Friday, December 30, 2011

Georgia Vacation - December 2011

I am one lucky girl. I got to take a SECOND vacation in 2011 to go to Georgia. The vacation we took in June was wonderful, but this time it really felt like going home. Mom and I were talking about how, when they moved to Georgia, I said it would never feel like home and I would never want to live there. With each trip I take, I want to move there more and more. Anyway, this trip felt more than ever like I was HOME! I am ashamed to say that out of the two weeks I was there I only took one picture on my camera and about 10 on my iPod…and they were mostly of food we made and two of my niece and nephew.

So, while I would love to give you pictures to break up the monotony of my words, you will have to use your imagination.

Dad and I visited several cemetery’s to decorate or work on relatives graves. Each time we went he would tell me a little about each relative and how I was related to each person.

Over the summer they had the trees on the farm land cut down and sold and they had several big burn piles. One day dad decided to burn 4, but while he was at it he decided that he could burn 4 more. Let’s just say things got a little bit out of hand and he was out there on the tractor late into the night (after 10 PM) trying to keep the fires from spreading into the woods. When I left a week and a half later, the fires were still smoldering.

The day I got there it was rainy and made a lot of good mud. Dad took me out bogging in the golf cart (this is one I WISH I had a picture of). We were sliding all over the place and laughing so hard. Daddy was just like a little kid out there. He has been busy making a track out in the open land complete with jumps for our brother to take his dirt bike out on. Yep, we took the golf cart over ALL of them. Granted, some of them were so big the golf cart didn’t really want to go over, so we kept going back and forth, packing in down so we could. Dad took me down through the canal…again, no small feat for a golf cart. When we were headed back to the house, dad took me to the last jump he had made (this is actually the one we had to pack down…from both sides). We were both certain that at any moment, one of both of us was going to be thrown out of that golf cart. At one point, we got high centered and we had to jump out (on the jump) and push the golf cart off. I’m pretty sure dad was running on pure adrenaline at this point because he took the jump and came around again as if he were going to jump again, but instead he got this crazy look in his eyes and headed for a tree!! I thought he was joking for the first three seconds but quickly realized that we were doing this! He kept hitting the tree, not at full speed by any means, but it was constant and within 30 seconds we had pushed a pine tree over! It was so cold and rainy out there, but it was one of the BEST highlights of my trip!!

Daddy took me to breakfast at Jerry J’s for THE BEST steak biscuit EVER! Seriously, if you find yourself in South Georgia, find a Jerry J’s!

Mom and I made road trip pillow cases for Macee, Clayton, and Will. They turned out SO CUTE!

Mom and I went to our neighbor Ann’s house. We went down and made Christmas cookies with her – Swedish teacakes and bonbons. I even splurged one day and made Chicken Cordon Bleu Bread Bowls. Have you seen these before? They are amazing!! I actually even made the bread bowls because not one of the grocery stores carried them. Actually, we called one bakery in a store and asked if they carried them and the girl on the other end said that we would need to talk to house wares because they didn’t sell dishes…it was at that point that I lost hope of finding them. Luckily, this recipe comes with a GREAT recipe for bread bowls…try it!

We made breaded egg bread as a family. I made the dough and then the THREE of us braided bread, even dad (we love getting him in on the baking action!). Serve it with blueberry butter…AMAZING!

I was invited to play a piano solo in Church on my second Sunday. I am still not sure why I agreed (and so quickly) to do this. I didn’t have anything prepared, I didn’t have any of my piano music with me; the logical answer would have been to say “thanks, but no thanks”. However, I agreed and I had one week to find a song and practice it enough to be able to play it the next Sunday. It wasn’t my best performance ever, but it wasn’t bad, and it was a BEAUTIFUL song. I want to practice it enough so that I can play it and call it my best performance!

I got to go to primary! Mostly I just sat in the back, but it was so fun to be around children again. I have missed it sooooo much!

We got to visit with a lot of really fun people…some of these people haven’t seen me since I was 4!

We went to Wild Adventure’s in Valdosta. Believe it or not there is a theme park in Georgia…I didn’t know this! It was so much fun! We rode some really fun rides, and one ride that made me scream like I was 5 (the 9 year old next to me kept talking to me...haha, fun memory), but it was amazing! We couldn’t have picked a better day to go. It was about 70 degrees, sunny and beautiful. There were NO lines! We covered the entire park in less than three hours! I think we all came home exhausted (with scrambled brains) from that.

We drove out to the Okefenokee Swamp Park. We got all the way out there only to find that it wasn’t even open, so I took a picture of the closed sign (yes, the one picture I took on my camera…so sad, I know).

We went to Cracker Barrel down in Brunswick on the way to see Spence and his family. We had just been seated and ordered our food when we saw a couple from Waycross that we knew. They joined us and we all had lunch together! It was such a fun time!

I took several naps, just because I could…and because I would come in and lay down, so did everyone else. I think it did us all a world of good.

Mom and I developed an inside joke relating to the game Mahjong. I could tell you what it is, but I won’t because 1. It wouldn’t be an inside joke anymore and 2. I’d have to kill you. :)

We harvested pecans. It is no longer the terrible back breaking job it used to be. They have this dandy little contraption that you roll along the ground and the pecans pop into it as you roll over them.

We sold pecans. You take them to this building (they buy, crack and sell pecans all on site). Luckily we were just in the business of selling pecans. You dump your pecans on to this special table. One guy has a nifty gadget that takes the end of the shell of pecans so they can check a random few to make sure they are a good batch. Then they dump them into a burlap sack, weigh it and give you the money.

I got to drive the tractor. I wasn’t doing anything useful on it…just driving, but it was still fun.

I sat on the back porch in the sun and read. So lazy and relaxing.

We went fishing! There is a man that lives around the corner from my parents who has a lovely pond. He lets them go fishing whenever they like. We went down one day and didn’t catch a single fish. But the second time we went back, we started getting bites. It seemed that each time we brought in a fish it was bigger than the last! We had such a good time.

I got to play with the animals. I got to snuggle with my adorable Paco. The poor thing is so old he doesn’t see very well and he is mostly deaf. Each morning he would sit at my door and beg to come and jump in bed with me until I got up for the day. Mom and dad have also adopted a cat who answers to the name Kitty Cat (I know, original, but it works). She looks like a cat, but she has to be part pig. The thing eats at least 3 times a day and begs for more each time she sees you! She is very skittish, but loves to be petted and loved…and did I mention fed? Also, mom and dad are currently dog sitting our brother’s dog, Boomer. He is a Jack Russell/Lab mix…he is so cute! He is super hyper and loves to run and bite and eat and bite and, you get the idea. He is 15 weeks old so still very much a puppy. I put him on the little kiddie slide in the back and he kept going down it (seriously, what other choice did he have) and then I put him in the tire swing. Boomer loves to go for rides in the golf cart (not quite like the one we went on) and will chase almost anything you throw.

In less detail, we cleaned the church, played games, went and visited people in the ward, shot the guns, drove the truck (I have a power issue), ate lots of good food, worked out a few times, and basically just fell in love with Georgia! It was an amazing trip and I can’t wait to start planning the next visit (or move…we’ll just have to wait and see).

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