, chatting. Caitlin and I swam a lot. The waves were actually pretty fun for boogie boarding. Nothing like California and its 10 foot waves, but good enough to ride a few in. They’re more like kiddie waves. Megan has a blast riding them. We came home about 5 pm (Caitlin and I were biking), and I cleaned up my kids and fed them a snack– a bowl of oatmeal, because that’s what they wanted, strange kids. We showered and dressed, and decided to go out to dinner. Except for my dad didn’t want to go out to dinner, he’d rather pick up some cheeseburgers from McD’s and watch the Braves. But he’d be– get this– happy to watch the kids! How cool is that? So, Gavin, Dad, and Ethan hung out, walked around the golf course looking for alligators (I’ve seen four), ate cheeseburgers, and the girls (Mom, me, Caitlin, Allison, and Megan) got to do a little shopping (Megan really needs school clothes) and eat dinner at Outback. Then I came home and we caught the end of the Braves game and Remember the Titans (Megan said, “I want my dad to be a football coach!”) and then I told my kids a story, said prayers and put them to bed. Sounds like a pretty good day, eh?

Tomorrow we’ll go back to Columbia and then I’ll figure out what I’m going to do. I have Megan scheduled to get her tonsils/adenoids out on Tuesday, but they can’t do it if she’s coughing. Christopher starts school on Monday, so he’ll be super busy, but I miss him, and I’m ready to be with him and get settled. It’s been a month, so it’s not really a big deal if I stay in SC another week or two, especially since his first few weeks of school are going to be rigorous, I’m sure. But I really do miss him and I’m ready to go “home”… to a place I’ve never lived before but now really is home.

And, by the way, Happy 6th Anniversary, dear. I love you.


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