The Great Road Trip of 2015 (Part 1)

As I wrote this post, we were homeward bound for the last part of our great road trip of the summer – 16 days with 15 nights spent in 5 different locations! It felt somewhat crazy at times, but it was really good. Since we have no family nearby, we have to travel to see everyone, and maintaining those relationships is important to us, so off we went!

Our first night was spent in Louisville. We had a cookout and enjoyed seeing some good friends who used to live in Columbia but have now moved on to Louisville (and some of our current CoMo crew who were also in Louisville at the same time for a conference).

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The kiddos appreciated the play time, and, for my part, I enjoyed the opportunity to connect with some other mamas whom I really respect and enjoy. Ann, then Jessie, and then I had our first babies between the spring of 2009 and spring of 2010 (with Ann serving as our doula for Miranda’s birth!), and here we are with our third babies, all born between the winter of 2013 and winter of 2014.

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The next morning we were on the road bright and early, heading for Virginia, where we’d rented a vacation house with my parents and brothers. The girls settled right in – just look at the joy on their faces as they enjoyed a pillow fight with Danny and Sharon!

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Mini-golf (in Anna and Elsa capes made by my brother David!) was a hit…

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…though some of us have rather interesting technique!

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Atticus started out in the ergo but quickly grew frustrated during the times I’d stand still and was happier once my dad came and hung out with him.

IMG_7591One evening we walked around a nearby lake and enjoyed some beautiful views.

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Everyone enjoyed the first part of the hike, but some of the smaller members of the family got tired and rather histrionic as the hike progressed. At one point Miranda proclaimed loudly, “We’re not going to make it! We’re all going to die!!!” She has a bit of a flair for the dramatic 🙂 We opted to shift the arrangements a bit at that point, and instead of Atticus riding in the stroller, Matt pushed Miranda in the stroller, Sharon carried CaiQun, and I carried Atticus the rest of the way.

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That wasn’t quite the ending I’d been hoping for, but we got some exercise, and most of us enjoyed the walk. Apparently even Miranda told one of my brothers the next day that she’d had a good time walking around the lake and was looking forward to doing it again. Hmmmm…

The next day we went out to Luray, where Danny and Sharon are getting married next spring. We got to see their wedding venue, which is gorgeous, and the girls practiced for their flower girl role, about which they are quite excited.

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We also got to visit the Luray Caverns, which was really cool. The girls remembered learning about stalagmites and stalactites from our science curriculum from last year, and we all enjoyed the tour through the caves.

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Here are the girls, back at the house, showing off the matching Anna and Elsa t-shirts and necklaces my mom brought for them. Frozen is the first full-length movie we’ve had the girls watch, and they’re quite into it right now!

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CaiQun had a birthday coming up the week after our time in Virginia, so everyone brought gifts for her (including those Frozen items), which she very much enjoyed.  Matt’s favorite of the gifts was from my dad, who brought her a laser light that shines as thousands of little dots. I’m sure we’ll have much fun with that in the future!

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We spent a fair amount of time hanging out at the vacation house, but we also tried to get out and have fun. One morning most of the group went hiking on Storybook Trail, while my mom and I stayed at the house, me to get work done, and my mom to help with Atticus. That was definitely a highlight for Miranda, who spent the rest of the vacation talking about her mountain climbing abilities.

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One afternoon we went swimming at the community pool. Miranda especially enjoyed it, swimming all around the pool with her water wings on – she’s really improving in her swimming skills this summer. My dad and Danny talked me into playing football with them, which was more humorous than successful, as they are both inches taller and many pounds heavier than I am, so it’s nearly impossible for me to catch a pass with either of them defending me or for me to defend against them. It was entertaining, though 🙂 And while we played, my little guy napped.

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He came down with a cold and was sometimes willing to nap at strange times and in strange places in order to get in a little bit more rest!

And while we were out a lot, we also enjoyed our time just hanging out at the house. One day we had a potato chip taste test – the rest of the family had gotten some snack size bags of the trial flavors of Lays potato chips – truffles, gyro, Rueben, and sausage, egg, and biscuit chips. Most of us agreed that the best was the sausage, egg, and biscuit flavor, but the others were pretty horrible. CaiQun had a slightly different opinion, announcing that she liked each and every one, so she finished off all of them!

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The girls and I learned about volcanoes in science the week before our trip, so one day we did the classic baking soda and vinegar volcano eruption science experiment. The girls and I mixed up the clay to make the volcano.

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The “clay” was really more like dough, though, and the girls did not particularly enjoy attempting to shape it into a volcano, so Danny and I took over and made a valiant attempt.

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And then we took it outside and let it erupt!

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We also took advantage of our time at the vacation house to play some games. Many of my childhood memories are of playing games with family and friends, and we always had a large assortment of board games and card games around, some well-known and others rare. It’s fun that the girls are now getting old enough to enjoy game-playing, as well – though my dad seems puzzled by our attempts to keep the focus on fun moreso than on competitiveness! Here the girls are playing what I remember as one of the earliest games I played, Orbit, with my dad and brother David.

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All in all, our stay in Virginia was really enjoyable. We appreciated the opportunity to spend so much time with family and explore a different area of the country!

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