Friday, September 30, 2011

Waverly Trip

Saturday we decided to go on an adventure. I've been looking around online for interesting things for us to do around here and found a little bit of information abour a historical sight I was really interested in. We loaded up into the car and headed out for West Point, Mississippi. West Point is a small town about half and hour's drive north of us. It's where we go to church on Sunday. About ten miles outside of West Point is the Tennessee/Tom Bigbee waterway. It's a huge river that is a major shipping line. It connects a large area of Eastern Mississippi and the surrounding states with the Mississippi river. I know it doesn't look amazingly huge in this picture, but I'm pretty sure that what looks like the other shore is actually an island in the middle of the river. By the time we got that far, Erik was hungry, so we found a little picnic area on the river banks and I sat in some shade to feed him while Ethan went exploring and picture taking.

When Erik was finally full, we backtracked a short ways back up the road we were on to get to our main objective for the day, which was the Waverly Plantation Mansion. Waverly was built in 1852 by the Young family. In its hayday it sat on 50,000 acres of rich river bottom land and was one of the biggest plantations in the south. It had its own cotton gin, brick kiln, lumber mill, leather tannery, and hat manufacturing operation. It is thought to be the first place in America where saddle blankets were commercially manufactured. It was home to the Youngs, with their 10 children, as well as hundreds of slaves, sharecroppers, and tenant farmers. Around 1913 it was left vacant by the family, who couldn't agree what to do with the house after the last of the 10 children passed away. It sat there empty and unused until the 60's, when a family of antique dealers heard a story of a beautiful old house sitting abandoned in the woods and they went and foud it and bought it. They'be been living in it and restoring it over the last 50 years and have done a beautiful job. While they were unable to get any of the original furnishings, they've filled it with period pieces from their family antique collection, using photos of the house's original decorations and furnishing to get it as close as possible to the original set up.

This was Erik's first time in the baby pack, and I think he really liked it. We're standing just inside the front gate getting ready to head up the walkway to the house.

Taking pictures of the inside of the house is technically against the rules, so I can't show you the true magnificence of the house. It was INCREDIBLE! You walk in the front entry hall and it's open all the way to the cupola above the third floor. There are huge gold plated mirrors(some of the few pieces in the house when the new owners moved in) that hang on either side making it all seem even bigger than it is. The first two floors each have four rooms on them, one room in each corner of the house. On the ground floor you have the sitting room, parlor, dining room, and master bedroom. On the second floor are four bedrooms.

Erik was a huge hit with the woman giving us our tour (she's the daughter of the couple who bought the house and has lived in it since childhood), and she gave us permission to take his picture on the bed in the master bedroom. Aparently this is a traditional place for every baby in their family to have their pictures taken.

The bedspread on the bed was exquisite and is just a small example of the quality of the furnishings and decorations in the house. It was handknitted, and the woman who made it started it as a teenager and finished it as a great granmother. Erik wasn't too happy about being woken up and taken out of his carrier for the pictures.

After we'd seen all the rooms on the first floor, the tour guide sent us up to the second floor on our own. As we were heading up the stairs, she said we could take pictures from the balcony. She didn't specify whether the camera had to be looking outside or not, so we did both.:) This is looking down into the grand entry hall, towards the back door. The light fixture is original to the house. All the original light fixtures are still there. In fact, despite having been abandoned for so long, the house was in great shape. Three huge gold plated mirrors still hung on the walls unbroken. Almost all of the glass was intact; the outside windows, and the glass in several display cases and china cabinets that were built into the different rooms. All the doors were still there with their original knobs. Every room had its own fireplace, complete with the original italian marble mantles. All the hand carved spindles on the stair and balcony rails were still there.

Here's looking up past the third floor into the cupola.

The doors on either side go into the four bedrooms. Every room in the house has a walk in closet so big the current owners were able to turn some of them into full modern bathrooms. Every room also has a door out onto a balcony or porch.

This is the view off the balcony back toward the main gate. Visitors aren't allowed past the second floor, so that's all the pictures we got of the house. After touring the house we wandered the gardens for a while. They were sure pretty!

We thought the pond was pretty. The murky green water was a surprisingly good reflector and it made for some pretty pictures.

While Ethan was taking pictures of the pond, I was looking around at the plants and happened to notice what turned out to be Ethan's favorite part of the day.

Ethan loves frogs and would love to have one as a pet, but they're not allowed in our apartment. Otherwise I think this little guy would have found himself living in a new home.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Our New Apartment

When we were looking for apartments here in MS, we had to do it all over the internet and phone, instead of coming here in advance to look in person. It was really hard to make a decision and sign a contract on something we'd never seen. After comparing locations and prices we finally decided to go with the cheapest thing we found. It's a little ways out of the main part of town and about two miles from the University, but we couldn't find anything ele that could beat the price. Natrually we were more than a little nervous about choosing the cheapest thing we could find, but decided that we'd just make do until our year contract was up and then find something better if we needed to. We've been pleasantly surprised with the quality of these apartments. Everything was clean and in good condition when we got here and the management has been quick to fix the few small problems we've had. For the same price as our little one bedroom basement apartment in Rexburg, we have a great two bedroom ground floor apartment here in Starkville. Our only complaint is the distance Ethan has to bike to school every day.

Here's a virtual tour of our new place.

You walk in the front door and enter the living/dining room. Here's the view from the front door towards the dining area.
From the kitchen towards the living room side of the main room.

This is from the couch looking towards the kitchen and the hallway. The front door is on the far right. Continuing on towards the left we have the kitchen doorway, the hall doorway, and a small closet that has become my pantry.

Just off the living room is the kitchen. Not the smallest kitchen I've had since we got married, but pretty darn close. I don't feel like complaining though, because for the first time ever(in our marriage) I have a dishwasher!

Down the hall you come first to the bathroom...

...and then you get to the bedrooms. The master bedroom is great. I absoloutly love the huge closet!Here's the view from the door...

...from the widow...

...and into the closet.

At the end of the hall is Erik's room, although he's still sleeping in our room until he starts sleeping through the night regularly(which won't be too much longer, YAY!). Here's the view looking into his room from the hallway.

This is standing in the doorway looking in. I love the little decorations Kett gave me to go along with her blanket!

Erik even has a good sized closet that has become my place to stash all my stuff that I want out of sight but easily accesible.

So that's our apartment. It you want a closer look we'd love to have visitors! :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Erik Scott Mower

So far I have only met one of the two goals of my blog; I have yet to post baby pictues for the grandmas. So any of you that are sick of baby pictures can skip this post, otherwise, here you go. Many of these have already been posted on facebook at one point or another, but I tried to put in a few new ones.

Erik was born at 7:29 pm on Thursday, July 21st. He weighed in at 6 pounds 13 ounces and was 19 inches long. I was blessed with a pretty short labor and delivery and things went very smoothly.
The next morning Aunt Kate showed up with her camera and spent the day hangin out and taking pictures of Erik. She got some really fun stuff!

After enjoying letting someone else worry about cooking and laundry and the crying baby in the middle of the night for as long as they'd let me, Erik and I finally went honme Saturday afternoon and the real adventure began.
Despite the loss of sleep, the extra laundry, the poopy diapers, and all the other worry and work involved, we sure love this whole parenting thing.

Here's a sampling of our life with Erik.

This was one of my favorite baby shower presents. Jodi Flukinger gave me this adorable crochet owl hat that was just way too much fun!

The first comment we hear when someone sees Erik for the first time is, "That's a lot of hair!" In the hospital, whenever I'd send him to the nursery, he'd come back with a different hair style. I can just picture the nurses in there at three in the morning with nothing to do for a few minutes, playing with his hair. What makes it extra fun is that when it's dry it's completely straight, but when you wet it down it becomes super curly.

Erik's favorite activity since the day he was born is sleeping, although lately falling asleep is something he fights pretty hard. Whether it's snuggling with Daddy...

... trying to burp after eating...

...or just hanging out on the floor...

...sleeping is definitely the way her prefers to spend his time.

I've really loved watching Ethan become a daddy. He gets home from school every day and can hardly wait to see Erik. They are so cute together!

Most of the time people say Erik looks just like his dad and the Mower side of the family, but once in a while I think he looks completely Richins.

Erik had a really hard time with the whole nursing thing for the first few weeks of life so he was pretty tiny. Once he got it figures out though, he's done everything in his power to make up for lost time. Here are a few pictures to compare the chunk he is now with the tiny little thing he used to be.

We sure are enjoying this little guy!