Thursday, June 16th, 7 am: I hope I packed everything. Little anxious about the drive. Hope the kids aren't going to be -too- bored.
Around 11:30, after meeting up with my cousin Haley who I haven't seen since I was about 14, as we head to her house for the boys to meet her kids, she summed it up beautifully, "Look! New cousins! Go play!"
Had a wonderful 2 hours visiting Haley and her kids (: Then I set up my computer in the truck to play a movie for the kids.
At 6: Can't drive anymore. No rest areas. Need a break. Pulled into a pharmacy parking lot figuring we'd eat out of the back of the truck-- and lo and behold! They have picnic tables and a bit of grass for the kids to run around on (:
Around 11:30 at night: I'm in the twilight zone. MO-17 was only supposed to be an hour long...and I've been on it approaching 3 hours....
Midnight: Made it to my parents house! Never been so happy to see Rt 7 and know where I was and where I was going (:
Friday, my boys ran around my parents yard like barefoot heathens (: Loved it! I helped my Momma set up all the lovely decorations she'd prepared for my sister Amanda's wedding reception in the church hall. As she and I were trying to leave the parking lot after a little bit of grocery shopping, I had the thought, "My red necks are more polite than your red necks..." Mom says it's all the visitors to the Ozarks. At this time of year, the locals are avoiding the lake (and the tourists) and are out on the rivers.
Saturday was all about the wedding (: My youngest sister Amanda married her long time sweet heart Tyler. My boys are excited to have a new uncle. And my Mom did an -amazing- job on the catering for the reception. Thankful that the wedding itself was only about 15 minutes long-- as we all stood for the entire thing (lol).
Sunday, Tyler and Amanda came to visit and share a movie. Among the funnier jokes are me saying to her, "You am a Justice." (as Tyler's last name is Justice) and my mother saying to me, "You am a Wise." (;
Through out the days, my boys go outside, play with the dogs, bring some of the dogs inside, chase (and carry) baby goats, sit on the fences, pet horses and feed them apples and continue to try to catch a glimpse of the elusive cows.
On Monday, we took the boys to my all time favorite store in Osage Beach: The Discount Book Store! They carry overstocks and slightly damaged. I limited myself to 4 children's books and let each of my boys chose two of their own (They have an ongoing sale of buy 3 and the fourth children's book is free). They sure have done a lot of building up in the area since we were there 2 1/2 years ago! My Mom and I also spent 7 hours figuring out the machine my Dad had gotten her for saving her tapes to the computer. I'm going to sum that up as a LONG process!
On Tuesday, my boys helped my parents vaccinate, round up, and count the goats. They were only run over by the baby goats once. My oldest came in to get glasses of water for everyone around noon and announced, "I'm learning how to be a goat herder!" and when they were all done, my youngest said he'd had a great time..."but my shoes are covered in goat poopie...and you can't wipe it off. It sticks. I tried."
Wednesday and Thursday, we just hung around the farm, visiting, watching shows (I introduced my parents to the animated "Avatar: The Last Air Bender" series...and I believe I got them hooked! ((: ) the boys playing legos and periodically fussing. And I was glad to see the fly motels that I so highly recommended were -finally- starting to work. Mark and I have set up 2 ever year for the last 4. They really do work well at keeping the flies out of the house and reduced outside.
Thursday night, I made sure the boys knew they'd be spending Friday with their Grandpa and set my clothes out.
Mom and I left for Ft. Leonardwood around 7:40 for her doctor's appointment at 9. At the first exit, we decided to turn around because a half dozen wide load trucks were headed that way and we figured it would make getting in slower. We were a little over half an hour early for her appointment-- and she didn't actually get to see the doctor until 9:30. Everything seemed pretty good and they sent her refill prescriptions to be picked up at the PX.
We get to the PX and shortly after my mother gets her ticket for the pharmacy window, the machine goes out (: Fortunately, everyone was patient and in good spirit about it and it was well, if not quickly, resolved. One of the more interesting things is that every lady that worked at the pharmacy was tattooed (:
It was noon before we had her meds, and we stopped in at a shop just to look around. I had to resist the urge to buy a new mink blanket for $40. Good deal and queen sized, but I didn't want to have to bring it on the trip home.
After the PX, we headed over to the commissary and I helped my Mom do Father's Day shopping for my Dad (: It was a lot of fun to see the variety of things you just don't find at the non-military grocery store. While there, I got to get 2 of my favorite treats from when I was a kid: orange flavored Capri-suns, and a dried squid! Woohoo!
As we headed to the Korean restaurant for lunch, we noticed lots and lots of people lined up along the street as if a parade was about to start. We wanted to be well out of base before that happened! But as we were leaving, we saw that people were lined up off base as well-- well up to where we were going for lunch. Shortly after we arrived, everyone inside headed out-- it was not a parade. It was a tribute to fallen soldiers returned home. As the hearse passed, and I stood with my hand over my heart, I felt tears welling up in my eyes, not just for the soldier-- but for the amazing show of support for his family from all of these strangers. As we all returned to the restaurant, no one spoke for almost 10 minutes, and even then conversation started quietly and somberly. When the mood lightened, Mom and I talked about the wedding and how nice it was and how much the boys were enjoying their visit. The food was excellent! I had beef bagoki, pork barbeque, white rice, glass noodles with carrots, and four different types of kimchee (: Then we headed next door to the Korean grocery store and got 2 packages of another favorite treat as a child: Red Dried Prunes (: I also got a lovely set of 5 chopsticks. When we got home, my parents wanted to know why I'd gotten them, but even before I could answer, my 9 year announced it for me, "She got them for hair stick!" ((: I got to teach my Mom how to put hair sticks in, as well as how to put hair up with no hair holder at all.
Then I got ready for bed. Thank you Mom, for making sure my youngest and I returned with clean clothes and plenty to gnosh on on the drive home!
Okay, just a little back tracking-- My Dad was having the hay cut on Friday because the forecast for the week showed that there was no rain from Friday through Tuesday. Did you know that if you bail wet hay, it'll catch on fire later? Decomposition is a powerful force! My parents had a friend who bailed wet hay-- and put it in their barn...and lost the entire barn because of it!
So why mention hay bailing at all? Because I woke up at 4 on Saturday to a fairly heavy thunderstorm. You can't miss it at my parent's house. When there's bad weather in the area-- every time there's lighting, the phones chirp. I got into the habit of, even in my sleep, immediately unplugging my computer from the wall if I heard the phone chirp-- just in case. I loaded up the truck to breaks in the weather and my youngest and I headed out, with a serious down pour at 7:30 in the morning. I gave my oldest lots of hugs and promised to call him every night. This is his first time away from me for more than a weekend. He's about to enjoy a bit of his summer break with his Grandparents. My Mom has lots of activities planned to do with him (:
My Dad wrote out directions for me that would NOT leave me on 17 for 3 hours (It's a lot like a roller coaster, and like a roller coaster, has no shoulders). Once I got on 36 I KNEW that I hadn't taken my original directions like I should have-- as I went along, I discovered I'd gotten on 17 at the first spot, and not where I was supposed to-- so it added 2 hours to my drive. When I told me Dad, he said, "Eww!! Then you were on some pretty ugly parts of 17!" Yup. Completely agree (lol). Lesson learned-- I will NOT be doing that again (;
So the drive that took 16 hours coming only took 12 hours going. A large part of that is the nature of my youngest. He doesn't need a whole lot of entertainment on the drive, if his brother isn't there. He spent most of it asleep, so we only stopped to get gas (at the 1/2 full point), stretch our legs and go potty.
After we got home and got the vehicle unloaded (You do NOT want to leave food of any kind sitting in a vehicle in Alabama over night-- unless you LIKE ants ) then I hugged Mark, and then our critters. Petted each of the dogs and let them know I loved them, and then I called my Peeveling over for some snuggling...
This is where I completely forgot that when I leave for a week, I come back no longer immune to my cats. I'm extremely allergic to cats, in fact. So after roughly 2 minutes of loving on my cat, my arms started breaking out in hives and my eyes were watering while they burned like they were on fire. Sigh. I had to down a quick dose of benedryl and toss myself very quickly into the shower.
Welcome home (; The last thing I did was to call my oldest to let him know we were home and to ask about his day. He spent it helping his Grandpa load logs into the truck and helping his new Uncle Tyler work on leveling for their trailer.
And then he announced, "Mom, I love cows!" (: He'd finally seen the two elusive cows (lol). His favorite is the brown one. If I needed proof that this is my boy, that'd do it: I'd said the same thing to my Mom when I saw them 2 days ago (;
So off and on, during the drive home, my youngest and I discussed Father's Day plans. My oldest was a little sad that he won't get to be here with his Daddy, but he gets to celebrate with Grandpa John. I promised we'd call today so that he could wish his Daddy a Happy Father's Day and my youngest asked if he could also talk on the phone to wish the same to Grandpa John. My youngest wanted to make pumpkin muffins, made with REAL pumpkin, Momma!, for his Daddy's breakfast. We also got him a couple of treats (;
Doesn't that breakfast just look like it's saying, "Happy Father's Day!" ?