June 29, 2009


Dave's annual antennas conference was in Charleston in early June, so we all drove south, picking up Nana Kelley on the way down. (I won't bore you with the complex logistics of how we all got there!) While Dave worked every day, the three girls traipsed around this great old southern city -- OK, we drove a lot rather than walked. I, of course, was most taken with the architecture. Dave and I did get a night out, at the conference's opening reception, USO-style, on the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier. We had a lot of fun on that enormous ship.

Mom K has always wanted to take a carriage ride, and there's no better place for them than in Charleston. We did that our first morning, to get a taste of the city's history and architecture. Amazing piazzas (their word for big multi-story porches) and ironwork!

We took one day to drive up to Drayton Hall, a National Trust site that I'd heard about from the time I worked for the Trust, oh, some 18 years ago. Their claim to fame is that they're the only Ashley River plantation to have survived both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. What I think is really cool is that they haven't done anything to change the site -- they use its state of disrepair (well, they've stopped any further deterioration from about the mid 1970s) to tell the story of the plantation and its inhabitants, free and slave, white and black. They do an amazing job. This is Katie (and Elmo) in front of the family's "growth chart" wall -- dating back hundreds of years. We all really enjoyed that day.

We also saw the aquarium and the Charleston Museum, and on our last day, all four of us took the boat out to Ft. Sumter. Very interesting -- an island of nothing but the fort. But I have a clearer understanding now of the military beginnings of the Civil War. And later that afternoon Dave and I went to see the Hunley, the Civil War submarine that was recovered from the harbor less than 10 years ago. It's in a conservation lab, and they're doing an amazing job of the work. That was much more interesting than I expected. Here's Dave in a replica of the Hunley -- can you imagine being in there with seven other men and a few candles, underwater, in a vessel that had already sunk twice? Hard to believe anyone volunteered for that assignment.

Someday I'd like to go back and wander the streets some more to really fully take in the architecture and history.

(This is the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, a really beautiful new truss bridge that has become a symbol of Charleston.)

June 28, 2009

Elizabeth and Bill's wedding

My cousin Elizabeth and her long-time boyfriend Billy (OK, Liz and Bill to their friends) got married a few weeks ago in Fredericksburg, VA. She was born when I was in college, and we're a pretty close family, so this was really fun. It turned into a mini-reunion for my mom's side of the family, plus my dad, from all over the country. Aunt and uncles, both of my siblings and at least parts of their families, my dad (the minister), and my mother-in-law. Did I say we were a close family? Then there was my uncle's side of the family, who we see at family gatherings, and they're always so much fun. We had a great time all weekend.

Here are just a few photos of the wedding and my extended family...

June 12, 2009

Home - and away - and home again

My new words of advice: don't go on vacation right after you move! Eight days after Katie and I got home, and four days after Dave and Oliver arrived home, we left again. First stop was family reunion time at my cousin Elizabeth's wedding, and second stop was Dave's big conference in Charleston, SC. Both stops were places I wanted to be, but the timing was a little tough.

But we're really home now. I have finally downloaded my nearly 150 photos from the 11 days we were gone, and will post about our trips over the next few days, when I get them sorted and labeled. And then -- only then -- will this blog become maybe a little less adventurous. :) But no less cute: doesn't everyone think they have the cutest kid on the planet?