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I'm back

WOW, can you believe it is 2024 and January is over?  I for one am watching this year fly by.  As many of you know I took a break during the Holiday season to be able to focus on spending time with my grandparents and getting a much-needed break. I didn’t plan on my computer breaking and having to send it out for repair.  As of today, it is still being repaired and I am learning how to use Google programs on my iPad.  It is not as easy as one would think but I am making the best of it.  Here’s to hoping my computer comes back to me repaired and ready for use.



pHOTO: MOM, DAD, NANA AND PAPWA GATHERED AROUNF THE CHRISTMAS TREE WEARING OUR CHRISTMAS OUTFITS
fAMILY cHRISTMAS

We made our annual trip to Florida to visit with my grandparents and see family.  Our trip started in the wee hours of the morning and I slept most of the way in the front seat.  That is because that is the only seat that reclines.  I was a little squished but not as much as Mom.  Halfway through the trip, she figured out that if she opened the glove box I could have a place to put my feet.  Who knew that the glove box could also hold feet?



Photo: a santa earring hanging from my ear.
Santa hanging on my ear


Our trip was pretty uneventful as we stopped in South Carolina for the night.  I tried to convince Dad to stop at Buckee’s, the mega convenience stop of all time, but he didn’t.  Mom promised we would stop on the way back.  We had been in the car for over 14 hours and Dad had had enough.  He has no idea what he missed.  We stopped for dinner at a place called Julia Belles.  A strange little mix of fine dining and fast food.  That is to say, you order at the counter and they bring you your food on dinner plates and give you real silverware.  The tables had checkerboard tablecloths but they looked like covered fast food tables.  We ordered all kinds of Southern BBQ food.  I ordered fried green tomatoes, they came on a bed of cheesy grits.  I guess that is a Southern thing.  I also ordered chicken fingers and fries.  I figured they were safe.  As I have never eaten grits I was a little leery.  Mom tried to explain what they tasted like but you just have to trust that you may only eat one bite.  I was surprised, they tasted pretty good, I think the cheese killed the taste of the creamy grits.  After a good night's sleep, we headed to The Villages, the retirement Mecca of Florida.



Photo: a plate of cheesy grits and fried green tomatoes
Cheesy grits and fried green tomato


Nothing is better than pulling into Nan’s driveway and seeing the sun setting over the palm trees and her yard impeccably decorated for Christmas.  She went with an all-white theme this year with gold tall trees, it was stunning.  At one point in time, we FaceTimed with my three-year-old cousin.  She told Nana she couldn’t wait to see her deer.  She loves animals, we didn’t have the heart to tell her they were not real.  Nana told her she could visit them anytime.  When it is not Christmas she keeps them in the attic.  Scarlet could hardly contain her excitement about seeing her dear someday.  We all joked that Mom could bring them to her if she wanted.


Photo: me in the front yard at Nana's as the sun is setting.  The sky is pinks and peach hues
You have reached your destination

Our days were filled with watching it rain, shopping, chatting, and watching movies on TV.  Unfortunately, mom forgot the phone that runs my glasses so it was tricky to see.  We had opened presents the night before we left and Mom said I need to not forget this, but in the rush she did.  We made due because it was able to spend time not watching what was on TV.


Photo: nana's front yard with the light up dear and golden christmas trees
Nana's yard all decorated


One day when we went shopping.  As I was getting ready Papaw commented on how he liked my bracelet and where was his.  Mom quickly ran to the bedroom and got him a bracelet to wear that we got from the Christmas crackers.  As we were getting in the car he noticed I had a pink fuzzy seat belt cover and asked where it was mine.  Mom is like Mary Poppins, she went into the back of the van and pulled out another fuzzy pink seat belt cover for Papaw.  We smile about that all day.  I must say it was one of my favorite moments of the whole trip.  Nana told me that that night when he took off the bracelet he told her it was his.


Photo: me and papaw with the pink fuzzy seatbelt protectors on in the van.  This is my favorite picture and show the silly side of papaw
Twining!

Dinners at Nana’s are full of love.  We had special meals every night with the most delicious salads. Nana has everything to make lettuce taste better.  My favorite is the marinated mushrooms.  Nana being Nana made a special stop at the store so that I could enjoy the mushrooms at home.  She also made the most delicious cookies, like Papaw my favorites were the chocolate chips.  She also made her famous chocolate chip pancakes just for me.  I love all the special touches and thoughtfulness. I hope that someday I can do that for my grandchildren.  First, though I must find my Papaw. 



Photo: Oversized red christmas ball behind a plate of homemade cookies
Cookies at Nana's

We did manage to go out a few times to dinner to give Nana a much-needed break.  She works so hard making sure that everything is perfect. One night we went out with Uncle Jim and Aunt Marie.  We went to their country club, and even though I ordered a calzone and got a pizza it was still good and we had fun as it was Dad’s final night in Florida.  He was flying home the next day.  I was going to meet up with a friend for coffee after we dropped him off.


Photo: Uncle Jim, Aunt Marie  and me in my christmas dress. Nayla hamming it up for the picture too in front of the christmas tree
Christmas family fun

We also got to spend time with Aunt Chris.  We went for breakfast at Darrly’s diner.  At first, I thought this would be a great place to bring Nana, but then I saw they welcomed pets and knew it was not the place for her.  We grabbed a quick Starbucks and then went back to Nana’s to chat and hang out.  The day was pretty uneventful but it was nice to catch up and give Nana more downtime. Later that day we went to Nana’s storage unit to drop off all her Christmas decorations that we had to take down.  Even though Nana didn’t think she did enough decorating for Christmas this year, she did.  It is always sad to take down the festive decorations to store them away for the year.  I sometimes wonder what it is like to be a Christmas decoration that is stored away.  Are happy that they got to spread the joy or sad that it only lasted for about a month?  Anyway, when we took Papaw with us to the storage unit he asked me if we were storing him away.  Silly Papaw, no we weren’t.  Being in new places is sometimes confusing for him but he always manages to find some type of humor.


Photo: me and Aunt Chris smiling from ear to ear
Breakfast then Starbucks!

Unfortunately, all visits must come to an end. We ended by going to Peach Wave for yogurt and Olive Garden for dinner. If you have never been to Peach Wave it is a self-serve frozen yogurt place with all kinds of toppings.  It can easily cost a small fortune depending on the weight of your toppings. Mom and I got up early the next morning to start our trek home.  Our first stop would be Bucee’s then Raleigh for the weekend to visit my cousin.


Photo: papaw and dad both wearing red and paper crowns.  Fun after the christmas crackers
Two Kings Twining

Every trip is full of surprises and fun things to remember.  This trip was no different, I got the surprise of all the surprises that I will tell you all about next week.  But the most important thing is I got to be surrounded by love.  I got to spend time with two of the most important people in my life and make memories that I will be able to hold near and dear to my heart.  Nana and Papaw, I love you both so very much and can’t wait until we can do it again.


Thank you for reading until the end!


This is the view from my wheelchair, where miracles can make a difference.  Always Strive for the Impossible.  Come back next week to see if it's never too late and hear more about my experiences and The View From My Wheelchair.



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