Snow day nostalgia

We’ve officially been back in the states for more than three weeks now. In this in-between phase of my life, I’ve been spending a lot of time at home—my first home. The city where I was born and the house where I grew up. Good old Greensboro, North Carolina.

This is the longest stretch I’ve spent at home since I was 21 and fresh out of college. But when I walk into my childhood bedroom, it feels like almost nothing has changed. It isn’t a shrine, exactly, but it definitely hasn’t become a home gym or anything either—let’s just say that my mom has yet to be converted by Marie Kondo.

Basically, it’s like an archaeological site of personal history in there. Boxes full of old diaries detailing my 7th grade woes, old birthday cards, photos, trophies, yearbooks…the more you dig, the further back it goes. If I’m home for more than a few days, it’s inevitable that, at some point, I’ll get pulled in. I’ll open up a cabinet or peek under the bed in search of a book or a misplaced sock, and suddenly it’s two hours later and I’m sitting on the floor surrounded by elementary school assignments, simultaneously laughing and cringing at some horrible poem I wrote in the 2nd grade.

Nostalgia is the strangest feeling. Part longing, part relief of knowing the past will stay where it is—the comfort of perspective. Sometimes, like when I crack open that diary from 7th grade, I’m searching for that feeling—the indulgence and security of getting lost in unchangeable memories; the satisfaction of snapping back into the present and appreciating how much has changed.

Other times, nostalgia reaches out on its own and smacks me in the face.

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Family tour Part Two: much more than cheese, brats, and beer

[Writer’s note: Guys. Blogging from the road is so hard. I’m writing this from a hotel (our first one of the trip!) in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, so I’m a little bit behind…I promise I’ll catch up eventually, but there’s so much to write about and so little time! I’ll put in one more plug for my Instagram feed—follow me there (@laurahoxworth) to see more real-time updates. For now, here’s a recap of our time in Wisconsin!]


After our day in Cincinnati, we set off for the second leg of our family history tour: Wisconsin, America’s Dairyland. This part was all about Chris’s family. His dad’s side (the Panoshes) goes back several generations in Wisconsin, and he still has relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins and second cousins) throughout the state, most of whom I had never met before.

On our way there, we made a quick stop in Chicago—just enough time to walk from the Buckingham Fountain up to Millennium Park, take a tourist photo with the Cloud Gate, get kicked out because apparently you’re not supposed to have dogs there, and then run back to our car before the meter ran out.

From there, our first stop was Milwaukee! I don’t know what I was expecting from Milwaukee exactly—to be honest, I spent so much time looking forward to towering mountain ranges and national parks out West, I hadn’t thought much about Wisconsin besides the cheese, brats, and beer. But after a full day of exploring, Milwaukee had totally blown me away.

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Hoxworth family history in Cincinnati, OH

[Writer’s note: It’s easier for me to update Instagram more frequently than the blog, so follow me there @laurahoxworth to see more photos throughout the trip!]

Hello from Wisconsin! I have lots to say about our stay in America’s Dairyland (and sausage land…and beer land…), but I’ll get to that soon. First things first: I wanted to write about our very first destination—a quick stop that was special to me for personal reasons.

After setting out from Greensboro, NC, on Wednesday, we spent our first day driving through the mountains of West Virginia, and our first night car camping in Indiana’s Daniel Boone National Forest—where we got to our lakeside campsite just in time to see a gorgeous sunset over the lake (and where Callie had a wonderful time chasing katydids).

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On Thursday, we arrived at our first planned destination: Cincinnati, Ohio!

We aren’t doing a lot of city exploring on this trip (especially since we have a certain furry companion with us), but there’s one main reason why we put this spot on our map: it’s the city where my dad grew up and went to medical school, and where my grandparents lived and left somewhat of a legacy—and I’ve never visited before. So it seemed like the perfect stop as we made our way up toward Wisconsin.

It’s funny how family history becomes more interesting the older you get. I never had the opportunity to meet my grandfather, but I’ve heard plenty of stories. And once I knew we were headed to Cincinnati, I started asking family members and doing a little research into who he was. By all accounts, Paul Hoxworth was a character: fiercely intelligent, curious, confident, caring, and nothing if not entertaining.

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Dear Mom: I see you.

A few months ago, I was visiting family in Florida when my uncle dug up an old home video: Christmas 1989. I was just barely a year old, my sister was four, and my parents were hosting about 15 people at our house for the holidays. Chaotic, to say the least.

We all watched the video together and laughed ourselves to tears at all the tiny things that would be so utterly boring to anyone outside the family—the way my cousin (now a very grown-up and successful adult) kept mugging for the camera and pulling goofy faces. The ridiculous high-waisted, tribal-printed pants that my aunt received as a gift. The hairstyles.

But mostly, I was watching my mom.

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