Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Nashville -- Tennessee

Y’all I have returned from the Conservative belt buckle of our nation to the decidedly liberal North. Each time we trek south of the Mason Dixon I am amazed at the blatant difference in demeanor and cadence of lifestyle. You cross into a land of deliberate and slow thoughts, words, and actions. Everything is so much more relaxed and carefree – not to mention incredibly proper and polite, it makes me wistful for a life lived in the South, on a plantation home where I can sit on my front porch reading my latest edition of Southern Living, sipping on sweet tea whilst a breeze blows my rocking chair…

I was immersed in all things Kroger and Publix with nary an Acme to be seen. Thanks be had, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts were aplenty and ice cream was my solace of the week.
We had such an enjoyable week with our family in Tennessee. We met our niece, Addalie, for the first time since her birth in February. To say she is one of the most perfect babies I have ever seen would be a glaring understatement – the child is absolutely divine. Cutter spent hours playing with both of his cousins and I enjoyed endless conversations with my sister in-law. Steve busied himself with home improvement projects (truly when is he happy except when he is busily fixing or creating) and we simply enjoyed being present with everyone.
We deliberately made no plans so that every day was relaxed and full of one another. We spent our mornings at a local park and then would come home for lunch, naps, and sister talks. Oh the life of families with children. We talked into the night and played games or watched silly videos. Incidentally, you must view this if you have not seen it. I can’t make this stuff up.
My brother in-law had just returned from a medical missions trip to Haiti and so we spent an afternoon volunteering at their organization to help clean up from the last trip and start preparing for the next. Though Cutter wasn’t quite as helpful as one would hope, he and I managed to help vacuum some of the duffel bags out and then played in the supply room.
We ate like Kings and Queens all week and I must have gained five pounds while we there (that wouldn’t have anything to do with this decadent lactose treat that I gorged myself on each night – not at all). I know that my husband really enjoyed spending time with his brother – and a lot of one on one time with Cutter (he awoke at 3 am FOR THE DAY almost every day we were down there).
One of the best parts of the trip for me was watching Cutter interact with his cousin, Kylie. Last year when we went to the beach together Cutter was just 5 months old. This trip, it took him a while but he eventually warmed up to his cousin and would want to play with her. As a mother it was amusing to see him ask her to play with him. Kylie is a very loving child and loves to hug and hold hands - Cutter struggled with that affection and would visibly become agitated and move to bite her so that he could be left alone. He is not a cuddly child by any means. However, I was dually impressed with how well he did being with another child for an entire week. For an only child not used to being around another kid 24/7 I was pleased with his manners and demeanor.  
Not surprisingly, the car proved to be bane of our existence for the ride down and back home. We decided to leave at bedtime for our ride down and while it was manageable, Cutter only slept for brief increments at a time and then would wake and scream incessantly until we stopped, got out, and walked around with him for a bit. It was a vicious cycle; one I did not want to repeat on our way home. By the time we arrived in Nashville at 6 am we were two sleep-deprived, bleary-eyed travelers in desperate need of caffeine and REM. Cutter, of course, was wide-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to play. Sakes alive I wish I had the resilience of a toddler.
Our return trip was decidedly easier though there were many tears involved – I won’t reveal whose tears they were. We left at naptime so that by the time we pulled into our driveway we would be able to get some rest before the new day began. Praise Jesus that plan worked brilliantly and we were able to sleep in late and catch up on our rest.
We were sad to go and leave our family behind, but are now looking forward to their visit in November.
For the Longenecker clan – Papa John’s rules!
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Uncle Steve and niece Addalie Harper

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Cutter and Addalie

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Big boy slide all by himself!

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A sucker for making it on the potty

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Cousins at play

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The Longenecker Cousins 2011

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