Hello my lovelies!
How are you? I’ve missed you! I took a little blogging break while I was on vacation :) But never fear! I’ve lots to catch you up on!
Christmas Eve morning I ran a fabulous race in honor of a little boy that not only touched my life but many lives in my fair state of South Carolina. The race honors Baylor Teal, a 7 year old with neuroblastoma who became an unofficial rallying point for the USC baseball team in their run to the national championship -> See here. All the proceeds from the race went to benefit Palmetto Children’s Hospital :) I ran with Fancy Nancy, TG, Brandi and Courtney :) Our little running crew is slowly growing. It was a rough race for me. The course was fabulous..totally flat! But the cold weather, lack of proper hydration and some circulation issues put me at one of my slowest times for 2013 (49:49:10). My dad caught up with me at the 2.75 mile marker. He was great! Shouting encouragement from the sidelines. I ran hard with the finish line in view only to hear this crazy lady shouting at me to kick it into gear and go..I was a bit baffled until I realized my entire family had surprised me by coming to watch me finish :) The crazy lady yelling was my mom! That made it a really special race. It was so precious to see Baylor’s classmates come out to run. They are a wonderful group of kids that I have had the pleasure to watch grow into beautiful young men and women.
Christmas Eve is a special time in our family :) We head over to grandma’s house to open presents and just enjoy being together. It was a bit sad this year. It’s the first time my cousins, aunt and uncle didn’t come from Virginia. But thanks to the United States Postal Service & Facetime all gifts were delivered and we got to share it with them :) It was special because for the first time we weren’t sad about Pop not being there. Christmas was one of my grandfather’s favorite seasons. He made it magical. It’s been 9 years since he left us and each year the pain seems to dull a bit more. This is the first year that we didn’t share tears and were able to laugh and joke. My grandma decorated the entire house and her tree had ornaments on it :) That touched my heart. She’s always struggled with Christmas since he passed. I was glad to see her finally enjoying it. We had the best time cousin snuggling on the couch and picking with my soon to be cousin-in-law (I’m not sure what you call it when your cousin marries somebody..).
Christmas overall was hard for me this year..I really had to work not to think about it. My aunt and uncle passed away this year within 4 weeks of each other. I was prepared for my uncle as he had been sick for quite a bit..but losing AJ was sudden and hard. We buried her the week of my birthday. Aunt Joyce has been my best friend since I can remember. Her twin granddaughters and I are 2 days apart..We always joked that I was coming out of the hospital as they were going in. As a child, I spent many a day at her house with them. But in high school she was a crucial part of my life. I had just returned from living over seas when we moved down the road from her. I was floundering because I didn’t fit in with any of the kids my age. She brought me over to her house every day that summer. I learned how to can, make jelly, flop a pound cake, enjoy a good auction and she never made me feel like I was awkward. With her, I was a Southern Belle. I spent a lot of time with her that summer. She had a standing game night at her house every Friday night. I regret that I didn’t go to more of them. She and my uncle took special care of me a few years later when I moved in with my grandmother for 8 months. My uncle may have been an old farmer but he was wise and smart :) He helped all of us get through college even though he never went himself. He was always doing little things..putting gas in our cars, giving us gift cards to Subway and AJ always made sure we had a home-cooked meal when we went to her house. I spent a day sitting in the yard of their house over break. My uncle built it from the ground up 10 years ago. It hurt my heart because their house looked as sad as I felt. I cried and laughed at the memories that floated through my mind.
The hardest part was watching my dad be so sad. He and his sister were very close. She was his rock. My dad is a believer and the majority of his family does not share our faith. It’s been a struggle for him over the years. But my aunt was an amazing woman of God and encouraged him when he decided to trade in the corporate life for one of a pastor. We had a lot of tears at our house and hugs..but we made it through. AJ’s impact is seen every time I look at my dad, drive past the little league field she and my uncle built and when I look in the mirror.
But among the sad moments there comes joy in the morning :) The first grandchild (aka my cuz!) will be getting married in March and I can’t wait! His bride-to-be is an amazing woman and I love her to pieces. God has truly blessed our family by bringing her into it and I’m glad we get to keep her around for forever. I hope that one day I can love someone like she loves my cousin.
My brother finally graduated from college..I think I already said this but I’m so proud of him I’ll say it again :)
I love the holidays because I get my brother and sister for a few days. I would trade all the Christmas presents I get just to spend a few more days with them. That is by far one of the worst things about growing up. I miss our constant verbal sparring and quality time. Our dad surprised us with a family trip to the mountains for a few days after Christmas. We stayed in an amazing log cabin nestled on the side of a lake. I woke up each morning to the chatter of mallards and hens. Sitting on the porch drinking my coffee and watching the ducks and geese fly in and out of the lake was amazing. My sister and I spent some time running around the lake and hiking down some paths.
We spent a few days in Hendersonville, NC tooling around. I discovered the best little tea shop! The shop was called Spice It Up. If you’re ever in the area you need to stop in! They carry a variety of handmade rubs, fresh spices and international teas. My brother and I went a little crazy in the tea section..okay really I went crazy he only got two. The lady working was wonderful! She made suggestions based on our preferences and we swapped our favorite blends with her. Shopping local is always a joy to me. It’s small business owners that started this great country of ours. They have a personality that a large corporation just can’t emulate. Want to see Hendersonville? Click here for a virtual tour :)
While on vacation I had a wonderful surprise one night. A dear friend, who I’ve not talked to in a about a year, sent me a text message. He was going to be in town for a few days and wanted to grab coffee and catch up. He’s currently in med school so its rare to talk to him these days. I eagerly jumped at the chance. We had the best time freezing outside of Starbucks drinking coffee and chatting. We talked for over 2 hours before I couldn’t take the cold anymore. We spent a few more minutes cruising around town in his car warming up before the night had to end. I was so excited to see him :) He’s one of the good guys ladies!
New Year’s Eve was spent with one of my best friends and her boyfriend. They are quite the pair :) She’s a northern girl..he a southern boy but together they work. It’s been fun to walk this path with her. We’ve been talking wedding plans and venues because somebody’s getting a ring come spring! We had a hilarious night..apparently half of their town shut down on Christmas Eve. We did find one restaurant open and lucked up :) One of her boyfriend’s favorite local bands was playing and I quite enjoyed them. There was quite a mix of young and old at the restaurant so it was a bit like hanging out with your parents on New Year’s Eve but hey..it was fun :) We rocked 2013 out and 2014 in! Teri’s NYE tradition is to eat at Taco Bell..don’t ask me how she started that one..so we drove across town to Taco Bell so Miss T could get her quesadilla and taco.
All in all..2013 was an okay year. I had some big bumps..2 car accidents, tear in my quad muscle, ankle injury, 3 major deaths in my life and the loss of a dear friend.
But 2014 is here :) I’m anxious to see what the year will bring.
Thanks for helping me through 2013! Your comments and tweets mean a lot to me :)
One Happy Lemon