Friday, July 25, 2008

Our Trip to Arkansas, Part Two

After lunch on Sunday, we left John's parent's house to head up to my mom's house in Northeast Arkansas. I would have loved to have stopped in Arkadelphia, the town we lived in before moving here, but sadly, we didn't have enough time. I did wave at all of you friends there as we passed through!

We were able to stop in Bryant to visit for a little while with some of our dearest friends, Justin and Becky. It was so great to catch up with them, and even though we've lived here almost five years, they're the kind of friends that you just pick up where you left off and it's never awkward. (We love you guys!)

As we were pulling back onto the interstate, I had a text message from my sister asking how close we were. She was also on the road traveling to my mom's house, but from an entirely different part of the state. We estimated that she would probably arrive about 15-20 minutes before we would. Well, an hour down the road, I gave her a call, and she was exactly ONE MILE behind us on the highway. Crazy! We took turns passing each other a few times because the kids thought that was hilarious, and we stopped a little further down the road and met up. John graciously let me escape from Minnie-the-van and ride the rest of the way to mom's house with my sister in her sporty little car! I don't think we could have timed that any better if we had tried!

When we arrived at my mom's house, we had Sarah's birthday celebration, round 2, complete with presents and chocolate cake. Will took most of these pictures.

My kids call my mom "Cissy" and they think her house is really fun. She has all kinds of stuff for them to play with, and she also has cable which is such a treat for them. They all shared a room at her house and their room had a television which they thought that was the greatest thing ever.

We didn't have a full agenda on this leg of our trip which was fine with me.

One day, we went to Crowley's Ridge Nature Center which was right up my alley. I loved it, but I didn't take a single picture. Will and Sarah loved the alligator and got to watch him eat some fish. They also had tons of snakes on display...ugh...snakes creep me out, and I'm completely terrified of them.

Another day, we took them out to Craighead Forest where they have a fun sprinkler park. The kids had a blast playing in the water. Abbey caught a baby frog which thrilled her to no end. She was sad/mad that we made her let it go, but if that little frog could have talked, I know he would have thanked me a million times over for releasing him from the torture.

One afternoon, several of my mom's friends came over to see us Will, Sarah, and Abbey. My mom has some really sweet friends, most of which I've known my entire life. It was nice to see them and hear stories about their own children and grandchildren.

This fall is my 20th high school reunion. I'm not planning to go. I keep up several of my high school friends, and I was able to see my two of my closest friends one evening while I was there. We spent the evening talking, remembering, and laughing until we cried. It was wonderful! That was WAY better than any reunion for me!

One afternoon, I took Abbey (the only one who could tear herself away from The Disney Channel) and drove around town. It was a trip down memory lane! The town I grew up in has grown and changed SO much in the 18 years since I've lived there. I drove past the houses I grew up in, and past my grandmother and great-grandmother's houses. This was my great-grandmother's house. We lived right next door to her until I was in sixth grade. My Nana's house is in the picture below (sorry it's so small). If I had the money, I'd buy it in a heartbeat! It is full of so many memories. You can't tell from these photos, but this house sits directly behind my great-grandmother's house. All of us lived on the same block, and I could walk next door to my great-grandmother's, or behind my house to my Nana's (on a path through our backyard) any time I wanted to. How many kids grow up living that close to their grandparents? It was wonderful! I could write an entire post about childhood memories.

I can't talk about this leg of our trip without mentioning the FOOD. My mom is a great cook, and she made some wonderful meals for us. My favorite was the night she fried okra (yum!), squash, and green tomatoes. We had that along with purple hull peas, ripe tomatoes and corn on the cob. It was seriously delicious. We also had roast one night (and leftover veggies), and one day for lunch we got fried catfish and hush puppies (yes, again). Oh my goodness...I ate WAY too much, but since it was vacation, I let go of the guilt!

One night my brother and his wife came over, and of course, my sister was there too. That was fun. We haven't all been together under the same roof in a couple of years! I wish I had thought to take a picture of all of us together.

I couldn't believe how nice the weather was for us. I was really dreading the heat and humidity, but I think we hit the weather jackpot because I was never really hot the entire time we were there. The mosquitoes were another story altogether. My kids were outside one afternoon with my sister and they came inside covered in bites. Ugh. That might be my least favorite thing about the south.

Thank you, mom, for everything. We all had a wonderful time.

We were sad to leave, but after several days, it was time to pack up again and head west to see my dad. Stay tuned for Part 3.


Puva said...

You're absolutely right! Not everyone gets to live so close to their grandparents! Lucky you! Your trip sounds great, especially all those "walking down memory lane" events (:

Becca~CapturingSimpleJoys said...

What a great trip! I love to drive around and visit the homes I grew up in and the places I went as a child. I always end up having to get off the road because I'm crying so much with all the memories.

Love that fried okra!

Stephanie Kay said...

Fried Okra!! Fresh tomatoes!! Corn on the Cob!! You are killin' me with the food. = ) Tonight I just didn't have it in me to cook supper so guess where we went. = ) The catfish was mediocre but it got the job done. = )

Jackie said...

That plate of food your mother fixed looks delicious! Loved hearing about your trip.

Diane@Diane's Place said...

Boy, catfish from Ron's sounds good right now!

Would you believe as close as I live to it, I've never been to the nature center? We've planned to go several times but something always seems to come up.

It's supposed to be 100F or over most of this coming week. Ick!

And skeeters? Yep, we got 'em!

Looking forward to the next installment. Hope y'all have a great weekend. :o)

Love and hugs,


elaine@bloginmyeye said...

That is one beautiful plate of food. Always document the food!

Gretchen said...

Since I've never been to AR, or to much of the South--save my quick trip to Charleston, Savannah, and Hilton Head last spring--I'm having lots of fun armchair traveling with you. The houses are so precious, and I cannot believe that you all lived so close as you were growing up. In peace, even. ;)

Great pics of the kids having a wonderful time. Love your installments.

Jacquie said...

Love, love, love the old houses! How precious that you grew up so close as a family.

I really enjoyed hearing about your trip and your hometown visit.

Leah Belle said...

oh yeah! Arkansas, my grandparents who live there, the people, the food all are special to me too!

P.S. believe it or not, its even MORE humid where i live!

Tiffani said...

Okay girl, 3 things:

1. I love reading about your trip

2. That pic of the plate of food would make any girl drool...much less one from the deep south like's still morning in GA and I'm COVETING that plate of food...please, Lord forgive me!

3. last but not least, I LOVE the name of your van!! We name ALL of our vehicles and always have...we actually have a new one and although the kids want to name her "Goldie II" (when we "lost" first Goldie, we literally cried) I am hoping that something else will strike me....can I be a name "thief"???? :)

Marc and Charity said...

Sounds like a wonderful time!!!

And, I have been gone too long I suppose, didn't even know you could purchase iTunes gift cards??! What a great idea. I must get out more...or at least use my internet for other things! :)

Betsy said...

That sounds like the best vacation ever! To me, just spending time with family and catching up with friends is one of the best things in life!

I can't believe you lived so close to your grandparents and great-grandparents! That is such a wonderful blessing. You've GOT to do some posts about your memories from your childhood. I know I would love to hear all about it.

That plate of food looks like so many I've had this summer. Nothing better than a nice big plate of summer veggies!! Yum!

Amber said...

Fun!!! We were waving back in Arkadoo as you were driving by!

His Girl said...

just right this minute got caught up on your blog! i wish i wasn't so far behind, so i could take the time to comment on every post.

i do want to tell you how much i enjoy reading your every word, and how fun your trip looked, and how i understand about the needing sleep.

blessings to you, my friend. i will be able to keep up with new posts from now on ;) hopefully!

Stephanie @ My Answered Prayer said...

Yeah you got the good's horrible now!!!

That food looked so good....I've yet to visit the farmers markets this year!

Glad you guys had a good time!

Stephanie @ My Answered Prayer said...

Yeah you got the good's horrible now!!!

That food looked so good....I've yet to visit the farmers markets this year!

Glad you guys had a good time!

Nancy said...

What a beautiful family you have!!! Loved all the pictures and stories!!!

I am preparing a post for my grandma's birthday on Aug. 7th....she would have been 121 years old! She lived to be 105 years and 4 months as it was! I am looking for her wedding pictures to her second husband when she was 72 years old! My mother passed away, and I have all her albums to go through....a LOT of them to go through!!! Too many to even count!

I'll be back!

(((((( HUGS ))))))

Leigh Ann said...

That sounds so fun! I can definitely relate to those kind of meals. I grew up on all of that when I would go to my grandmother's house. It sounds like you grew up in a great place. I'm with you on the thoughts about the reunion, too. My 20th is in two years, and I already see my closest friends, so I might just skip it.

Unknown said...

Its so fun to see pictures of where you grew up!

You really were able to pack in quite a bit of stuff in this vacation.

I am totally with you on the 20th reunion thing. I would much rather come to town, look up the people I really want to see, and call it a day!

Kelly said...

The heat just hit! Be glad you missed it!
I love your grandmother and great grandmother's homes! They are lovely! How neat to grow up near both of them!
Your trip just sounds so fun!

Xan Hood said...


Any women with 20 comments on a blog is well past her place in writing for free. I know an editor at David C. Cook who needs to know about this!

Wonderful words.


Megan L Hutchings said...

I laughed out loud when I read "Minnie - the - van!" Your husband was so sweet to let you enjoy some alone time with your sister ;)!

I am loving your vacation posts! Spending time with family and walking down memory lane is my FAVORITE ;)!

Gina said...

I just love doing nothing, somewhere else, with someone else cooking, and lots of sunshine...aaah.

Fran said...

This was sweet for me. I almost could picture every step of the way! I'm not "in" for the reunion either. I don't think they'd miss me too bad.

Have a great day!

Melissa Stover said...

sounds like home! and that plate of food looks exactly like what we eat on sundays.