I am so glad I went to Alabama to visit family last week. I'm glad I decided to just be spontaneous and keep a "make it work" attitude. The girls and I had such a fun time with Mema and Pepaw. I found out I really love my Great Aunt Mary and getting to know my Great Uncle Irvin. Not to mention the rest of the family. They just kept on coming in droves. More and more, every block as we drove around Mema would point out the window, "Cousin so-in-so lives here, Great Aunt Mmmm lives here, that is the house that my other aunt what's her name grew up in." I could not even begin to remember all the names she rattled off. Some were current and some were from her past recollections and I never was quite sure what was present and what was a distant memory. Of course we met all of her "core" family members, but she said we'd need a month or two to get around to visiting ALL the family that lives in the Northern Alabama area.
Mema is one of six children. I think I finally got the birth order down. Gayther, Mary, Lena (my Mema), Jerry, Waylon, and Roy. Although I better double check that. We stayed at Aunt Mary's house and we met all the other brothers, their wives and a lot of their children and grand children. If I think about it too hard, I go cross eyed trying to remember who goes with who!
One thing that was challenging for me, was to give over control and learn to just go with the flow. I think I did remarkably well, but it was hard for me and I did have more than a few moments of complete stress out. Especially when it came to food. I was doing my best to be a gracious guest but my food issues are deep, I suppose! I was worried about the girls tummy hurting from eating different foods than what they were used to and I really did not want to increase their sugar intake since they are on a very low sugar diet (using mostly natural sugars) at home. So when we were with other cousins that were eating oreos, krispy treats, gatorade, cookies and such, I tried to bring along fresh fruit, milk, water and Larabars (a processed food that I approve of for special treats!) I am not judging the way they ate, I just know that we aren't used to those foods and I didn't want their tummies (or attitudes) to change. But I (hope) I was fairly easy going and didn't cause too much upset with our "weird" diet!
I was remarkably flexible with their bedtime and I deserve a pat on the back for that! At home they go to their rooms for bedtime at 7pm and they nod off usually between 7:30-8:30. Some nights on vacation we were out until almost 9 and we all did great. There were a few late night tempertantrums, but for the most part I was proud of all of us for how bedtimes were handled. Luckily when you are vacationing with 70+ something year olds, bedtime isn't going to be that late anyway!
I'll take a few days to get all the photos uploaded, I'm still labeling and sorting. I took a LOT and I will be posting A LOT, but for now, I'm just going to put up this one panorama I took.
This is a bunch of the family on the last day of vacation. We were swimming in the Tennessee River at JeanAnne's house.