Can you guess what I wanted more than anything for my birthday this year?
To go home!
...but, you probably already guessed that.
I planned to get the kids up early this morning and load them in the car for the 2.5 hour drive to Strasburg, but they surprised me by getting up way before I the clock went off!
The kids happily amused themselves in the backseat of the car for *most* of the drive down. We arrived "home" with just enough time for me to change the kids into their Sunday best, and to receive and give tons of hugs as we entered the church doors.
Apparently, my excitement over my present didn't surprise Ruth, but she was still quite happy to see the kids...and maybe me too ;)
It was so wonderful to sit in our seat and to see all of the love that poured from these wonderful people. I don't exaggerate when I say "it felt like I was home again."
Ruth & George wanted the kids and I to join them for their weekly tradition of Sunday lunch at Mrs. Hoffman's house (Gertrude is George's mom), and any other time I would have politely declined (and then been badgered by Ruth for being a ridiculous)--because I wouldn't want to intrude on their family time, or to have my kids destroy/damage/stain/etc things in her nice house. But, I don't think I even put up a polite refusal--I couldn't think of anything I wanted more this afternoon.
The kids we ridiculously spoiled and pampered and doted on while at Mrs. Hoffman's (where they have been several times, and have always been the center of attention--some things never change!!).
We did go to the park with Ruth, but only for a short while. While we had been enjoying the unseasonably wonderful weather the past few days--it had turned quite windy and cold for this trip.
Ruth, who clearly knew we were coming (even though I didn't tell her!) surprised the kids..and myself, with gifts (which were in her car!).
Thomas got a tool puzzle/book for his birthday present, and she gave me a new pan to make new and fun cakes with. Gracie got some princess silly bands to keep the green-eyed monster at bay ;)
It was getting late in the afternoon, and none of us wanted to leave, but I kept the fact that I wanted to leave the least to myself. Children aren't so tactful.
They were given hugs and kisses and we loaded up in the car with just enough time to make one more stop.
We hadn't seen the Mozingo's since we left home in August!!! Way too long. And, I wasn't even sure if they would be home since they are so busy with church activities on Sunday. But, as Colette put it "God planned it" for them to be home only moments before I pulled in their driveway.
I think all three of them were so pleasantly surprised, and it was also a wonderful (and tearful) reunion.
We didn't stay long, but they got a good look at the kids who have grown so much in the past 6 months, and Gracie got to try on Mallory's tiara.
Yep, our Mallory was crowned Homecoming Queen last month--and we were all so happy for her. Of course we are always proud of her--but this was something extra special to cheer about!
We gave and received more hugs, and my kids waved for the longest time as we pulled out of their driveway and neighborhood.
The last time I went home was in October, and I remember fighting back tears. Not to say that I don't want anything more than to go home and stay home--but this trip was easier. I felt more "refreshed" than sad. And, I am determined now that holidays and bad weather are behind us (mostly) that I will visit far more often.
The kids and I are definitely coming back for Mayfest, and Garren is talking about wanting to be there for the Fourth of July, and I would love to be home for Easter. Christmas was so heartbreaking without my family.
I thank all of the friends and family we saw today for sharing my birthday present. There wasn't anything I wanted more!