Shown below is the oldest of the nieces and nephews from a Christmas celebration some years back. I pulled the picture off the wall collage to scan it. Of course, they are young adults now and making their way in life. My sister from Colorado was "home" that year as the youngest child you see in the picture will be a senior in high school come fall. so we could probably figure out the year if we wanted. As time went on two more of us would move out of state. 6 more grandchildren would arrive---4 girls, 2 boys as well as foster children for one brother. My, how time flies!
I left here on Thursday morning with planned stops along the way. DJ had elected to stay home with Skyler and hold down the fort. He only goes back every other year anyway and this was the "off" year. When the woman who had planned to ride along with me to Boaz earlier in the week had to cancel, I decided to deliver the t-shirt quilt tops on my way out of town. A bit out of the way but as long as I ended up on I-65 N at some point it worked for me. My Viking 500 and a friend's serger were dropped off at the sewing machine shop in Albertville. Then onward to Huntsville. I don't think I had ever been on US 431 past Lake Guntersville though I have been to parts of Huntsville before but from alternate routes and angles. I finally know where the Huntsville Space Center is since I drove right past it.
I arrived at my brother Steve's home near Lebanon, TN about 3 p.m. The plan was for me to travel on up to the family gathering in IL with them. My long time friend Cindy lives in Mt. Juliet (just to the west about 9 miles) and we had planned to get together to visit and have supper. Given directions on how to get to her house, I took off for Cindy's so my family could spend one last evening with their former foster daughter going out for her fav meal, etc. Several years back I had gotten Cindy hooked up with my SIL Jan when they were considering their move to the Nashville area so it is only natural that my family spare me for a bit, LOL. My friend is now their friend too! Good to catch up with her and her husband!
My sister-in-law was staying home this trip but my niece Beth, foster niece Rose, Steve and I took off for IL on Friday morning. We were heading for a sort of "Christmas in July" family gathering with my folks, siblings and their families.
Only thing was, my youngest brother Phil and his family had made out of state plans--one son was at scout camp, the other two males were going on a fishing trip to Canada while the females were headed to Florida to visit friends in the Sarasota area. My SIL Jen and her twin almost 10 yr old girls were not leaving til bright and early Saturday morning so we got to see them. Jen and Phil had offered us the use of their beds for the weekend to cut down on hotel expenses so we took them up on it. Rose's bio parents came to pick her up at my parents house Friday afternoon so she didn't stay over but the Colorado cousins stayed there on Saturday night.
I stayed with my parents on both Friday and Saturday night. Mom needed my help in the kitchen on Saturday to prepare food for the gathering on Sunday plus I had to prepare my "dish to pass". I made a Tex-Mex sheet cake and two batches of Maid-rite loose meat for sandwiches. I broke up the pork meat that had been cooked the day before for BBQ. I knew we were going to have an ice cream bar and made good use of some of my dad's bountiful yellow raspberry supply by making raspberry sauce and pulling some of his strawberries from the freezer and making strawberry topping too. My sister Diane was in charge of the hot fudge sauce and a cole slaw type salad while another SIL had "fruit salad" of some sort as her assignment. Mom decided to make some chocolate Rice Krispie treats at the last minute too. She kept busy chopping onions, celery and making the necessary store runs. Mom was doing the prep work for Hopi Tacos for our evening meal, a dish and recipe that came to the family after a church mission trip.
By mid afternoon Saturday my sister Janet and her family arrived from Colorado after an overnight stay in the Amana Colonies in IA They had also gone to the town we used to live in near the Quad Cities--a little out of the way but not all that much. It being Independence Day by then, we had hoped to see fireworks that night at the small town just north of where they live but it had rained much of the day and no one was aware of what the town's contigency plan was till we saw the Sunday paper----5 area celebrations were on for Sunday instead. Woohoo--we weren't going to miss it after all!
A lot of talking, eating, laughing in between Jan's arrival and Sunday fireworks. All but one nephew in the grandkids above was there. The family of 6 and Steve's wife was not there as previously stated but the majority of the family was "home". I had brought my camera but didn't take a single picture! I know I can get copies from someone else's digital camera so I'm not worried about it. The old stories were told on each other and they still crack us up. New stories and experiences were shared. Mom and Dad had been doing some cleaning in the attic and had envelopes with old pictures in for each of us kids---trust me, those were good for a few laughs!! The hairdo's alone in the school pictures---oh my! Sorry, Diane and Janet but I am cracking up all over again just seeing those in my mind's eye.
Grandma and Grandpa opted out of the fireworks but the Colorado branch along with the TN-AL connection went. Chenoa holds their fireworks on the high school football field and we could see a lot of folks on the grounds of a church right across the street so we figured that was the spot to be. Since it was not quite sunset when we arrived. we set the chairs up in a circle so we could visit face to face. The girls were clowning around taking pictures and entertaining us. Turns out where we set up the lawnchairs was right near some friends of Jan and Rich, two girl cousins and their spouses and some of their kids, from my dad's former pastorate. The friends were going "hey, that looks like Jan and Rich. But it can't be--they live out of state" then progressing to the questioning hello and hugs all around. One of the girls parents came to join them later and Steve and I went to greet them and chat a bit. We were also set up near the spot where they set off some of the ground displays intermittently during the fireworks display while the aerial stuff went off over a vacant field. It was really cool--a bit like being right near a giant sparkler with glitter coming out of it. The girls have some video taken of it and you can hear the whizzing sounds of the stuff on it. What fun!
Sunday night I stayed at our brother's home as we were leaving for TN early the next morning. Steve lives about 7 hrs away so Monday was essentially spent driving. We went out for Italian food that evening and rented "Curious Case of Benjamin Button" to watch that evening. I left yesterday for home a little before 6. Had I not needed to stop at the Gadsden Wal-mart to get a pillow to replace the one I inadverently left behind I would have been home a little after 10.
Guess that's about it for the travel story and vacation. I have errands to run, groceries to get ( husband tired of running out for food) Here I am still in my nightgown, LOL. I started this post two hours ago. Obviously I didn't walk this morning! Phone just rang and I have an invitation to ride along to the quilt shop in Trussville and out for lunch at the Chocolate Biscuit tea room come Friday. Maybe I am not as tired of the car as I thought! Best get crackin' here----------