I decided to brave another solo travel experience with the kids the beginning of December and we headed down to Texas to visit with John's mom and our friends that we left in League City. We were gone for around 10 days and had so much fun, many wonderful memories and conversations and I loved all the time we had with everyone and was overwhelmed with friend's hospitality.
This travel experience was a little more complicated and overwhelming and I would even say that flying solo from Saudi to Seattle was almost easier than the whole Seattle to Houston round trip experience mostly because I didn't buy a seat for Graham and thought I could handle him in my lap and I was adding a car rental on each end. The seat thing was annoying and certainly made it so much harder to manage two kids alone when I only had one hand available and trying to hold Graham with the other and he is just too big and doesn't fit in my lap. Lesson learned that just because he is under two doesn't mean he should be in my lap especially on a five hour flight and alone! As for the bags and having to deal with moving baggage from the airport to the car rental place (of course off site both times) along with two kids, car seats and a stroller. We survived mainly due to extremely helpful porters and the car rental bus driver in Houston and then the rental car people in Seattle. We rented from Enterprise in both places and they went above and beyond to help me out and I was so thankful!
Because I was solo and moving between three houses, visiting lots of people...it turns out that I was pretty bad about taking pictures :(
We started out the trip staying at our friends house and enjoyed spending time with them and visiting. We then got together with our old small group...from before we were even married...for lunch and play time at another friend's house, The Shelton's. It was such a wonderful morning of visiting with dear friends who have gone through life with us...from marriage to babies to people moving. I am so thankful for our first small group and the instrumental part they have been and continue to be in our life. We haven't done small group with them for about four years yet they all remain dear friends. And....as a side note.....when we started small group we had zero kids in our group....now between all of us...there are six kids and another one on the way!
Peyton loved playing with her friend Emma and they played so well together! They just clicked and played constantly. It was so much fun to watch them talk and hear their imagination running wild! Lots of fun! And Graham watched their little one who is about three months older than him intently and learned some new skills from Henry and shortly after coming back from Texas started crawling and pulling up on things.
After a couple of days we headed to Beaumont to visit with my college roommate and maid of honor. She had her son just a couple of weeks after I had Graham and although we did make a quick trip out to see her before we moved I haven't really been able to see her as a mommy and it was so fun to watch her in her new role! I love that we are both in this stage of life and it is so much fun that our little boys are the same age. They loved each other and just we fascinated with each other and Peyton did great playing with two babies! We only wished we had more than a couple of nights with them! It was so much fun to catch up, pick up right where we left of and have fun, silly, meaningful, challenging and great girl talk together...over a glass or two of wine of course!
And doesn't Peyton look ecstatic to be having her picture taken?
Following Beaumont we headed back to League City and met up with friends from a Mommy group I was in for dinner and crammed in some Christmas activities the next few days....we had Christmas with Grandma Martha at her house.
Grandma was able to take off both Fridays I was there to spend the day with us and we were able to spend the days shopping, eating and hanging out. Peyton was so happy to see her Grandma Martha and Graham warmed up pretty quick. I only wish we had more time to spend with her and just hang out as opposed to having to run and go.
We also went to the Festival of Lights with friends and enjoyed walking around and getting into the Christmas spirit.
Also while we were back we attended our church home in their newest campus and I was so thankful to be able to be there worshiping freely! And I was so happy to see our church growing and reaching more people in the area. It was pretty awesome! The preschoolers were singing on stage that day and I had known about it so I had practiced the song on the plane with Peyton and talked to her about it and so she ended up singing on stage! She did so well and did some of the hand movements and singing! It helped that the song was one she knew from school last year.
I had wanted to go to church the next weekend which was one of the reasons I planned my trip so I could have two Sundays in Texas but me and the kids were both sick :(
We also had a breakfast morning with the girls from the last small group we had and loved catching up and hearing how God is using them in the new groups they are all leading or the way they are serving in a church plant. I am thankful for that girl time we had!
We did so much during our trip and I loved every moment we had with friends and their families. I only wish we had more time with everyone and time to relax in between. I didn't get to see everyone I wanted to and I was pretty tired by the end of it but it was so nice to go back to what used to be our home. Hopefully next time John can come with me...we can see more family and more friends and just have more time. Miss all of you and thank you so much for everyone's wonderful hospitality.