We hit the road for the entire week of Thanksgiving. It was really a nice time, and we got to see Jeff's folks. Jeff is more family-oriented that almost anyone I know. It makes a huge difference in his mood (and thus in mine!) to be able to spend a solid amount of time with his people.
Jeff with his step-cousin Ben, who is also his best friend.
Jeff with his closest friends at our wedding. Included in the bunch are a cousin, a step-cousin, and a step-brother. The rest are like family.
Jeff with his best friend Brandon and best friend/cousin Robert/Tonto (remind me to tell you the story of Tonto another day).
Jeff with his mom Zan at our friend Julie's wedding.
So, with photographic evidence, now you can see that I'm not lying about Jeff being family-oriented.
Back to the trip. Because we are still somewhat young and mostly poor, we drive. And drive. And drive. To Nashville. It's about ten hours. We can do it in eight or nine, but that was pre-baby and frequent stops to nurse and change and just get her out of the God-forsaken seat.
The baby was actually quite a champion and didn't freak out too much. The hard part was just being away from home and any semblance of a routine that we have going on (which isn't much to speak of, but still). Trying to get her to go to bed at night was hopeless. She knew there was excitement that she wasn't a part of, and there were protestations at every turn.
Why is Vicki Jo shining like a bright angel in this photo?
We stayed with our close friends Jeremy and Kat in Nashville, and then we headed even further east to Sevierville, Tennessee. Sevierville is outside Dollywood/Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge - a breathtakingly gorgeous area of the state. Jeff's mom (from the picture) and her family originally come from this part of the state, and they have some family land carved up and topped with amazing log cabins. We stayed there for several days, then back to Nashville, then back to Kansas.
I learned a few things. I learned that taking some time away from work and ministry makes me much more refreshed when I return (and not just a day off here and there. We're talking a week at a time to really make a difference). I learned that I still get carsick in the backseat. I learned that a baby who sleeps all day in the carseat probably won't sleep much at night.
But the real question I have today is this: does anyone else go bonkers trying to clean your house before you go away on a trip? It's the weirdest thing. I have the compulsion to do all the laundry, pack, wash all the dishes and clean the stove, wash all the sheets so they'll be fresh when we get back, make sure everything is folded and put away where it goes, scrub the sink and toilet, use up all the perishables from the fridge . . . why do I do this? What is this crazy-making instinct to leave my house in spotless shape for . . . no one? I'm not sure, but please tell me I'm not the only one who does this.