Monday, August 21, 2017

Total Eclipse of the...


Nope. Sun.

In case you haven't heard, and if you live in Greenville, that would be a massive rock under which you're living, Greenville is in the path of totality to get a total solar eclipse. We're one of 10 (I think...) cities across the US. This is unprecedented. The city is going bananas. There's been a run on eclipse glasses for about a week and all hotel rooms within 2 hours of here are completely sold out. Traffic is expected to be insane. This is the only total solar eclipse that we'll see in Greenville in our lifetime.

I saw this infographic on the GVLToday enewsletter, and copied and pasted it. This, to me, sums it up pretty well without making it way too scientific (read: over my head).

I witnessed this event today and am pretty much speechless. It was honestly one of the coolest experiences of my entire life. It was spectacular, eerie, bizarre, amazing and wonderful. I almost cried a little and did get some chill bumps.

Thomas's company had a party and invited friends and family to join the employees. They had Moon Pies, waters, eclipse glasses, a DJ, a drone and lots of photographers. First we gathered inside the office and a professor from Furman University came and spoke to us. Then it was time to go outside and get ready for the big event. They were trying to set a Guinness World Record for the "most people taking a selfie during a total solar eclipse, while eating a MoonPie". Too funny! I don't know how that is verified, but as an attendee, I would guess that they got the record.

We were hanging out, chatting, looking up at the sun and the eclipse (with special glasses on, of course) and the more time that went by, the darker it got. It was the craziest feeling to be outside in the middle of the day with darkness falling. It was like dusk, but not. We got to see the diamond ring, when is when the last little part of the sun is out and it looks like a diamond with the corona as the ring. It just kept getting darker and darker and eventually it was Totality time. We all got to take off our glasses and just look up. I cannot even describe it. It was unreal. My phone camera did not even come close to doing it justice. It just looked like a regular sun in the picture. Lame. I'm sure plenty of real photographers with appropriate lenses got some amazing shots. When totality happened, everyone at this party starting cheering and yelling. The DJ started playing....wait for it..."Total Eclipse of the Heart"...surprise! We were all taking pictures and just looking up towards the sky in awe. You could see the corona of the sun but the entire middle was blacked out. We were in a parking lot with music playing, so I didn't hear any of the animals or unusual nature sounds, but my neighbor told me that all the cicadas started piping up and birds were making noises as well. Incredible. When the moon moved and the sun starting coming out again, glasses had to go back on and the DJ played "Here Comes the Sun". Very clever. That was followed by "Walking on Sunshine".

You may be wondering if the boys got to experience this awesome total eclipse. Well the answer to that is NO. I was curious about what their school was planning to do and was a little disappointed initially when they let us know that they weren't participating and in fact, were going to cover the windows and doors so that no part got into the building. I realized what a liability it would be if they were in charge of keeping all those kids with their glasses on, and what would happen if a large portion of the students ended up with eye damage. Ultimately, they made the 100% correct decision. I was thinking about maybe picking my boys up and taking them to Thomas's office to join the party, but my practical side caught up with me. I was way too nervous about damaging their eyes to risk it. They're still too young to understand anything about it and I knew they wouldn't keep their glasses on. I don't have 3 hands to force it and just didn't feel like it was worth the risk. I did, however, DVR the local news coverage and we will watch it as a family this evening and talk about it.

Here are my pics!

The girls from our old team!
Steph, me, Wendy and Donna

Thomas and me participating in the
World Record!

Wendy and me
(remind me to never hold the phone for selfies!)

My little man Bennett!!!!

Brooke with Bo and Bennett

Brooke and me

More Selfies!
Wendy and me

Total Solar Eclipse
Lame camera did not work

During Totality
It was so dark out! It was around 2:40 PM

Here's a picture from WYFF 4's website:

Total eclipse 

I know this looks cool, but seriously does not even come close to doing it justice for what it looked like in person. 

The next total eclipse is expected to happen in 7 years, but Greenville won't be on the Path of Totality that time. This is most likely our one and only total eclipse experience. I'm here to say, all the hype was totally (or totality) worth it!!!!!

Prayers for all those fighting traffic to get home. 

Side note: In the last 24 hours, I've seen the following out-of-state license plates. CT, NJ, WV, NC, FL, WI, NY, VA, OH, PA, TX
People came from ALL OVER to see this gig. 

Peery Lake Weekend 2017

Earlier this month (I'm a little behind and not necessarily going in chronological order on my posts), we spent the weekend with Thomas's sisters, their families and our MaSha. We had discussed with Tara and Ashley months ago that we wanted to do a weekend all together and location was up in the air. We thought about going to Tazewell, to Knoxville, to Charleston, to Greenville or somewhere all together different. We had about 4 or 5 different weekends in the discussion but narrowed it down to the first weekend in August when everyone was available. That just happens to be MaSha's birthday weekend, so we thought it fitting that we all come to our area so that we could spend time with her on her special day. I reached out to Carole (aka Mimi) to see if her lake house was available that weekend and luckily for us, it was open and she was willing to let us use it. WOO HOO! Best news ever! This house is a great place to make lots of awesome memories! I was so excited!

We did the minimal amount of planning that we could get away with leading up to the weekend, but decided on our food arrangements ahead of time and figured out sleeping arrangements once we arrived. Thomas and I both ended up taking PTO on that Friday so that we could get up there early and extend our weekend. I had to fly out to Las Vegas for a conference super early on Sunday morning, so I really wanted to add Friday to our lake time!

We had the BEST time! It was such a great weekend! When Thomas and I win the lottery, we're getting a lake house. ;)

Friday afternoon - just the 5 of us and MaSha went up to the lake right after lunch. We unpacked the car and got in the water just as quickly as we could! It was a gorgeous afternoon.

Mimi's lake!


On Friday, we were just lounging around the dock and Stokes and William were having so much fun jumping off the dock into the lake. They would yell, "One, two, three, CANNONBALL!"

The jump progression...


Late afternoon we had to take a pause from the water for a snack...

...and a little rest!

MaSha and Ryan snoozing

Later that evening we took the boat out for a little sunset cruise.

Captain William

Captain Stokes

loving the boat life

Not a worry in the world...

MaSha with Stokes and William

Dada driving the boat


What a handsome driver! #stud

Helping Stokes steer

Ryan got to drive, too!

After we got done in the boat, we got the boys ready for bed, had dinner and waited for all the cousins to arrive.

Helping Ryan stand!!!

Aunt Ashley, Taylor and Anna arrived first. They didn't have Uncle Zack with them as he was still working when they left and they weren't sure if he was going to come to the lake or not. More on that later...

Anna, Taylor and Ryan

Not too long after that, Aunt Tara, Uncle Matt, Leece and Madison got there!

MaSha with Leece, Ryan and Madison on her lap!

On Saturday morning, we had breakfast on the deck. Ahhh....

Once again, we got out to the water as soon as we could after getting 7 kids ready with swimsuits, sunscreen, towels, floats, life jackets, etc. Whew! All the kids had a blast! Ashley got a couple of videos of all of the cousins jumping in together.

They all held hands and jumped in together

Videos... (she did them in slo-mo and we all got such a kick out of it!)

A boat ride followed shortly after!

How cute is he?!?!

Floating with Ryan

When we came in for lunch, we had a little birthday celebration for MaSha and had some birthday cake!

MaSha's and her yummy birthday cake!

After that we attempted to put all the littles down for nap. was not successful. Everyone was in a new place and were so pumped up from playing all morning, which we thought would make them tired, but it seemed to have the opposite effect. We kept getting on the monitors and telling all the kids to quit playing/talking/fighting and get back in bed.

Thomas and Matt went down to the boat and were fishing

It didn't take long until I gave up on the idea of a nap and let mine come up to hang out with us. Tara had a bit more willpower and stuck to it for a while longer!

Aunt Ashley proving the entertainment

Time to get bread crumbs and feed the fish!

Remember how I said that Uncle Zack was a "maybe" on whether he was coming to the lake or not? We had all pretty much assumed that when we didn't hear a confirmation on Friday night or early Saturday morning, it meant he wasn't coming, but he surprised us! He called mid-morning on Saturday and was well on his way. He got there just a little after lunchtime and we were all really, really glad that he decided to come!

Once everyone was up from nap time, we got back in the water and went on another boat ride. This stuff never gets old! Especially seeing how much fun all the kids were having, it just made my day! The boat ride pretty much did the trick as far as napping goes. Since none of the kids actually napped during their scheduled nap time, their energy waned, the sun caught up to them, and that boat ride put most of them right to sleep.

Dada with Ryan

Aunt Tara and Madison

Two sleeping boys on my lap
Pure heaven

We eventually found a little cove and turned the boat off and swam, jumped, tread water and just played in general.

Taylor giving Stokes a "piggyback ride"!

Uncle Zack and Uncle Matt got in and played, too!

Sleepy kiddos!
I love this series! Ashley and Tara decided to jump in together. :)

"You ready??"



Lake Keowee is just so beautiful and on some parts of the lake, there are gorgeous views with mountains in the background. On the way back to Carole's on Saturday evening, I insisted that we stop and do pictures of each family with the mountains behind us. Of course, you can't actually see the mountains in the pictures like you could in real life (a slight underestimation on my part for our setting), but the pictures are nice regardless!

The Lewis Family

The Halverstadt Family

MaSha with all her grands

The Peery Family
When we got back, Uncle Matt immediately began working on our dinner, which was low country boil with shrimp that were brought up fresh from Charleston. YUM! While it was being prepared, everyone took turns taking baths/showers and hanging out on the deck and having fun.

Two of a kind!
Dada and William (and Coors Light)

Loving the lake!

Cute cousins! Not sure where Stokes was.

We love Anna!

Dinner is served!

Milk mustache

Silly boy!

Dada and me with Ryan

My little cuties

Before long it was time to put all the kids to bed. All the adults stayed up for a while, but we were playing just as hard as the kids were all day and although I can't speak for everyone else, I was pooped! I had a 4 AM wake-up call to get to the airport for my early flight to Vegas, so I called it a night pretty early. From what I understand, Sunday morning was pretty much just packing, changing sheets and getting on the road. I don't think I missed much, but it was still sad to be away from everyone for the last little part of the weekend.

I've said it a million times on this blog, but we really value time with our family. This weekend could not have gone much better. It was low-key, easy and just tons of genuine old-fashioned fun. We had amazing weather, all the kids loved the water and being in the lake and everyone was just chill and ready to have a good time. I think MaSha enjoyed being with her family on her birthday and her little celebration. I really loved our lake weekend this summer. And like I said, when we win the lottery and get a lake house, we'll be doing it much more often!

Shout out to Carole for letting us use her fantastic lake house! The boys kept called it Mimi's Lake, instead of Lake Keowee, and it's safe to say that they are big fans!