On the Sunday after Christmas we met my parents at MY Grandma's house for lunch and Christmas. We were trying to make sure we had a day together that wasn't rushed to be somewhere else. I have always enjoyed visiting my Grandma but it seems like such a long trip. We spent the night there when I was younger but over the years we started making a day trip out of it. Grandma goes to pick up my Aunt Elaine from her group home - Elaine is mildly retarded and cannot live on her own but can live in an assisted living home. She cannot cook - she doesn't comprehend enough directions and pay enough attention to be allowed to do things of this nature. Someone has to check on her and be sure she takes her medications. She did have a job working in their "warehouse" (not sure what work they do) and also Ruby Tuesday's until a few years ago. She would fold the napkins and silverware and help with the salad bar a few days a week. Those were great milestones for her - developmentally she has the mind of an 8 year old child. They have crafts and social activities too and I think it's been great for her to be in this setting. She lived at home with my Grandma until about 10 or so years ago. Maybe longer - I can't recall exactly when they looked for her a place to stay.
Anyhow - we spend a few Saturdays or Sundays a year making a day trip to visit Gigi who is in her 80's and my Aunt Elaine who is in her 60's. Gigi cooks for us and we have a great time talking and Julia Grace does a great job of entertaining! I wish my Papa was alive to meet Julia Grace and that she could have met him. He was in the Army and worked in a factory after this time. He smoked Lucky Strikes like there was no tomorrow but was considerate enough to go outside to smoke in his own home when they found out I was allergic to cigarette smoke as a child. He grew most of his own vegetables and I remember walking to the barn - well I called it a barn - didn't have animals. It was at the edge of one of his fields and in muscadine vines grew all over it and we used to go look for some to be ready to eat. It doesn't produce nearly what it did when he was still alive. I'm sure he tended to it some. He gave the greatest hugs but he was so rock-solid that it felt like hugging a tree literally! I remember he liked his coffee sweet (I do too!) and loved the hot peppers and anything pickled - yeah I think I get that from him too!
I will have to take pictures of my Grandma's house and put them up sometime. They have two swings on their front porch. Julia Grace and Mallory have always liked to swing on them just as I did when I was little and still do.
We had a great Christmas visit. Gigi made a bucket of cookies for each girl - Mallory got butterscotch chip cookies and Julia Grace got vanilla cookies. Each family got a bag of pecans that my Grandma went out and picked up from the ground and inspected herself. I'm sure that took her a better part of a day or two picking them up and sorting them by herself. She also sends a check each year for us to buy something from her for Christmas. The gifts we're unwrapping are the ones we bought to be from her - she still likes watching us open presents but has a hard time getting out shopping for everyone. Red Springs is a tee-niny town that doesn't even have a WalMart and has a catalog shopping center instead of the actual department stores. Here are the pictures! Mallory wasn't able to join us for this trip. Julia Grace's dress is a Ralph Lauren dress that's identical to one she wore her first Christmas. My parents bought it for her to wear to a Christmas party and for Christmas that year. Mom found it in a 2T on sale just before Christmas and we put it away until now. She looks so pretty in it! I love it!