It's been 2 weeks since I last posted. I had all intentions of maintaining an appearance when we left for vacation because I guess that's what good bloggers do? I internally chuckle at myself as I type this because I surely am not a blogger but rather someone who simply loves to write when inspired. I'm trying this new thing with living for the present so when it was bedtime last Monday night and it dawned on me that I failed to post, I thought to myself, oh well, it's late, I'm on vacation and it can wait until next Monday.
We had a great vacation. We left around 5 a.m. two Fridays ago and drove what ended up being about 14 hours to my dad's house in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (it was supposed to be 12 but when you travel with 2 kids, ages 3 and under, you just roll with it and accept that you'll get there when you get there). It was the weekend before my dad's 60th birthday and he had no clue we were coming so it was fun surprising him. We spent two nights there and then continued our trip down to my family's place in Moulton, Alabama. As I'm sure I've mentioned in previous posts, crossing out of Staten Island and onto the mainland always gives me a sense of release--from stress, busyness and the rat race that I often feel I fall into living here in this fast pace culture--and even more so, pulling up to my great aunt and uncle's place in north Alabama gives me a sense of home. Being in the wide open country, getting my kids out of their carseats and allowing them to just roam is a good feeling.
Rob and I spent the majority of the week helping my great Uncle Bill and Aunt Mildred in the fields of their produce farm. It was still our summer vacation so we made time to relax and do things with the kids as well; Rob had acquired an old .22 and refinished it for Bo so he had his first real lesson in weapon safety and shot his first gun. We celebrated the 4th of July at our family's cabin with many members of my extended family on my mom's side, which was the first one I had been at in 8 years (the last one I attended was also the last time I saw my cousin, Callie, alive). My kids saw an up-close firework show for the first time (it was definitely CC's first and it was Bo's first that I know of), poor CC was exhausted and fell asleep toward the end but Bo was in his glory. Every year everyone sets out chairs on the lawn of the cabin while my cousin's husband puts on a firework show fit for an official municipal event. It doesn't matter that this year it was muggy as the day was long and the mosquitos were out in droves. Everyone ooed and awed at the colors and lights that sprinkled the southern night sky.
While we were away we also celebrated Rob's 36th birthday. My mom had come from South Carolina to stay a few days and see the family so thankfully she watched the kids so Rob and I could go out for his birthday. We went to a restaurant called Cotton Row in Huntsville. Y'all! If you are ever in that neck of the woods, you MUST try it out! The ambiance was beautiful, the service was on point and the food was slap-yo-mama good. We enjoyed our dinner, then walked around the downtown area, and ended the evening by stopping in at Cabela's (or as Rob referred to it, "Disney Land") and Rite Aid because you can't go on vacation without at least one of your kids getting the sickies. I think all-in-all he rang in his new age successfully.
We got back late yesterday afternoon and thankfully, we pretty much have a routine down pat when it comes to going away for an extended period of time, which means returning wasn't complete chaos. It was just a matter of putting everything away. However, just as many others can probably attest to, I feel like I need a vacation to recoup from our vacation. Aside from restocking our groceries and running errands, I have a laundry list of projects and orders that need to be tended to and completed. When I think about what all needs to be done and their deadlines, I get a little panicky but as my mama always says, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!"
I miss the south and everything that comes with it (except for the reality of poisonous snakes and spiders of course) but I'm ready to get back into my routine and get work done. It's always bittersweet leaving what feels like home to me but I know God has a plan and for once in my 32 years, I'm content with where I am, wherever that may be on the map. I'm ok with whatever He decides because I know that I'm in His perfect plan and in His perfect peace.