how we spent our mini-vacation

So, hubs actually had a couple of weeks this summer where he wouldn't be out marching and roasting in the Texas heat.  Last year, he was working 2 jobs and on the few days when he wasn't teaching/melting , he was working at the library; poor guy went until almost Thanksgiving before he ever had a single day off.

Since this year was different, I decided I'd ask for some time off from work to spend with him.  We were unsure of what we wanted to do, if anything, but figured we'd spend it just as happily lounging around the house fully-clothed (*le wink*).  Actually, with the fall of (part of) DOMA, we were considering running off to another state to get married, but with all the wibbly-wobbly information out there about federal laws saying one thing and state laws saying another, we decided instead to take a quick trip to Georgia to visit my in-laws.  I say quick, because we did, in fact, spend most of the week lounging and enjoying our time not doing much of anything before said trip.

Luckily, our amazingly fantastic friend, Traci, allowed us to steal her away from her weekend plans and lock her up in our house with the fur-babies - one of whom is insane.  She was so wonderful: not only would she send us texts every morning and night to let us know that they'd all eaten or gone to bed, she would also send us the occasional video of them during the day, showing us how happy and completely not-dead they were.  It was awesome.  There are even pictures of Lebowski cuddled up with her!!  It very well may be that our cat isn't evil or bloodthirsty at all; Lebowski may just prefer the company of women.

Tough break, kid.

The trip itself was great.  Well...I can easily say so, since I didn't have to do any of the driving, but Brandon's a pretty strict rule-follower; since he was the only one that signed for the car, he's the only one allowed to drive it.  I tried helping him stay awake as long as I could but I kept zonking out every now and then.  I'm pretty sure it's a natural rule or something that if I'm in the passenger seat, I must completely entrust my life to the driver, so my body just naturally does its thing.  I did start playing a 6 degrees-esque celebrity game with him, once we were close to Atlanta and he didn't think he'd make it. He shook off the sleepies and beat me mercilessly, of course.  The lovable jerk.

Mississippi River
I didn't take many pictures of the actual drive.  To be honest, the whole thing looks exactly the same, except for the beautiful river and the awesome steamboats about halfway; it's just a long, winding road through dense walls of dinosaur-shaped-trees.

Kylee, walkin' the walk
Georgia was awesome.  It was great being able to see the family, after not having seen them in so long... so long, in fact, that the 4 year old niece had no memory of me (ouch) and I was only getting to meet baby-Zack for the first time.  They both took to me pretty quickly, thanks to my baby-soothing and kid-like superpowers, so that helped me not feel like total crap.

My only complaint about the trip is food-related, which is the opposite of what Brandon would say.  Without fail, there are certain restaurants that we have to hit up in Georgia.  Not because of their fame, or anything special like that... they're simply restaurants packed with memories and good feels for him.  I joke about how terrible they are often, but it's not inedible or anything like that (so I hope he never takes it personally).

nerdy things I bought...
...that had nothing to do with Georgia
From this whole mini-trip, the thing of greatest import to me was that I was able to finally be myself.  The last time I had the opportunity to hang out with the Georgia-family, I hadn't really found or cemented my place among them.  It's the same blatant feeling of self-consciousness I always have to deal with when starting a new class, meeting new people, or starting a new job - the feeling of having to quite literally decide what aspects of myself I will exhibit.  I don't know why it took so long, honestly, though I assume that the importance of what Brandon means to me alone was enough to diminish my self-confidence among his people to very low levels; I wanted them to love me as much as my family loves him, is all.  But this time around, I wasn't nervous, shy, or quiet; I was obnoxious, I made jokes, I laughed hysterically, I gave hugs (even though they're not really the hugging type), and I hummed to baby-Zack 'til he started falling asleep, which was probably on par with being told "...it's great having another son."

I can't thank you enough, Traci, for helping us take care of the fur-babies.  It allowed me to take this much-needed trip with Brandon, meet my nephew, and feel closer to my second family than I had before.  Brandon and I both learned a lot during those few days out and about, and I think we've taken some important steps to becoming more whole in our own respective ways.  Love you, you're the greatest. <3

And of course, thank you, Brandon, for sharing your beautiful family with me.  You're absolutely the most fun person with whom I could ever want to spend a seemingly endless number of hours in a car.
rain or shine