The Trip

For the first time in over two years, we loaded the van and made the long drive to Georgia to visit our family over the week surrounding Thanksgiving. That drive had grown into a big nightmare in our minds, and we were less than eager to attempt it. But, my sister Abby convinced us that it was time. Last year, I don’t remember what we did for Thanksgiving, but I know that we celebrated alone. The year before, Sarah and I cooked a big Thanksgiving meal for our two families. Something told me that this year was a good one to leave town and surround ourselves with people we love. The drive was surprisingly painless both ways, and I am so glad that we went.

I am going to squeeze all of my trip photos into this one post and I’ll throw some notes in here and there. For those of you who don’t care for reptiles, there are some photos towards the end of the post featuring them. In fact, photo number 40 has a snake in it. It’s a beautiful snake though, and you can’t see it’s face. I figure the snake warning system would be kind of cumbersome for this post (40 *s!) given that I am setting a record for number of photos in one post I do believe.

Abby scores points for wearing the little shawl that I knit her.

My stepdad built this crazy 3-D printer from a kit.  I should have taken a photo of one of the finished objects.  Very cool.

Jonny and I took our kids to Athens, Georgia for an afternoon.  We moved away over twelve years ago, but in many ways it still felt like home.  Jonny used to work at Memorial Park which contains Bear Hollow Zoo.  We spent a lot of time there during our college years, and loved getting to share the zoo with our kids.

All of the wildlife in the zoo is non-releasable.  This hawk is recovering from a wing injury.

Jonny and I lived in this apartment for about four years.  We got married while living there and it was Seth’s first home as well.  It was my first home away from my parents’ house.  I still have dreams about it, that we still live there.

I know that our kids weren’t as excited as we were about seeing all these places that are special to us.  Jonny and I laughed at ourselves as we shouted things like, “Seth look!  There’s the hospital you were born in!  Do you want to stop and get a picture next to the sign?”  (eye roll.)

But, when we noticed that the bushes I planted on the side of the apartment are still there (though pruned into awful shapes) Beatrix shouted, “That’s amazing!”  Last week, Keats pulled some dry twigs and leaves from his pocket and told me he had grabbed them off those same bushes.  I think they understood our excitement, after all.  They have their own special places, so of course they did.


Right outside the door of our apartment there was a forest; there is still a forest.  We walked through those woods to a hidden lake hundreds of times.  When Seth was about Job’s age, I carried him on my back in a bulky metal framed backpack.  During the months that Jonny and I lived apart, him in Virginia looking for a place for us to live, me waiting in Georgia, I made that walk carrying Seth every single day.  I had routines in place to break up the monotony.  Those woods were so important to me.  So of course, we had to take our kids back to see the lake.

There’s a group of large rocks next to the water, always a favorite place to sit.

We have a photograph similar to this one of me holding a one year old Seth, sitting on those rocks.  I can’t quite explain the feeling of being back there, Seth fourteen years old now.

(Jonny’s parents’ dogs with Trudy, who doesn’t usually care to play with other dogs.)


Mr. Greg is a friend of my mom’s.  She has this swamp of sorts in her backyard and spends a lot of time there.  It’s her favorite place.  Mr. Greg helps her identify creatures and such and shares a love for wild animals, especially reptiles.  My mom thought that it would be fun to invite Mr. Greg to come to her house and share some of his reptiles with all the grandkids.  It was great fun, though I have to say that Jonny and I were more nervous than we expected to be with all those critters!  And while the third photo down from this spot contains a snake, I spared you from seeing the absolutely enormous python that I photographed lying across all of the kids’ laps (except Gabe’s!  He doesn’t care for snakes, and sat about a foot away from the tail of the python which was close enough for him.)  If you are in the Atlanta area, I highly recommend Mr. Greg’s Reptile Roadshow. I was very impressed with his professionalism, knowledge, and the way he interacted with the children.

I don’t know what Silas is looking at, but he looks hilarious!

georgia trip-7218

Our boys spent most of their last day in Georgia in the swamp with my mom.  They all got muddy, but my mom was the muddiest, head to toe!

Okay, now just for fun…  What do you think we brought home from Georgia with us?  I’ll tell you next week.


  1. Your mom looks absolutely AWESOME!!! And the fact that she brought a reptile roadshow to her house for the grandkids makes her the best grandma ever–wow, way to go Ginny’s Mama!

    I LOVE your photo of the Great Horned Owl–that is truly a beautiful photograph.

    Our eldest is 12.5 years old now. I often think about the hills we walked for hours surrounding our river town apartment in SE Iowa when I was pregnant with her (and we were incredibly incredibly poor)…at the time I just couldn’t wait to get the hey out of that awful, run-down place and own a home and have more kids and be “real adults” and not live there…now we are those “real adults” and I can’t help but reminisce…and shed a tear or two. xx

  2. Jean G. Woodhouse says:

    Enjoyed every photo taken and every word written.

    You are awesome woman. Truly blessed with a beautiful family.

    Thanks for taking me down “your” memory lane.

  3. Love these trip pics! I can hear your excitement to have been taking a trip down memory lane. Thanks for allowing us into that memory lane trip.

    And yes, I agree with an above blogger on how young your mum looks!

    I read all the comments and though I can’t think what it is that you brought home with you unless one of the lovely dogs we saw in the photos, but more than that, I read the comment that you used to own pink hair in high school! That’s the best!

  4. I grew up in GA also — in the Alpharetta area. My parents and my sister’s family still live in GA. I enjoyed your pictures. We had never been to the zoo in Athens before that you posted. My nephew is at UGA right now. I miss them all. My parents were able to come to the midwest and visit us for Thanksgiving, but I always enjoy my mom’s at Christmas and I miss it, but I have fun making my own special memories too when we can’t be together. I’m glad you made the trip. It takes us about 14 hours from where we live in Missouri and those last few hours are killer!!! Merry Christmas! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Such a wonderful post! I am happy for you that you had a great time.
    Now my guesses, really simply what got into my mind immediately: a baby or shark teeth 🙂

  6. Did you bring home an extra dog?

  7. hello, Ginny! I think you brought home the last dog, the one that is in the picture with your mother:)

  8. Melanie King says:

    The brown dog looks just like our childhood dog, Petunia. She was a bit taller, but her father was a German Shepherd. A lovely dog, thanks for that!

  9. Ginny,
    My guess is that you either brought home… a) Yarn or… b) a baby.

  10. Melissa McIntyre says:

    Hi Ginny, I have been wondering for awhile, did you go to Duluth High school? Ever since I read your post over at Ann’s site and then subscribed to yours I’ve thought you look SOOO very familiar to me!

  11. Ginny, I think you just might be pregnant! xo

  12. My goodness, do you mean it is your mom in the last picture?
    Now I understand why you don’t age.
    Could you please have your mom as a guest on your blog to tell us all her beauty secrets?
    I sure wish there is more than “handling reptiles”!

  13. This looks like so much fun & wonderful family memories! Thank you for sharing & no it wasn’t too many pictures- not enough! I think you brought back anot dog.

  14. Thanks for sharing your trip with us, how special to visit all those places that hold so many memories for you. Glad you got to be with family this year. I traveled for Thanksgiving this year, the first in soooo many years and it felt wonderful to have that family time.

  15. Oh my gosh I can’t wait to find out! It has to be yarn, a dog, or a baby!! It just can’t be one of those awful creatures from Mr. Greg. Sorry Mr. Greg. And thank you soooooooo much for not showing the one you talked about, I almost fainted just reading it!

  16. I’m going with baby no. 8 as well… or if not, then a new pet? What wonderful photos in such a special place for you guys x

  17. Christi {Jealous Hands} says:

    I can’t imagine what you brought home! Bear Hollow is our favorite park to go to – we stop there every Wednesday on our way home from our homeschool co-op. I knew that you’d lived in Athens but it was still funny seeing your family in one of our favorite spots! 🙂

  18. I remember visiting that apartment, once, the weekend we moved my brother into his freshman dorm. You’d just had Seth and it was only time I’ve met you! I’m sure you were thrilled to have Jonny’s high school friend and her family troop in when you had a newborn. 🙂 I never would have imagined then that one baby would turn into seven!

  19. thanks for sharing your memories with us, ginny! beautiful!

  20. I’m so happy you had such a lovely time. 🙂

  21. Since you were positively glowing in the photos with Job…a baby! 🙂

  22. Oooh a cliffhanger!

    Hm, a dog? maybe? That’s a long ride back home with a new dog though.

    Lovely pictures, thank you for sharing with us 🙂

  23. I’ll bet you found a great yarn store and picked up some new yarn for a project!

  24. I’m guessing yarn, but I doubt you would announce you brought yarn home. That might be a given. But it’s a much prettier choice than most of the rest!

    It looks like you had a great trip, and I’m sure you’re glad you went!

  25. LOVE that eagle picture, and that the animals are all non-releasable, it makes it all so much more educational and ethical.

  26. kim schildbach says:

    Well if it’s not a snake – it must be ANOTHER BABY!! HAHAHAHH!!

    Ok I’ll really guess a dog…but another baby would be funner!


    Kim in MA

  27. What wonderful photos!!!!! Such a great post!!!

    I don’t think there can ever be too many photos!!

    Thank you for sharing your trip with us!!

    I love so many of the photos but my favourites are, The 3-D printer… that’s so cool, my husband will be very jealous!! Playing in the leaves… wow that’s a lot of leaves, I just want to jump in!! The zoo looks amazing, so animal centered!! And seeing photos of your old home, the woods and the lake… amazing. I bet it brought back so many memories. Lovely photo’s of you all there!!
    What reptile is in pictures 6 & 7? Incredible animals!! I of course love the photos of all the dogs too and your Mum covered in mud…. brilliant!!

    What did you bring back home? Either a reptile or a dog…… I’m not sure… looking forward to finding out!!

  28. What a lovely place…..

    Thank you for the heads up of snakes – and reptiles in general. I much prefer animals with fur, like that adorable little Schnauzer!!! (and I’m a cat person!)

  29. Ginny,
    A baby turtle? I used to have one when I was a little girl.
    Lovely pictures as always,

  30. Just curious if you were able to get a photo of you with Seth on the rocks – 14 years later? 🙂

    I always love stopping by here…like having a cup of tea with a really good friend – “comfortable”.
    Blessings to you and yours!

  31. Love so many of the photos, but the last is best, Grandma covered in mud! Your kids come by their curiousity in and affinity with nature naturally!

  32. jan wetherell says:

    Ginny, something about your words and your photos always stir something deep in me, something close to home, something I’ve left behind but haven’t really left behind, something emotionally true and painful, something I still wish for.

    Bless you, dear Ginny.

  33. Looks like a lot of fun! Any tips for traveling with a little one? All my kids are horrible in the car until about age 2, my newest 9 month old is no exception. We’d love to travel but the non-stop screaming is awful so we are delaying any car trips for the next year or so! Sadly, this is the first time we’ve lived in driving distance to family and will be moving again in a couple of years (military). Any tips? As far as what you brought home….I’m guessing a dog, but something tells me I’m way off 🙂

  34. What a wonderful Grandma!! If all kids could be so lucky! I hope to be a muddy Grandma one day:))

  35. This is so cool Ginny!! We go to my in-laws cabin every Thanksgiving, which is about 45 minutes from Vance’s college! We do the same thing, almost every year, with the kids, taking them to all the places he visited while attending! It is very surreal for him to be back there, several decades later with 7 kids! We almost didn’t go this year & all the kids rebelled! Guess we didn’t realize how important! So glad you got to experience this with you children, found memories & wonderful family stories!

    God bless & Happy Advent,

  36. I think you brought home a dog. Love the pictures of your trip. The photos were beautiful of your family.

  37. LifeSheWrote says:

    So cool to see you were in Athens! I live here and love it! Looks like the Bear Hollow Zoo was a perfect activity for your family and I think I even know where your first apartment was. Glad ya’ll had a great trip!

  38. Bonnie Schulzetenberg says:

    Hi Ginny
    I know with these first’s upon us are hard to stomach, I am seeking peace and joy. I am so happy that Sarah had you and your family to celebrate with when family are far away.
    your family is so beautiful and so close “knit”. Love seeing your pics and your life – Ginny your mom looks sooo young! I bet she is as cool as you are.
    I am planning a trip to Eric’s January 4th thru 11th. I hope to see you!!!!
    love Bonnie

  39. please oh please oh please don’t let it be a snake! 🙂 YIKES!
    Looks like you had a great time! What memories you have created for your family!

  40. a snake? really? Great family photos, thanks for posting!

  41. A mouse! You saved a mouse from being snake lunch & brought it home! – You look so happy and so pretty in the photos of you.

  42. I figure y’all addopted a …. Reptile …. Or a dog …. Or a new baby. 🙂

    Looks like such a great trip. I’m glad you were able to go!

  43. I lived in Georgia for many years. 🙂

    Hm. An alligator. (c;

  44. I have no clue what your newest addition might be, but I can’t wait to see.
    I think your mama and I would have a great time together, she sounds like
    a lot of fun.

  45. what a lot of lovely pictures! and so wonderful to see so many great places that you loved. I am so glad! What a special time for you all!!! God bless you and keep you well…

  46. It looks like a great trip. I was born in Georgia but haven’t been back since I was five years old. I remember a lot, though. I loved seeing Mr. Greg’s animals, what a great experience for the kids. Thanks for sharing your trip.

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