The trip was set for the weekend of June 22, almost a month after Grandma's actual birthday. I'm assuming it's because the little kids would be out of school and such by then. (For that matter, a lot of the "big kids" are in college/medical school/what have you.)
The original vacation plan had been for Scott and I to drive up to my parents' house on Wednesday night (June 19) so that the whole lot of us could leave for Virginia on Thursday morning.
Then on Monday Matthew started throwing up and running a fever, and the whole plan got thrown into confusion. At one point Mom was thinking that she'd have to stay home with Matthew while the rest of us went to Williamsburg.
Fortunately, Matthew's illness was short-lived. By Wednesday night he had been symptom-free for 24 hours, but of course my family hadn't done a bit of packing (and, to be honest, neither had we), so we revised the plan.
Scott and I were, according to the revised plan, supposed to leave our place at 8:00 Thursday morning so we could arrive at my parents' house at 9:30 so we could all leave by 10:00.
Scott decided he needed a shower, so we didn't leave until 8:30. We pulled into my parents' driveway at 10:00 on the dot.
Then we ended up entertaining Matthew and Teresa while my family got a whole bunch of stuff together. (In their defense, they brought all the food. And there are five of them and only three of us, and one of the three of us doesn't need any luggage. So they had much more packing to do.) We actually pulled out of the driveway at about noon, and then had to stop by Dad's plant to get ice, and then had to stop by McDonalds to get lunch, so we didn't actually get on the highway until about 12:45.
You should read that last part with little chords of doom playing in the background.
Teresa has this habit: Whenever we set out on a trip (even a small one), she counts how many people are in the car. I don't know why; she just likes it.
So that's what she did as we finally started on our voyage. Pointed to Dad: One. To Mom: Two. To me: Three. To my belly: Four. To Scott: Five. And so on until she got to eight total.
The cute part is number four, obviously.
At one point during the packing-up rush, my mom made Andrea clean something, and to head off any grumbling said, "At least it's not cat poop." Somebody (it might have been me), suggested that should be the motto of our trip.
So for the rest of the weekend, whenever things got frustrating, somebody would yell, "AT LEAST IT'S NOT CAT POOP!"
We like to keep it classy in my family.
My dad got some kind of free GPS app for his phone (it's worth every penny he paid for it, as you will see over the course of this story). Mom and I decided it needed a name, some kind of Seventies Sitcom Secretary name, and settled on Ethel.
After many, many, many hours of driving, we finally got off the highway and were driving around looking for the resort where we were supposed to be staying. Ethel tried to tell us that the resort was down this tiny gravel dead-end road with about 5 houses on it. We were pretty sure she was wrong.
We ended up calling my aunt at 1 a.m. (God bless her for answering...) and asking for directions. She got us there with a minimum of fuss, and we hauled ourselves and our stuff into our condo, went to our separate rooms, and slept like the dead.
My aunt owns a share in a condo at this particular resort, so she got discounted rates for all of us. (Scott and I stayed for free because my parents pretended that they were going to get the bigger condo anyway.) She apparently never actually stays there--because when you live in northern Virginia already you don't need a condo in Williamsburg--but she trades her timeshare for timeshares in other places.
Quote from my sister Teresa, aged 6.5: "Mommies know almost everything. Only Jesus knows everything."
I could write a whole post just on Matthew's language development at 19 months, but here's my favorite little snippet: He would wake up before everyone else in the morning, so Mom would take him into the common area and alternate between making breakfast and keeping him from playing with the fireplace. Anyway, whenever anyone woke up and came into the common area, he'd chirp a cheerful "Awo!" ("Hello!") at them before going back to his business.
Also, he apparently has this cute but heartbreaking habit of saying, "Mama? ... Mama? ... Mama?" whenever he's not within sight of our mother. (Dad took him to the playground or the pool or whatever a few times.)
|Napping on a nest of couch cushions.|
Towards evening we got some of our energy back, so we rotated in and out of the condo where Grandma was staying with Aunt K (the one who arranged the whole weekend) and got to have some nice visiting time. I think Andrea even scored a free dinner.
Uncle R: "So, do you know what you're having?"
Me: "I'm pretty sure it's human."
Scott: "I keep trying to get her to say that we think it's Vulcan."
At some point we sorted out among ourselves the fact that Grandma wanted to go to Jamestown on Saturday morning but that Aunt K didn't really want to go because she'd already been earlier that week (and nobody else wanted to go either). We did want to go, so we crammed ourselves into the van even more tightly, picked up Grandma, and went off to Jamestown.
|On a boat|
Teresa pretty much wanted to live there, though. At one point, she was on one of the ships in the harbor (I am not sure if they are authentic historical ships or reproductions) and she snuggled into one of the very tiny bunks and said that she wanted a bunk like this, and she could take the iPad and close the little blanket curtain and it would be fun.
I told her I'm pretty sure they didn't have iPads in the 1600s.
Saturday was Scott's actual birthday, though we had celebrated it the week before. While we were at Jamestown, my grandmother gave him a card. She's kind of adorable like that.
After our excursion, we all retired to our condo and took naps. Okay, maybe a couple of the grown-ups didn't nap, but I don't know because I was sleeping.
Then in the evening we went back over to Grandma's condo and had her birthday party. We were smart to hang out with her beforehand; the party was fun but there wasn't a lot of opportunity for one-on-one interactions.
At one point, my cousin N was talking about her 5-year-old son (the aforementioned Z). "He made up his own language," she said. "Who does that?"
Scott: "I know a lot of people who do that."
Me: "Scott has five brothers, so he knows just about every variation of 'little boy' imaginable."
After dinner we did pictures...all the grandchildren, all the great-grandchildren, etc. Then it started to rain, so we went inside and did more pictures. We managed to get a picture of my dad and all 5 of his siblings with their mother, which hasn't happened since Grandma's 70th, in 2003. (And before that, not since my grandfather's funeral in 1988.) There were, of course, vague comments about how they'd have to all get together again sometime before Grandma's 90th birthday.
Oh, and there was one picture of "The 10s": My grandmother was 80, my uncle M was 60, my dad was 50, Cousin N was 40, other cousins were 30 and 20, and then cousins-once-removed were 10 and 0. (Baby S was just born in March and got a LOT of attention from everybody.)
There were a few comments about how it's too bad my baby wasn't exactly photogenic, since he/she's 0 too this year. I jokingly promised Grandma that for her 90th I would make sure to have a baby before the birthday party.
(Uncle M thought that having a 9-year-old and a baby would be kind of different--and said this in front of my dad, who once had a 24-year-old and a baby. I replied lightly that of course there would be a couple more kids in between.)
|When you have three older sisters, sometimes you |
get dressed as an Indian princess against your will.
|One king-sized bed fits two babies. It's SCIENCE.|
Well, what they didn't tell you on the parish website was that this church was closed during the summer. The sign on the locked door did direct us to another parish where the 5 p.m. Mass was actually held, though.
So we piled back into the van and entered the address of the other parish into our GPS and set off.
We never found it, though. At about 5:20 we finally gave up and went back, figuring that we'd made two whole attempts to fulfill our Sunday obligation and it really wasn't our fault that parishes closed without warning or hid from the GPS.
It's been a month and I'm still disappointed, though.
On Monday we actually managed to start our drive back at about 8:30 a.m. Of course, we were delayed when, about an hour later, one of our bungee cords broke and my duffel bag almost fell off the van. Dad had to spend a tense few minutes on the side of the highway fixing things, and then everybody was jumpy for the rest of the ride. (Teresa was particularly worried--she had her beloved Jaguar in the van with her, but Easter Bunny was in her duffel on the roof. She made sure we all knew that she would be very very sad if Easter Bunny got lost forever.)
Fortunately, we still managed to get back to my parents' house with all our stuff still in our possession. Scott and I transferred our things from the van to our car, used the restroom, got some food, said goodbye, and headed out. I think we got home around 10:15, which was terrible in that we basically spent 14 hours in the car (!!) but good in that we managed to fall into bed and get a decent night's sleep before Scott had to go to work the next morning.
I'm sure I'm leaving lots of stuff out and telling other bits very badly, but better a long, rambly, and yet incomplete post than no post at all, right?
Related: My mother's much shorter post.