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!
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.