Wednesday, October 31, 2012

If It's Fall, It's Time for the Fair!

Every year when October rolls around, we start anticipating the North Carolina State Fair! I can only recall two times since 1989 that we have missed it, and one of them was when EZ was two months post transplant...definitely not possible to be eating fair food while being surrounded by hundreds of people carrying millions of germs! This year we were thrilled to be going with our kids...well with the exception of Nick who was entrenched in his studies (oops, as EZ reminded me with his comment below, it was a NASCAR race that kept Nick from joining us!). It was a gorgeous night and we had a blast.

 The six of us loaded up and headed down to Raleigh for our night of family, food and fun at the fair!

 First stop, the roasted corn and lemonade, Big EZ's favorite!

 Next we decided to split a pizza. Surprisingly good...brought me back to my days in Italy!

Kyle had to have some homemade chips (loaded) and of course we all helped him finish them! Tara loves the fried Snickers (We all know this stuff is pretty awful for you, but once a year we'll forget about that!)

 This gentleman has been making us root beer floats in his red and white striped tent/truck for as long as we've been going to the fair (he does normally smile).

Are you getting the picture here? We LOVE fair food and look forward to our favorites for a whole year! Its just part of the experience.

Time to ride the swings with my girls!

And here are the couples:  EZ and I, Tara and Jamie, and Kyle and Leah.

What's the fair without bringing home a caramel apple from Miss Debbie's to cut up and share later? Already looking forward to next year!

Many thanks to Sophie, Suzanna and Gigi for entertaining and watching over our five grandchildren so that we grown ups could be kids again!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

An Unexpected Trip to New Jersey

On October 5th, my mother's sister, Ruth Carey, passed away following a recurrence of breast cancer that had metastasized to her liver. She was 76. Unfortunately breast cancer has reared its ugly head much too frequently in my mother's family, with all four of her sisters having been diagnosed, and two of them losing their lives. My 'Aunt Ruthie' was living in Florida, but had traveled to New Jersey for her grandson Zack's birthday when her condition worsened. She eventually succumbed at her daughter Colleen's home, under the wonderful care of Hospice. 

I loved my Aunt Ruthie and her passing was unexpected and devastating. My heart breaks at the thought of my Uncle Mike heading home to Florida without the love of his life, or her grandchildren growing up without their Nana, or her children, sisters and other family and friends living life without her. Cancer can be so very cruel and she will be terribly missed.

Uncle Mike, Aunt Ruthie and two of their grandchildren this past summer.

Once the arrangements had been made, my mother and I jumped in the car on a Tuesday morning (on a wing and a prayer!), and headed north to spend time with family, and attend the services for her beloved sister. EZ remained at home to hold down the fort, keep appointments, and care for our dogs and cats. We arrived safely at my Aunt CC's house 11 1/2 hours later, due to a diesel spill on I-95. Whew!

On the way up we stopped at a fast food restaurant that we had never seen before, but our choices were very limited. What a pleasant surprise it was to enjoy some tasty food, served by some of the nicest people, on real dishes with real silverware, and with a smile! Anyone familiar with Pollo Campero?

Though it was an emotional time for us, it was also a time of re-uniting with family members that we don't see as much as we would like. Here is my cousin Kathy and I, along with many of my girl cousins, all daughters of my mother's four sisters. What a blessing to have so many girls to hang out with as we were growing up.

Maureen, Amy, Me, Kathy, Becky and Colleen. (Maureen and Colleen are my Aunt Ruthie's daughters.)

Mom with her sister Ruth's grandson, Zack. He sure loved his Nana...

Before heading home we went out to dinner and were able to enjoy a delicious 'specialty of the house' pork chop at a local restaurant. It did not disappoint. If you ever travel to Manasquan, NJ, you must eat at Harpoon Willys!

Before we knew it, Friday had arrived and it was time to drive home. I loaded up on caffeine and we tried a different route, stopping at a beautiful marina to break up our trip and have lunch. The trip home took us about 10 hours, and we were grateful and happy to arrive safe and somewhat sound.

As we struggled with the loss of Aunt Ruthie, two particular bible verses gave us great comfort. She no longer occupies a body where cancer got the upper hand. She is in paradise.

2 Corinthians 5:1..."Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands." 

Also, John 14:2..."Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you."

Friday, October 19, 2012

Alas, Moving Day Arrives!

Exactly one week after her surgery, our daughter was saying goodbye to Georgia and hello to North Carolina!  The truck was rented and packed full, the farewells had been said, and a new home awaited their arrival. (One moving truck, two SUVs, two pick-up trucks and a trailer were all needed to make it happen!)


North Carolina 

Here are a few recorded moments in the days before we drove away. Leah's surgery and recovery went amazingly well, and Emery was an angel amidst all the busyness!

Marietta Pizza one last time for all the helpers! 

 Packed and ready to go!

My co-pilot Elle. One of two kitties that rode with me.

So very happy to have Leah, Kyle and Emery back in North Carolina. I leave you with one last pic of Ernie and Nick meeting up for dinner while I was away. Love my two boys and sure did miss them while I was away!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Special Moments with Emery

With Leah heading into surgery the morning after I arrived, it was important for Emery and I to become buddies fairly quickly in order for Momma to truly rest and recuperate. Thankfully she warmed right up to me and we spent some really sweet time together in the days to follow. Em loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse so I got some points right off the bat when I brought a bag of Minnie goodies (yes, it is a Victoria Secret bag, but it was just the right size and it was pink, so I went with it!). Just love this little sweetie pie!

The following are iPhone pics I took as we walked, played and hung out together. I loved every minute of it and Leah was allowed to heal following her surgery. So blessed to be able to spend this kind of time with my youngest granddaughter. (She is very photogenic, so be prepared for alot of pictures!)

On our last walk we headed back down to historic Marietta Square so Emery could play on the locomotive. She was such a big girl sitting in it all by herself! What a wonderful park to have just a few blocks from the house.

Near the end of the week I began to see definite signs that Fall was on its way!