e did things a little differently this year. We normally visit NC sometime around Christmas, usually way before or shortly after the holiday. This year we went to be with the Grebs (and the Mitchells) for Christmas. We left Lakeland on the 22nd and headed back on the 25th. Thank God we did because traffic and the weather were ridiculous on the 26th!
The drive up wasn’t too bad. We left super early (430a) and had borrowed car dvd players from a friend. Although we had to stop almost every hour for me to stretch and pee we got to Franklin around 330p or 4p. We stopped at this little park/recreation area for lunch at Tallulah Falls. They had picnic tables for eating our packed lunch and great little walkways for exploring as well as clean restrooms, bonus!
It was cold, but beautiful. After settling in, Trisha (Jason’s oldest sister), her husband Brian, and Maddox, her one-year-old little boy arrived the next morning. I’ve spent minimal amount of time with Trisha and do not know Brian at all, so it was fun to get to know them a little better this trip. Jason, the kids and I took a couple of excursions while there, to get out of the house (give the fam a kid break) and enjoy the freezing weather. :o)
Christmas eve was spent cooking and telling the kids, “no, not yet” about a million times, because we had plans to open gifts that evening. We had quite the hoard after everyone had brought over their gifts!
I had yet to experience a Greb gift exchange, but I found it to be quite reminiscent of what my family used to do when my grandfather was alive. Everyone took turns opening gifts. There was some really good ones that people had been hoping for and some really hilarious ones as well as the unexpected. You could tell that everyone was really happy to be together and we played Catch Phrase (fab game!) and watched Inception on Blu-ray (ooh-ahh, lol) after everyone had opened their gifts. It was…interesting…
We got lots of pics taken by different people throughout the days that we were visiting. What I noticed was a lot of the pictures of me was just me being a mom. Listening to Noah, or him being silly with me while I played with Nora’s hair. Shots that aren’t posed and yet speak volumes. There has been a shift in perspective. I’m about to give birth (lots of good mommy hormones being produced) and I’m done with school. I am able to focus on Mommy things like the kids and the house. I feel much more quiet and gentle (except when I’m screaming at the kids when needed :oD). There has never been a time where I felt that I could settle into taking care of the kids. There was always a big change or transition going along (like moving to PA or just moving period) that prevented me from focusing on the kids. I’m not saying it will be that way forever, but I’m enjoying my time in this season of life.
I can’t say that there isn’t a big transition going on in the background or that having baby won’t be a big change to Jason and my relationship, but I feel confident that it will be a smooth transition. Especially after seeing the kids and Jason with Maddox. Noah was gentle with him and Nora was bossy and all up in his face! Jason was a bit mesmerized, but hopefully we’ll both be too in love with the new baby to be offended.
Our trip home was difficult for me physically, but the morning we left it snowed in Franklin! We got to play in it for a little while before packing up to leave. Snow is so very magical (and dirty and disgusting, but whatever) and for us Floridians, such a wonderment to be enjoyed. We threw snowballs at each other and missed (Man! It’s hard to hit peeps with snowballs!) a lot. The kids made snow angels and I haven’t seen Jason that happy and carefree in a long time. It was a beautiful Christmas gift. :o) We set out at a slow pace as the snow kept getting heavier and heavier, slipping only once on our way out of town. It rained the whole way home and we got in at 11pm. It was late, but we made it. Thank goodness for dvds!
We really enjoyed spending time with everyone and it’s crazy to think that the next time we see them we will have added a family member! How fun will that ten hour trip be? :o)