Thursday, November 20, 2008

And we're off....

This time of year is just's's hectic, but it's amazing! Just some of the enjoyments of the season....the glowing colors of fall (and this year has proven to be more spectacular than anyone could have predicted!), the beautiful sound of the fall leaves' falling and blowing around (especially as little feet swish their way through them!), the incredible smell of the heat coming on for the first time (yes, I'm sure it's not good for you, but you will find all of us gals' hovering our heads over the vents to breathe it in with joy!), the excitement of seeing who is going to play the first Christmas commercial (will it be Cool-Whip or Hallmark?), the remarks of criticism that we hear and make regarding which store that plays Christmas music "too early" while we secretly hum along with it?!? November is always full of pleasures both great and small!
This November seemed to hit me without warning! I swear the other day I was thinking, "I wonder if we can get in one more trip to the pool?!?" Then Jen's birthday (November 1st!) was here...happy birthday to you again, sweet sis...I love you with all of my heart!
Trying to take advantage of the glorious weather, we invited the college students that attend our church over to our house for chili...our church parish group and friends helped host it...there were over 40 here, and although I fretted about our not having enough food, the weather, etc., it turned out great! There was more than enough food, and the weather could not have been more perfect!
And then that week we were off for a trip that I knew was off in the distance...not until the beginning of November! Well, before I could sit down and think about it, it was November! It was time to go and cast our votes...then go get our free Starbucks...then send the dog and fishie on their "vacation" and then begin packing our things while anxiously watching the electoral votes' accumulating. After doing all of that we put a few last minute clothing items for our trip in the wash and went to bed knowing that our great God is providential and knew all along that our nation's politics would be 'changing.'
The next morning, we awoke to find that perhaps we should have inspected all of the little pockets before washing our favorite clothing items....aghhh...there was ink all over our clothes! And we're not talking our 'stay-at-home clothes' but our 'go-clothes' as the girls call them! Some of our nicest 'go-clothes'!
Thankfully, some of our friends that were traveling with us as far as B'ham, reassured us that it couldn't be all that bad...until they saw them! But they whisked them away (no pun intended) ahead of us on our trip to B' Motown where they spent their first day of vacation in the capable hands of Mo, my new best friend! And we met up with the rest of our travel peeps and drove on to B'ham to visit the Birmingham Museum of Art where we visited the incredible DaVinci really was great! There are things that I just didn't know about DaVinci before that exhibit...for instance, he was left-handed and drew from the right to the left to avoid smudges, etc. He hid many drawings inside of other drawings or writings. He did many dissections (until the pope put a stop to it) just so that he could know the intricate details of how muscles/bones/etc. worked together. And there were several writings of his that could only be read by looking at it in a was fascinating to get to know him better!
After spending some time there, we drove on to the B'ham Zoo to catch up with Lars, Bubs and Nan. And K-ren even came to join us! It was a great afternoon to enjoy the zoo...I can only recall seeing one other couple there with a child, so we pretty much had the run of the zoo! And again...the fall leaves were amazing!
After a fun romp through the zoo, we went to have supper with K-ren (it was sooo good to see her!) before heading over to the hotel! There we met back up with Lars, Nan and Mo....who is a big-time-bad-time hero! She got almost everything out of our clothes...they were practically as good as new! I will never figure out how she did it! I've been told that Mo has this spiritual gift of laundry stain removal, and now I believe it! was a long but fun day!
The next morning we awoke early to have breakfast with K-ren before she headed on to work; then "we" repacked the car and headed on further south via Dothan, AL to have lunch with sweet Uncle Charles. We had a wonderful afternoon with him...albeit too short, for my cell phone kept ringing, and it was my nephew saying, "Ya Ya, are you here yet? Well, where are you and my cousins?" And prayers were answered...Uncle Charles set us up with lots of fresh pecans and peanuts, raw and boiled, a couple of jars of muscadine jelly... hmmm! The love we have for him and feel from him is immeasurable! He is so wonderful! And as the mayor of Graceville, he's quite a busy fella, so we had to let him go, and we once more hit the road.
The drive down to Sandestin for the conference didn't seem to take that long...we stopped for groceries and then drove on to the condo where Meems, P-Daddy, Jen and the kids were awaiting us. After "we" unpacked the car, we grabbed a bite to eat and then headed over to the conference center just in time to hear Steve Wilkins begin a session on "Friendship." The conference this year was especially great...Steve spoke on friendship while Doug Wilson spoke on the different rooms of the home. I'll be happy to share my notes with anyone...I want to re-listen to the sessions, and I can share the link to hear the audio recordings.
Later that evening Nate came in, so we all put the kids to bed before spending some time together...trying not to wake the parents, ours that is!
The next day we raced from here to there...not my favorite feeling, but that evening Cricket and Lovey were in a talent show...they sung Andrew Peterson's "Matthew's Begats" once more and tied for first place with our friend Brittany! Woohoo, girls! The only thing a little skeptical is that the prizes were awarded in $2 bills...something that only one man I know carries....hmmm...I still have to ask P-Daddy about that! When our family friend Andy interviewed them after they sang, Cricket leaned into the microphone and said, "We've even sang this on stage with Josh Groban!" And Lovey quickly corrected her..."You mean..Andrew Peterson!" It was too cute! I just least Cricket mistook AP for Josh Groban and not one of the other cd's in the car! (Not that there are bad ones....we just have a pretty well-rounded appreciation of music!)
The next day was rushed once more...too many things to see and do when at home! Jen, Nate, Eric and I threw (with help from Drue and MaryAnn! Thank you!) a little 40th Anniversary party together for Meems and P-Daddy...if they had known about it, they wouldn't have gone, but we were able to successfully pull it off! Woohoo!

Then a little shopping at the outlets (there's a sign when you enter the Beaches of South Walton that says that one must not visit the area without shopping at the outlets), so that's just what we did! Then we raced back to the condo to get everyone dressed for the ball! The entire trip was such a blurr that I didn't even slow down enough to take all of the photos that I should have, but here are a couple of cute photos from the evening!
Mimi made the granddaughters matching skirts...they are so beautiful! Thanks, Meems!

Cricket and her dance partner were dancing so well, but I could only catch her photo from the back!

Sarah kept trying to convince Mimi to swing her like YaYa...I made the mistake of twirling her through one too many Virginia reels...and that gal's getting too big to hold and twirl, but oh the twinkle in her eye made it so worth it! She loved it!
The girls ended up having a few fellas in line to dance with them...AngelWings did say that the "McPherson boys" were quite good dancers! I thought you'd get a kick out of that, Joyce! What a fun evening it was!

The next morning, I awoke before the sun came up, so I gently woke up Cricket, and she and I hurriedly ran down to the beach and sat quietly on a towel, wrapped in blankets, as we watched the sunrise. It is something that is there every, single day...and we don't even think twice about the glory that it is! What a special moment it was when we watched it so quickly rise up over the gulf waters and move so quickly away from the horizon! Thank you, dear Lord, for that special morning!

Then at church later that morning when we took communion, Cricket looked up at me and said, "That bread's not too bad!" Then after we 'partook' the wine, I have to say that Cricket had me about fall out of my chair with laughter when she looked up at me and said, "And the wine doesn't taste too bad either!"

That afternoon and evening....I loved sooo very much! We had such a relaxing Sunday dinner...relaxing all but for the face and stomach muscles that ached from laughing so hard at Mom's telling us every detail that she could remember about a family from her childhood that had a chest full of confederate money. She had us all rolling! Then the afternoon consisted of peaceful rest and then a mad dash back to the beach to watch the evening sunset.

Then we returned to the condo for a yummy dinner (if I do say so myself...Mom, Jen and I all took turns preparing the meals at the condo, and I had BBQ chicken slow-roasting all afternoon in the crockpot). And after dinner, the grandkids began a highly competitive game of hide'n'seek. A game that not even the adults could resist! And although we limited the hiding places to the bottom two floors of the condo....there were more hiding places than anyone could have imagined! Even baby Quinn got in on the action!

I'm still not sure who won the many games...AngelWings who stayed hidden the longest by standing in a hidden corner of one of the showers, Drewby who stayed hidden wrapped inside a comforter that was rolled and laying atop a piece of furniture, Cricket who stayed hidden laying under a coffee table/ottoman that had only three visible inches under it, Lovey who was hidden behind a chair that clearly had no room behind it, Ricci "and others" who were hiding in a long closet...each time one was found, they'd step out to give themselves up...all the while they were quickly closing the door to keep other peeps hidden. It was a hilariously (word?) good time!

The next morning, we requested 'late check-out' just so that we could hit the beaches "just one more time" to breathe in that good, salty air!

"Sring me 'round one mo' time, Ricci! Pwease?"

Then we sadly packed up the condo, said our goodbyes and drove over to Meems and P-Daddy's house for a few minutes before heading back to the winery....I mean, home!

It's hard to believe that we were swimming in the gulf earlier that day, and as we traveled closer and closer to home, we were having to adjust the car temperature to warmer and warmer. When we stopped in B'ham for a late supper with K-ren, it was freezing...relatively speaking not literally...but by morning, literally!

Little vacations from temperatures, seasons, etc. make one realize just how blessed we really are! And it often makes coming home all the more special...even if it does mean that we're back in the rat-race of this hectic, crazy but amazing season of life!

"Home again~Home again~Jiggety Jig!"


Nekey said...

Wow! What a great time. I am also looking into going to the Birmingham Museum of Art. I did not know it was there. ;-)

Shelly said...

What a great little vacation! And pens-left-in-the pocket ink stains are no fun- I think I have used about a gallon of rubbing alchohol to get out several ink stains.

Debbie said...

Reading about your November left me envious....and tired! You seem to me better than I am at "living in the moment", thus being able to enjoy the moments in between the chaos.

What conference did you attend? I love anything by Doug Wilson!

mom2dixiechirps said...

All~we did have a great time, but whew...we're tired, and nothing sounds like it's going to slow down any time soon! I'm sure for y'all too!

Nekey~I hate to tell you this, but I think that the DaVinci exhibit was nearing it's end in B' may want to see where it's next stop was going to be, if any! If it's back to Vinci, Italy, I'm game to go with ya!!!

Shelley~I tried alcohol, hairspray, stain name it! I do think that Mo has stain removal as her spiritual gift!

Debbie~Come and join us next's not that far from y'all! I'm off in a little bit to go and sit with your sweet daughter and grandson at the hospital! Our prayers are with you all!