I just realized I should make this into 2 posts, since I'm including a zillion pictures!
We just got home today from our bi-annual Christmas trip to Arkansas. Why is it that your own bed and shower are the greatest blessings ever?? They just are.
Effingham, IL - the Cross at the CrossRoads
Sunset in Illinois
Mt. Vernon, IL
This sculpture is near the Hampton Inn we always stay at.
And we always stopped at the Love's truck stops for gas!
We left earlier than planned Saturday 12/22 and made it to Mom-In-Law's just before dark on the 23rd. Monday was beautiful in Hot Springs. Sunny & 65 degrees. We took advantage of the nice weather to put up the LED solar powered Christmas lights we got for her. I found them at the Salvation Army over the summer and thought they are pretty useless around here, but she could get use out of them. They were very cool!
We did random stuff like grocery shopping and such. Ya know. My MIL is the sweetest lady, but I forget how mildly annoying she can be. Simple. I think that's a good description. I know they were poor when Randy was a kid. His dad did golf course landscaping and his mom worked here & there, making shoes or fishing lures, etc. I understand that they didn't waste and recycled before that was the IN thing to do. But she will put some aluminum foil on a pan and leave it forever. Gross! Randy used a paper plate to cut up some summer sausage and she took that plate, wiped it off and put it back on the stack of plates. Most of the cups in her cabinet are used ones from fast food places. And since she somehow manages to suddenly be shy and can't read a menu when she goes some place (Randy read her the menu and ordered for her when we went anywhere), she obviously does not go out to eat often. I'm not even sure what she eats. Her cabinets were almost completely empty of food and same with the fridge. She will eat leftovers for breakfast. Sorry - warmed up fried catfish and fries is NOT my idea of breakfast. She also manages to eat while hunched over with her elbows tights to her sides like she's afraid someone will see what she's doing. Damn, stretch woman!! And she will make a list for him to do while he's there. Like change the batteries in her smoke detectors. Or change a light bulb on her patio. What does she do in the months between his visits?
But that's OK. She obviously worships the ground Randy walks on and is very proud of him. So I can deal with her quirks.
We also went and walked the Promenade behind Bathhouse Row and looped around onto Central and walked back in front of the bathhouses.
Looking up the mountain at an overlook.
Army / Navy Rehab Hospital
Angel's got this thing for big rocks.
Gates into the Army / Navy hospital.
Mom & Randy
The Arlington Hotel
I love the colors in this spring!
The Fordyce - Hot Springs Visitor Center
My favoritest place ever - the Buckstaff
The Park Administration Building
There are fountains available to fill jugs and there are always people there!
So Christmas Day rolled around. Randy got his tool set and a firepit (that I did NOT lug down there), Miss Angela got her iPod Touch, an iTunes gift card and her One Direction calendar and ornament and toothbrush and I got a Kindle Fire HD and a Michael's gift card and a sewing machine. And a shawl! I can't believe that I love this freakin' shawl! It was a good day. Randy's sister Regina stopped by for a few minutes. Then his niece stopped in. Then Winter Storm Euclid stopped by.
The condo's courtyard went from this.....Monday afternoon (look! I'm a tree!)
To this......Wednesday morning
Mom had over 6 inches of snow on her deck! It started out with freezing rain, which caused a LOT of tree damage in the area. Arkansas also issued it's very first ever blizzard warning! 191,000 people over 3 counties lost power. We were among the lucky ones who kept it. Luckily, since it had been so warm the ground wasn't frozen, which helped it to melt fairly quickly.
Needless to say, since they don't have such things as snowplows or road salt in Arkansas, we didn't go anywhere until Thursday afternoon. We went to a Chinese buffet for dinner with Regina, which is the first time she's actually done anything with us.
OK, the rest will be for part 2!