Friday, July 11, 2014

Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plain

Good times... Good Friends
June 18-23, 2014
Norman, OK

Wednesday, June 18th
We arrived in Norman around 5:30 and went to the West Side Walmart to get some OU shirts and attire since we live down in Houston where OU stuff is not available. We were able to get several shirts for me and a shirt for each of the kids plus a hat for Chris! After we finished here to went on over to Jeff and Wendy's house where we were staying while in Norman.

Now our vacation in Norman had officially started. We came in to Jeff and Wendy's house to see their 2 kids all grown up. The last time we saw them back in March of 2013 they were 5 months and 2 years. Now these two were 20 months and nearly 4. It is amazing how much they had grown up. When we arrived our kids ran into the house almost as if it were their own and started to play with all the toys. Patrick and Caroline were kinda in shock themselves and started to get upset that all of their toys were being played with. There was about 20-30 minutes of screaming and fits but then almost like magic everyone started getting along. In fact, they all became pretty good friends once they got over the initial shock!

Thursday, June 19th 
Today we were scheduled to go to Shawnee to see all of my teaching friends from Grove. Some of my best friends from Grove had scheduled a lunch at one of the local favorites at 1 pm. We decided to leave Norman a little early so we could explore our old hometown. We started by stopping by our very first home together- Rock Creek Apartments in Norman. We only lived there for about 5 months but it was still our home! 

Our very first "home" together! Lots of memories here! 

We got to Shawnee around 10:30 am and almost immediately after we got off of I-40 we noticed that the heat gauge on our car was spiking up unexpectedly. We decided to take it to the nearest car shop to see what was wrong. Three shops later we discovered that my car had a broken front gasket and would need to be repaired before we could leave Oklahoma (I am writing a completely separate blog for this whole ordeal... A lesson in patience indeed).

Fortunately, I was able to eat lunch with 8 of my teacher friends from Grove, which was the highlight of my Oklahoma trip for sure! We were able to catch up with each other's lives and our teaching careers and some of them had even retired (they are truly the lucky ones). I sure to miss Grove and wish I would just pick up that whole school, neighborhood and teaching environment and place it down here in Houston! But I am so very grateful that despite the crazy car problems that God allowed me to not only have lunch with my friends but also have an extended fellowship session with a few of them.

After this we discovered that the car would in fact have to go to a "real" body shop and we needed to head back to Norman. We quickly left the small body shop in Shawnee and made a quick pit-stop by our old house in North Shawnee on our way out of town. That poor house and neighborhood have not changed a bit! In fact, the mailbox still had DAVIS written on it!

Our first house on Liberty Circle. 

We headed out for Norman to get our car into the Chevy dealership by 5 pm. It was here that we were given a loaner car (thankfully, because I don't know how crazy I would have been without one). Luckily we made it there by 5 pm and got all set-up with the loaner. We were told that our car should be ready by Friday afternoon or Saturday at the latest so I was not too worried.

We were able to have a great evening with Jeff and Wendy and Chris Calvert, another great friend of Chris's from back in the day that evening. This was also the 1st time we were able to swim in Jeff and Wendy's pool. Natalie just loved this and felt right at home in the water. Luke, on the other hand... Didn't like it and spent the majority of the time pushing the car around the backyard. Except for the last few minutes when Luke thought he would just put his feet in the hot tub... little did he know it was deeper than he thought. Poor Chris Calvert jumped in, phone, wallet and all, to help save him! Luke was a little panicked after that! We decided to go ahead and call it a night at that point!

Natalie learning to use the pool noodle the first night. 

Natalie and daddy having fun in the pool. 

AND all Luke wanted to do was push the car around. 

Friday, June 20th 
Despite our car being in the shop we decided to go and hang out with my college roommate Jessica. She is a teacher as well and had 2 kids that were approximately the same age as Natalie and Luke. We met up with her and her husband, Andy last summer too when they were traveling in south Texas so we wanted to keep up this yearly tradition. We went to her house in Yukon and stayed for a few hours with hopes of returning to Norman and getting our car out of the shop.

I love you Jessica! Miss you girly! 

Luke and Evie! They have grown up so much. 

Evie, Luke, Alex and Natalie! 

We got back to Norman only to be told that they had not even looked at our car yet and it would more than likely be Saturday before they looked at it to even be able to tell what is wrong or if parts needed to be ordered. I was beyond mad at this point but there was little we could do about the whole situation. We decided a remembrance tour of Norman was in order. We started with a drive by Bethel Baptist Church where Chris and I met, he propose to me and we were married. So many memories were held in that church. 

Chris and I in front if Bethel! I love you Chris Davis and I am so glad God brought us together! 

 We then went to OU campus and walk around hoping our frustrations would ease. However, we did make a stop at Braums for a milkshake stress eating binge. This was a great time spent with my kids and I loved hearing Luke say "Boomer" the whole time. We made it to the OU Foot ball stadium and a groundskeeper opened up one of the gates to let us into the stadium and on the field level. Natalie and Luke climbed the bleachers and we posed for a few pictures too but Luke just kept saying "Boomer Foot-ball". This made my heart melt!

I love that Chris is wearing a LSU shirt! 

On the North Oval... Love this spot! 

Train them young! Boomer Sooner, saxeT sucks! 

Waiting for the groundskeeper to let us in. Luke was pointing saying "foot-ball". 

Boomer Sooner! 

Love this picture and my family! 

After our OU tour we went back to Jeff and Wendy's to spend time with them, Chris Calvert and another one of Chris's friend Phil for dinner. This was the big Pool Party that they had planned for us and it was yet another fun and eventful evening!

Natalie had so much fun with Chris Calvert! 

Saturday, June 21st 
While we eagerly waited the phone call from the dealership about our car we decided to go to the OKC zoo with Jeff and Wendy and their kids. This was so much fun because our kids LOVE zoos. We had been to the OKC zoo many times while living in Shawnee and it was fun to take pictures in the same locations as before to see the difference in growth of Natalie.

It was during our time at the zoo that we got the call that our car would not be ready until AT LEAST Monday and that a part would need to be ordered! We were devastated and frustrated to say the least but we started to discuss our options. After the zoo we met up with Phil at Jimmy's Egg, another Norman favorite. This was a great breakfast but a lot more binge eating!

That afternoon Natalie and I went to the local shopping center to try to buy us some Sunday clothes since we were not planning on being here on Sunday. We had originally planned on leaving Saturday so we did not pack anything dressy enough for Sunday church. We then decided to go and do more stress eating at Cold Stone Creamery. It was Luke's first time and he LOVED it. 

Luke loves his Cold Stone Cotton Candy ice cream! 

That evening was another great meal and time of fellowship with all of our friends and we even got to play games like in the old days. In the middle the frustration of our car we were able relax and have a good time with our friends. Despite my sadness and frustration God blessed us by being with friends and having them there for encouragement. Thank you to Jeff, Wendy, Chris Calvert and Phil for helping us have a good time and just RELAX!

Jeff, Phil, My Chris and Chris Calvert. This is the old gang!
It's funny how more things change the more they stay the same! We love and miss you guys! 

Sunday, June 22nd 
We decided to go to our old home church in Shawnee, Immanuel Baptist Church. This is where Chris and I attended the entire 5 years we lived in Shawnee and all of our friends attended there. It was great to hear Dr. Todd Fisher preach once again and oddly enough we got to sit on the exact row we sat on when thought all of our hopes were lost of conceiving a child back in 2008. In fact, it was Dr. Todd's sermon that Sunday morning in October reminded us how to pray. Shortly after this sermon we discovered we were pregnant with Natalie Grace. It was priceless to not only be back in the place of these memories but to literally sit where we prayed this prayer. God is so good!

After church we decided to go back by our house again! This time we actually got out of our car to take some pictures. In fact, Natalie took this pictures for us! She is becoming quite the photographer!

It's hard to believe this was our first home! 

It still says Davis... Hehe! 

We made one final pit-stop in Shawnee to see our Plexus up line Ambassador and get a few business tips from her. She was such a motivation to us and we left feeling we can once again conquer this personal business! Thank you Kay Hawkins for the encouragement!

When we got back to Jeff's house we had one final night at the pool. This was so much fun because at this point Natalie was able to swim by herself with floaties and Luke was FINALLY getting more accustom to the pool! We had a BLAST playing in the pool and we really appreciate the hospitality of Jeff and Wendy! Without their gracious hearts we would have been literally STUCK! Thank you all so much for your kindness!

Luke having fun IN the pool! 

Monday, June 23rd 
Our car was supposed to be ready today by the latest of 3 or 4 pm so we decided to venture out and have some fun around Norman. We started by driving past Bob Stoops house about 6 times. This place was beyond MASSIVE! I couldn't believe how big it was and how close it was to not only the road but civilization! In fact we saw someone on the balcony... I don't know, maybe it was Stoops himself! 

Bob Stoops' house... Wow it was BIG! 

Chris Calvert was nice enough to offer us some spending money to "Entertain the kids" while our car was getting finished! We decided to go to Andy Alligator's Fun Park in north Norman. It was a blast and kids just loved it! Every mommy and daddy had some fun... We rode some rides and even climbed the rock climbing wall! The kids were even able to make "build-a-bear" type stuffed animals which they named "Okie" and "Andy"! Thank you Chris Calvert, you are AWESOME! 

This is such an awesome place. If you are ever in Norman, OK go check it out! 

Natalie loved the Frog Hopper ride! 

AND the bumper cars! 

This is a priceless face and truly describes her personality. 

Chris climbing the rock wall. 

Natalie and Luke making heir keepsakes! 

Around 3:30 pm we went back to the dealership to see how it was going with our car. Of course, as soon as we get there we find out it was STILL not ready! I think I was about to just completely lose it! We decided to play at the dealership's playground and Chris and I just prayed that it would all work out! Around 4:15 they paged us to let us know our vehicle was ready! PRAISE THE LORD!

We went back to Jeff and Wendy's house to get our luggage and get on the road. We were loaded and heading back by 5 pm. We made the 7+ hour trip in a little less than 7 hours and even saw Dallas Cowboy's star Emitt Smith pass us on the interstate! Our kids did FANTASTIC in the car and we made it home around 11:45pm.

No matter the circumstances... No vacation is complete without a stop at Buc-ce's!

This vacation was not at all what we expected but somehow it was still a great vacation and it was good to see friends and family. The kindness that our friend portrayed was beyond necessary and we really appreciate them. It will surely be a family vacation to never forget!

God is good... ALL the time! 

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