Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lady and Sons

Before we hit St. Simmons we spent the night in Savannah.  I figured 5 hours in the car was long enough and also we had planned to visit with some friends from our adoption community before moving along.  Sadly, we never got to see or friends as they were too busy on Friday and by Saturday morning Roman took a trip to the Urgent Care because he had the a stomach bug and couldn't stop throwing up.  Poor guy!  Anyway, a trip to Savannah wouldn't be a trip to Savannah without a visit to Lady and Sons which is just one of the restaurants Paul Dean (a Food Network TV chef).  It was her first restaurant and really launched her career as a chef.  If you are looking for a really traditional down south meal than Lady and Sons is the place to go!  The Okra is amazing, the chicken super crispy, the sweet potatoes are beyond yummy and the list goes on. In most cases you need to make a reservation as the restaurant can have a line all the way down the block, but since it wasn't the busy season and it was 2 p.m. at the time we arrived we were able to just walk right in and take a seat. Let me tell you I walked out of there in a happy food coma.

Monday, February 27, 2017

In Search of Balance

This evening I was searching through various venues to find something to watch, but nothing was drawing me towards watching until I clicked on a trailer for a documentary called In Search of Balance.  What grabbed my attention was a statement from a man who said he once had diabetes, but has not taken medication in over 9 years.  The question is how is he able to do this?  The movie discusses the idea of our environment and food healing us instead of making us sick.
Last week, a friend of mine lost her 24 year old son not to a major illness like cancer or to drug abuse, but to some freak unexplainable sickness that caused and infection in his body eventually killing him. Originally, the doctors thought he glandular fever but after not getting better over the course of two weeks, his mother took him to the hospital where they were told he was misdiagnosed and he had peri-tonsillar abscess behind an already swollen tonsil.  They operated on him immediately to remove the tonsil and drain the abscess.  Less than 24 hours later he had to be operated on for a second time because the infection was now up and down his neck and was pressing on his jugular vein.  The severity of the surgery lead them to put him in a medically induce coma.  He never came out of the coma because despite all the interventions they could possibly use the infection has spread throughout his body and shut down his organs. It has been a week since they have buried their son and I am still in shock.  How does a young man who was rather healthy die at the age of 24? Another friend of mine lost a good friend to a heart attack.  He was only 32!  He was a marathon runner and rather healthy.  I could go on and on with examples of people we have known who have died rather young way before their time.  Why is the question?  I mean aren't people living longer than they have ever lived?  We also live in an era of rather amazing medical advancement.  It seems however despite having amazing medical technology people are dying at ever increasing rates from chronic diseases that are not seen at such rates in developing countries.  I see this in myself, and maybe that is what drew me to watch this movie.  I am 45 years old and for the last couple of years I have suffered from Lupus.  Lupus is an auto-immune disease.  Basically, my own body is attacking itself.  It manifest itself in me in regards to my joints.  I am in constant pain though most people wouldn't know it because I am pretty good at hiding it.  Lately it has gotten harder to hide it because I walk with a slight limp.  Some days are better than others.  Currently, I am taking three medications. I feel like an 80 year old and by the amount of medications I am taking you would think I was one. My mother is 65 and I believe she takes 6 or 7 medications for a variety of illnesses.  So back to the movie, basically it says that we are killing ourselves off.  One of the biggest factors is our diet.  Our diets are filled with fat, meat, sugar, and processed garbage.  Let's back up though to the two earlier examples of deaths this past week of rather young and healthy people.  Why?  The movie goes on to talk about gut health and how important it is and how important micro-organism are to being healthier, but we can't have the diversity of micro-organism when we are using harsh chemicals on the food we eat or when we are constantly sterilizing our hand or withdrawing ourselves from exposure to them in nature.
This moving really has turned on a light bulb for me.  I feel so much hope and excitement for the first time in a long time in regards to my health.  Maybe the answers can be found by making a few changes in my diet and getting out more in nature. I would highly recommend this movie!  While nothing is ever so simple, the movie addresses this and knows that nothing is so simple but admittedly states that we need to take a look at how everything is so intertwined from the food we eat, to our exposure to nature and green spaces, to our very own health.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Georgia Sea Turtle Center

As we were leaving the fort, I said to the children let's hurry and get in the car so that we can go to Jekyl Island.  A woman over heard me and asked me if I had heard of the Sea Turtle Center.  I told her I hadn't and she told me the children would really enjoy going there.  Super easy to find and located next to the Jekyl Island Hotel and the Jekyl Island Museum the Georgia Sea Turtle center was definately a hit with my little ones; especially, Roman who is really into Marine Biology right now. The center is set up in stations 1-5 that teaches the children all about the turtles.  They are given a punch card and when you have visited a center you get to stamp it on a sheet they give you at the entrance.  One of the cool things I learned about the turtles is that they are not assigned a sex when they are layed, but heat determines the sex.  So if conditions are really hot more females will be produced and if they are cool more males.  Also, usually the females will tend to be in the center while the males are on the perimeter.  After we completed the 5 stations we watched them feed the turtles.  The center is really a rehabilitation center for the turtles as many are injured by either car or boats in the water.  It was well worth the visit.  Plan about 45 minutes for the center.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fort Federica

The pool wasn't quite warm enough to go swimming in and while the children had fun playing in the hotel hot tub, it was apparent we were going to need so other forms of entertainment.  As we were driving unto St. Simmons Island I saw a sign for Fort Federica and made a mental note for us to visit it if we had time.  While this fort is not nearly as impressive as the one in St. Augustine, it was very crucial to establishing the dividing lines between England and Spain.  The children had fun roaming the grounds,  and the visitor center had a great little movie and fun activities for the children to participate in. Addy really had fun dressing up in the old costumes.  I could have honestly spend a morning laying out on a blanket there because the air was so intoxicating between the new grass mixed with the smell of the ocean and a hint of orange blossom.  The park was free which was even better.  Definately worth a visit!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Jekyl Island

Jekyl Island turned out to be everything I dreamed it would be and much more!  It is my favorite place here in Georgia.  So magical.  I can pretty much say it won't be our last time to this beautiful island.  There are bike paths for days and the beaches are uncrowded. We hung out a beach called Driftwood Beach, and while the water was freezing the children could have cared less.  They had so much fun playing in the sand, climbing the giant trees, and looking for crabs in the tide pools. Till next time Jekyl Island.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies and Turning Ten

Hi!  It has been been a busy week.  Over the weekend the children went to German school, slept over at their nana's house, went to a couple of birthday parties, and now a few of them are sick as allergy season has hit.  The trees are blooming in full force and it is even beginning to snow pink pedals.  I have been busy wrapping up summer travel plans. I still need to book the ferry for our trip to Elba, Italy in July.  I have also been working on a list of items that we will need to buy either when we get there or on-line to be delivered once we get there since we will be moving into an unfurnished apartment.  Unbeknownst to me, we are due to arrive on a major holiday weekend.  I always thought the holiday was in May (Christihimmelfahrt), but I guess the date probably changes based on when Easter is because I think the holiday celebrates Christ return to heaven after the resurrection.  Anyway, lots to do as you can see.  We are also going out of town this weekend or at least me and the little kids are because it is Presidents weekend.  We are heading down south to Jekyll Island.  Not sure if we will be able to go in the water since the tempetures keep fluctuating.  Today it is pretty cold, but at least it is sunny.  On another note, my son Roman turns 10 today.  We are celebrating here at home as he as chosen to go to Legoland in Germany as his birthday present.  I can't believe how fast time passes.  Wasn't he a baby just a minute ago?  We adore him!  He is such a good kid and so kind to everyone he meets.  Yesterday, we made these yummy double chocolate chip cookies.  The recipe is from David Lebovitz.  So so yummy!  Chocolate Heaven! Well, I better go!  I just got word that the German Consulate just denied passports for our two adopted daughters.  Ugh!  So frustrating! They are saying that we need to get the adoptions recognized in Germany. Now we need to figure out how they are going to stay over there with us over there as visitors only can stay 90 days.  See you back here in a couple days.  When I post pictures from our trip.  Hugs and Kisses!

Friday, February 10, 2017

At the Movies

What to watch is always the question as there are so many choices, but if you are like me not so many shows have an appeal.  There is either too much violence, too much sex, or too much swearing.  I mean why is it that writers today feel like they have to over dramatize a movie or a book for that fact by adding the above mentioned.  Don't get me wrong, there are some places where I think a swear word has a value because of the subject matter, but I also believe writers and producers have an obligation to be purposeful about it.  Don't just add the above mentioned because you think it is going to draw more crowds as we really don't need it.  Here are my 5 top choices of movies or TV shows that are worth watching right now.  A Dog's Purpose is just a feel good movie.  Bring a box of tissues you will cry.  Worth every penny at the box office. While children can definately attend this movie my 10 year old found it a little too sad.  Not really sure what my 14 year old thought, but he didn't say anything negative, so that is a good sign. Victoria is one to watch right now on PBS.  If you love Masterpiece Theater or Downton Abbey then you will love Victoria.  It was slow to win me over, so keep watching. It is a great depiction of that era in history.  La La Land is such a dream to watch. The movie revitalized the musical and oh the backdrops are just amazing. Frankly, who wouldn't want to spend time looking at Ryan Gosling.  I loved him in the Notebook and I loved him in La La Land. Maybe not every one's cup of tea, but we adored it. Then there is Queen of Katwe another feel good movie and to top it off a true story that takes place in Africa about a poor young woman who becomes a chess champion and through her skills of playing chess is able to obtain an education.  A movie of hope and endurance of the human spirit. This movie is appropriate for children to watch though I would say the movie is geared for the older child.  My girls watched a few minutes of it and then it lost their attention.  Last but not least, Denial also another true story about an Emory professor Deborah Lipstadt ,who was brought to trial in England for deformation of character, by her accuser David Irving.  Lipstadt a Holocaust studies professor goes head to head with Irving who is a Holocaust denier in court.  Not knowing the outcome of the story beforehand, this movie had me on the edge of my seat the whole movie.  Rachel Weisz does and excellent job of portraying Lipstadt. Well, I am off to go see the Lego Batman movie with my son Roman and his friend Bryson.  Having not enjoyed the first Lego movie a good nap will be in my favor in order to survive.  Though I am happy that I get to be with my son.  Hope you have a good weekend!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Salt to the Sea

There was a time when I devoured books like a really great meal, but then I began my family and the number of books I read decreased each year.  I love reading, but at night when I find I have the time to read I often fall asleep.  I have even been known to read the same page multiple times because I was so tired when reading a page I couldn't remember what I had read.  This year I decided to join a book club to motivate me to read more and watch less TV.  Somehow, I missed the first book of the year, but that is OK because I had all ready read the book which was Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.  This months book was Salt to the Sea which is a young adult read but you most certainly don't feel like it is a young adult book.  The subject matter is very mature though if you are looking for graphic material or swear words this book won't offer you that. Set at the end of WWII this book introduces you to 4 teens/late teens whose paths cross as they are fleeing Prussia from  the advancing Russian Troops.  Their journey is definately not a cake walk. The story is one of survival and heartbreak. I enjoyed this book not only because it was an easy read, but when reading about about WWII one usually reads from the German perspective or the Jewish perspective, but we often forget about all the other countries involved.  The book certainly is poignent at the moment with all the refugees fleeing Syria.  Makes you wonder what their journeys have been like.  While the story is fictional the story is based on true historical facts.  Any of the characters could have been real people during that time. The author does a great job developing the characters while educating us about what occured toward the end of the war.  I would definately recommend this book!  Up next on my list is the Whistler by John Grisham.  Love his books!  He is such an amazing storyteller! I am also reading the third book in the Harry Potter series with my 9 year old.  Fun to read the books again as there are so many details which they left out in the movies. I read them with my oldest son, but have forgotten so much. What is on your reading list? 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Saturday Fun

Last Saturday after German School, the girls went to their Nana's house for a slumber party, Winston went to play Basketball at the church, and Roman and I hooked up with our friend Nadja to play a couple of rounds of Bowling.  Silly me explained to Nadja where she was suppose to aim her ball for and that was the end of it because she kicked our booties in both rounds.  We still had fun!  Afterwards we went for a short little hike to see this waterfall and some Cotton Mill Ruins that are today converted into a bridal reception hall.  I am still not sure how it happened, but Roman fell in the river and so on the way to pick up Winston we had to stop and buy Roman some new clothes before we headed off to see the movie A Dogs Purpose.  Loved the movie!  I cried a few times!  Definitely bring a box of tissues.  It was a fun filled day!  It is so nice having Nadja in town right now.  She lives in Austria, but her company has her working here in Atlanta right now working on a project.  Well, it has been a long day and I am tired.  Hope you had a good weekend!  Are you planning on watching the Superbowl? I am totally torn as the Patriots are my team, but then I live here in Atlanta and it would be fun to have a victory for my city and to have the underdog win.  May the best team win!!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Baby R

I haven't picked up my big camera since before Christmas.  Not sure really why, but maybe being busy had something to do with it and using my cannon felt like kind of a chore.  I mean when you use a iPhone no one expects those images to be be edited.  Today I had the privilege of shooting this sweet baby, her mommy, and siblings.  She is 6 weeks old.  Isn't she precious.  While holding her was lovely I certainly didn't want to bring her home.  I can say with confidence my little baby years are over.  I will hold out for those grand babies. Babies do smell amazing and her brother and sister were precious too!  Doing this shoot was a great distraction from all the ugly things taking place right now here in the states.