There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Ellettsville, Indiana.....home.

Ellettsville, Indiana…..home.

We picked up our rental car the Friday afternoon before Christmas in order to load it up that evening for an early morning departure on Saturday. With a road trip of 1090 miles looming ahead, we wanted to be on I-75 heading North no later than 7 AM. Mission accomplished.
We’re fairly certain that everyone else in Florida heading north for Christmas left at the exact same time. The bumper to bumper traffic continued right through Georgia as well, with several fender benders thrown into the mix just for good measure.
We stopped in Dalton, Georgia, just south of the Tennessee line. I knew of a dog friendly Comfort Inn right off the interstate where we could stay for the night. It wasn’t a very restful night due to highway noise and a 2:40 AM prank phone call, but it was clean, and it was convenient. We checked out before 7 in order to dine at the nearby Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Don loves Cracker Barrel breakfasts and I like being able to order a side of okra to go with my eggs.Within the hour, we were back on the freeway.
Traffic thinned out considerably by the time we hit I-24 West and we made it back home to Indiana by 3 that afternoon where my mother had a delicious pot roast complete with all the fixings waiting for us.
That evening we attended a candlelight Christmas service with our daughter Kristi, son-in-law Jason, my mother, and three of our grandchildren at their church. A tradition I love. I can’t think of a better way to begin the holiday. It was a beautiful service too with lots of singing. I just love the old traditional Christmas hymns, don’t you?
Afterwards we all met at the local Bob Evans for dessert where our youngest daughter is a manager. Since it wasn’t too busy, she was able to sit down and join us for a while. Lots of talking and plenty of laughter. As tired as Don and I were, it sure felt good to be sharing this time with our family.

MONDAY

In November, our family physician notified us that he would be retiring in December. That meant we needed to establish a new primary care physician for ourselves,  and after much internet research I found one that met our needs. So Monday morning, I met with our new doctor. He was very personable and thorough. I liked how he took the time to sit, talk and to listen. But I also must get Don’s opinion of the man and that’ll have to wait until Don sees the doctor on Tuesday.

Oliver Winery

Oliver Winery

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                                                                         The grounds are beautifully landscaped. A very inviting place to picnic, sip wine, and chat with friends.

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Don samples the Port

Don samples the Port

A quick stop at the local winery and the grocers, we made it back home with just enough time to eat lunch before mom and I picked up Bobbi-Leigh at the end of her shift to go shopping. Our destination…..Babies R Us. Our youngest, Bobbi-Leigh, is expecting her first child. Grandpa and I had a nursery set to purchase. This shopping trip also gave us the opportunity to check out all the other baby items Bobbi was going to need for the new arrival. We looked at car seats, broke down strollers then set them up again, just to see how easy (or difficult) they might be to use. We looked at bath tubs and monitors, swings and play yards. Mom and I remarked often on just how much these items had improved since we used them. I believe Bobbi’s reaction to all of this can be summed up in one word…..overwhelmed. We did accomplish our mission though and after paying through the nose for the 60 mile delivery fee, the three of us were back on the road again. I dropped mom off to get her car so the four of us, Don included, could comfortably go out to eat at our favorite Ellettsville restaurant, Three Amigos. We couldn’t fit the fourth person in the rental, I had the new crib mattress with us.

The nursery furniture that Bobbi chose.

The nursery furniture that Bobbi chose.

The Three Amigos has never disappointed us foodwise since they opened last year and this time was no different. The service though left a lot to be desired. We chose to give them the benefit of the doubt and chalked it up to be shorthanded for the holidays. Mom headed back to her house after dinner while Don and I took Bobbi and her crib mattress home. It gave us the opportunity to see her new apartment too. One nice thing about it is it’s very close to the campground where we’ll be staying this coming Spring/Summer.

TUESDAY

It was Don’s turn to meet with our new internist. Don’s visit was a bit more extensive than mine and was followed up with a stop at the hospital for a PSA test. His first impression of Dr. Lomasney  was as favorable as mine so I do believe we have a keeper. Don dropped me off at ma’s so I could get Christmas presents wrapped while he went to get tires for Bobbi’s car. She’s been driving around on bald tires so grandpa Don put his foot down about auto safety and having his grandbaby in the car.

Maddy with her new beau, Cody.

Maddy with her new beau, Cody.

Tuesday evening after dinner, Kristi came by with the two oldest grandchildren, Brad and Maddy, and Maddy’s boyfriend Cody. Maddy had been wanting us to meet him and had warned us previous to the meeting, that her new beau had redneck tendencies. Well this is Southern Indiana ya know. He did however meet our expectations and we all spent an enjoyable evening talking, telling jokes and looking at old family photo albums.

CHRISTMAS EVE

Our day started with mom treating us to breakfast out and of course breakfast out meant Bob Evans. Ma loves their Rise and Shine breakfast meal. Back at the house I made a Coconut Pecan pie for Christmas Day, Bobbi will be bringing the pumpkin one. Then I ran a load of clothes and gathered gifts to take with us to Jason and Kristi’s tonight while Don and mom, napped, read and yelled at the CNN newscasters. The news just frustrates me anymore, I try to avoid watching it as much as possible.

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Jason & Kristi

Jason & Kristi

Chris & Bobbi

Chris & Bobbi

This tribe belongs to our oldest, Kristi. Ian, Maddy, Lily Belle, Brad & Gabby

This tribe belongs to our oldest, Kristi.
Ian, Maddy, Lily Belle, Brad & Gabby

In the late afternoon, the family gathered at Jason & Kristi’s home. Gifts were exchanged and opened, Drinks were consumed and photos were taken. The pizza, Moon Pies, Christmas cookies and fudge added inches to our waistlines and best of all, memories were made.

Mom, an avid puzzle builder, was delighted with the White Mountain Puzzles gift card we gave her.

Mom, an avid puzzle builder, was delighted with the White Mountain Puzzles gift card we gave her.

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We tried to convince Maddy it was a pooper scooper

                                                            We tried to convince Maddy she was getting a super-sized pooper scooper for Christmas, but she wasn’t buying it.

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One especially memorable moment was when Bobbi-Leigh passed out identical gift boxes; one to her grandmother, one to her sister, and one to me. Our instructions were the three of us had to open our gifts at the same time. This is the present Don and I received….

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Apparently she and Chris have known for several weeks that they were expecting a girl and unbelievably, didn’t let the cat out of the bag until tonight. A great time was had by all, young and old.

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Grandpa stayed busy, putting lights on Gabby’s bike, leading Ian astray, & teaching Maddy guitar chords.

CHRISTMAS

Christmas morning found me in the kitchen making quiche Lorraine for breakfast. A quiet time of the day for the three of us without children or grandchildren around. I do miss those days when our own girls were small and still believed in Santa Claus. Christmas morning is so magical when seen through the eyes of a child you love.

Later that evening Bobbi and Chris came over for Christmas dinner and to watch my favorite Christmas program, A Christmas Story with us. Even though I know it by heart, it still cracks me up. The rest of the our brood was spending Christmas with our son-in-law’s side.

Mom's little kitchen dinette couldn't accommodate. Thank goodness for card tables. everyone

Mom’s little kitchen dinette couldn’t accommodate everyone. Thank goodness for card tables.  The meal’s just starting & already Tucker’s  looking for ham scraps.

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FRIDAY

Bobbi wanted grandma, Don and I to meet her and Chris for breakfast this morning. Don wanted to take Maddy to the local music store to pick up a case for her new guitar. I suggested we pick up Maddy to join us for breakfast then stop by Melody Music on our way back home. On our way over to get our granddaughter, I received a text saying that Gabby was up and could she come too. Not being ones to pass on having entertainment with our meal, we happily agreed to take Gabby as well. Our little Gabrielle can be very amusing, forthright and brutally honest to boot. Kristi has often said that when she hears these words from Gabby’s teacher, “You won’t believe what Gabby said in class today”, it strikes fear into her heart. And our little granddaughter did not disappoint. We had a very lively breakfast this morning.

Gabby never fails to entertain.

Gabby never fails to entertain.

Don struck out at the music store. A lot of folks in southern Indiana must have received guitar cases from Santa this year. He did pick up a guitar stand for her though and when we returned home I ordered Maddy a case online.

Later, I found myself back in the kitchen. Bobbi requested I make her favorite dish before I left town so Mexican Lasagna was on todays menu. The day was topped off by spending our last evening in Indiana visiting with our loved ones. We’ll be heading out early tomorrow morning to begin our two day trek back to Southern Florida. Until April…..

Here’s lookin’ at you kid……………

Ian's rendition of a gingerbread house.

Ian’s rendition of a gingerbread house.

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