lots and lots and lots of family time…

We’ve been spending a lot of time with family this past week.  We went to Atlanta to do just that and I have loved every minute of it!  The only thing that could have made it better is if my kids and their significant others could have come down.  Their schedules and budgets didn’t allow for that and I’ve missed them this week.

We took 2 days for our drive from Avon, NC and arrived at Stone Mountain Park CG on Monday and set up and then relaxed.   I was much more prepared for this road trip – and much less stressed – so a successful journey!

I followed Bill for a little while this trip - I prefer leading!

I followed Bill for a little while this trip – I prefer leading!

I had the fuel/gas stops and overnight stops all laid out – and it helped a lot knowing all that in advance.   I use the TruckMaster Fuel Finder website to find truck stops along our route.  It allows you to enter your starting place and destination and also a “via” point if needed.  It also has the ability to search for only certain “brands” such as Pilot, Loves, etc. and/or certain features, such as private showers (for truckers).   Some of the stops also include the price per gallon, but that isn’t always updated.  We try to use Pilot or Flying J, we have a Good Sam card and we get a discount ($.03 off per gallon).  We have friends that also have the Good Sam credit card and I believe they get an additional $.05 off per gallon using that.   We have a Sams Club MasterCard and also a Chase Freedom Visa, and use those for a 5% cash back on gas/fuel purchases.  Sometimes it gets confusing – which card to use for what – but the points can add up.   We figure we are spending the money anyway – might as well get something back if we can.  Some folks use only cash to avoid paying interest, but we pay the cards in full every month – and pay no interest!  It helps us in keeping track of our expenses using the credit cards also – at the end of the year we actually get a summary from Chase with our purchases for the year separated into categories – a very convenient feature for sure!

We had a great site – complete with a view of the lake!  It was somewhat obstructed, but not as costly as the unobstructed view.  The full-time RV lifestyle is about compromise – a lesson we practice every day.

the lake is behind us - very pretty!

the lake is behind us – very pretty!

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we spent with my Aunt Aura.   She is actually my Grandmothers sister, so my Great-Aunt.  She is lives in Israel, so the opportunities to spend time with her don’t come very often.  Since my Nana passed 12 years ago, I have visited her on her trips to Atlanta.  Tuesday we picked her up at Teddys and brought her to see our new home on wheels.  She loved it – said it feels very cozy.

my beautiful Aunt Aura, enjoying the sunshine at our site!

my beautiful Aunt Aura, enjoying the sunshine at our site!

We went to lunch – Aunt Aura wanted Chinese food!  So, Chinese food is what she got!  Wednesday, Aunt Aura wanted to get new sneakers, Easy-Spirit sneakers.  They have been her favorites for as long as I can remember.  She also treated herself to new slippers, since the sneakers and slippers were both on sale.  She insisted on lunch at Longhorn Steakhouse and we were happy to oblige!

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Thursday was mani/pedi day!  Bill dropped us off and we settled into the very comfy chairs.  I was only getting a pedicure, but Aunt Aura had one lady working on her toes and one working on her hands – she totally got the royal treatment!

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Thursday was also the day when other family members started arriving.  My cousin, Jane, was in New Orleans for business and was the first to arrive and she spent the day helping Teddy with Bar Mitzvah preparations.  Her husband and sons flew in from CA later in the evening, along with cousin, Eric and his wife, Jodi.

Cousin Jane

Cousin Jane

 

Cousin Eric and I

Cousin Eric and I

The events started with Friday evening Sabbath services.  We arrived at the synagogue Friday, late afternoon, for pictures.  It has been a long time since we have all been together.  I don’t have the professional pics available yet but here is one Doron snapped with his phone

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All the men, including Bill and my Dad (who are not Jewish) had to wear a Kippah (Yarmulke) (head covering) in the synagogue.  The women dress conservatively, with their knees and shoulders covered.  I later learned, I also needed my elbows covered, so Cousin Lisa lent me a shawl.

Miriam, Bruce, Cousin Teddy and Noam

Miriam, Bruce, Cousin Teddy and Noam

 

After the Shabbat service, we enjoyed a delicious catered dinner.  It was wonderful to relax and just spend time visiting with family – some of whom I haven’t seen in a very long time!

Saturday morning was the main event – the Bar Mitzvah!  I had never been to one before so it was very interesting!  My cousins synagogue is very conservative so the men sit separate from the women.  Thankfully Bill was able to sit with my cousin, Howard, who also attends an orthodox synagogue. He was able to explain some of what was going on to Bill.  The men are very involved in the service, the women aren’t as much.  I sat with my Aunt and my cousins.

Bill and I with Aunt Aura - we clean up nicely, don't we?

Bill and I with Aunt Aura – we clean up nicely, don’t we?

Noam

Noam – Mazel Tov!

After the services, there was a luncheon and we were hungry!  After the lunch, Bill and I headed back home to relax and enjoy some quiet time before the party that evening.  The party was mostly for the kids, and the adults visited in a separate room, mostly so we could hear each other talk!  There was a DJ and dancing and the traditional “Hora” (circle) dance, including Noam getting into a chair and being raised up!

the DJ asked for all strong men to come and help lift the chair - Noam ran to Bill and asked him to help!

the DJ asked for all strong men to come and help lift the chair – Noam ran to Bill and asked him to help!

 

Cousin Tal and I

Cousin Tal and I

Cousin Howard, his wife Sharon, me and Bill

Cousin Howard, his wife Sharon, me and Bill

Cousin Lisa and I

Cousin Lisa and I

I very much enjoyed my family time, as I am sure you can tell!  I was very sad to say goodbye to everyone, especially Aunt Aura.  I did hold back my tears until I got in the car after saying goodbye – I hate making a scene!

I know this post doesn’t seem to have a whole lot to do with RV’ing, but after thinking about it, you will realize it actually has a lot to do with the full-time RV lifestyle.  If Bill and I weren’t full-time Rv’ers, we would not have been able to spend so much time with my family.  Truth be told, if Bill was still employed, he probably wouldn’t have been able to go to Atlanta at all, or maybe just for the weekend.  I’m fairly certain I would have went either way, but not for a week!  We probably would have flown in and spent a couple of rushed days like everyone else.  Just one more reason to be happy about living in our RV!

Well, time to go for now!  I will catch up again soon!

 

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