Friday, October 26, 2018

Summer 2018: Celebrating 80 Years with My Uncle

We made a quick trip up to Nashville to celebrate my dear uncle and his 80th birthday.

He's always meant so much to me. He heart is as big as our state of Tennessee. I wonder if there is a spiritual gift for "Saving People When They Hit Hard Times"? If so, that's his gift. Loved ones who might need a helping hand is on his constant radar, and he quietly comes in and helps them out.

I got to see my twin cousins play their harps.

My cousins have some good connections, so they asked singer and songwriter Don Schlitz to come provide some entertainment that night. He was a funny guy who said we might not have ever heard of him, but he wrote a song he'd like to play for us. The next thing we knew he was playing "The Gambler"!! He is extremely talented and very kind.

I have another "cousin" who was always just my cousin because she was the first cousin of my first cousin (on the other side). We spent some time together in Virginia, and she is just as precious as they come. Recently we discovered that we truly are cousins because our moms, good high school friends, are actually cousins too.

These gal cousins have been in my life since day one. I love them so much!

And here is our posse. These are the first cousins who were all the same age. We grew up getting spankings together, brushing ourselves off and heading out for more fun and trouble. Believe it or not, because of time and distance, the last time we were all six together was at my wedding in 1996.

This is my little cousin. I love her so much.

And this is our full set of first cousins! A and W were a little older than us (and perhaps a little wiser) so they were generally assigned to be our babysitters.

My heart was full, and that party, seeing those I love, did me good!

Summer 2018: Fourth of July Fun

Our Fourth of July fun continued with a Memphis Redbirds game! There's just something so American about baseball. And I so appreciated the honor the game gave to our military. It was refreshing!

Here Big Ben is with Rocky, who happens to be the son of a friend of ours!

It's moments like these that make me so very proud of my kids. First of all, Big Ben just knew he would get a baseball. The only other time he came to a baseball game, he wanted a baseball. They were out in the grassy field without even a seat. And believe it or not, he got one. So he decided he wanted to try to get another one on the 4th of July. I kept telling him it was rare and not to get his hopes up, but his big sister has the biggest heart. She ended up diving in front of a group to snag it for him. She pretty much can't tell him no.

We were so happy to get to do this with our cousins and our Singaporean guests. They got the FULL experience. Dance cams, the 7th inning stretch, a fight on the field...and then when the game was over, we witnessed the most beautiful fireworks I have seen in a long time. They played "Amazing Grace" with Scottish bagpipes. Firstborn and I kept looking at each other and saying, "Can this even be happening?" I was so proud to be there and for my friends to experience the America I love.

This buddy of mine was my best high school photographer when I was editor-in-chief for the yearbook. He is now the official photographer for the team. He told me to find him when I got to the game. I was really happy to hug his neck and find out that he was impressed that I used to drive a stick shift in high school.

He took a panorama of the entire fan crowd. Then he found us, and sent me this little piece!

We also enjoyed several meals with our friends. This was a country Southern-cooking place near us.

And of course we had to take them to the Rendezvous!

Downtown Memphis was fun and bright and loud!

We ended our time with a walk down to the river. Soon it was time for them to go to the next stop of their journey, but we were proud they got to come to our hometown, Memphis, Tennessee.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Summer 2018: Middle Tennessee Blitz

We decided to make a very quick trip up to Middle Tennessee to show our guests that part of our beautiful state. It did not disappoint! We saw old homesteads and deer and log cabins.

They enjoyed getting to see my folks for a day, as the last time they met was when my first daughter was born in Singapore!

It was quick, fun, and worth doing!

Summer 2018: National Civil Rights Museum and Some BBQ

We took our guests to the National Civil Rights Museum, which is celebrating 50 years. CC has a connection with this, as he grew up all of his years in Memphis. He was born the year Dr. King was killed. And we toured the museum on the 50th anniversary year.

Sweet Cheeks quickly spotted a print of this Rockwell painting that speaks volumes. She had done her end-of-the-year artist project on Rockwell.

The museum was so well done. We may or may not have boarded the bus and listened to the recording of the driver speaking to Rosa Parks about 10 times.

My children have had so many life experiences. I'm deeply grateful they have been able to see and touch things rather than just reading them in a book. Just last night Big Ben had an assignment to write an "email" (pretend) to a friend about what he had learned about King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Well, we saw their palace last December! Let's write about that! I'm grateful that they got to tour this museum and learn about the history of civil rights in their own home country.

And meanwhile, this gal was shadowing at a hospital and loving it!

We had to take our guests for some Memphis BBQ. There was no question! We started with Corky's!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Summer 2018: From Singapore to Memphis

We enjoyed a 4th of July dinner together at my sister-in-law's house, who was so gracious to host us.

She had beautiful sides and appetizers, as well as the traditional burgers and hot dogs!

It was a really fun day!

Grandad represented our great state of Tennessee that day!

Summer 2018: Old Friends, New Places

Upon our arrival in Memphis, we were able to go to church and see so many faces we love. My folks drove down for church. Here is my mom with her sister, my Aunt M.

My mother-in-law mentioned that it might have been at our wedding in 1996 that we last all stood together. Here are the parents on both sides, with CC and me.

It was a joy to see my old friend C, who was in town from overseas.

And it was especially fun to have LC and KH with us, from Singapore. They flew to the USA for a tour of several spots with several families. We were their first stop.

We have been friends since 1998.

My kids think of them as "aunt" and "uncle."

We enjoyed some Singaporean food together that LC cooked.

Summer 2018: Time for Camp

The kids had a few days to run and play with their Middle TN cousins. They helped work on this amazing fort in the streets.

Here's the path from their grandparents' house to the cousins....just a quick run over!

This year all of these cousins attended camp. Some were workers and some were campers. It was so fun to all go together!

We dropped off our workers and took the campers to lunch, as they could not check in quite yet. We had a quick tutorial on a phone app by our kids.

Uncle R treated everyone to a Sonic drink before it was time to go.

Here was the cabin Sweet Cheeks was in.

Miss Middler was so happy to get her little cuz L in her cabin.

And Big Ben was happy to get settled in his cabin. God is always looking out for my kids. His counselor was our good friend from the week we worked this camp last year.

Here's the day we picked them up. I think all five are crashing in one bed.

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