A Breather...

So back in March, I got a sweet gift from my family...After a particularly busy Fall and Winter of travel, Travis suggested I plan a little getaway for myself, because he's just the best. Seriously. He is such a constant dose of encouragement and support and grace, he never hesitates to let me refresh when I need it. I'm so grateful for that and I don't take that for granted.

Throughout the Fall, I'd had several little "girls' weekends" that had all fallen through for one reason or another while he seemed to gain unexpected trips here and there that took him away and left me keeping the ship afloat at home. He wisely knew I was starting to suffocate from a long winter and not a lot of time to myself, so when I suggested a weekend in Charleston to see my sister, he happily agreed. Again I feel the need to just say, he's amazing.  

As air travel often goes, suddenly that "weekend" turned into 5 days away AND a trip with my Mom! It felt so indulgent and SO exciting!  I did not ask for that much time but it just worked out that way with flights and expenses and thankfully I was gifted again with further help from my Mother in law, when she agreed to come help Travis survive the 5 days and help run the show at home.  It was SO kind and generous of everyone to pitch in so I could get away and I left with so much excitement and just a twinge of guilt.  Because motherhood produces guilt over every little thing, no matter what.  I of course had those plaguing "what ifs" that dominated my emotions the night before but I knew this would really be good for me, and also for Trav, Texie and the kids. Different is good for everybody sometimes, you know? 

So my Mom and I went! And we had a blast!!  It. Was. So. Much. Fun. We LOVED our time with Stacie and Jesse and just loved not "working" for a few days...My Mom was on Spring Break from her job and I was childless, so cue the words "carefree and loving it" over our heads! LOL. But really, though. We were loving life! I have wanted to get this trip recapped for lots of reasons but one is to share the billion photos I took of the most charming city on the East Coast...Charleston!!!  I literally took 600 pictures in 5 days...Travis thought I was joking, but I was not kidding. I took 600 and yes, I know I have a problem.  I have a real love for capturing things that just inspire me and move my soul creatively.  This has not been my season for doing weddings or creating anything this last year (besides a brand new human, of course!) so I know I went with some pent up creativity that has been just dying to be released. There are lots of ways I like to express that and yet what I often don't have time to do, is photography.  Capturing beauty with a lens awakens something in me and especially considering the flood of architecture, charm, beauty and history that is Charleston, I was not lacking for subject matter.  So, my plan is to break this trip up in a couple of blog posts. This is my wordy, descriptive one with pics of my family and I, but then I'll share some that are just photos. And when you see how amazingly charming Charleston is, you will know why. If you have not been, do yourself a major favor and plan a trip there someday! I just happen to know some amazing natives who could point you in all the right directions!  

So without further ado, here are some fun people shots from our getaway...

Also could be titled: "That trip where we embraced PINK every day!" It's Spring, what can I say??

 Chillin in the MSP airport with my Mom 
 It's been a couple years since I've flown! Something about having many small children and a hatred for flying with kids had a lot to do with that. Although it was great to be somewhere quickly, I did not miss the whole airplane experience. Definitely a road trip kind of gal!
 We landed in Charleston on a Wednesday night and hit the ground running with these two Entrepreneurs.  More on that below...
 Our first day was a little cool and drizzly, but without kids, who cares? Umbrellas, coffees and all the time in the world to stroll the cobblestone kind of perfect. I think we nailed the tourists with umbrellas shot, no? 
We wasted no time and got into a fabulous restaurant on the first night.  Hank's Seafood did not disappoint. The dining scene in Charleston is stellar. Tons of award winning places to eat with market fresh seafood on every menu. SO GOOD! 
 I wish I could remember what this was??  Mommy brain is in full force these days, I've got no memory. I believe it was grouper over a mushroom risotto? Whatever it was, I loved it! 
 My Mom ordered their crab cakes appetizer with some veggies on the side and oh my word, delish.
 Perfect first night of dining, Stacie and Jesse. Thanks for getting us a reservation~
Day two was a dream day, weather wise. Sunny, in the 70's and just all around wonderful. We did some home tours and spent most of our day downtown.
 Photo opportunities at every turn, even in alleys and hidden streets, there is no shortage of charm here. 
The most exciting thing about our second day was my brother in law Jesse's debut at the Charleston night market!!
The open air market in Charleston is the largest one of its' kind in the nation and it's been around forever. Only a small percentage of artisans are accepted and allowed to sell their art and Jesse was selected! He is a photographer by hobby, but his hobby photography has grown quite a following on Instagram because he is amazing at it! He primarily takes photos of architecture, landscapes, and nature in and around Charleston.  If you are on Instagram, you NEED to follow him!  He posts daily and each shot is gorgeous, but also significant to Charleston and full of history or interesting facts.  His handle is: charleston_lowcountry and his website is:  
We were able to help he and Stacie set up their booth for the first time where he will be selling his prints and framed pieces every weekend!
 It was so great to see their new weekend adventure and to see his stuff in person.  It's an honor to be accepted to this and we were so proud of him! 
 They've got a month under their belts now and he is doing so well!  Selling lots of prints and framed photos and getting tons of great feedback. I loved seeing him in action and am excited for more people to see what a talented photographer he is!
 Because we needed to be downtown so late while Jesse sold photos, we were scrambling to find a place to watch March Madness so we could cheer on our Hawkeyes!  There was an Irish Pub just around the corner from the market and it was perfect!  We had a booth with our own flatscreen TV and we cheered loudly for our Hawks, who played amazing and crushed Davidson! 
 We had the best time!!  We were the only ones paying a whole lot of attention to the game, although we did spot another Iowa fan inside, and it was nice to sit and enjoy the game after all the walking we did all day.  I capped the night off with my own purchase from my favorite photographer! 
 Our next day was cool and overcast but it was actually a gorgeous day to visit Magnolia Plantation and not be hot while we walked around the grounds. 
 The photo spots were plentiful...
 And everything was so green! 
 But the best part was the Azaleas, which were just beginning to bloom and drip from their branches...
 We couldn't resist them!!  What I'm not showing you, because I'm saving it for an entire post about this amazing plantation, is an incredible wedding set-up that we stumbled upon that day!  It was totally gorgeous and so up my alley :) It made me miss doing weddings for about 5 minutes!  Stay tuned for that post, it will not disappoint. 
 That night we hit downtown again while Jesse worked the market and we stumbled upon a brand new dessert and coffee bar that was adorable!  You can't tell from these pictures but it was actually packed and we were lucky to get in and get a table. The ambiance of the whole thing was darling and we loved it. 
 We may have a few ideas about they could improve, because we Ferguson women are never short on ideas!  About everything! 
We all liked our choices and enjoyed sitting for awhile and watching some more basketball. 
March Madness was a perfect weekend to restaurant hopping!
 I miss my sister Stacie, we've not lived close to one another since she was in college so it was fun to get to be in "her world" for a few days, especially to just hang out without the kids and do stuff that we both enjoy!  We were just missing Jen to round out our trio  :) 
On our last day we had to best brunch at the most amazing restaurant!  It was a Gospel brunch at a very traditional, southern place with a choir of singers who sang Gospel songs the whole time.  Such a unique experience!  You have to go there if you ever make it to Charleston, for sure. 
 Sweet potato pancakes
 And their famous french toast...both were delicious!

They were so amazing!!
 It was such a great couple of days and we had a wonderful time. By the end I was missing my people at home though and anxious to get back to see them!
My re-entry was not exactly as smooth as I hoped, however...Poor Walker and Trav's Mom were both sick with some kind of virus. Walker was throwing up and had a lot of diarrhea, so we ended up in the ER that night to give him some meds to stop the vomiting and to try and determine if there was anything else that was wrong. You'd never know he was miserable from these pictures, but he was.  Unfortunately Texie was also miserable and had to delay her trip home, and then Ava caught it for a couple days and just to make it really interesting, I caught it as well.  I believe I probably had it the worst and actually ended up in bed for almost 4 days because of it.  It was misery!  
Now it's funny, at the time it wasn't so much. Other than that hiccup, the kids did great while I was gone and had fun with Daddy and Texie.  
They were happy to have me home again however, and thanks to a refreshing time away, I was happy to be there.  Walker buried his little head in my shoulder and kept touching my face when I walked in the door.  You can't argue with a reception like that!

Stay tuned for some gorgeous photo posts from Charming Charleston!

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