We left California on Friday, January 18th. We flew from LAX to Detroit and then Knoxville. Our flights went smoothly and the children did well. I asked Andrew to please not spit up on me or have a leaky diaper. Thankfully he didn't do either one.
We arrived in Knoxville around 10:00 p.m. (EST). It had already been a long day as I had been up since 4:45 a.m. (Pacific). After renting 2 cars for the drive to Kingsport we drove to the home of our dear friends the Riveras. Since neither flight offered any food/snacks other than items to be purchased, we picked up dinner from McDonald's on our way. We enjoyed our brief reunion with the Riveras. Around midnight we loaded everyone up for the 90 minute drive to Kingsport.
Everyone was excited to see our Kingpsort house...not only because we hadn't seen it for 5 months, but because it also looked different. A couple of months ago my father and brother put on a new roof and new siding. As soon as we get the doors painted and add shutters, we will have a "new" house. We were pleased with the work they did. The house looked great!
Upon entering the house I was delighted to see that the air mattresses and pack 'n plays we had borrowed were already blown/set up. All the kids had to do was crawl in them and go to sleep. This was a huge blessing as it was around 1:30 a.m. when we arrived home. I also noticed some extra cleaning had been done in preparation of our arrival. Thank you Saulsbury family!
Saturday the kids enjoyed a brief time playing in our yard. We left 70 degree temperatures in CA for highs in the 20's in TN! Before going outside Luke asked me where his sandals were. I told him this wasn't shorts and sandal weather!
Saturday afternoon we enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship and dinner with the Simpsons, McLeods and Bradleys. This was also an early send-off for the McLeods. They will be moving to England in March for the completion of an Eastman project. Lord willing, they will return to Kingsport in December.
Worship at Westminster PCA on Sunday was one of the highlights of our trip. The preaching/teaching, singing and fellowship we have enjoyed there for the past 7 years are some of what we have missed most. Being back at Westminster truly made us feel like we were "home". Andrew was baptized our first Sunday there. We were also able to enjoy an extended time of fellowship as it was a 3rd Sunday which meant there was a fellowship meal after the service.
On Monday we drove to Timberlake, NC to visit my family. We enjoyed our time with them, had many extended family members come by, and ate delicious home cooked meals. I was able to visit a high school friend who had been in a serious car accident in early December. I am thankful to have been able to also visit with each of my 3 living grandparents. If the Lord sustains her, my Grandmother Berry will be 100 in September!
Emily had a special time with Mimi (my mom). At age 10 we allow the girls to get their ears pierced. When Ashley turned 10 I didn't really want to be the one to take her to get it done. My mom eagerly voluntered. It is now a tradition for Mimi to take the girls to get their ears pierced. Emily will be 10 in a couple of weeks, so she got her ears pierced while we were there.
On Thursday we drove to Greenville, NC to visit Brian's parents. While there we attended a 70th birthday party for his dad. (Look for a separate post about that later.) We enjoyed seafood from our favorite seafood restaurant and Brian and the oldest 5 went to an East Carolina basketball game. Unfortunately they weren't able to cheer the Pirates to victory. We left Greenville early Sunday morning in order to attend evening worship at Westminster.
Monday was our final day in Kingpsort. I tried to get too much done that day. In addition to packing, I had a dental appointment, Ashley had a dental appointment, Brian and I had health screenings at Eastman and I ran a few other errands. That evening we had dinner at the Chop House to celebrate Brian's birthday. After dinner Brian took the kids home while I went to my friend Susan's house for a Discovery Toys party. She kindly scheduled it for this night in hopes I could attend and see additional friends. I was glad to see some ladies from our Homeschool Moms' Group and grateful to Susan for allowing me to use her washing machine! (The one in our Kingpsort house doesn't work.) It was a full day, but I was happy to have spent it in the town we have come to call "home" and with dear friends.
This post has become lengthy, so I will end here. Our trip home deserves an entry all its own. Hopefully I will be able to post about it and the birthday party in the next few days.