This series of posts is mainly for my own documentation and for family or friends who are curious to keep up with what we’ve been doing. Just to make my trip post a little more bearable and cut the read time in half, I’m going to split it up into two parts. Today you’ll see part one, and tomorrow I’ll publish part two. 🙂
If you follow my blog, you’ll recognize some of the names and faces I mention, but I want to start off by introducing our newest family member, Widget! He’s a miniature pinscher/dachshund mix (DoxiePin), and we got him almost four weeks ago. He went with us on our trip down to Alabama.
A couple of weeks ago, I got back from a mini-vacation over Memorial Day weekend and the following week. John Mark and I (plus our fish – more about my traveling fish here – and Widget) went back home to Alabama where we visited both of our families. We left on a Thursday, after John Mark got off of work (he took off Friday), and got in late that night. Because I knew we would have so much to load into the car the day of travel, I did most of my before-travel preparation in the days leading up to it. I also had a friend coming to visit and meet Widget Thursday while John Mark was at work, so I knew I would need to have the house cleaned up and everything packed before Thursday. That day, while my friend Holly was here, I just did some laundry and made sure I gave Widget a bath so he would be clean for the 6.5 hour car ride to Alabama.
Holly met Widget, and we had some catching-up time, and then when John Mark got home, I made supper to eat in the car, we loaded all of our luggage, and then we headed out for Alabama.
We always split up our trips home half-and-half because our families only live 15 minutes apart from each other. So, our first stop was to stay with his parents. We got in late that night, so we only spent a few minutes visiting, his parents meeting Widget, and then we all went to bed so we would be ready for a busy day on Friday. Friday morning we all got up and went out to see John Mark’s maternal grandparents. We met their new dog and they met ours, then enjoyed spending some time with them before we went back to the house to hang out, eat lunch, and get ready for dinner that night.
For dinner we met up with some more of his family at Piccadilly, a cafeteria-style restaurant. We got to see his brother & sister-in-law, aunt & uncle, maternal grandparents, and parents. We recently found out that we’re going to be aunt & uncle, Lord willing, so we got to hear all about the new baby and what the rest of the family has been up to since Christmas. After a delicious meal and good company, we went back to the house where John Mark’s paternal grandmother, aunt, cousin, and brother & sister-in-law met us to spend some time before it got too late.
We had dessert and coffee, and everyone enjoyed playing with Widget (somehow he kept becoming the center of attention). Even in the short period of time we had, it was wonderful to catch up with both sides of the family since we don’t get to visit often now that we live in Arkansas.
Friday night, we got together a spur-of-the-moment visit with our friends from Prattville, who we hadn’t seen since we moved. So, the next day, Saturday, they drove the 2.5 hours to North Alabama to spend a few hours with us before they had to go back home. It was a short but much needed visit with them. We all (John Mark’s parents, Rhett, Bess, & Truman, and us) spent time talking and laughing (and some crying) before we went to lunch at Big Bob Gibson’s, a delicious barbecue place that John Mark grew up going to. After lunch, we packed up, said goodbye to his parents, and we all drove to my parents’ house so Rhett, Bess, & Truman could see them for a minute or two. Then we had to say our goodbyes to them so they could get on the road to home.
(I wish I had thought to take more pictures of this portion of our trip, but with such a crunched schedule, I just didn’t remember to.)
This began the block of days we would spend with my family. My brother was also home from Auburn, so we got to see him, as well. That night, my parents’ had invited our extended family over for a small cookout of ribs and veggies and dessert (yum!). Both my maternal and paternal aunts & uncles came over, as well as one of my cousins and my maternal grandmother. My friends Leah and Bethany also got to come.
This was an exciting night we got to spend outside. We got to see a lot of my side of the family at one time and just enjoy everyone’s company. Thankfully the weather was beautiful, and we were able to stay out the whole time and visit with each other over a meal.
John Mark, Alexander, Leah, and Bethany started playing a card game once most of the company was gone, and since I didn’t really want to play, my dad and I decided to take a short walk around the neighborhood. We enjoyed spending some much-needed quality time together just catching up while my dad shared some of his wisdom. 🙂 After we got back, I visited with my friends some more, and then told them goodbye before we went to bed.
This is my brother, Alexander, holding Widget as he struggled to get a bite of food off of the table.
On Sunday morning and evening we went to worship services with my family. Then we enjoyed a lazy afternoon with them.
John Mark, Alexander, and I went to get Hawaiian Shaved Ice with a few friends after services that evening before we went to get a bite to eat and go home, which brought back tons of summer memories for me! I used to get shaved ice with the same friend, Tara, every summer after we went swimming in her neighborhood pool.
The church we worshiped with Sunday was the church I grew up in, so I got to see lots of familiar faces, and hug some of my sweet friends who still live in the area. Later that night we spent some more time hanging out and talking with my family, and then went to bed so we could enjoy the next day.
Monday, Memorial Day, we spent all day outside. We didn’t want to drive anywhere, so when we got up that morning, John Mark and Alexander went fishing in a neighboring pond that belongs to family friends, and my mom, dad, Widget, and I sat on the patio with our feet in a kiddie pool (I called it our redneck vacation 😉 ). We sat here for hours because it was so refreshing in the heat. Although we only had the morning and early afternoon before John Mark, Alexander, and I had to go back home, it was such a relaxing day!
Around 4 o’clock on Memorial Day (after a spontaneous milkshake run and visit with my grandmother) John Mark packed up and left to go back to Arkansas. I stayed behind because I planned on riding down to Auburn with my brother to stay a few days before a girls’ beach trip to Destin, Florida. (This was the first time I had been away from John Mark since we got married – it wasn’t the easiest transition, but I kept myself busy enough to be distracted.) We had encouraging and much-needed conversations all the way to Auburn. We shared a car for about three years in college, so it reminded me of all the times we rode back and forth from Auburn to home, and it was a great ride.
When we got there, he took me to some friends’ house where I would stay for the next two nights. I went in and went straight to the room I would be staying in until all of my friends got home, and then we had a short visit before we all decided to go to sleep. My friends had to go to classes and music lessons and band camps and all kinds of things the next few days, so I was by myself most of the time, except lunchtime and after dinner. They let me watch TV shows on Netflix while they were gone, and I spent some time eating lunch with my friend Christian who had made us a super-healthy and super-delicious lunch Tuesday afternoon. That night I went to dinner with my brother at Pieology, a pizza place I had never been to. I got one with gluten-free crust and all kinds of toppings. That was delicious. 🙂 Later I got to see my friend Emily-Anne when she was home, and we talked again until it was time to go to sleep.
Wednesday morning Christian took me to Mama Mocha’s Coffee Emporium and Roasters (somehow I had never been there, even though I spent four years in Auburn!), and we had good coffee with even better conversation. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay long because she had a music lesson to teach. So, she took me back to her house, where I waited until my brother could pick me up for lunch. Alexander and I went to Chipotle around noon and got to spend more quality time together before he took me back to the house and went back to work for another few hours.
I spent some more time watching TV/packing/cleaning up some as payment to my friends for letting me stay with them, then my friend Anna picked me up and took me to her house where we had a meal before worship that night. We didn’t get to spend as much time together as we would have liked, but it was wonderful to catch up with her and get ready for worship at her house like old times. (I didn’t live with her, but I spend 50% of my time at her house my Junior year of college and a lot of my Senior year there, too).
I hadn’t gotten to visit Auburn since January, so worshiping with my brothers and sisters there was so encouraging! There were a lot of new faces since it’s a college town, but I did get to hug some college friends and catch up with them while I was there.
// This is it for part 1 of the trip. Part 2 of our Memorial Day Trip & Mini-Vacation is coming tomorrow! 🙂