Sunday, July 21, 2013

No Place Like Home..

I'm having a little bit of a homesick day today so I figured its perfect timing for my next post! Okay, let's be honest, perfect timing would have been right when I returned to Zim almost two months ago.. but who's counting the days??
Going home for some family time was exactly what I needed after the exciting but intense trip to Mozambique.

Layovers weren't too bad on the way back, but I was definitely ready for some R&R by the time I made it to Shreveport. And to my surprise, my ENTIRE family was there to pick me up! I was just expecting Mom to be there but everyone made the effort to come and welcome me home. Made me feel so special..

All the fam at the airport!

 For the first few nights back home, we had a FULL HOUSE. Literally. Lauren and David were in between homes (sold old one, hadn't moved in to new one yet), so we had both of them and the boys. Lindsey was staying at mom and dad's for pre-wedding.. everything, and of course me and Mom and Dad! It was like old times, with a few extra boys running around. I have to describe the sleeping arrangements because I think its hilarious. Lauren and hubby in Lauren's old room (makes sense), Hudson in Lindsey's old room (because he's used to sleeping in there for naps/nights with DeeDee and Pops), Andrew in the closet in Lauren's room! (because well, its big enough and close enough and quiet enough), Lindsey in my room (because that was the last big bed left)... So when I get home I'm sleeping in the "twin room," our guest room upstairs that just so happens to also be the diaper changing room.. ha.
It was loud and chaotic and messy, but I wouldn't change it for the world.

After getting one good nights sleep at home (next to the diaper genie), it was time to head south to New Orleans for Lindsey's bachelorette party! See all the craziness in Lindsey's blog here about the weekend. I had such a good time hanging out with my sisters, roaming the streets of New Orleans, eating great food in some interesting places, and enjoying live music in the "mud pit". Organizing things like that, in a town like that, with that many people on Jazz Fest weekend is not an easy task, but I think Lauren Merrick did an incredible job of arranging everything, and we all made sure the Lady of the Weekend was happy and having a good time! Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did Linds.

NOLA baby!

I spent the weeks leading up to the wedding spending time with the nephews, catching up with friends, going to Dallas for wedding dress fittings, helping paint the new house, eating some of mom's delicious home-cooked meals, and watching crime dramas on the couch with dad!

I'm so glad that I got to be in town for Mother's Day. It was such a special day. The weather was perfect so we decided to have lunch outside on the back porch and spent the rest of the afternoon chatting, laughing and enjoying the day!

Mother's Day fun!
The weeks flew by and all of the sudden it was wedding week! Bridesmaids luncheon was elegant and delicious, Rehearsal dinner was emotional and exciting, and wedding prep in the Remmington was so much fun!

I could not believe how chill Lindsey was the whole day leading up to her wedding. She was as cool as a cucumber as we listened to music and drank mimosas while getting our hair and makeup done. And my goodness did those ladies look remarkable after a day of pampering (not that they didn't look that way before!). Watching Lindsey put on that absolutely stunning wedding dress made it all become real to me. She looked flawless.

Before we knew it, it was time to head to the church! I could tell once we arrived, after we took some photos, it was starting to hit Linds. I knew she was human! Nerves kicked in as we were all crammed into this tiiiny little cry room in the back of the church. But we all managed to keep our makeup from running and the ceremony began!

It was a beautiful service and Father Gallagher said some inspiring and thoughtful words on love and marriage. Then there was that moment. The moment when Miss Lindsey Marie Hudson become Mrs. Lindsey Hudson Tison, the moment when you know their lives are going to be different from here on out, that Lindsey is starting her own life and family with Justin. To be able to witness that was priceless. They said "I do" and became husband and wife, a moment I will remember forever. I love the both of them so much. And so, so happy that Justin is now officially part of the family.

Despite Southern Trace chefs being fired and tornadoes hitting clubhouse 2 days before the wedding... the reception went off without a hitch. Lindsey's style and personality showed in every corner of that room. My camera was locked away to make room for drinking and dancing so unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the party, but let me tell you it was the most beautiful decor I have ever seen. The flower arrangements alone were something meant for a magazine. Upon entering the room, Lindsey welled up with tears at the sight of her reception. Months in the making it all came together and I believe even better than she could have imagined.

The rest of the night was a whirlwind of music and dancing and catching up with old friends. It of course flew by and in what seemed like mere moments, we were lining up to bid Mr. and Mrs. Tison farewell! It was an extremely emotional moment for me as she was running down the passage to hop into her get-a-way car, because despite all of the warm wishes and good feelings floating in the air, I couldn't help but think that this is the last time I'm going to see her until 2014! I of course was" boo-hooing" but didn't want to put a damper on such an exciting moment. They sped away to the honeymoon suite as I said a special prayer and a silent goodbye to the new couple. And just like that, they were off and the party was coming to and end! It was a remarkable evening and one I know I won't ever forget. Thank you Lindsey and Tison for putting on such a memorable and special event.

I spent the days after the wedding packing and soaking up as much family time as I could. Had one more delicious Louisiana crawfish meal, said more emotional goodbyes, then I was back in Dallas waiting for my flight back to the other side of the world.  I had the most amazing few weeks with my family and love and miss them so much!!

Now I know I always have stories about my plane travels back and forth, but this one turned out not to be so bad.

The day before my flight the tragic tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma. So everyone was on high alert for bad weather. The entire DFW airport shut down after I arrived and was not letting planes in or out. So for some time my connecting flight was circling around overhead before eventually landing in Houston. That one flight delay made me miss my other flight out of Chicago, so everything had to be rearranged. The airport staff was doing their best to accommodate the hundreds of people who were put out by the bad weather. They handled it very well and I was transferred to another airline and booked on a flight that would get me on my last scheduled plane to Johannesburg on time! And to top it off the new flight booked had no more seats in coach so I was bumped up to business class! Woweee I don't ever want to go back. Seats that lay all the way back with leg supports AND a lower back massager.  Fantastic 3-course meals served on my own personal white table cloth and the best flight attendant service ever! Cuan is in trouble now... I was so spoiled.

So I made it back to Johannesburg feeling more rested that I ever though one could be after traveling for over 36 hours. Had a bit of a layover in Joburg so Cuan's sister Kelly who lives there, very kindly arranged a ride for me from the airport so that I could spend a few hours catching up with her! A much-needed break from living in airports and I appreciated it so much! Got back on the plane for the short flight to Harare.

Just before landing in Zim, this happens every time, I get this wave of peace and happiness that I am now back in this amazing country. Just looking around at the other Zimbos with their great attitudes and relaxed way of life makes me feel warm and welcome.

And just like my trip back home, I got right back into the swing of things. Landed at about 10pm and had a decent nights sleep before getting back on the road to Kariba! I blogged about that place here when we went on a houseboat for Easter. This time we were going for a good friends wedding. So I fought the jet-lag and lack of sleep and carried on for another party, and it was an amazing one. I've been up to lots since I've been back and am going to try and get more posts up soon!

Until next time friends! Enjoy the slideshow...
Lindsey's STUNNING wedding dress, it turned out absolutely perfect, and better have after all the trips she made to Dallas for alterations! Literally landed in Shreveport the day before the wedding.. Cutting it close Linds!
Making a wishes for a perfect wedding outside the dress shop!
A good way to spend time in the Northpark mall while waiting for wedding dress alterations to be completed
Beautiful Bridesmade Luncheon!
Rehearsal Dinner: great food, even better speeches

Pamper Time!

We had such a good time and the bride and groom looked so happy!

mmMmmm Crawfish...

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