Ellie & I made a trip to Aiken a week or so ago which was lots of fun~I had a great time seeing friends and introducing Ellie to our friends there!
Thursday, January 15
*We left our house around 4:30 in the morning to head to the airport. Chris & the girls took us (wasn't that sweet?) and dropped us off. We checked in quickly and made it through security pretty easily. It wasn't very busy that time in the morning (around 5:30). I had nursed her before we left the house and then I gave her 2 jars of fruit in the airport before we got on the airplane. We were blessed to have a whole row to ourselves on the plane which helped a lot. I gave her a bottle right before we took off, and she did great on the flight!
*We spent some time in the Atlanta airport on a layover. It was kind of weird being there and not seeing my parents, but they couldn't get through security and it would have been a hassle for Ellie & I to go out of security and come back through. I ate some lunch and Ellie did as well-a jar of fruit & a jar of veggies. Again, we were blessed to have a whole row to ourselves on the plane. The flight from Atlanta to Augusta is so incredibly short. We went up and then almost immediately back down! No beverage service even. I gave her another bottle on this flight.
*We landed in Augusta where we were met by Melissa and her 3 children, Mary Beth, & Kate! Melissa & MB had met Ellie, but Kate hadn't yet. It was great to see them all! We stopped at McDonald's when we got to Aiken and visited for a long time-catching up, etc. We then went to Melissa's house where we were staying for the weekend. Kate & Mary Beth left, then we hung out for awhile then ate a wonderful dinner that Melissa had cooked.
*After dinner, Mary Beth, Brett, & Hunter came over and took us with them back to their house so we could see some things they'd done to the house and visit. Brett & Hunter left to go to Brett's basketball game and MB & I picked up some cheesecake and took it back to Melissa's house to visit some more and watch some t.v. together! ;) It had been a loooong day, and I was ready to go to sleep. Thankfully, Ellie slept pretty well that night.
Friday, January 16
*MB, Hunter, & Summer (her children) picked me up pretty early and we headed to Atlanta Bread Company for breakfast with 'old' PTA friends-Vindi, MB, Liz, & Kimberly. I was really glad it worked out for me to be able to spend some time with them. We talked & talked! They are some great ladies who work really hard to make their school the best it can for their children-despite obstacles in their path. God bless them!
*After over 2 hours, MB took us back to Melissa's and dropped us off. We then spent the large majority of the day at her house. Leta, a 'surrogate grandmother' to my girls, came over for lunch and to meet Ellie (with M&M's to take back to G&K)! It was great to see her! Her niece lives here in Houston and she & her husband were such a great help to us when we moved here! Leta & I truly have less than 6 degrees of separation which we have discovered over the years.
*Melissa, Ellie, & I ran out for a little bit that afternoon-driving past our old house and hitting the Old Navy sale, etc. That night, we headed out for 'girls' night out'! I was so excited! MB, Kate, & a girl I actually just met that night, Karisa, picked us up at Melissa's house and we headed to Augusta to 'California Dreaming.' Once we were there, we were joined by Heather, Holly, Michelle, Nicole, & Wanda. After we ate, Melissa, MB, Kate, Karisa, & I went to the movie theater to see "Bride Wars." The 9:20 movie that we planned to see had been canceled, so we opted to see the 10:40. It would be a late night, but I don't get to be with these girls often and Ellie was being well taken care of by Melissa's husband, Shawn, so we decided to see the late movie. I felt pretty old because I was really tired by the time it was over! By the time we got home and talked with Shawn, it was about 2:30 when we went to bed. I was so afraid Ellie wouldn't sleep well, but she did pretty well again-not perfect, but pretty well.
Saturday, January 17
*We took it easy that morning, eating a good breakfast Melissa made. Around noon, we all loaded up and headed to Ferrando's for lunch. I love their sausage & feta pizza, so I'd requested we go there for lunch. We met the Cox family (including Gracie's BFF, Leigh Ann!), Mark & Sandra Hudson (Mark was the preacher at the church we went to while in Aiken), and Malcolm & Julee-a couple who love to spoil our girls! :) We had a nice time eating together, although that was probably one of the most bittersweet times for me when I saw Leigh Ann because I know how much she & Gracie would have loved seeing each other. They are BFF's and I miss them getting to spend time together!
*After lunch, we took Shawn back to the house and Melissa, her kids, and Ellie & I headed over to visit with Kate & her family. It was good to see Scott, her kids-Bryson, Greenlee, & Bridger- and her sister. Bryson & Katie were BIG buddies when we were in Aiken! Bridger was only about a week old when we moved, so we were very excited to see him & Ellie together. That visit didn't disappoint-they were sooo cute together! He is one of the cutest babies I've ever seen!
*When we left Kate's, we went to a bookstore for a bit then met Shawn at Lowe's to look at some 'home improvement' stuff for their house. It was fun trying to talk them into the most expensive stuff! We then went back to their house and ate dinner then Melissa, MB, & I went to see "Paul Blart Mall Cop," which was very funny! Again, it was a late night and I was very tired. Ellie did not do near as well this night. :(
Sunday, January 18
*It was nice going back to Aiken Church of Christ and seeing so many people! There are some really great people there! Afterwards, Kate's family joined us at 'Country Connection' which is some good 'ole home cookin'! YUM! We just hung out at Melissa's house the rest of the afternoon. Late that afternoon, we all loaded up to head to Lexington (Columbia) where we met the Cox family again, as well as Alissa's family! Alissa & her family live in Duncan, SC now, and we didn't think it was going to work for us to see each other, but I'm happy to say that it did work out. I was happy for them to get to meet Ellie and for me to see them again. The men stayed at a youth rally with Laura and the older boys (Alissa & her husband work as house parents at a children's home) while Cindy, Melissa, Alissa, & I took the rest of the kids (Leigh Ann, Aidan, Alora, Aralyn, Avery, Karsen, Tatum (Katie's BFF), and Ellie) to Fuddrucker's. It was really nice to sit and visit.
*We headed back to Aiken and visited for a little bit but then it was time to sleep! Again, Ellie didn't do great. I think she was missing her routine & her bed. :(
Monday, January 19
*We got up & got ready and Melissa took us back to the airport. Our fun visit had come to an end! :( It's kind of ironic how our hearts can be in 2 places at 1 time. Our friends in Aiken are so special to us, but our new friends in Houston are becoming so special to us as well. It is really becoming home...but that doesn't take away from our love for some of the memories & people of Aiken. I was missing Chris, Gracie, & Katie, so it was time to come home.
*We were again blessed to have a row to ourselves on the short flight from Augusta & Atlanta where we once again 'enjoyed' a layover. On the flight from Atlanta to Houston, we were not so fortunate though. It was okay though. The guy sitting next to us was so nice and complimentary of Ellie. She actually ended up sleeping for the large majority of the flight which was great!
*Chris & the older girls picked us up where we headed home! Gracie didn't have school that day which worked out nicely for coming to pick me up. We went out to eat for dinner before starting a new adventure the next day..........
I got a job!!!!!!!!!!! What?! Yes, I am beginning to work as one of the church secretaries! This whole thing just kind of fell into my lap, so it's something we're trying out to see how it goes. I am a stay-at-home mom which I truly adore being, so this is definitely 'new,' but it is going to work out well I think. Right now, it is just a 'temporary secretary' job-filling in for another secretary who has had to be out due to her husband being sick. It may turn into something permanent....time will tell.
At first, for about 3 or 4 weeks, I'll be going in everyday-but only during the church's preschool hours which are 9:30-2:00. So, I'll be able to still drop Gracie off at school and pick her up and Katie will be in preschool which she LOVES after only 2 days! Ellie will be right across the hall from Katie's class. I guess I feel the most guilty about Ellie. However, she is just across the courtyard from me AND after these initial weeks of 'learning the ropes,' I will only be going into the office ONE day a week during the preschool hours! The rest of the work I can do from home!!!!!!!!!! Being able to do the work from home is awesome! I think I'll enjoy going in once a week-for just those short hours-and I know Ellie & Katie will be happy & taken care of right there at the church where I'm working! If it does turn into something more permanent, Ellie may end up going 2 days a week to the preschool which might work out with me being able to volunteer at Gracie & Katie's school next year which is something I've missed doing for Gracie this year. We'll see how it goes. I'll be praying for God's will to be done and for Him to bless this opportunity-He knows better than I do what our family needs!
This past weekend, Chris's parents came to watch the girls so we could go on our church's marriage retreat. It was incredible! It was so well planned and we had so much fun and just really enjoyed being with each other for a weekend with no children and getting to know others in our church better. It was wonderful! Unfortunately, our camera was cooperating, so we have just a few pictures.