September 2012 – After moving to Texas, I had assumed that we might take some time to travel around the state and get to know it better. What ended up happening is that we’ve spent more time heading east than we have going any further west of Houston. Our biggest attraction to heading east of Texas happens to come in the form of family location.
Stephen’s sister and her family live near Mobile, Alabama. My three siblings and their spouses and families live in Gainesville, Florida. A few days before our week-long spring break in March, we made a last minute decision to travel east to visit them during our vacation. So, we packed up and traveled east. We spent one evening in Mobile with Stephen’s sister’s family. They have four children. Their second and third children are close to Jared and Luke’s ages. Their fourth child is about six months older than Grace. So, our kids always have a blast visiting with them.
Our second day of traveling brought us down to Gainesville where my sister had been able to secure a guest apartment at their apartment complex for us to stay during most of our visit in Florida. It was a great time to meet three new members of the family. First of all, my sister, Anita gave birth to her second child, Eliana in mid-November of 2011. My youngest brother, Tim, had recently married the love of his life, Briana, right before Christmas of 2011. I had never met her outside of Facebook contact. Around that same time, my brother Philip and his wife, Chrissy, had finalized the adoption process of a precious little girl from China. So, it was the first time that I got to meet little Li Rose. Jared and Luke also enjoy playing with their cousins, Noah and Josh. It was also the first time for Grace and Eliana to meet each other.
During our visit in Florida, I also had the opportunity to travel down to Ocala and visit with my grandfather, Bill Lassiter and his wife. It was a short visit and the Meier kiddos basically napped the whole time we were there, but it was fun to sit and chat with him the way I used to when I was in college.
At the end of our one week vacation, we stopped in Mobile again on our way back to Texas and spent one more night with the Blanton family. It is always so hard to leave their home, because our visits tend to be so brief.
We’ve already decided that we will make another one-week trip east before the end of the year. I will be too far along in my pregnancy to travel anywhere for Christmas. However, my doctor has authorized my travel plans for the week of Thanksgiving break. We are excited that BCS allows for an entire week of vacation for Thanksgiving. Besides seeing the family that we visited in the spring, we have an additional couple of family members we haven’t visited with in a long time. Just this past July, my parents (Steve and Helen Cobb) moved to Gainesville, Florida after leaving their missionary home of 16 years in Guatemala. My father has not spent time with my kids since before Grace was born. Jared had just turned three and Luke was a year and a half when they last visited with their “Papi.” They last visited with their “Mimi” when she came to Ecuador for a few weeks after Grace was born.
Here are the general plans for the trip:
November 16 (Friday) – Thanksgiving vacation begins at the end of the school day
November 17 (Saturday) – Leave Lake Jackson, Texas and arrive in Mobile, Alabama
November 19 (Monday) – Leave Mobile and arrive in Gainesville, Florida
November 23 (Friday) … yeah, we’re traveling on Black Friday – Leave Gainesville and return to Mobile, Alabama
November 24 (Saturday) – Leave Mobile, Alabama and return to Lake Jackson, Texas
November 26 (Monday) – School is back in session until Christmas break