Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

You know it was a happy spring break when it takes you 3 weeks (ish) and 4 separate blog posts to finish writing about it.  This was that sort of year, and if you missed the first few parts, you can catch up here:

Part I– The Shirt War

Part II– The Funny Stuff

Part III– Legoland Discovery Center

 

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

We now live in Georgia, so we decided it was time to re-visit Callaway Gardens. It has been 15 years since we were there before. 15 years ago to the day we re-visited, almost. Alan proposed to me on March 25, 2002, on the lake beach there. We returned on March 26, 2017. Pretty cool, huh?

Us, 2002, Callaway Butterfly Gardens. He proposed on the beach there.

We enjoyed re-enacting it for the boys. Caleb took pictures for you, but I didn’t like how I looked,so those will be on the blog never…

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Daniel, taking off for that beach.

The boys were all supremely disappointed that they didn’t have their swimsuits with them, but it was a touch chilly for swimming still, and we wanted to scope out the whole place that day. We can go back to swim anytime.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Ever since we left California, and my beloved Point Lobos, I have had no place here to go and just revel in the beauty of nature. Actually, my back yard is pretty awesome because I do see red cardinals and an occasional snake (*shudder*), and I find little brown balls that lead me to believe that deer are occasionally jumping our fence, but Callaway goes beyond that.

Here at Callaway, our little family was all at peace and excitement, as we hiked the trails, visited the butterflies, and even got to see a captive falcon with a wingspan as big as me!

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Caleb will tell you. Everyone in our family knows it. It is not possible to take Caleb anywhere that there is water of any kind and bring him home dry. He will always be beckoned in so far that he will always leave soggy. We love that about him.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

This was a half-mile trail, but in the southern heat, it feels like more. Thankfully, some of it is shaded. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. It felt like home to me.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Me, feeling like I’d found my new Pt. Lobos.

There is something about being outdoors that is nourishing not only to your body but to the depths of your soul.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Friends, come visit us. We will take you on this trail.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

There is something splendid about a boardwalk over water, and yes, there were turtles and fish to gaze at.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

I was also reminded why, by the time I was a teenager, I thought I didn’t love being outside. When you grow up in the South, MOSQUITOS reign! Yeah, wear bug repellent if you do anything like what we were doing here. And sweat, of course, sweat. Mosquitos and sweat. Still worth it though.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

I don’t think a person can look at a bed of tulips without feeling a little better.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

A small dogwood tree! How I’ve missed dogwoods!!

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

outside the butterfly center

Normally, tons of azaleas would have been in bloom, but a week prior a cold front had come through and killed all the azaleas at my house that were blooming or budding, so there were none. I also read that azaleas bloomed early at Callaway this year. That would have been such a beautiful sight to behold, but alas, we missed it. A week later the late azaleas did finally show off in our area, so that was some comfort.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

The 4 of us squeezed onto a swing. They have a dozen of these swings outside the butterfly center. Now you know I love me a good swing.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

inside the butterfly center

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

The butterflies were of course all over, and we were all excited to be a part of it…..except John David. JD sort of whimpered the whole time and got all sorts of freaked out if a butterfly flew anywhere near him, and so our time in the Butterfly Center was cut short.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

After a butterfly actually landed on my hand for a few minutes, the boys took to trying extra hard to get one to land on them.

But alas, it never happened. Sorry boys.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

JD, in panic mode…Butterflies are apparently terrifying.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

watching an educational film on butterflies

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

The boys all took turns carrying each other on their backs, and how sweet are these 2?

Daniel kept picking John David up and carrying him, and JD only weighs 10 pounds less than Dan, so we started referring to Daniel as the ant man.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

My camera phone died before I got to photograph the giant bridge with the water, over by the Discovery Center, which is one of the most beautiful parts. Next time! Because you know there will be a next time!!

 

“A cheerful heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”  Psalm 17:22

 

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”        Psalm 19:1

And now it’s back to work. I hope you all manage to squeeze in a little sunshine time today.

********Don’t forget to enter the Bottle Flip Game giveaway! It ends Tuesday night at 11:59pm!!**********

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Darling Photos of Seal Moms and Babies

 

Happy Mother’s Day! What better to share on this treasured day than some adorable seal mom and pup pairs from my favorite spot in the world, Point Lobos State Park.

This particular beach is not a seal hang-out for most of the year. However, when it comes time to birth babies, late winter/early spring, this tiny beach, completely surrounded by rock cliffs, becomes a true seal nursery. This is NOT a zoo. This is the real world, animal style.

ALL of these photos were taken by Aunt Janet, photographer extraordinaire.

This first mom and pup pair are the funniest. This little fella’ was rambunctious, robust, and ready to do some more swimmin’. Mama was trying to take a nap, and he kept sneaking off to the ocean.

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She’s trying to rest, but off he goes…

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Still going….Even for animals, some little ones are just tougher to raise than others.

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Bet you’ve never seen a seal run, but this Momma did. She cut him off at the pass, barking up a storm at the little rascal.      “Nope! We are NOT going back out to the ocean. You don’t know what you’re doing. You are shark food. Now get back up on that beach, lay down, drink your milk, and take a nap. Don’t you go sneakin’ out to this water again without me, you hear. Bark bark bark bark bark!!”

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Here she is, at the top of the photo, leading that baby back on shore. She had to keep holding him down with her little flipper.

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This momma had a younger, smaller pup to bring in, and she just didn’t have her job figured out yet. Poor little pup was trying so hard to beach herself, but the waves kept washing her back out to sea.

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Oops. There goes baby again. Mom needs to learn to get behind her.

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nursing seal baby

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Every few minutes, you see another momma and baby seal coming in or going out. I could have watched all day, but I had taken a few elementary school boys with me who could only enjoy it in 5 or 10 minute increments.

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If I were a seal, I’d hang out here too. Actually, I’m not a seal, and I still like hanging out here.

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Look closely to see the baby seal on the momma seal’s back.

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This Mother’s Day is coming at perfect timing for me. I have felt a little down lately, mostly due to my mystery low-grade fevers. They zap my energy, and leave me feeling confused and a little hopeless.

But Mother’s Day reminds me of my most basic and happiest job. I am first and foremost a mom, and I am tickled pink to be Mom to our four precious sons. I always considered myself a “girly-girl”, so it’s ironic to me that I am now the mom with the baseball nails, trying to learn basketball lingo, and passing rules about not bringing slugs into the house. When I brush everything else aside, every other worry, every other commitment or hobby, this is the job that I most cherish: being wife and mom. I was never so happy as I am when I’m being mom.

-Wiping noses

-Trying to convince JD to poop on the potty.

-Reading These First Four Years to Joshua and Caleb

-Reading Green Eggs and Ham to Daniel and Caleb

-rocking JD in the rocking chair

-pushing them in the swings

-cooking their dinner

-buying their clothes

-hugs and kisses

-talking through their problems

-teaching them about Jesus and praying with them

-watching them play baseball

Oh, I love it all so much. What a wonderful gift to be entrusted with. I hope I can walk worthy of this calling.

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And I’m thankful I don’t have to go it alone, like the seal mommas.

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This guy makes being a mom more doable and more fun. I could not do this without Alan.

Mother’s Day is a reminder for me this year. It’s a reminder of how blessed I am. Healthy or not, I have a glorious life, full of purpose and every good thing. I must remember to be thankful and always share with others what I have. I am renewed with joy. What a blessing.

 

I better get to sleep. Alan and Caleb are making me french toast in the morning, and I’m super excited. I say Alan and Caleb, but they will probably all insist on helping.

Happy Mother’s Day, y’all!

Photos of 17 Mile Drive and the Carmel Mission

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You may be tempted to think, “How can you live in California and not be utterly happy all the time from these incredibly beautiful surroundings?”

Good question.

The unfortunate thing is that I don’t actually live on the beach and see these sights every single day. In fact, I pretty much forget they are there until company comes and we show them around. Most destinations are too hazardous to take on with two pre-schoolers, seeing as how I’d like to keep them all alive, and I have the hip problem. Pity. So I wait until I have other adults to go with us to these lovely places, and once I finally make it out there, I am reminded that it does indeed have healing powers.

Fresh air. Sunshine. Water. Wind. Oxygen. Green. It’s life-giving. How can I get out there more often?? I desperately need to do so. I don’t think our Creator ever meant for us to toil our days away, all shut up in our houses all the time. He put the first people in a garden, right? A perfect garden with no briars or thorns even. No sin. No clothes. Ha! Now there’s a picture….

I hope you’re enjoying this series of photography posts from Aunt Janet. Today we will share with you the scenic central California coastline.

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These are my favorite.

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Nature tends to disorder, and that can have its own magnificence, but well-tended gardens are a testament to the things that we can do with what we have been given.

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Carmel

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Pelicans!

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Carmel Mission: founded 1771.

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San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission

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visitor’s entrance to the Carmel mission

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Nonna and Aunt Janet: the traveling sisters

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These trees are unique to the area. They are Monterey Cypress trees.

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A big thank you to our talented photographer, Aunt Janet!

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And thank you to Nonna, who helped us with our boys!

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Hope you all get out and visit inspiring places this weekend.

“In times of great change [which is always], learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped for a world that no longer exists.” –Eric Hoffer

 

27Consider how the lilies grow: They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these. 28If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith!…  Luke 12:27-28

 

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