Wednesday, June 22, 2011

We Made It!

As most of you know, we began our journey to North Carolina a week ago a car...for 4 days!  Yes, a 22 hour drive with two kids does sound crazy but what was crazy was flying with two of them and that luggage with NO help! So, we packed the car to the brim with everything we would NEED.
The girls and I drove two hours into Oklahoma City to pick up my mom.  She flew in to drive with us....bless her heart.  Let me tell you that that was a l.o.n.g two hours.  They couldn't wait to get to her.  They thought that was the end of our destination, because we were going to see Meme remember?  So we arrive to get her but we weren't at her house?  I think reality started settling in when we got back in the car, lunch in their laps, and we didn't stop for 4 more hours.  Well, of course we stopped, you know, four girls, four small bladders.  But, we made it to Clarksville, AR the first night.  We got there earlier then expected so I found a park and it was a perfect night of play.
Our next destination was Nashville, TN.  Not having been a stop on this drive before, I was excited for this one.  Mostly because we planned a side trip to see where my mom was born.  This was our longest day but the allure of a big city kept us pushing.  WOW!  What a great landing spot for us.  We stayed walking distance to the stadium the Titans play in and what a sight that was!  We spent the evening eating great food and walking down the streets filled with hopeful voices singing their favorite tune.  My mom had a special stop for us to see this magnificent Nashville landmark.  It didn't disappoint.  And, can you believe Fancy was not on Auto?  I am so proud when I can figure this out.  I am trying to get braver and this paid yellow lighting!
So, for years I have heard about where my mom was born.  Her parents even grew up in Barron Plains, TN and apparently it got its' name I had been told.  I was anxious to see for myself.  A short 30 minute drive North dumped us into Springfield, TN.  We were almost there...  A few turns and we were winding down quiet country roads that had the most beautifully erect red barn with a quilted pattern painted on the side.  It was magnificent.  Unfortunately there is no picture so you need your imagination.  This is a place where some people wave and smile and the others stare because you don't belong there and they know it.  You know those places right?  I guess the car top carrier gave us away...
Our first stop would be the house her best friend grew up in...
Then we drove to the church she and my dad got married in.  This was a stop for me.  I think I yearn to have some of these images because I don't remember them ever together so this is something concrete I can hold onto.  Although it is bricked now, it is there.  Quaint and simple.  Surrounded by beauty.
When Mom grew up here her school was on this land as well.  Imagine, not a parochial school, but ten steps from a church.  Would we see that today?  They had a playground set, so this was the perfect stop for everyone to stretch their legs.  But, we got so much more.  I stood and tried to imagine my mother here.  Living here.  Playing here.  It was hard I must say, mostly because our lives are so far from this today.  The word that kept coming to me was simple.  This was a simple way of life.  Kids don't have high expectations, farming is the way of life, and God is at the center of it all.  It was truly a breath of fresh air and my kids didn't have the first desire to leave, except for one potty break, of course.  They didn't notice that the spinner that these kids had wasn't like the fancy one that sits in the plush playground at their church.  It was just a spinny thing...with lots more character.
Then we met this beauty...
She wondered up and we made friends fast.  The girls loved her and took a bazillion pictures with her.  We named her Clarabelle.  The highlight for me was when Olivia asked how I knew it was a girl dog...before I could answer my mom tells her, "You just look in her eyes, that 's how."  I shoot my mom this look with this witty chuckle and she looks at me and says, "You got a better way to explain that to a 5 year old?"  That is my mom.  Farm girl and nurse extraordinaire and that is how she explains it.  See...simple.  She stuck with us like we were her owners so we left her with a gift.  A flower necklace that my girls were shocked I made.  Honestly, it was the first thing I wanted to do when I saw those flowers weeds.
We drove just another minute down the road to her home place.  What a magnificent home that generations have restored with great results.  White back in the looks rich now with the grey paint and that a/c was certainly not there.  They just threw open the windows and let the breeze float in...back in the day.
After some barbecue that no Texan could appreciate like us, we had one more stop. The mill my mom's grandfather built as a young man. It still stands, works, and provides.
As we pulled away I thought a lot about this wonderful place filled with beauty and wonder and thought how nice life would be if it really was as simple as this all appeared to be.
Next stop up was Pigeon Forge,TN. Home of year-round Christmas stores, Dollywood, and fun! We did some tourist shopping on Saturday and headed home. Just a few short hours away, but it has to be one of the best drives in America. There is nothing like knowing your place on this Earth as you drive on roads cut through mountains with towering trees and and exposed stone on either side. The clouds were low and the rain sprinkled our was was North Carolina...I was HOME!

Friday, June 10, 2011


As many of you know I am a "need to know" person, with the sex of my babies being no exception.  Well, this third baby is the exception.  There was this odd peace I felt about this pregnancy and the need to not know what the baby was.  Probably because the only thing I would not have if it were a boy is clothes.  And people, let me remind stepbrother and his wife just had boy triplets...clothes were not a concern!  

So, when I announced to Nate that I really did not care to find out this time he was shocked.  Like his jaw hit the floor shocked.  Especially since this pregnancy has been so different and somewhere in him he just might have felt sure it was a boy.  And since he very clearly remembers me dragging him back out of the bed after one hour of sleep and a failed sex determining ultrasound, driving him an hour down the road while guzzling a Mountain Dew, plunking down $100, and knowing the sex of my first little miracle within seconds of her placing the wand on my belly, driving him an hour back, putting him to bed, and shopping for pink all day.  The look alone on his face told me he was D.Y.I.N.G to know.  So, I figured we needed to do something a little different this time. 

So here is how it goes.  I have the sweetest most loving little boy in my Sunday School class.  He is my world every Sunday.  His mom and I became Facebook friends.  In checking out some of her pictures I see that she had a gender reveal party for her third baby...a girl!  I thought it was a cool idea.  I wasn't sure how she did it but I would work out an idea that worked for us.  So, I decide (yes, I...Nate is still on the fence at that point) that we should be the ones to not know and get the surprise.  I enlist my mom, the best secret keeper I know, to be the one that will know and be in charge of the surprise.  She was totally on board for this...although I am sure she has lost a few winks trying to come up with something she thinks I will think is creative enough...  She even offers to fly in and do the surprise here...until we realize that we will only be finding out a week before we come to her house for 6 weeks.  Oh yeah, and she is meeting us in Oklahoma City to drive with us not here.  So, what are we to do?  Well, I can't find out without Nate so we will W.A.I.T.  That is extra 6 weeks!

Now let me say that I really felt no need to know...we went to the ultrasound and I did not take my eyes off the screen.  The girl knew the deal and she took all of the measurements and the time came.  I warned her that she had to be 100% sure since I was not looking too.  She turned the screen away and focused with cat like eyes on the black and white screen.  Moments later she presses a button that spits out several pictures.  She gently folds them and places them on the side of her table.  She slowly turns the screen back, looks at me, smiles, and says, "I am 100% sure."  Well then it hit is the weirdest feeling to know that someone knows and only one person, she didn't even tell the doctor...who is also now dying to know!  We had it sealed in our decorated envelope, equipped with several layers of papered protection.  And the best part for me was that we had her take our picture with each of my girls holding their ultrasounds from the day we found out that they were girls!  So now it stares at me.  Everyday.  On the counter.  In the cute little double protected envelope.  With reinforced packing tape on the seal...that the tech put on there.  There will be no peeking of any kind. At all.  Until my mom opens it.  So, until July 16th we W.A.I.T. for the big reveal!

Oh yeah...and she had us tell her what we thought it was.  I was the only one that guessed boy! 
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