This past week brought so much joy to Justin and I as we made the trek to NC for Christmas. We weren’t sure at first how things were going to play out with where and when we would be places but it seemed to turn out almost perfect.
We had a rough start to our trip on Friday (19th). It was sleeting, snowing, thundering, lightning, and even hailing on our way out of South Bend. Then came the fog and rain until we reached Kentucky. Java peeked her head inbetween us from time to time going down the road. It was mostly a quiet trip as we anticipated seeing family and friends. We left our boys (Apache and Pixel) at home under the watchful eye of Ed (our lifesaver).
We pulled into Justin’s parents’ driveway around 9:30pm. Saturday we hung out with Stacey going to a few shops and eating lunch. Then we were able to go to Spartanburg with the Sunday School gang to eat at a really nice restaurant. It was so good.
Sunday we got up and drove to Shelby to attend the service at Crestview. I felt like it was our wedding all over again. We were welcomed by so many and there was almost a receiving line before the service began. It was like coming home. Boy have I missed those friends. Justin was able to do something while there that he hasn’t done in quite a long time…he was able to sit in a pew with me during the service (instead of running the sound and music). From there we went with our “Sunday night family” as we call them, to Golden Corral for a feast. We rode around for awhile and then ended up at Heather’s house. She was gracious enough to let us come in to see the work she has done on the house (our former house). It looked so good. The new carpet itself made it look brand new. She did a great job. Roy and Bernie had left earlier that morning for Florida so we didn’t get to see them like we had planned :(. We even got to see Natalie Nevins at the mall for a little while. We’ve really missed that girl too! That night was the Christmas Choir special and my parents drove over to see it with us. It was so good to see them and worship with them again. Then we drove back to Polk County.
Monday brought another trip to Shelby to see our former coworkers and friends. I surprised Cary at lunch with the ol’ gang. It was so nice. I got to see just about everyone. It was different to be in the bookstore and not be working there. They’ve done such a good job at fixing up the place. Justin met with Brandon for lunch and then back to ESI for a visit before picking me back up. We then went to David and Debra’s to see them and their new puppy. I was glad to have some sit down time with them since we weren’t able to see them when the gang came up last month to visit. Then it was back to Polk County.
We got to play with Tailynn a lot while there. She is so precious. I’m so glad we got to hang out with Tera too. She is so cool and easy going. Tuesday was Stacey’s 23rd birthday. We relaxed a bit and then she went out with friends for dinner and we went with David and Lorraine to Hendersonville and then to Outback for dinner. Then we came back and hung out and played games for Stacey’s birthday. It was so fun. It wasn’t even too bad for this old lady to stay up so late. Java had a blast seeing everyone and getting all the attention.
Christmas eve we went up to Justin’s Pa Paw’s to visit and then on to see Chad and Faith and Maitlynn. Then we left again to go to Shelby for Crestview’s Christmas Eve service at 11pm. It was so beautiful. Justin found out last minute that he was to give the Commissioning prayer for the Moscow team leaving the next morning (at the end of the service). He must have been so flustered that when he finished and came back to his seat he went to the pew in front of where we were sitting. Heather was good though and went with the flow and sat with me for the remainder of the service. We were able to give out last hugs and say Merry Christmas before we headed back again to Polk County for bed. I’ll admit…I let out quite a few tears. Sometimes I get so frustrated with myself because I can’t always tell people what I really want to tell them because tears slip out so I just stick with simple words and try not to cry. I truly miss everyone there but I feel blessed to know them and have had the time I did with them. I know they will be lifetime friends.
We went to bed knowing we only had a few short hours of sleep before present time. I think it was 2am or later when we hit the bed. Then at 7:15 ish the parents had to wake the “kids” up haha. We had a great time opening presents. Then we were able to go to the Bailey Christmas party at 12 for about an hour and then it was time to shoot up the road to Brevard to begin our visit with my parents and sisters.
We were able to visit the homes that Kelly works at. It was so good to see them and bring Christmas cheer their way. They all love her so much and so do we. She has a special gift she shares with these people/friends everyday while at work and many times when she isn’t even on the clock.
Walker and Erin were able to come and arrived a few hours after us, in time for dinner. Walker offered the blessing (precious). Walker opened his presents before that of course and after dinner Justin and Walker sat for hours playing with the new Geotracks sets he got. It was too cute. I think they both equally had a good time. I could see the wheels churning in Justin’s mind trying to create the best set up for the tracks.
At one of the meals, Walker was so ready to eat and not everyone was at the table he started singing the blessing and everyone giggled and ran to the table haha. At another meal he said the “God is great..God is good” blessing and halfway through it he said “KK’s eyes are open” and then without skipping a beat kept going with the blessing (KK was watching how cute he was saying the blessing and she got busted haha). Justin asked Walker when he was finished with the blessing, “Walker how did you know KK had her eyes open?” and he said “Because I saw her” and Justin said, “Then that would mean you had your eyes open too right?” and I whispered into Walker’s ear, “Tell him you could feeeel it” and in the cutest voice he said, “I could feeeel it”. Adorable!
The next day we all went on a walk and I got to give Walker a piggy back ride. Somehow it happened to be the point in the walk with the steepest incline haha. I just can’t get over how big he is getting and how smart he is. We went back to Kelly’s homes with Walker and he was a hit. He told them each to have a Happy New Year and showed them the new horses he got from Santa. Later we played RockBand2 on the Xbox we brought with us. Erin sang and played guitar, Justin played guitar and Walker went back and forth between guitar and singing. We thought we were clever for unplugging the guitar and then also the microphone but Walker discovered his mic was not plugged in halfway through the song. I had to plug it into a controller without batteries haha. We did it again on Saturday morning before Erin and Walker had to leave and got it on tape. I even sang a little too…if you can call it that.
Justin was given the job of giving Walker a haircut. That was too precious. Poor kid didn’t like it too much in the end but it was still cool that Uncle Justin gave him a haircut. Then Walker took a bath with his new pirate bath time toys he got from Aunt KK (Kelly).
Saturday was relaxing. Erin and Walker left after lunch 🙁 and later we went and got Kelly’s dog Max and introduced him to Java while out on a walk. They did great on the walk together but were a little uneasy inside. Eventually they were both so tired they left each other alone haha.
Sunday we woke up early and hit the road for the long journey back home around 8am. While Ed was checking on the cats he found at one point our pipes were frozen so we had no water. Then later he told Justin that our pipes busted in the garage so he had to turn the pump off. We weren’t sure exactly what we were in for when we got home but thanks to Ed and Laura it wasn’t so bad. It could have been way worse had they not found it.
Once we got in town around 6:30 or so, Justin quickly assessed the situation. Our sediment filter had busted along with another pipe near the pressure tank. He zoomed to Lowes before it closed at 7 and got all that he thought he needed. It turned out our filter didn’t have a bypass mode so he and Ed went scrounging to find parts (thank you Ed again). Justin thought he had it all taken care of until he took a small swim when the pipe came unglued near one of the elbow joints he put in. We ended up having to wait until the next day and by noon we had a new filter system and pipes as well as WATER :).
It was a crazy journey but a fun one and even though it sounds hectic, it really was quite evenly paced. We are so thankful and blessed to have seen you all and miss you so much. We hope you all have a very Happy New Year.