Last Thanksgiving I was fortunate to be able to visit my family in North Carolina, where my sister and her husband had recently bought a house. He is serving in the military - as an officer in the Army - and she is studying at UNC to be a dietician. Over the fourth of July holiday weekend I got to visit them again and, as their home has become a meeting-ground for all of us, my other sister and her two kids came from Virginia, and my parents drove my nephews down from Minnesota with them.
They live in a very woodsy and beautiful area just outside of Sanford which is debatably the most attractive looking area, including the town itself. Unless you like breaded and gravy-smothered pork chops, in which case the locally-owned "Biscuitville" restaurant just might be heaven to your eyes. But not for mine, thank you!
Other than "The Wal-Mart," as it is referred to in the south, there aren't many attractions in Sanford, but we managed to have tons of fun anyway. This time it was easier with a trip to see a nearby town's triple A baseball team (the Fayetteville Swampdogs), the downtown Sanford ice cream shop that's been around over 100 years, plenty of sparklers and playing with all the animals that live in and around the house.
And we weren't resting much, either. We visited both the neighborhood and country club pools, worked out in the gym, held a wii dance competition and went for a two hour-long hike to see a quartz quarry. Throw in several games of baggo and some fun-loving neighbors of theirs (and two more kids) and you've got yourself a nonstop four days of southern hospitality. Never mind that my sister is from the north; she's southern at heart. And did I mention all the great food?
As with every vacation, it flies by and is only captured truly in the photos and memories. I didn't even mention my niece and nephew. Maia is such a joy, truly sweet. The first thing she said, no, whispered to me was "So, I heard you are going to have a baaa-by! Can you make it a girl?" Precious! Check out the photo of her in the kerchief as we drove down for ice cream in my sister's convertible. Adorable.
Oh, and Joe, my littlest nephew? He's old enough to crawl, but since he likes to hang onto things while he travels, he sort of scoots along instead. Fittingly, we have dubbed him Scooter. His little leg gets so dirty from pushing off the floor all day! But what better way to clean that off than a dip in the big corn pot (we all used to get baths in a similar one at my grandpa's lake cottage)? He's got the cutest little sideways grin, too.
As I said, the pictures tell the story, too. Regrettably, I didn't get one of my other sister Lea and I, or my Mom. But there's Christmas for that. Maybe they'll be willing to come up north to see the baby, huh? I sure hope so.
P.S. You may have noticed I posted a video of these pics instead of just individual ones. Did I mention I got a brand new laptop?? It is so slick and easy to use. Of course, it's another piece of electronics I have to learn about (like my camera, whose manual I still haven't read - shame on me!). But it's so much fun and what a relief to not have to bang on it just to get it to turn on, like the old one.
Hmm.. perhaps that's why it broke, huh? =)