Friday, September 03, 2010


Two weeks before school started we set out for Anniston, Alabama to see my Grandma (my Mom's Mom), my Aunt Cathy and Uncle Ed. I love road trips! This one took us 12 hours. The girls did amazing! Abby enjoyed watching videos. Avery read a book, watched videos and played Barbies with Abby. They are at a good age now where traveling is so much easier. They entertain themselves so well, they don't get fussy or cry, they can feed themselves, and their bladders are bigger (although Avery wins the award for needing more potty breaks - I think Abby must have a gigantic bladder).

We arrived around 8pm and had a good time catching up with Cathy and Ed. The next day Cathy and I ate breakfast with my Grandma. She is in a nursing home now. She suffers from Alzheimers and needs the help of trained professionals. She stayed with Cathy for a while, but now her Alzheimers has gotten so bad that she needs the extra care. Her nursing home is close to Cathy so that is convenient. It is a beautiful facility with gorgeous grounds. Most nursing homes have that gross smell and the people staying there look so sad and depressed. This place had a pleasant smell and cheery atmosphere.

It was sad to see Grandma in the state she was in. She was happy and content and would laugh from time to time, but it was clear that the disease has a strong grip on her. She sees Cathy almost every day and can't remember that she is her daughter. I have such good memories of Grandma. She was a wonderful artist and painted several pictures of her grandchildren. She even got paid to paint to paint pictures for people. She was also very crafty and made all kinds of things. She always had big doll houses in her yard that we could play in. The rooms had pictures of her grandchildren that she painted. She had dolls and dishes and would often play along with us. She always had a stash of dress up clothes for us too. When we were older she would bring costumes to our week long family reunions and would help us put on skits for the rest of our family. When we stayed at her house in Modesto, CA we always enjoyed going down the street together to swim in the community pool. I shared with Avery and Abby how my Grandma used to be. It was neat to show the girls pictures of Grandma and to show them her paintings and some of the crafts she had made. Cathy even gave the girls a pony Grandma had actually cut out and painted and another sculpture she had painted.

After breakfast we brought Grandma with us over to Cathy's house where we enjoyed watching some old home videos. One was of us and the Bushes (our good family missionary friends in Kenya) at Christmas when I was about 8 years old. The girls got a kick out of seeing me as a little girl. It was neat to see Mom in the videos. One of the hardest things about her being gone is the fact that the girls don't get to be around her or get to know her. Avery was 3 and Abby was 1 when she passed away.

In the afternoon we went swimming in Cathy and Ed's pool. The girls, of course, loved this. Cathy, Wes, and I all helped Avery learn how to dive. We all also had fun playing with their dog, Cisco who would get in the pool.

Avery enjoying her favorite fruit.

Nothing like eating some juicy watermelon around the pool.

We loved hanging out with Aunt Cathy in the pool.

After swimming we went to see Despicable Me. It was easily one of the best kid's movies we had seen in a while.

Sporting the cute 3D glasses.

The next day we did more swimming and we all went and saw Ramona and Beezus. I read all the Ramona books when I was younger so I really enjoyed the movie. We visited Grandma and told her good-bye.

We love you Grandma!

The next morning we headed back to Texas. A fun highlight of the trip back was our sing-a-long. We would take turns choosing a song off of Wes's IPOD to sing at the top of our lungs and dance to (as well as you can all strapped in). It was a blast!

Abby in the middle of her dance moves. Sadly Avery would not let me take her picture.

We also stopped by Bryant Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa. Wes's favorite team is the Alabama Crimson Tide, so we had to make the stop. As we were walking to see the statues of some of their coaches, Abby asked why we were doing that. I replied, "To make Dad happy... lets go." They were actually about to put in the new statue of Nick Saban the day we were there, which made Wes's day!

Wes and the girls with Gene Stallings, coach of the 1992 National Championship team.

Posing with Bear Bryant. Abby is quick to comment about his "Horsetooth" (Hounds-tooth) hat.
The soon to be site of Coach Saban's statue.

I was so thankful that we made the trip. It was good to see Cathy, Ed, and Grandma and catch up with each other. Cathy, I am still rooting for you all to move to Texas. Thanks again for a great time! We love you all!

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