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‘Merica Vacation: Part Two, The Love

We took an epic, 10-state, 2,900-mile, 8-day vacation this summer and I’m dishing on all the details. Read more in part one and part three!

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Yesterday, I left off with my bad math skills and my poor dinner guest manners.

We walked in the door of the Thoman’s house many hours later than what we planned and we all got a good chuckle out of that. Fortunately, we have amazing friends who just laughed it off, poured us a margarita and we caught up on life. We got to hug on our Godson, Jackson, and enjoy the company of many of our children’s Godparents.

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It was lovely. Beyond, actually. Tim and Cathy, thank you opening your home (so late, too!) for these eight weary Texans.

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We tried to do something along the way for each one of our kids. Luke adores cars, so the Indianapolis Motor Speedway it was. Unfortunately, I forgot to call and confirm they were doing track tours (our sole reason for going). Rookie mistake. But, we just made another trip the following morning. Luke, take note, that’s how much we love you bud. He did take great care in picking out the perfect car. That kind of greatness can’t be rushed.indiana_2501

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We enjoyed lunch with friends at Bazbeaux and even got to hug the neck of one of our favorite neighbors, of all time. Mike is a sports reporter and my boys were in ESPN heaven.

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Then, it was home for nap – boy, did we need it – and Daily Mass with Fr. Kevin. It sounded like such a good idea at the time, but ultimately it was a disaster with the littles. Baby cries are always magnified in a small chapel and I swear, all of my kids had to visit the facilities. I was like, come on y’all. Can’t you wait 20 minutes? Evidently not.

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The biggest highlight of the day? Hugging the necks of our dear Italian friends and Will’s Godparents, Fr. Kevin and Carla. The weather was stunning and the company even better. Anna-Laura enjoyed a little quality time with her Godmother, Lynne.

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We even had a chance to spy our old house – our very first! She sure looked good. Back in 2002, on the left, and on the right was 2015. We built that house and put a ton of sweat equity into it. It sure does hold some good memories. We were thrilled the neighborhood looked even more beautiful than when we left it 12 years ago.

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The next morning, we hit up the speedway (again) and this time? Success. There were so few people there, we had the whole bus to ourselves! I don’t dare try to remember just how many times we’ve been on this tour!indiana_2604

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indiana_2618We tried, oh so hard, to see our good friend Fr. Rick Nagel at the downtown parish, just a block from Lucas Oil Stadium (where the Colts play), but he was busy hearing confessions. So, we prayed, took a selfie by the confessional and texted it to him. Close enough. Next time, Fr. Rick!

Will is a HUGE Colts fan. Hazard of being born in Indy. That boy bleeds blue and white. To be on hallowed ground at Lucas Oil pretty much made his trip.

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The troops were starving, so we enjoyed an a-mazing homemade lunch with John Paul’s Godmother, Gachia, and her husband Ray at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel parish playground. Our former parish holds some pretty spectacular memories. Fr. Richard even crashed the party. While the adults chatted and toured the new convent right next door, the kids played and played and played. It was a great way to spend our lunch hour.indiana_2645

With fuel for the body, the troops rallied and we met our sweet friends for a fun afternoon at Conner Prairie, an interactive Indiana living history museum. The tickets were courtesy of Will’s Godfather and while I wasn’t too sure how the gang would fare, it ended up being a great afternoon. They even had an awesome sauce nursing room for Gianna and I to catch our breath.

indiana_2650Hey, what’s that we spy? The Whitaker Store!

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We ended our day of Italy by attending the Italian Reunion Mass with Fr. Kevin. There are few words I can think of to describe my joy in seeing my two boys altar serve. There the rest of us sat, at the front, feeling some serious love in the room. All those in attendance had participated in an Italian pilgrimage with Fr. Kevin sometime during the last 15 years. Our two Italian pilgrimages brought Scott and I back to the fundamentals of the church, encouraged us to consider NFP and renewed our faith in marriage. To celebrate that Mass was no small occasion. Even sweeter was seeing Gianna flirt with Paolo and having his son, sweet Stefano, sit by my girls.

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Afterward, we had one heck of a pitch-in. So many friends were there. So many people who really shaped the “Scott and Kathryn” many know today. Our time in Indy was life-changing, faith-changing, really. When it came time to say goodbye, there were tears. It’s hard to hold back with people you consider family. I only took one photo (and it was with my phone!) because we were too busy enjoying ourselves.

Our night ended back at the Ball’s house – the great family who hosted us while in Indy. And would you believe that I didn’t get ONE single photo of any of us? What the what? I did take a picture of the cake, though. Priorities. Back in the day, Scott and I both worked for the National FFA, me for the organization and Scott for the foundation. The Ball’s were so gracious to invite a few friends over for sweets, beer and laughs. What a great way to say we love you Indiana!

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There are few things in life sweeter than an old friend. Molly and the entire Ball family? Thank you for letting us invade, eat all your food and wear out your kids. Y’all were sweeter than tea. Love you!

And with that, I’ll end our time in Indy. Next up? The long trip home. But it includes liquor, so you may want to stick around.

16 Comments

  1. Kristen on August 5, 2015 at 8:36 am

    I stumbled across your blog sometime during Lent through Blessed Is She, I think. Anywho, we are members at SMG and we love Fr. Kevin! Yes, daily mass always sounds like a good idea until you get there & have little ones screeching or toddlers yelling, “I want to go home” or “I have to go potty.” Thankfully, Fr. Kevin, his associate pastor Fr. Travis and most of the parishioners love having children at daily mass. Glad you enjoyed your trip back to IN!

    • Kathryn on August 5, 2015 at 8:43 am

      Please give FK a big hug from his favorite Texans! We sure do love and miss him.

  2. Sarah on August 5, 2015 at 9:52 am

    What a small world! I know Fr. Kevin! I went to an Italian pilgrimage in 2004 with him and helped out with the high schoolers. I was at the SMG parish then. I lived up in Westfield/Carmel from 2003-2004.

    Wow. Would love to hear more about your time in Indy. Did you live here for a long time?

    Will, go bleed blue young man! You and I both!

    • Kathryn on August 13, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      Whoa. Small world, indeed. We went on pilgrimage with those high schoolers in 2000 and 2002. Must’ve just missed you! We lived there for five beautiful years. Love us some Indiana.

  3. Verdina on August 5, 2015 at 10:02 am

    You’re making my eyes leak again, Kathryn! I feel so blessed to call you and Scott friends. It was so good to lay eyes on you and get some hugs! Your children are so precious! Can I just say “I really love you guys”?

  4. Rachael Baile on August 5, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Oh, how fun! We live in Indiana so it was fun to see someone deliberately making a road trip to our state–seems like most people consider it a flyover. 😉 It definitely helps that you had so many loved ones to see!

    Loved the pics at Conner Prairie and the Speedway…some of my kiddos’ favorite spots as well!

    • Kathryn on August 13, 2015 at 4:53 pm

      Indiana has a special place in our heart. Never a flyover, always a destination to us!

  5. Janet Inman on August 6, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    How exciting to see and hear of your time in Indianapolis. It’s a great place, isn’t it? It sounds as if you might have lived in the same general vicinity while here in Indy that we do. Did your kids enjoy Conner Prairie? The village is such a fun place to tour and experience.

    I hope you enjoyed your time back here and got caught up with “old” friends.

    Janet

    • Kathryn on August 13, 2015 at 4:53 pm

      CP is a great place. The kids really, really loved it. That was a blessed few days. Worth every hour we spent in the van!

      • Janet Inman on August 13, 2015 at 8:56 pm

        So glad the trip was enjoyed by all. What’s there not to love about Conner Prairie!? We have spent several weekend evenings this summer (all summers) at Symphony on the Prairie. Not a better place to listen to music with a glass of wine, cheese and crackers than on the hillside there.

        Hope things are going well with your recovery.

        Janet

  6. Molly on August 6, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Loved having you all here! Looking forward to a trip to Austin and we will be taking a plane, per Lucas 😉

    • Kathryn on August 13, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      LOL!! Can’t wait to have y’all stay with us. The door (and the fridge) are always open.

  7. […] recapping our ‘Merica Vacation 2015 in three parts: one, two and three. I hope you enjoy them […]

  8. Liz on November 15, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Just stumbled on this post in a link from a more recent one – we know all the same priests! I grew up in the diocese of lafayette and spent a lot of time at HS and young adult events at OLMC & Fr. Kevin’s parish. Flew to DC once with Fr. Rick for a MFL trip 🙂 Indiana is a good good place! That diocese in particular 🙂

    • Kathryn on November 15, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      Oh how fun! There are such good, good priests in that diocese. We love them.

  9. […] We took an epic, 10-state, 2,900-mile, 8-day vacation this summer and I’m dishing on all the details. Read more in part one and part two! […]

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