I must warn you that this will be a long post, but I want to get it all recorded for the sake of memories.
We drove to Atlanta to spend the night at my parents' house. We didn't get there until kind of late, so we went to bed pretty soon after we arrived.
A few months ago, Gracie entered a writing contest sponsored by GPB & Reading Rainbow. She wrote & illustrated a story and we sent it in. I kept hoping that she would get some kind of recognition such as a letter or certificate of recognition, especially something from LeVar Burton. Finally, she received a certificate with LeVar's picture on it and a letter inviting her to a Reading Rainbow Celebration for Friday, May 26th in Atlanta. It just so happened that this date was the day after she got out of school and we were planning to be in Atlanta that day on our way to Nashville for the weekend. Perfect timing! After a few snags with making our reservation for the event, we were given the green light to attend, and we were all so excited! (Even though we don't live in Georgia, we get PBS from both Georgia & South Carolina because we're so close to the border of both states.)
When we arrived, Gracie received a goody bag with a t-shirt (big enough for me to wear!), a Tomie de Paola book, "The Art Lesson," and various other things. Soon we were let into the television studio. That was pretty cool! We waited awhile for the program to begin. Some people talked about how glad they were for all the kids to participate, etc. etc. then the winners read their stories. There were some cute stories among the winners. After that, they announced winners in the honorable mention category for illustrations & stories. Let's just say that 2 of those winners were painful to listen to. I know that sounds mean and it really was only the 2 out of about 15 winners there were hard to listen to, but I would feel pretty safe in saying that this one little boy did not write his story since his dad had to sit up there and tell him about every 2nd or 3rd word! It took forever! Thing is, he had won honorable mention for his illustrations and they only showed 1 of his illustrations on the screen. Oh well.
After the program, there was a carnival outside for the participants. They had craft activities and a big bouncy slide thingie, cotton candy, popcorn, sno-cones, lunch, balloon art with a clown, etc. It was fun, but we didn't stay long because we had to get going on the rest of our trip. We were very proud of Gracie for participating and for her attitude over not being one of the "winners." She is obviously not a very competitive person for which I am very grateful. I agree that a little bit of a competitive spirit is good, but I see alot of people these days who just go way overboard on it. I've seen some parents who practically draw diagrams of where the most Easter eggs are likely to be hidden so their child can find the most. Good grief!
Anyway, Gracie had a really good attitude about it and had the attitude of it being okay not to win and there's always next time. She already has written a story with much improved illustrations over the last one and wanted to know if we could send it in for the contest! I told her that the contest is only once per year but she could keep practicing and she'll be ready for next year. I think she really paid attention to the illustrations & stories of the winners as they were read because I can already see improvements with this new story.
After we left the celebration, we headed to Nashville with a little detour at Sears to purchase 4 new tires. You may remember my post a few months ago about all of the vehicle problems we've had in our marriage. 2 people told me Thursday that my back tire was low. Chris filled it up Thursday before we left town but then it was low again on Friday morning. With the luck we have and especially with the memory of being stranded last year on Memorial Day weekend, we decided to be more pro-active! We needed all new tires anyway and were planning to get them before we go to the beach next week so we just stopped along the way and got them! We both felt better after getting them. They were needed!
We arrived at the home of our friends, Will & Jenni, about 7:00 Nashville time and ate with them and stayed the night as well. They moved away from our town about a year ago so it was nice to visit with them for awhile.
I got to meet Malia! I got to meet Malia! I got to meet Malia! It was so fun meeting!
We got to see Malia, Boo-Boo, Sweetpea, Malia's mom and her sister. Gracie & Sweetpea got along quite well and Boo-Boo & Katie.......well, Boo-Boo just wanted to hug her soooo bad! Katie wasn't so inclined. I'm sorry, Boo-Boo. Maybe next time!
It was really neat meeting and talking. Malia & her family are very nice. The time didn't last long, but I am very glad we did it! I know I would have regretted not doing it. I look forward to seeing her again sometime.
We headed across town to my niece's 4th birthday party! We were able to see so much family that we never get to see, so it was great! We saw my brother, Josh, & his family of course (including baby Morgan who I hadn't met yet!) My parents & grandparents were there along with my Uncle Joe & Aunt Beth and my cousin Jon with his wife Laura and baby Jay who I also hadn't met yet and my Uncle Dennis & Aunt Sandy. Then there was all of my sister-in-law's family as well. It was a fun time and one I always enjoy.
After most everyone left, we went to my brother's house and hung out awhile then went to eat at a really good place on the river. I got catfish and I love catfish. The girls enjoyed watching out the window at the water & the boats.
Gracie & Ann Elise had quite the big slumber party planned, complete with sleeping together in her bed. However........that didn't work out. After just a little while, they were both ready for their own space. They had fun playing beforehand though. They played "squishy dolls" (a.k.a. Polly Pockets) and all sorts of other things. It is really great to see them play together and have so much fun. I wish they could do it more often. It's really kind of funny the way our kids are spaced. Gracie & Ann Elise are almost exactly 22 months apart. Then Ann Elise & Katie are almost exactly 22 months apart. Then Katie & Morgan are about 23 months apart. I know some people have 3 or 4 children all that close together. Whew. I think I'd be really tired!
We went to church then came home and Beth (my sister-in-law) cooked for us. Josh & Chris went to play golf but only made it 4 holes before it started storming. All 4 girls slept while Beth & I watched a very scary, but good, movie, "When a Stranger Calls." When Chris & Josh came up the basement stairs and opened the door, it scared me!
We went to church that night then met some of Beth's family at a local pizza place where we visited & ate and the kids played. We went back home where the girls continued to play while the adults watched some movies. We fell into bed pretty late.
We slept in a little, then ate pancakes that Josh made, then left about 10:30 (which is 11:30 our time!) A little later than we would have liked but we were just taking the morning easy. We drove around Nashville a little checking some things out then headed for home. After a stop at Cracker Barrel for lunch and Fazoli's for dinner, we made it home in time to watch most of The Apprentice. Of course, my mom called and I ended up talking to her and missed most of the show but that's okay.
Today is moving slowly. Yea! I didn't have to set the alarm to take Gracie to school. Yippee! We've got a fairly slow 3 days then we're off & running again to take Gracie to meet my parents to spend a few days with them going to their Family Bible Week then we'll pick her up and go to the beach with Chris' family.
Gracie has a list written of things we can do for "Gracie, Katie & Mommy time," so I guess I better go get started on some of those. I'm happy to have her home from school!
Thank you for the safe travels we had and thank for the fun family memories we created. Please continue to keep us safe this summer and help us to stay focused on You.
In Jesus' Name, Amen