After visiting with Mama Kim, eating Chick-fil-A, and getting a good night’s sleep, we headed to North Carolina. This post is going to be a FLYBY of our visit. As I prepare these posts I realize I took very few pictures the two weeks we were in the US. I told very few people we were there and I didn’t go far from my parents’ house. This visit was not intended to be a trip to reconnect with all the people we love, and so, for those we didn’t get to see, please know it was really hard NOT to make all the plans and go to all the places.
The first thing we did was pick up the cousins from after school. We got the BEST VIDEO of Parker surprising Mason and Madison but since it shows all the other kids in the classroom and I won’t share it here. Here’s Parker the second he tapped Mason on the shoulder.
We spent hours upon hours just hanging out at Nana and Papa’s house. Mason and Parker resumed their BFFriendship like no time had passed and Madison was an incredible help keeping Anna entertained and playing with things that were supposed to be played with. The two girls made a game out of catching tiny frogs and tossing them into the pond. Only two frogs made it into the house, one of which I found in my bathroom. UPSTAIRS! (Well-known fact: I detest frogs.)
We played fun outside games.
One day I checked my tracker after riding the 4-wheeler and got a kick out of the image.
We played fun in-the-garage games. (See that MG? That was my dad’s car when he was 16! He tracked it down years later and restored it.)
We had the whole family over for FOOD and fun. Anna has a great scowl! (My grandparents were there, too, but had left by the time we got this picture.)
Because it took a few extra days to get to the states than I thought it would, we arrived at my parents’ house and thirty minutes later I turned around and drove straight to the airport to get Aimee and Hannah. My sweet friend and her family have been praying for this miracle baby for many years and I was honored to meet her! What a sacrifice it was for Aimee to fly across the country (in the hopes that I would actually make it from Germany) with a 9-month-old, leaving her other family members in Colorado to fend for themselves for a few days. Our visit was a treasure and there was plenty of coffee consumed.
Aimee was so kind join us on several family outings… we wanted to see one of Mason’s soccer games so she went with us. The coffee shop was on the way so of course, the girls left early for some girl-time. (This is my mom’s favorite coffee shop. They hire autistic adults and consistently make amazing drinks.)
My grandparents are actually quite healthy and yet somehow, both of them managed to be in separate hospitals/rehab centers while I was visiting. We totally bombarded both locations. What you can’t see in this picture is that Josh, Ashley, Mason, Madison, Aimee, and Hannah were also in the room!
On this visit I also got to meet my second cousin, Levi. This was at my grandmother’s rehab facility (nicest one I’ve ever seen!!). LOOK AT HIS EYES! He’s gorgeous!
When our family goes anywhere we take over the place.
Matt’s brother and his sweet family met us for dinner in downtown Charlotte just before a game! They were decked out!
I really should ask Grammy for some pictures of our time at Chuck E. Cheese’s. We had a great time carrying on a tradition that started with the bigs were littles.
The only traveling I did was to Fort Bragg to meet up with my dear Fort Hood friends. These women welcomed Anna home and walked our family through that sacred time in our lives. (I have to admit that during dinner I realized I had several other friends at Bragg I should have seen but in preparation for the visit I had only contacted friends who were all together at Hood and were now at Bragg! I’m still kicking myself for that oversight!)
Our time in North Carolina was a treasure even though there were plenty of people we didn’t get to see. This military life has its perks and I want to make it known that I appreciate those perks. (Hello! I’m writing this during Christmas season in Germany having spent the weekend at a Christmas Market in France.) But those great things don’t take away from the fact that our family misses out on a great deal and spending extended amounts of time with loved ones is top of the list. Just getting to my parents’ home, while technically free, cost me four days of waiting around in an airport with four kids, eating out a lot, flying on a C-17 (cool, but not comfortable), then not having a phone or a rental car when we landed. The “cost” of getting there is nothing compared to not being able to spend quality time with all the people we could see if we just had the time. There is no perfect answer but even in light of all it costs us we know we are where we are supposed to be. Not just in the Army serving as a Chaplain family, but here, in Stuttgart. For now we are exactly where we are supposed to be.
Only one more post in this series. The one that gets us back to daddy and Hayden… back to the place we currently call home.