I was able to spend a good amount of time with my parents on Christmas Eve. My mom and I made mini Oreo cheesecakes and then we went on a little photo exhibition. What started out as me taking some pictures in the backyard quickly escalated and we went to a few other places to take pictures.
First up are a few photos from their backyard that kind of define my childhood.
My parents built their house shortly before I was born, so it's really the only home I've ever known. He planted a few pine trees in the back yard when they moved in, and I'm always amazed by how much they've grown. I can remember when my mom first told me that trees were alive, I was both confused and amazed. I spent countless hours in this backyard talking to the trees.
I remember playing with pine cones, and having pine cone wars with friends who came over. They hurt!!
Our old swing-set, forgotten to time.
This to anyone else probably looks like garbage. At one point in time it was black and looked like a mini witches cauldron. I spent many hours in the back yard with it making my brew (which usually consisted of pebbles, leaves, pine straw, etc.). I was delighted to see it still hanging on the fence where I last left it 15 years or so ago.
My mom planted this tree when I was little. I can remember it was so tiny. It got run over by the lawn mower a couple of times, I think, but it has thrived and is now a huge, beautiful tree.
My family has a cemetery out in the country and I hadn't been in years. Mom and I got to talking about it and I thought how great it would be to give it a visit and take a few pictures.
Directions to the cemetery.
Most of the people buried here died in the 1800s or early 1900s, though there are some more current headstones.
As you can see, it's not a very large cemetery...
But this is why I love it. It's beautiful out there.
It's become a little overgrown in the years. I can remember being able to see miles and miles of hills through the trees.
After our trip to the cemetery, we went to my elementary school. The county recently built all new elementary schools and are planning on tearing the old ones down. I realize the buildings are old and falling apart, but it breaks my heart. Some of my best memories are in those hallways and classrooms. I had always dreamed of becoming a teacher and teaching there one day. My dad and grandmother went to this school, too.
Where the playground used to be, though they've already disposed of all the playground equipment. Without the swings and slides there, it seems empty and small and sad.
This was one of my favorite spots to play. My friends and I found rocks that would write on the brick like chalk, so we would play teacher a lot. This stairwell holds many memories.
Most of my class favorite pictures were taken on this bench.
The front of the school. Many class pictures were taken on these steps.
The school used to house grades 1-12, and my grandmother graduated high school here. Her class put this mosaic tile in front of the school steps.
Me on the steps of the school, one last time before the building is torn down.
Sunday we woke up to... SNOW! It wasn't a big snow or anything, and it didn't stick, but it was so magical to watch it fall on the Christmas decorations. I will forever remember walking across the parking lot into church and seeing the snow fall around me. And how cold my legs were!
After church we went to my grandparent's house for leftovers. My grandfather had told me I had a great-great something (I believe it was four or five greats, I can't remember) grandfather that was buried at a cemetery in town that fought in the Civil War. I had no idea and was very interested to see his headstone. Husband and I looked for about half an hour, but it was so cold and windy we couldn't look for long and we didn't find it. I'll look next time I'm down. We did make a stop by another cemetery where my great-grandparents are buried and visited them. Yes, I know I'm a little obsessed with cemeteries and history and genealogy. I'm okay with that.
Entrance to the cemetery...
Great-grandparents. I felt a little bad for not having flowers or something to leave for them.
I'm so grateful to be able to spend time with my family. And I'm so grateful to have such a wonderful, loving, and supportive family. I don't know what I'd do without them.
My grandparents and me.