Last week I returned from a much-needed vacation to visit my friends, Chad and Tracy Todd, in their new home in Buford, Georgia. Words can't express how much I needed to get away, and going to visit sweet friends, and their precious two children - Allison and Logan - were just the ticket. Last year, they moved from the small town of Adel in south Georgia to the larger metropolis of Buford, home of the largest mall in the state, appropriately named "The Mall of Georgia." Each trip brings the challenge of a blog post recap which makes Tracy nervous until it's published to confirm I haven't revealed too much. This year's trip was definitely a time for the new, but a recollection of the old. Many of things we did were great traditions that carried on to a new city, yet brought new and exciting memories this year and for many trips to come. The first benefit of this trip was the shaving of 4 hours of travel time, making this jaunt more appealing to do multiple times a year. So my recap of this trip will include the things that were old, yet new again...
The Church Tour - When the Todds moved to Adel, our first trip included the complete tour of their church prior to Sunday when it would be too hectic to thoroughly make the tour without interruptions. This first trip to Buford was no different. We went to the church on Saturday to tour the facilities, but this time complete with Allison and Logan as our guides. Allison wore Miss Christie out wanting her to run up and down the halls with her, and Logan loved pushing the elevator alarm button.
The City Tour - Touring the town of Adel didn't take much time. But we did tour outside the city to see the farmlands, specifically the sod farms (who knew people grew sod?). Buford was a more exciting tour since the town is bigger. We got to see where the local eateries, shopping and schools were located and the rental house they lived in when they first moved to town. We can also attest to the various Kohl's locations throughout the surrounding area.
Memorial Accessories - Speaking of Kohl's, many a trip was made to Kohl's. All totaled there were 3 trips over the weekend, but I only made 2 of those trips. During our first visit to Adel, we shopped at Peebles, the only local department store in the town. For you small towners, you know Peebles is quaint and cute, but small. While there, I purchased a pair of silver earrings that I still wear to this day. These earrings are usually my "travel jewelery" in honor of their purchase location. I'm not the shopper girl - I go with a mission, get what I need and leave. Christie and Tracy are much more into the shopping scene. But, they told me I had to buy something to commemorate our first trip. I did purchase some PJs that are just glamorously cute, but also invested in a new belt for my jeans (withhold your excitement). Though a belt isn't as thrilling an accessory as a pair of earrings, it's a necessity...and something to always remember the first trip to Buford.
Games - A trip to the Todds isn't complete without games. We wait to play our card games and adult board games until after the kids have gone to sleep, but now that Allison is older, she loves to play the Wii. She would say "Hey Miss Rose, wanna play bowling?"...I'd respond with "Sure!"...and then she'd say, "And tennis too, I'm really good at tennis!" She is pretty doggone good at bowling (or "bowing" as she calls it), but tennis, eh, not so much. But, I'd humor her and we'd play tennis. She also wanted Miss Christie to play Hi-Ho Cheerio, and "Guitar Hero...with the two Purple Girls!" She is a 3-year old that can sing Barracuda...look out world.
Friends - The best part of the Todds moving to a new town is meeting new people and making new friends. We got to spend some time with the Gentrys - Ted and Christina - and their six-year-old, Jack, and sweet little Kate. They are fun folks and Christina even went with us on one of the Kohl's visits. I fell in love with Jack when he asked, "Are you 17?" Why, yes, Jack, I am! Then he came over and gave me an unsolicited hug and said "Now, don't kiss me." What a charmer.
Food - Emulating her Mom, Tracy is a great cook. She had the meals planned out for the week and they were scrumptious. She was planning for the choir open house she and Chad were hosting this past Friday and we were the test kitchen for some of her dishes. You never go to their house and ever get hungry. Between her whipping up brownies on the spot, or pushing her Golden Oreos and ice cream, the diet just had to go on hold. We did eat at the food court one day at the Mall of Georgia in preparation for Allison's non-ride on the carousel. (Note: If you are scared of the horses on the Carousel, Miss Christie will hold your hands while you ride) After dinner one night we took the kids to one of the local froyo places - Sweet Monkey. If Allison asked once, she asked a bazillion times "Can we go to Sweet Monkey??" One day while we were in the kitchen, she said "Remember when we went out to eat a lot before we had children?" We did, but, honestly, being at home with the children is just as good.
When the visit was ending, I didn't want to leave. I had a rough week ahead of me at work, and had daydreams of just moving to Buford on the spot. Just when I finally had learned how to unhook Logan's car seat quickly, the trip was over. The night before we left, Allison said a prayer over her dinner. It was the sweetest prayer a 3-year old could utter. When she finished I was a weepy mess. To see that little one tell Jesus how much she loved her Momma and Daddy and for all the things she prayed for just melted me. The night I got home, I was having major post-vacation depression. I got weepy again missing Allison especially and waiting to hear "Miss Rose!" ..playing googly eyes with her across the table....watching Disney Jr. with her. I found an episode of Doc McStuffins on my OnDemand channel and watched it to help me not miss her too much. I'm looking forward to the next trip to Buford...that place of refuge, sweet friends, and sweet little souls that love so unconditionally.