Monday, December 28

Our Trip to the Park by Shelby

Nate has a new bike. He got it for Christmas. It is green.
When we went to the park, he went on the bike hills. Jackson and I love running on the bike hills.
I even made some smoke grenades out of dirt.
We walked Pastor Mike's dogs, saw some horses, went in the woods, and my mom and Miss Nancy went running.
We ate some bread, and I fed a little bit to the dogs.
It was super fun!

Thursday, December 17

Top Ten

We're back in Guate after an amazing 2 week trip to the States. I could get all mushy and wax poetical about our time there, but I'm pretty sure I'd end up in a fetal position, crying and singing "Auld Lang Syne" if I let myself get the least bit sentimental about it right now. It's just a little too close to Christmas....a Christmas which will be our first one without any family. Aaargh!!! Ok, time to stay in denial and attempt to be humorous. I mean, that's a perfectly healthy way to deal with emotions, right?!
So, may I present my Top Ten List of Things I Loved About Our Trip. In random order, of course:

1. The FOOD!!! Good grief! I'd forgotten how many restaurants I'd forgotten about! Every time we turned a corner, we saw a place at which we used to love to eat. P.F. Changs! Chick-Fil-A! Five Guys! Krispy Kreme! I could've gone into a food coma. However, I restrained myself to just a few trips (Per week. Maybe per day. Whatever.) to Starbucks, and the kids got to eat at their faves. Apparently, they associate all things American with Cracker Barrel, and their dream came true on the last day of our trip.
And lest I forget.....there was some fabulous cooking by our moms as well. Grits. Pecan Pie. Yum.

2. Did I mention Starbucks? Oh, I jest. Combine Starbucks with the joy of walking into a REAL. LIVE. BOOKSTORE and my life is simply complete. This happened, and apparently I was so overwhelmed by the collision of two of my favorite things that I actually walked out without purchasing a book. Never happened before.

3. Running. Now, this was a treat. I guess I should give honorable mention to some of the other runners who joined me, namely my brother Travis, Steve....and Caron and Dad O. who played bodyguards on the bike. I got to run in the damp fall leaves of Virginia (TRUE off-roading!), the oh-so-chilly hills of N.C., and finally, the frigid city of Memphis. This was the site of my third marathon, the St. Jude Memphis Marathon. Amazing what a difference water stations, port-a-potties and NO traffic will make in a race experience! Of course, the finish line being in a stadium of cheering fans, the hot showers available after, and the buffet of pizza and other goodies didn't hurt either. Randy Long, a friend from Mississippi, ran it with me. Here's to next year!

4. Friends. Speaking of Mississippi, another gift on this trip was getting to visit friends along the way. We were so excited to spend a weekend with Randy, Penny, and Ben Long. Ben was an incredible intern with us in Guatemala this summer, and has become a good friend. Randy and I ran the race (and lived to brag about it!), and the Longs invited us into their home and to their church for a Sunday. We also got the chance to hang out with Rachel and Aaron Kelly(missionary friends from Guate who were in the States, too) and her family in Nashville. Rachel and I mostly used the time as an excuse to go to Target and Starbucks TOGETHER! It was a special moment for us, but I'm fairly sure the lady we asked to take our picture at Target just didn't get it.

5. Which leads me to what is undoubtably #1 on Jackson's list....Target. I'm not sure how many times we went stock up on "essentials" of course, but I do know that every time we went, I was concerned at the rate at which my heart was beating. That can't be healthy.

6. Driving. Now, this might sound odd, but we love to travel the road. In Guate, my driving mainly consists of the mile-and-a-halfish trip to Antigua and then the fun of circling round and round the cobblestones looking for a parking spot. Or the take-your-life-in-your hands fun of driving to and from Guatemala City. So, the chance to drive a couple of thousand miles across a few states, take in some gorgeous scenery (loved those leaves!) and jam out to some good music was a journey in itself.

7. People. Maybe it was because we were in the South, but I was amazed at how friendly everybody was. In the Houston airport, the lady in one store was so helpful that I almost hugged her. But then I would've spilled my Starbucks.

8. New Places. This was a weird trip in the sense that both sets of our parents were living in new places. I've always thought of going "home" as flying to Florida, but now very little of our family lives there! My folks are enjoying their lifelong dream of running a B&B outside of Williamsburg, VA, and Steve's parents are semi-retired in NC. It actually was better than I imagined it could be. Both sets of grandparents have acres of land on which the kids could run! and explore! and get completely muddy! and although it was a different "home," it reminded me that it's the people that make it home.

9. Sightseeing. A plus of our parents NOT living in Florida was the chance to see new places. We spent one beautiful, drizzly day meandering through Colonial Williamsburg. We've done the actual Williamsburg experience before, but this time, we just toured William & Mary, poked through a few shops, checked out the fall leaves, and just enjoyed being together. What made it special for me was that both of my brothers were there, and that doesn't happen often. I'm pretty sure my mom was on happiness overload.
There was also a fun day in D.C. at the Smithsonian and a day in Memphis (Beall Street, Elvis, and Barbeque...which I smelled along the race course).

10. O.K. I am still NOT going to get sentimental. At all.
The best part of the trip was family. There's nothing like that love that has been there your whole life.
There's nothing like people who will get up at 2 in the morning, make you coffee, and drive you 3 hours to the airport only to turn around and drive 3 hours back home (thank you Mom and Justin).
There's nothing like people putting up with your ridiculous excitement about the little things you miss about America.
There's nothing like someone making a trip to the laundromat to do your dirty laundry when the washing machine breaks.
There's nothing like sitting around at midnight laughing until you hurt.
There's nothing like being together.
Can't wait until next time.