I am trying to get caught up on my blogging, so Warning: This is LONG!
This past month has been wild. Here is a map of where we have been since November 16:
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Once again, The Clarks trekked the globe.
Though these 15,000 miles of traveling looks fun and exciting, it was not necessarily by choice. This has definitely been one of the most difficult month and a half of my life thus far, but we made it, and made the best of it!.
1st stop Calgary:
Brooklyn and I flew out to Calgary November 16th. During our stay, we got to see several of my childhood friends, and surprisingly a ton of family! Of course we got to spend a lot of time with Ama and Grandpa Greg and Brig, but Grandpa Sevy surprised us and came to visit, then Brooke, Mike and Hannah drove up for Thanksgiving, and then for the cherry on top, Uncle Geoff and Kelty were in town for the Grey Cup, so we got to see them as well!
Unfortunately, I had was suffering from health problems the whole trip, but it was an excuse to just sit and visit a lot, so it was fine. I got my second bout of Bronchitis of the season right before we flew out. I was unable to get enough oxygen or sleep because of it. My Mom doctored me up with "Magic Juice" (Onion, Garlic, Ginger, Lemon, Lime and Honey Juice) and other natural remedies, but before I could get better, I cartilage in my coughed and cracked the cartilage in my pelvic/tailbone area. This happened a few days before we were supposed to fly home as it made it impossible to move or sit for a few days. Trey and Brooke's family arrived on Thanksgiving day and the 'crack' occurred 2 days later.
A Flames Game! Bath time at Ama and Grandpa's - Harris Style
We were so lucky to have Grandpa Sevy come out from the Okanogan for a few days to see us!
Uncle Brig was absolutely amazing with Brooklyn. She would run and exclaim "Uncle Brig!" every time she saw him. Thanks for the fun swim at the Glencoe!
Time with Ama and Grandpa was priceless. There was a lot of it as I was mostly incapacitated!
Brooklyn's best friend was her Auntie Brookie. They made cookies and Brooke played with her for hours!
When my back went out, Trey and I were figuring out if I could even fly home to Indiana when we got news of his Mom being in the hospital. Trey boarded the next plane out of Calgary and arrived a few hours before she passed away.
I got on the plane the next day and flew to Chicago where our friends here went above and beyond helping me. Melinda picked us up at the airport, Sabrina met me at my house to help me pack, Nikki took Brooklyn while we packed and The Thomas' picked us up the next morning at 4:30am to take us back up to the airport to arrive a few hours before the Viewing.
The flights were hard, but bearable due to such wonderful friends and Trey's incredible planning on organizing it all from Chattanooga!
2nd Stop, Chattanooga
The Friday Family Brooklyn was a delight - she loves her uncle Clay!
Our Little Cabin in the woods!
Though it was the saddest time of my life, it was also a time where we got to reconnect with family and friends who we love so much. The love and support given and felt throughout this time has been overwhelming and taught me a lot about charity and service.
A wonderful couple in the Branch let us stay in their cabin behind their home during our stay for the funeral. It was a dream to have our own space where we could talk and cry as we pleased. They had a cat and 3 dogs, so of course Brooklyn was in heaven.
Brooklyn was actually a real breath of fresh air during the entire event. She was her happy, playful self and added a real sweetness and lightness to the funeral.
3rd Stop, Ila Georgia:
Ddaddy and Nana's!
The Quiddler Champions!
We had nightly battles. Ddaddy, next time...
Like always, our visit with Ddaddy and Nana was delightful! Abundant with Food, Family, fun and much needed rest. Nana went above and beyond insisting on taking Brooklyn in the mornings so we could sleep in and reminding me to take a nap while Brooklyn did each day.
This was hilarious! Ddaddy was handing out $100 to each of the Grandchildren for Christmas, and Brooklyn went up to him and said " DDaddy, I want Money!" Of course DDaddy had his famous stack of $2 bills and gave each of the great-grandchildren one. They were thrilled!
4th Stop, Atlanta
We Spent one night at Trey's step-brother Phil's house before starting our road trip.
5th Stop: Pensicola FL
We decided that we would do a road trip down south before heading over to Memphis for Christmas. We rented a car and headed down to the beach. Phil actually was going to be down there for business and had a nice hotel room he let us share with him! We were so grateful for his generosity and great company! It worked out perfectly and was fun to spend a bit more time with him.
Our first day was rainy, but we still ventured out onto the beach!
The next day was nicer though a little chilly. Brooklyn still loved finding shells, chasing the seagulls and playing with Daddy!
6th Stop: New Orleans
This is a place I have always wanted to go. The full experience of music and food and exploration was a little difficult with an opinionated 2 year old, but we still had fun!
We went on a bus tour of where the Hurricane Katrina aftermath was the worst and most of the rest of the city.
I found a real deal on a 41/2 star hotel - Le Pavillion. It had the nicest lobby of any hotel I've ever stayed in, but the room and service was ridiculous. We do not recommend this hotel.
Despite the poor hotel experience, we loved Cafe Dumont, walking through the French Quarter, eating lots of sea-food like Oyster Po-Boys, Soft Shell Crabs and Craw fish and other yummy Cajun, New Orleans food.
7th Stop: Memphis
One of the major highlights of our trip was when we went a Grizzlies vs Pacers NBA game in Memphis. Fred got FRONT ROW tickets, along with Valet parking, free food and opportunity to meet the players after the game! It was an opportunity of a lifetime!
Can you believe where we were sitting!?
Here are a few of the players we met
Definitely the way to watch a game!
Brooklyn had no complaints with being at Papa and Didis! 2 Kittens that would let her terrorize them and an Uncle Didi that would do the same!
Though it was terribly sad not to have Judy with us, we made the best of it!
The boys went Paintballing, Phil drove over for about 3 days - bringing his PS3 and beautiful Dog Zoe, and Brooklyn and I kept busy. Incredible neighbors brought meals regularely, including a full Christmas Dinner!
Though Judy wasn't with us, she was definitely there in spirit. She had done almost all her Christmas shopping before her surgery. One last time, Brooklyn and I were spoiled rotten by our Nai Nai! Judy went all out on the Elmo theme (;
So, though it was a difficult time, we have so much to be grateful for! We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Holiday. I wish I could have gotten Christmas cards out, but please know of our love for you and thank you for yours!
Oh, here are just a few more pictures - they are just so good I couldn't not post them!