Saturday, October 29, 2011

Alive and Kicking!

Hello Friends!

We have been on the goGoGO lately, especially on the weekends! Weekends are usually the time I plan out/put together my posts of the week, along with all the housework, errands, and bill paying I have neglected throughout the week. As much as I love the life documenting that comes through blogging... it definitely takes a back seat when life gets busy.

Two weeks ago, I traveled back home for a quick 24 hour trip, for a former co-workers wedding. Jared had already missed the first two games of Football season due to weddings in Nashville, and since UT was playing LSU the weekend of my friend's wedding, I figured this trip would NOT be high on his list of fun things he wanted to do. So one of my brothers and I swapped places - Daniel drove up Friday night and used my ticket to the game, while I drove down to Springhill and used his bedroom for the night.:) It was a beautiful day to travel, but traffic was horrendous!!!

Oh, and quick story about the trip down, before I continue about what we have been up to lately. Jared and I realized we were going to be passing each other on the interstate on his way home, and my way out of town. We hadn't seen a whole lot of each other that week already, so we decided to make a quick stop off and exit for a quick hug Hello, and Kiss Good-bye. Aw, I know - aren't we just tooo cute!  Jared picked Crab Orchard as the perfect meeting spot. Of course, I had no idea where this was (I have only traveled this stretch of I40 my entire life... however I have the inability to know the names of any exits, anywhere!) He told me it was right by the limestone mines off the interstate. Give me land marks, and I am golden!

Me: Oh yeah, I know exactly where that is! Where to do you want to meet? Preferably somewhere with a bathroom.
Jared: Uh, I really don't think you are going to want to use the restroom off of this exit, but let's meet at the BP.
Me: Preggo's can't be chooser's when it comes to restroom facilities... I'll be fine. See you in a few minutes.

I was kind of excited to see this exit. I love seeing new places, even if they are "boring." The gaping mines always played with my imagination as a kid when we would drive by on our way to East Tn to visit family, but we never stopped anywhere near them. Now I know why.

I pulled off the interstate, and headed towards the BP, and was greeted by a quaint sign "Welcome to Crab Orchard." The air was really "grainy" from the limeston mines. As I pulled into the BP, I quickly realized why my husband had discouraged me from using the restroom facilities off this exit. Evidently, this BP was the community "meetin' spot", and people were milling around hanging out carrying on small talk. All eyes turned towards me as I pulled in, somehow quickly realizing I wasn't from those parts. Luckily, Jared had already arrived. The two cars next to us I am pretty darn sure were taking part in child custody swap, and a drug deal. There was a four wheeler next to the front door being loaded up with firewood and two cases of budlight. As I got out of my car, I am pretty sure I heard the banjo's from Deliverance strike up their twangy tune.

Me: Where on earth have you brought me?
Jared: Ha ha, welcome to the Cumberland Platue baby!

We made small talk by our cars for a few minutes, but everyone just kept staring, and I was getting really self conscience/uncomfortable. I decided I needed a snack for the road, so I headed off towards the store while Jared took a business call. As I walked aross the parking lot, a car came bumping into the lot full of bags of garbage. The man and woman inside the car get out, and proceeded to place no less then 5 bags of trash into the trash cans by the gas pumps. um... ok... Another car pulled up, and a young women in holey pajama's and barefeet, got out with her barefoot son. She was no less then 8 months pregnant, and puffing away at a cigarette. The mother and child walked into the store... barefoot.

Once I made my way inside, I quickly realized, if this place did infact have an indoor bathroom, I would not be using it. I grabbed a small bag of Reese's Pieces and a granola bar, and made my way to the cashier... where I saw the barefoot pregnat woman buying more cigarettes!!! I usually have a pretty darn good poker face, however pregnancy has not done great things to my "Justice Complex." I am pretty sure I stared both "Barefoot" and the cashier down during the entire transaction, and there was no denying the thoughts flying through my head. I don't think either of them noticed, or just thought I was the plumb crazy one, being a stranger to "these here parts and all."

As I left the store, another fourwheeler pulls up and the driver is greeted by some of the fellow patrons. Evdiently, he too was, "just picking up some beer and firewood for the weekend, " too. Must be the Crab Orchard thing to do.

When I got back to Jared, the child swap-drug deal combo was still on going.

Me: forget Tennessee, are we still even in America?
Jared: Yeah, these are different parts alright. Last month, they found a naked woman murdered and raped in that plot of land right behind this BP.
Me: and this was the spot you chose to meet your wife and unborn child!?!?!?

The rest of  my drive, while full of horrendous traffic, was much less entertaining. I

It was a fast and furious trip, but I got some serious visiting time in! I stopped by Trevecca's Campus to see

my dad's new office, get a tour of the athletic department, and see a side of campus my very non-tour-guidie brother, Matthew (who played and now coaches basketball at TNU) never showed me. It was the first time I had been back on campus since my brother's graduation, and since my dad became the Athletic Director. It was great seeing what an amazing fit my dad and the job are for each other. He proudly introduced everyone to his oldest daughter, Amy, and his future grandaugher Elliott Faith!:)  We even got to sit in his office, just the two of us, and catch up with each other. All you "oldest kids" out there understand what a rare blessing this is - we rarely get that alone time with our parents.

After my visit with my dad, I proceded south a little bit further, and stopped to see my Nanny and PopPop.

They are my Italian grandparents, and ya'll, they are 87 years old. My PopPop just recently stopped taking philosophy and theology courses at a local Catholic college. They are both avid golfers, and while PopPop doesn't play as much anymore, Nanny still plays 18 hols of golf numerous times a week. And she walks 2-4 miles on her treadmill 3-5 times a week. They are amazing! I can't wait to get some pictures of Ellie Faith with her great grandparents! We had a wonderful visit. There are only two of us cousins/grandkids that have moved away from middle TN, so I think Nan and Pop get especially excited when they get to spend some time with us. Again, coming from a big family, I don't alwys get to spend a lot of alone time with them, so it was a really sweet and cherrished time, just the 3 of us... and Ellie!:) I realize my days with them are limited, and I can hardly even think about that. In the mean time though, I want to make every visit and conversation count.

Finally, it was time to head towards my final destination - my parents home! They hadn't seen me since my brother's wedding back in September, so the "Ellie Belly" was very much fussed over, and photographed! My brother, Matthew, and his new wife, Jenny, were not able to come over due to my brother's coaching schedule, but I was able to visit with my two "baby siblings, Christopher and Mary Grace.

Both of who really need to stop growing! I also got to spend a little bit of alone time with my mom... again, a rarity for this oldest of 5 child. I caught my parents both looking at me differently several times during the visit. I can't imagine what it is like to see your own "baby girl" growing her own baby girl.

My friend's wedding the next day was simple, precious, and beautiful! The ceremony gave everyone present a lovely glimpse into the couple's heart and lives. It wa a beautiful Christ-centered ceremony. The weather could not have been better for the outdoor fall themed reception. It was great to see several of my former Vandy co-workers! We all had a great time catching up at the reception!

Then it was back on the road for me! I headed back to Knoxville after the reception, and made it home that evening... dead exhausted! I changed clothes and collapsed on our oversized beanbag until Jared and my brother Daniel got home from the UT-LSU game. I am pretty sure Jared's sister Brenna, and one of our college students, Whitney, came over for a rematch with Daniel and Jared in Spades... but the rest of the evening is really a blur, as I slept my way the night until Jared practically dragged me up to bed after midnight.

More to come later... lots more going on... and GROWING done! However this post is alreayd too long, and many of you are probably already asleep/bored out of your mind!:)

1 comment:

  1. Busy busy busy! Sounds like quite the rest stop.. yikes. I do NOT understand women who cannot quit smoking for the health of their unborn child. UGH!!!