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Back in July I had a surprise call from my dad and step-mom asking when would be a good time for us to come visit! I was so excited as were Zach and the kids when I told them! We decided to go up the 2nd weekend once school had started. We had planned to stay through Monday morning and check the kids in late but then our school did a half day for the stinking eclipse so we had to come back Sunday or else the kids would be considered unexcused absent for missing the half day. I wish our school had just canceled like others did in the area so we could have stayed! I bet Dad and Audrey had an awesome view of the eclipse on the lake!
We headed up Friday after the kids were in school long enough to be considered present for the day (I’m hardcore about saying those unexcused absence days for when Tab comes!). We hit some traffic and it was pretty rough. Rough enough that Zach said next time we’ll have the kids be absent so we can hit the road easier 😉
We made it by dinner time though! It’s C-RAZY to me how much the North Georgia area has really changed over the years. I had asked Zach to stop in at our “must stop” spot growing up. A little gas station/bate shop where we’d always go and load up on candy. I wanted the kids to get to grab handfuls of goodies just like my brother and I used to. But sadly it’s no longer there. Boo for growth and development 😉
Even though the area has changed, so many things are still the same. We live in the town where Zach has lived his entire life. So he’s always “at home.” Our kids are being raised in the same area he was raised. They are experiencing many of the same things he experienced as a kid. I envy that on many levels! I want my kids to have connections with my childhood too and Dad’s house is a place where so many special memories from my childhood were made. Dad’s life has taken him many different places and down many different paths but I’m so glad he ended up back here. It’s his home and I’m thankful he’s able to enjoy it still and that Audrey is there beside him!
What’s so cool about their house is that even though they’ve moved and moved and then come back here…SO much stuff is EXACTLY the same. It’s like how did Dad remember where a specific corvette model was sitting? It impressed me that so many little details were exactly the way they were when I was a kid!
Elvis welcoming us!
They had pizza ready and waiting for dinner which was PERFECT for our crew!
Leading up to the visit I didn’t think too much about their dog, Pearl. Growing up we had a dog, Christy (short for Christmas…as in White Christmas…and her middle name was Princess ha!), who was also a white German Shepherd. Dad always said he’d get another German Shepherd someday and he and Audrey have had Pearl for quite awhile now. Growing up with a BIG dog I’m just at ease with them and wasn’t even nervous about her being around the kids. Pearl isn’t around children, like ever, but man she did GREAT with them!!! Tess LOVES all animals and leading up to the trip I tried to be sure to point out larger dogs and talk up the BIG dog we’d get to see at Grandpa and Grammie’s house.
Pearl is huge. Like could EASILY knock over any of our kids, especially Tess. But she was truly just so great with them all. She was patient and tender and sweet. Tess immediately took to her and spent majority of our visit looking for Pearl or loving on her. I probably took more pics of Pearl that weekend than I did of people 😉
Couldn’t resist the chance to share a pic of sweet Christy either 🙂
Kye remembers his first time fishing. I mean how in the world does he remember that from 2011? I’m not sure, but he does! He remembers fishing with Grandpa and talks about it a lot and will ask me “when are we going to visit Grandpa again and go fishing?” I knew Dad wouldn’t hesitate about doing some fishing as it’s his favorite hobby down at the lake. Before bed that night the kids went to hunt for worms to use a bait the next morning 🙂
Kye was a natural and found the most!
Zach and I opted to sleep in the loft during our visit so we could stay up and visit with Dad and Audrey after the kids went to bed and not worry about waking them. We put all of the kids in the basement. Kye and Britt shared a room and Tess slept in another room solo. It worked out super well!
It’s so funny b/c I took this picture b/c it’s so “classic Dad” to have the polar bear rug on the wall and a flashlight by the light switch! Then that night Audrey told me that when my brother had visited he took the same picture haha.
My dad is a collector of things. He really found his mate in Audrey because she embraces this about him (or at least she’s never said anything negative about it to me!) and has her own collections of items. They love to go hunting for things together and are so thoughtful in where everything is displayed and how. Truly there house is SO FUN to just walk around and look at everything. My favorite personal memory from the weekend was “putzing” around with Dad and listening to his stories behind each collection item. It’s amazing to me because each item means so much to him for a different reason and each thing has such a back story to it. If I walked you around my house it’d be like “yup, got that at Hobby Lobby. Yup, that was a deal from Amazon.” Ha! My items just don’t have meaning the way they do for Dad and I love that and think it’s just so awesome!
Dad’s main collections are of polar bears, corvettes, Elvis and the Portland Headlight. Those four things combined are my Dad 😉 I happened to see my personal favorite polar bear from childhood! Dad used to only display him at Christmas time but I love that they have him on display year-round now. I just think the polar bear looks so sweet and I always loved Santa riding him 🙂
Kye and Britt got to sleep in the Elvis room and Zach and I were a little bitter about it because that bed is THE most comfortable bed EVER. I seriously want to buy everything they have on that bed and copy it for my own. It’s super super comfortable!
Dad and Audrey have done a good bit of remodeling throughout the home. It’s crazy how parts of it look JUST like when Dad moved in back in 1995 but then many parts of it are brand new and modern. I’m thankful the pink bathtub stayed 😉
Audrey is truly an incredible hostess. She makes me embarrassed at my lack of hosting abilities! When they come visit I’m like “hey we will pick up some BBQ at Smokin’ Pig!” We come to visit? And she makes HOMEMADE DONUTS. I mean seriously! And they were INCREDIBLE. I probably gained 10 lbs in our three day stay just on the donuts alone. So, so yummy. And beautiful, right?
Dad and Audrey also have a cat, Georgie (I think haha I know their old cat was Jackie but I keep forgetting the new ones name). Tess loved the cat too but the cat was not quite as interested in being messed with as Pearl was. She tolerated it for a bit and then would go hide and Tess would spend all her time looking for the cat 😉
When we got up that morning the boys headed out first thing for some fishing. They were gone for AWHILE. Like until 10ish. So the girls just all hung out and visited and colored princesses (Audrey was so thoughtful in getting the kids each a coloring/activity book!). Once the guys got back we loaded up with lunch stuff and headed to the lake!
Dad was so sweet to adjust all of his walking sticks to be the right height for each of us 🙂
Leading up to the trip I talked to the kids about riding in a boat. Kye has done it, but was young. But Britt and Tess haven’t ever been to a lake or ridden in a boat. Britt said “YES WE HAVE!” I was like “Um when?” And she said “AT DISNEY WORLD!” haha I love that they consider It’s A Small World the legit happiest cruise that ever sailed 😉
I’m personally not a big lake lover. Even growing up at the lake I just never liked how you can’t see what’s swimming around you or beneath you. I was always just a fan of finding a float and laying out! The kids didn’t shy away from the darker water at all and loved all the rocks!
Kye even did something I’ve always been too afraid to do! Right when we got down to the dock Kye said he wanted to show me something and he went up on the second level and jumped off! Here’s a video of the view from the top…and a video from the bottom of him jumping again! I can’t help but think of Uncle Spear and how his dog, Blade, would jump from the top dock too!
Ready for a boat ride!
Can’t find seashells at the lake but you can find clams!
Their morning fishing adventure had resulted in one fish which they kept in the boat and the girls were so funny about constantly wanting to check on the fish and pet him.
Whoop whoop! Lazy lake time!
After we just hung out in the water for awhile we went “trolling” which is what Kye kept saying he wanted to do. Where I guess they set up poles and ride slowly around and see if they can get anything to bite.
It couldn’t have been a prettier day!
Dad has had this boat for a LONG time and we used to go for boat rides all the time growing up so it was so fun having all the kids out on the lake together!
Not the same boat but I always loved this pic of Dad and I together 🙂
All the kids took turns driving!
Britt was more into eating chips than driving the boat 😉
Trolling paid off! Caught a fish!!!
Kye helped reel him in!
Now the girls had two fish to mess with haha
Asleep at the wheel? 😉
Britt rigged up a little spot to rest using floats and towels. I love this pic of her…my beautiful girl!
Kye wanted to fish a little more off the dock and the girls wanted to swim a little extra too!
We did have one bit of panic…Tess was walking under the dock and lost her footing. I was literally watching the whole time but she was under the walkway part of the dock when it happened and I couldn’t see her. She called to me and I went over there and had to lay down on the dock to see. As I was laying down I was just assuming she needed help with something or wanted attention, I didn’t even realize it was a “I need you now” type thing. I asked Britt if she was okay since I could’t see her and Britt said “no” haha I mean c’mon Britt help me out a little quicker! I hollered to Zach and he could see her from his angle and could see that she was struggling so he jumped in and grabbed her. The problem was she wasn’t star fishing because she had JUST been touching the bottom so she was confused and kept trying to reach the bottom rather than floating like the should have done. After that I didn’t allow any more going under the dock walkway!
Kye was pumped for all the video games 😉
We had the kids all skip naps so we could fully enjoy the lake and not have to rush so they had some relax time while Grammie was making dinner!
The fish we caught we also ate!
After dinner we went out back to visit and take pictures. I don’t have a TON of pictures of the kids with Dad and Audrey and especially not SOLO with them so I wanted to take advantage of that opportunity. I think it’s so important to have individual pics of the kids as much as possible so they don’t only have sibling photos to look back on when they’re older. I always think about their wedding slideshows and how they will prefer having lots of options for solo as well as sibling 😉
Kye is the only grandson! At least until Tab comes 🙂
Zach and I see a LOT of my side of the family in Britt, many of her features remind us of my brother and having this picture of her with Dad I really see the similarities! Especially the lips/mouth!
Zach is a giant hahaha
Almost 10 years of marriage!!! It seriously makes my heart so happy to know that Dad is so well taken care of. Audrey seriously goes above and beyond not only as a hostess, but just in their every day lives. I mean I felt guilty when I left because she will even get up early when Dad gets up early to make sure she sees him off. Ummm I just roll over and go back to sleep haha!!!
Audrey has been part of my life for many, many years. Our relationship may not have started off ideally but I’m so thankful for how it’s grown and developed over the years. We had SUCH a great time together during that visit and our talks only strengthened our bond and for that I’m so grateful!
There were lots of great moments over the weekend but I think my favorite memory is the backyard time the kids had with Pearl. It was SO fun watching them play fetch with her. She was so funny jumping in the air and you could tell she was LOVING it (she was also super worn out after) and the kids were having such a blast and it was just very relaxing and fun to watch!
Dad is a big reader and keeps ALL of his books so he told Zach he could borrow some to read as they share the same taste in books. Zach was so funny when I walked upstairs and saw him looking up books online and picking ones out to take home! The David Library got good use 😉
The next morning Kye said he really wanted to go walk in the woods rather than fish. Which is funny because it’s also something my kids haven’t ever done. We don’t really have any woods for them to walk through! It’s so weird b/c I grew up with woods in my backyard at all the homes we lived in but it’s just not a thing down South to have so it’s an experience they have missed out on and they wanted to get to do while we were there.
Britt was pumped about the alligator on the driveway!
(Notice the frog friend? I was a frog fan as a kid)
Dad walked us all through the woods around his property and up the street a ways pointing out changes he’s made as well as future plans he has.
“This is the coolest thing I’ve EVER seen!”
As a girl I’d always walk on these same beams and balance…I loved watching my girls do the same thing!
Kye learning pool from Grandpa!
After our walk we had a little more lake time for a bit before it was time to load up to head home
Kye did his best to park the boat back at the dock which is no easy task!
The walk up from the lake is a BEAST. So thankful for the walking sticks!
They never wanted to leave and have been talking about how much they miss Pearl since they’ve been home 🙂
Grammie gave Britt some “lipstick” and she’s obsessed with it! So so cute!!!
Of course we had to stop by McD on the drive home 😉
I cannot say enough just how special and wonderful this weekend was for me and our family. Quality time is my love language and it was a lot of awesome quality time with Dad and Audrey. I loved getting to stay up after the kids were in bed to talk, I loved listening to Dad’s stories, I loved getting to know Audrey better on a personal level. I also loved seeing the kids making memories in a home that is so special to me and my childhood. I loved seeing them so happy and have loved hearing them talk about Grandpa and Grammie so much since the visit (and Pearl too!). I love that they are forming those bonds and every time we get together with Dad and Audrey it’s always SO much FUN! So, so thankful they invited us to visit and we hope we’re able to see them again soon 🙂