Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oh the Places You'll Go and the People You'll See!

After 9 months away from the USA we were overdue for a home visit. It did feel a little "Dr. Seuss-ical" with all we crammed into two short weeks - New York City, Raleigh, Atlanta, Beaufort, and everywhere in between. But we survived and were comforted to see that even though life certainly goes on, our dear friends haven't forgotten about us. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who hosted and loved on us during our visit - reminding us why we love the USA!Connor and I traveled back to the States by ourselves a few days before Kirk. We stopped to bask in the glow of new-mom-to-be Deya! She is expecting her first child in November. I couldn't bear for her entire pregnancy to pass without us patting her tummy and squealing with anticipation and excitement in person. So we laid over our first night in NYC and it was a fun girlie time. Deya is beautiful and is going to be a super duper Mom.

We also had time to get our American bearings while in New York. I immediately noticed how friendly folks were on the streets. We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and it felt patriotic, flooding me with gratitude being "home" (I never thought I would think of NYC as home, but it was the first place I saw our flag and where I could read the street signs in English - it was, well, sweet - like the sign says!)We made it to North Carolina and delivered "the grandchild" into the eager arms of Connor's grandmothers. Oh it was good to be home. We had every hour scheduled going forward filled with visiting friends and family. We had breakfast in Greensboro with Lin-Lin, Uncle Marshall, Aunt Anne, Aunt Howard, and Cousins David and Caroline. Then we met my college roommates, Adair and Beth, at Friendly Shopping Center in Greensboro. It was hilarious to see our three little ones together. They were all blond and could have been siblings! Who would have guessed a blond, brunette, and redhead would deliver three towheads!?!? Adair and Will were feeling a little under the weather, but you would never have known it from their adorable smiles.Beth and Rutley were two peas in a pod. Rutley got Beth's entrancing blue eyes. It did my heart good to be with these friends who are like sisters to me.Back in Raleigh it wasn't long before Cara took us to the pool. Connor was in Heaven - a doting grandmom, warm sun, and a pool to splash in. Does it get any better?!?
And oh the UNCLES came to visit! Sweet Ryan, Evan and Davis all made the trek home to play with their niece. Davis and Evan indulged in a tiny tea party...
Ryan taught Connor all about money (quite fitting from the investment banker!)...And they played ball with Connor in the backyard! They had trouble getting this big green ball in the basket, but laughed and played to Connor's delight.
Connor is lucky to have three handsome, wonderful uncles.Uncle Bill, Aunt Shari, and Cousin Lauren came to visit!Connor basked in being the center of attention!Great Grandma "Anmama" was ready with lots of hugs and kisses!
Cara even let Connor play atop the pool table with all the pool balls. One of Connor's all time favorite activities!We met Katie, Chuck, and Rachel in Durham for breakfast at Nosh. Thankfully there were lots of toys. Great to touch base with this gorgeous family!Next we flew to Atlanta to check on everyone there. We made a beeline from the airport to Oakhurst. Connor fell right back into sink with Aly and Mattie. I really think she remembered them from 12 months earlier.We had a tremendous dinner with all our Oakhurst gang at Wahoo! It was the perfect setting for the kids to run around and the grown ups to gab. All the little ones have grown up and the fellowship with one another was terrific. We dined with Rick and Christy and their daughters, Palmer and Hagen. Mexican at Matador's...great company, a new baby and salty margaritas!!! Perfect.
Mike and Tonya made us a homemade meal of all our favorites! Tonya is an avid blog follower and knew all of Connor's very favorites from our journal. Connor was in food disbelief - mac and cheese, ham and cheese croissant and frozen peas. Yum, Yum! Their one-year-old, Harrison, is absolutely adorable.The kids had a bundle of fun together. I was completely touched by Mike and Tonya's generosity and thoughtfulness. It felt like they had rolled out the red carpet just for us. I met Judy's new baby, Javier, and we played hard at Oakhurst Park. Javier is the smilingest baby I have ever seen. Judy is a natural mom; her calm confidence is reflected in her happy baby.
We took Connor by her old school to see her first teachers - Miss Gloria and Miss Melissa. She was a little shy at first, but it proved a terrific treat once she warmed up. Connor couldn't get enough. It seems like just yesterday that I put my trust and my 4 month old into their arms and their care. I am thankful for their tremendous love.Next we hopped on a plane to Raleigh then traveled directly to Beaufort, NC. We gathered there with all 4 grandparents in celebration of Lin-Lin's milestone birthday! We scampered to Atlantic Beach ASAP where Connor proved to be a little fish in the waves and sand. Here she is just so void of attention at the beach, don't you think?!? Hah!I have never seen a child RUN as much as Connor did at the beach this day. There was sand in every part of her and we all got a great dose of the beach.
Any photo compilation of friends and family would not be complete without picturing Connor with Clay. They were the best of friends. I think being the same height helps. There was definitely a strong Toddler/Dog bond!Connor loved waving at all the boats going by in Taylor's Creek. Beaufort is a special place. With wild horses on Carrot Island across the creek and beautiful sailboats crossing, you can't go wrong!Dick and I put on a family party for Lin-Lin. Balloons and the paper towel banner made everything more festive! We even had several birthday shouts from boats sailing by recognizing her special day!PEE-PIE Lin-Lin!Three generations celebrate a birthday in the Beaufort sunset.Back on the Willingham ranch we were happy to see neighbors Lucy, Shelly, and Noah!Davis returned from college to do some laundry and eat Popsicles with Connor!Becca, who will also be delivering her first baby this Fall, came by for some laughter and baby hugs! Becca is radiant and her little boy must feel all her love and goodness enveloping him.The annual Roseberry Family photo came out great!And we had a blast with the Anders. Cousins Rose Mary and Jack were loads of fun! And Olivia, the new aupair from Brazil makes a great fit, rounding out their family.The goodbyes were hardest of all. Papa Ed came by after work for a farewell squeeze.Lin-Lin and Cara took us to the airport. We were sure to squeeze in some last books together before boarding the plane.

We are lucky and loved. It made getting on the plane very difficult. We will be back soon!!! Love you.
Click here for Part One photos and Click here for Part Two photos from our USA trip (too many photos to cram into one album)

No comments: