>Fun places, sweet faces, amazing spaces…


Okay, I’m really having to stretch my mind to come up with titles that include the word “space” so I can tie all my NC 2010 trip blogs together! This is going to be a fast paced blog, peppered with pictures showing some of our fun times in NC. In order to see more pictures you can go to our Shutterfly page, but it’ll be a while before I get them all edited and uploaded.

6 October: Ramstein waiting to get out. (I wrote about that here and here.)

7 October: Walking around Charleston Air Base waiting on Nana and Papa; our first taste of Chick-fil-a… YUM!! (I wrote about that here.)

8 October: Driving to NC; Campfire time with the family, one of my favorite pastimes!

9 October: Day with the Ramsey family. They were kind enough to come to us and we started the day at Concord Mills, lunch at Chick-fil-a, running around at a park, and ending up at Outback!!

10 October: Virginia Creeper Trail… This was so much fun! The boys were had a blast riding 17 miles down the mountain and Parker enjoyed his time in the bike trailer behind Matt’s bike.

We also enjoyed getting to spend the day with my brother’s son, Mason! HE’S SO CUTE!!
11 October: Rest day. This day was spent at Nana’s house, doing nothing much. (I wrote about that here.) I promised Parker he wouldn’t have to get in his carseat and I believe he was grateful. This day we celebrated Granny’s birthday with a spaghetti dinner and the boys sang “Zum Geburtstag” to her.

12 October: This was the day we had originally planned to go to the Great Wolf Lodge. We decided against it because we were just having enough fun at Nana’s house! We, instead, went to Chuck E Cheese’s and got to see Granny and Grandaddy one last time. I really wish we had had much more time to just sit and chat with people. Catching up with people is hard when you’re on such a short visit.
That eveningwe had a photographer come to Nana’s house and they took pictures of the family: My mom and dad, their kids and grandkids. I still haven’t seen the results and I really look forward to that!
13 October: Today was Parker’s 7 month birthday so I took his ‘recliner pics’ in mom’s office recliner. It was the closest chair in her house to what I use at home.
We headed to Matt’s mom’s work and surprised her! We waited in one of the exam rooms and her co-workers had her come in to check on a “patient.” My camera was on a strange setting and I got horrible pictures. I didn’t realize this until after the fun was over, so I’ll just do my best with what I got. That night we had dinner with Grammy, Brad and Erin. After dinner we spent some time at Grammy’s house as she lavished the boys with gifts. Parker came home with some really cute clothes!

14 October: Sybil’s dad, PawPaw, was in the hospital during our visit so we went to see him. He really enjoyed meeting Parker and seeing the boys again.
After that great visit Grammy took us all to the House of Mouse (Chuck E Cheese’s) where we got to enjoy the “Pizza Dough” song… again. That night we had Panera for dinner. We were making sure to hit our favorites while we could.
15 October: If you have a chance to go see the Billy Graham Library, take it. Expect to spend about 2 hours if you want to see everything. Absolutely beautiful place, peaceful and such a great tribute to an amazing man of God.

That evening Matt and Sybil headed to the dress rehearsal for Brad’s wedding while I stayed at the hotel a bit longer. I met my parents at the restaurant and gave them the three big boys as they were going to keep themovernight. This gave me the opportunity to enjoythe rehearsal dinner as well as the wedding with out kids, (as they also met me and got Parker from mejust before the wedding).

16 October: Without the big kids Matt and I enjoyed seeing Belmont and ate lunch with one of my friends from college, Kristin. This was the BIG DAY! Matt’s little brother’s wedding day! The reason we were in the US to begin with! I had so much fun taking pictures! The wedding was beautiful and we’ve never seen Brad happier.

After the wedding Matt and I headed to the hotel, where Nana and Papa had landed with all 4 boys. This was a sad moment as it was the last time we would see them on this trip.

17 October: We got to see Grammy one last time, before heading to Boiling Springs. We got some good pictures of her with the boys. It’s never easy saying good-bye! Fortunately, we were looking forward to seeing our friends in Forest City so that eased the sadness a bit. And, we hope Grammy will come to visit us in Germany.

Our first stop in NC was at Mitzi’s house. She and Mitchell fed our family a feast of feasts, including fried okra, which I miss dearly. They say it’s not hard to make but I’ve never mastered it! I ate seconds and wish I had had room to carry the rest home with me. Parker had his first tastes of mac and cheese, potatoes, and green beans. He LOVED it.

The boys went out with Megan (who was a BABY when we moved to FC!!!) to ride 4-wheelers. She taught Hayden how to ride the 4-wheeler that requires him to change gears! Awesome!

The next stop was at Cathy’s house. It was just what I had hoped it would be: tons of talking for the adults, lots of playing for the boys. While we missed seeing several families we would have loved to see, we understand that it’s just impossible on such a short visit.

This image was taken by Heather Ensley… I am so glad she grabbed my camera and snapped a few sunset shots off Cathy’s back porch. NC really is beautiful!

The day concluded by a time around the campfire, during which I lost Parker’s paci. We spent a good bit of time looking for it by light of the 4-wheeler, never to find it. Well, we did the next day by the light of the SUN!

Our hotel room in Belmont was very small, in an effort to save money. We had 4 nights in this one and we were ready for more space so when we got to Boiling Springs for two nights we upgraded to a two-room suite. We had a huge whirlpool tub and the boys LOVED that.

Parker had been sleeping in the metal crib and hating it.
He ended up in the bed with us a lot, something I really don’t like. It makes me nervous and I keep checking to see that he’s breathing. The hotel in Boiling Springs had a real pack-n-play and he LOVED it. Slept like a log!

18 October: This was a doozy of a day! We toured GWU and reminisced… it seems like yesterday that we were in college.
They did NOT have a Chick-fil-a on campus back then!

We enjoyed lunch at Fuji Yama before hitting Wally-world, the Christian Bookstore and FCBC . This is the Veteran Memorial at FCBC put together by Alex Hutchins for his Eagle Scout project. It looks awesome!

After shopping we got to see the Martin and Murray families, meeting Eli Martin (I forgot my camera so I borrowed this picture of Eli from Pammy’s FB) and…
Keeliana Murray for the first time.

Next stop, the Franklins so Marie could babysit the big three while Matt and I got to go on a double-date with Anna and David.

We always look forward to these dates and try to fit them in every visit. They had a great new place for BBQ. If you live in NC/SC you should try Daddy Joes BBQ in Gaffney… YUM! We had the “chopped pork with rib sauce” plate. So good! Of course, no date is complete without dessert at Outback.

Yes,we had the Chocolate Thunder from Down Under!! And this was the last thing I could taste on the trip, as I woke up the next morning with a cold…

19 October: We slept pretty late and asked for an extended check out so we could enjoy the pool. Parker had his first experience in a pool and LOVED it. It didn’t hurt that the pool was quite warm and he loves water anyway. He was super cute in his bathing suit!!

Since Hayden couldn’t enjoy the pool he “swam” in the whirlpool. We ate lunch at Bojangles before starting our trek to Charleston. On the way I called and found out that there were two flights scheduled for the next day for Ramstein. Our prayers started at that point, that we would get on the first flight. We signed in to our hotel (a 4 bedroom duplex) and started washing clothes. Matt vacuumed the van out and once the boys were in bed we repacked everything, finding out that we only had to ship one box home. Not bad! We crashed at bedtime, exhausted, and I was feeling rough with my cold.

20 October: Roll call times: 14:10 and 15:10. That means that they were going to start calling names accepted for the flight at 2:10. We were great on time, having decided to get to the airport at 11:30 for check in. We pulled into the terminal at 11:35. We checked in and Matt left to take the van back to Triangle. He was fairly certain he’d be back by 12:30 as the car rental place was only 15 minutes away. At 1:00 I had still not heard from him and they had decided to start roll call an hour early. I worked hard at keeping panic at bay, faking a smile and calm voice with the boys. He had the prepaid phone AND the Nextel with him so I didn’t have an easy way to contact him. That’s when I remembered I had stuck a calling card in my pocket. I used the guest phone to call him (after having to search my Facebook messages to find the number to the prepaid phone). He had still not been PICKED UP by the cab! I was close to panic but had to fake it, still! They started Roll call and when they got to our name I had to walk up there and say, “I think we’re going to try for the next flight.” Praise God for the second fight! Oh, I was so worried! He walked in the door 5 minutes later. I went back to the desk and told them that we would try for this one afterall, and they said that when they had gone through all the CAT III’s they would go back down that list. This time, we were ready and we made the first flight! As it turned out, there were 48 seats on each flight, and only about 60 total people needing to get to Germany. The first flight filled up and those who didn’t fit got on the second. I wonder if being on that second one would have been better, more room to spread out. But it wasn’t worth thinking about. We were glad to be scheduled and checked in. Our flight was delayed two different times by an hour each time. It didn’t phase us, as we were there and going home. We pulled out games and entertained the kids as best we could. When we boarded we were happy to be sitting together for this flight. (On the flight to NC we were separated by a couple… they really should have moved down two seats so we could sit together.)

After 3 hours the plane landed in Maine to refuel before making the trip across the pond. This leg was just over 7 hours and everyone slept fairly well. Parker was up at midnight ready for fun, so I had to entertain him a bit. My cold kept me from sleeping very well, but I was headed home, so that was great! We landed and got to see the rear of the plane open up and them remove our luggage. (That small pile behind the connex was the luggage strapped together.)

As we got off the plane we noticed an amazing difference in temperature from when we boarded! We loved it! Lunch for breakfast at the PX, mail from WAAF, then home, sweet home. In the past two weeks we had slept over the ocean going both directions, in SC, and in three different places in NC. It was worth all the work and effort, seeing all the people we got to see.

Fun places, sweet faces, amazing spaces.

About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
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