life is always about the journey...

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Growing Up....

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  
My Valentine is in DC, but that's ok. I'm not big on the occasion anyway. I do always get the kids Cupid Gifts and they opened their's while they were here for the weekend. I will probably treat myself to some Pad Thai from the local Thai place up the street because it is super yummy!

Both the kids and James were here for the weekend to celebrate Riley's 19th birthday. Hard to believe my little man is now a grown man, I tell ya!  I'm so proud of him and the man he's grown into. I love that he likes to hang out with his mom still. He calls to confide in me or to ask me to edit papers still and has been good about checking in with us regularly. I also get lots of laundry when he's home for the weekend hahaha, but I don't mind.

He's had a rough first year at college with a roommate who is more interested in doing drugs and partying...and trying to make friends with those that aren't into partying and have other interests. Riley doesn't drink or do drugs and he does not like to be around it, so he's had a bit of a struggle meeting friends. He's starting to settle in and he just signed a lease on a 5 bedroom house with Alexa's boyfriend and some other guys from the fishing team for the fall. So I'm very hopeful next year will be much, much better as far as roommates and making friends goes. He's got an A average and doing well in his classes, so he's definitely focused on the things that matter which makes us happy. And he is planning on studying abroad next Spring in either Ireland or Italy, so he's looking forward to that too. He has such a big heart, so kind and sensitive...which means I worry about him a lot, but am so proud he's stayed true to who he is and what he believes in. I've always told both the kids to focus on their futures, keep the toxic out and don't let anyone stand in the way of your dreams, nor stomp on your beliefs.

I had a local Charleston Bakery (Bakehouse Bakery) make him a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting and chocolate mousse filling. Yeahhhh...he loves chocolate lol! It was one of the best cakes I've ever had, but so very rich. He loved it, so that's all that matters. I forgot to buy candles (brain sludge) so we had to use a few zebra ones I had (whoops)'s the thought that counts right!?

We spent Saturday on the water...a place we all love to be.  If you are looking for a wonderful boat or kayak tour, I highly recommend COA (Charleston Outdoor Adventures). The guides are all naturalists and they offer eco-adventures of the estuaries, barrier islands and marshlands. The owner is originally from VA and a Redskins fan (ha) and I've been out with them quite a few times now. They are 1 mile down the road from where I live and I've always had a wonderful time.
You will ALWAYS see dolphins, local birds and other wildlife along the way while learning something too. 

My favorite trip is going out to Morris Island where the Morris Lighthouse is and spend some time walking the isolated beach...the shelling there is magnificent.  We saw quite a few dolphins including a mama and her calf on Saturday.  If you follow me on Instagram you can view all my daily Instastories where I post snippets of videos and pictures of my day (on your phone it's the circles at the top, or you can click on my profile & then click my round photo of me). I had videos there and one on Instagram itself of the dolphins. I'm pretty good about posting every day in case you want to ever know what I'm up to LOL.

COA sits on Bowens Island and is home to the Bowens Island Restaurant. I love this place because it reminds me of all the crab shacks I grew up with on the Chesapeake Bay. The building itself is nothing pretty to look at, but it has the freshest seafood and views for miles. It's very casual and laid back, so a shorts & flip-flops kinda atmosphere...everyone is friendly and it feels like you are surrounded by old friends when you are there.  If you love roasted oysters (like me) or fresh seafood, this is definitely the place for you.

Riley wanted to have his birthday dinner at Taco Boy down on Folly is one of our favorite places to go. I am embarrassed to say how many times we've been lol! There is another one on the outskirts of downtown Charleston too that has a larger outdoor patio. They have amazing tacos and their queso is to die for. My favorite tacos are the Grilled Mahi Mahi, Tempura Avocado, and Kimchi Beef. So many original tacos on the menu to try. Riley's favorite is the fried chicken taco and James loves the Americano and Carne Asade tacos. Their quesadillas and pineapple margaritas are pretty darn good too. They have great outdoor areas to sit outside when the weather is beautiful.

Then we capped off the birthday boy's night with a showing of the Lego Batman Movie because that was what Riley wanted to do.  If you've seen the first Lego Movie then you know what to expect. It was pretty funny with a lot of older movie references in it...we all enjoyed it. We have a fantastic theater on James Island that was recently renovated and tickets before 5:30 pm are only $4, $7.50 after 5:30. All four of us can see a movie for almost the price of one ticket in Virginia.
The Terrace Theater is more of a retro-style themed theater with only a handful of screens also on James Island. They show a lot of independent, smaller movies along with the popular ones too. They also have gourmet concessions along with wine and beer. Parking is very tricky there though, that is the one downside. 
If you like to order food from a menu and have it served to you, Cinebarre Theater in Mt. Pleasant is the place for you. We went there to see Batman Lego and the food choices and shakes are pretty plentiful. Very similar to an Alamo Theater if you've been to one of those.
(Speaking of movies, if you haven't seen Hidden Figures I highly recommend it. James & I saw it and it was excellent)

I'm planning on doing a post on James Island and Folly Beach soon with all kinds of tips and recommendations. I'm biased probably because I live here, but Folly Beach is my favorite beach area here in all of Charleston. It's more laid back, artsy and fun!  Eventually I will have a tab where you can find all my Charleston recommendations easily in case you ever want to visit the area.

So all in all it was a fun weekend, and always good to spend time together as a family. I won't see the kids or James for 2 weeks when we leave for our Spring Break trip. I cannot wait for that!



  1. Hi suzanne, so happy to hear you all had a fantastic birthday weekend for Riley, he sure is growing into a fine young man, you must be so proud. I love seeing all your fabulous pix, all making me really want to visit this part of the world, I love the ocean and beaches myself and can totally relate to your new life in such an amazing place, I'm so happy for you. Do you ever get to Vegas these days ? Just wondering as I'm going to be there to see my family April/may time, can't wait. I often think of the time we met up there and that lady who came over to talk to us ;0). Take care my beautiful friend.
    Wynneth x

    1. Thank you so much Wynneth! I haven't been back to Vegas in awhile, I went like 6 years in a row around my birthday month of May and then I haven't been again lol. Alexa has expressed interest in going, so we might do a fun weekend trip out there this year. That was a fun lunch & I'm so happy we had the chance to meet. I'm hopeful to come to your side of the pond in the next couple of years. Hugs!

  2. TFS the wonderful photos, and congrats to Riley! I'm glad to see he's finally smiling - wasn't he the one who was camera shy not so long ago? I love hearing about the wonderful time you're having in your new home and surroundings. Thanks for sharing your family and your life with us :) Happy Valentine's Day to all of you!

    1. Thank you! Yes, he hated smiling for the camera for quite awhile, thankfully he doesn't mind anymore. Hope you had a lovely Valentine's Day!

  3. I'm lioving reading your blog and keeping up with the Dean family , so happy you are doing this ,

    Carolyn Dunn

    1. Thank you Carolyn, glad you are here following along with our crazy LOL!! Hugs!

  4. What a fun birthday weekend. And how proud you must be of a boy/man who has his priorities right while at college!

    1. We did have a great time! And I'm so proud of him even though I know it's been hard. Hugs!

  5. I loved the post, pictures and update on Riley!!!


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