Sunday, July 24, 2011

Home again, home again, jiggety-jig

During our Surprise, Surprise visit home to North Carolina we kept ourselves very busy and the time flew by. It's hard to believe that we've been back in California for 2 weeks already. Here are a few (quite a few actually) of the highlights of our trip.

There are just certain "things" you can't get on the West Cost and for the last 18 months we (Carl mostly) has had a hankering for good old BoJangles'. If you're not familiar with BoJangles' it's a southern fast food restuarant chain famous for their Chicken n' Biscuits. I was never a huge fan of biscuits, but I credit Bojangles for turning me on to Biscuits and Sausage Gravy. YUM! My mouth is watering just thinking about them. Here's Carl enjoying our first  morning with his favorites.

After the of day of Surprises on Friday we were able to coordinate quite a large cook out. Thanks to Carl's brother Craig and his family for hosting the "event" at their home for 22 people on such short notice.

Craig manned the grill to cook some awesome hot dogs and hamburgers. Carl relaxed in the shade and caught up with his dad and friends, Brian, Heather, and John. 

I shared a clip of the video from surprising our mom with my brother Wesley. 

My aunt Bobbi and her DH, Kevin, joined us from their home in Raleigh, NC after just getting back from their own summer vacation.  The next day we shared a quite breakfast with them at Cracker Barrel, which we also don't have on the West Coast. 

Carl enjoyed a little rest with our nephew Darren.  

Even in the dark Carl gave the kids a little sculpting lesson. Our niece Zoe is becoming quite the little artist. 

Little Man is so cute, like a mini Carl!

Why does Carl look like that? He' trying to comprehend a story Little Man just told him but it was a little difficult....

... because Carl had drank a little of this. Crystal Skull Vodka....
or as Carl called it Vod-ick-a.

Which  also made Carl become fascinated with a sparkler. 

The next day we headed to Carl's dads house for a little pool time. 

Les and Zoe had  a little diving fun while Hilary snapped a few underwater photo's. 

Later in our trip we got to spend quality time with the kids. Carl gave Little Man a drum lesson. 

And even my Big Man can't help but play the drums, even if they are designed for children. 

This is one of my favorite video's from the trip. 

And while the boys played drums the girls and I stayed busy with crafts.

  We were both very happy that our friends, Brian and Heather, were able to come into town from their home in Sevierville, TN to spend time catching up face to face. And they brought their dog, Jane, who just loves Carl.

We enjoyed a nice dinner out and a little story telling. Brian is by far one of the best story tellers ever.  

Of course we ate way to much while we were in town including at this dinner out with Les and  Hilary at The Chop House,  just one of the new restaurants that have popped up since we've been gone.  

The visit could not be complete if Carl didn't take a nap on his moms SUPER comfortable couch. 

Or devour his moms cooking. 

On our last night home we sat on the deck and just  listened to the sounds of the country. I will end this post here, so sit back, relax, close your eyes and drift back to NC with me and listen to this little clip. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Surprise, Surprise

After 18 months of Living and Loving in California my husband and I decided we were long overdue for a visit back to North Carolina. It was a pleasant surprise when our schedules actually allowed both of us to be off for a week at the same time. We couldn't pass up the opportunity since we were unsure of when our schedules would align again.

We got the idea to do a spur of the moment surprise trip home on  Monday (6/27) and by Thursday (6/30) we touched down in super humid and hot Charlotte, North Carolina. Of course we couldn't pull off this surprise without letting a few people in on it so Carl's brother, Craig, picked us up at the airport and we were off to start surprising people.

Since we got  in late Thursday night there were only 3 people that we could surprise that night. Our nieces Zoe and Reece, and our nephew Darren were completely shocked when their mom called them into the kitchen where we were hiding. They had gotten so big and even though we've done video chats and seen pictures there was no way to really see all the changes until we saw them in person. It was amazing and a great way to start our week.

The next day we started Round 2 of Operation Surprise by popping into Carl's dad's office. Of course he knew something was up when he saw Carl's brother standing outside with a  video camera...but I don't think he had suspected us. Thanks to Hilary for helping us keep this secret for a few days.

Next we were off to surprise my mom. She had coincidentally taken that day off of work which worked out well.  We drove about 40 minutes to Concord, NC and pulled into her drive way only to find that she wasn't there! I casually called her cell phone and after a minute of chit chat she revealed that she was at the store Dollar Tree and that she was going grocery shopping after. While still hiding our secret I told her to call me when she got home. I then called my aunt and asked her where the Dollar Tree was (because I'm not familiar with that side of town)  and that we were going to go there and surprise  mom since she wasn't home. We found my mom's truck in the parking lot and made our way to the front door of the store. The following video pretty much sums up the rest of the adventure.

May I suggest you hit the play button and then immediately pause it so that you can see my moms face through the glass! What you didn't see is that when she got to the door she looked at me and then looked back at her purse, then she looked at me and smiled and looked back at her purse, and THEN it registered that it was ME standing there are she lost it. Afterwards she said she thought, "Wow, that girl looks familiar". We went back to her place for an hour to visit before we had to head off to surprise one more person, Carl's mom.

Cal's mom had to  work all day so after she got home and had time to relax we headed up the road for our final surprise. We pulled into the driveway and unload ourselves (Carl's brother and family joined us to see and video tape the surprise but I don't have that video to share). Carl gave his signature knock and a minute later his mom, Gill, peaked  out of the blinds...and then peaked again before opening the door. She was shocked and it took her awhile to realize what was happening but after a moment her shock turned into joy and excitement. 

The first  24 surprise filled hours were everything we had hoped they would be and we kept pinching ourselves that we were home. If I can get my hands on the other surprise video's then I'll upload them here as well. 

On a side note, there was one funny "reaction" that almost everyone had. As you can hear in the video my mom kept saying "What are you guys doing here?" while Carl's mom kept asking "How come?". And when Carl told his brother that we were going to take a trip home he must have said it rather cryptically because his brothers first thoughts were that something was wrong. Thankfully that was not the case and we were just able to make the trip leisurely.

I'll stop this post here but I'll be writing again soon to share stories from the remainder of our North Carolina vacation!