Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Rest of Our Summer Part 2: Ohio

With 10 days until school started, there was just one thing left for us to do and that was to drive to Ohio to visit our family in Cincinnati. It was just the kids and I, which was daunting, but I figured that the trip would be long but easy. Google Maps said it would take just under 10 hours, and I added on two for any stops we'd need to make. I especially looked forward to our picnic lunch in the mountains like we did last time.

What I couldn't have anticipated is that we would run into not one, not two, but three traffic jams. The second two each added an hour apiece. What on earth was going on that I would have so much horrible traffic on a Saturday? I don't know what caused the first, but the second two were road work. I think we stopped for lunch between the first and second, and I kind of rushed the kids through it because I didn't know how long the rest of the day would take. We had left at 7:30 and we had lunch around 1 or 2.

The last traffic jam started with only 73 miles to go. And my phone's map app told me it was coming. I had just turned off the highway looking for a place to get gas, and I'd made a wrong turn, then turned back around. When I got to the crummy little gas station I looked down at my phone and saw that my arrival time had suddenly moved to the right about an hour. What? Are you mad at me, phone, for not listening to you and going the wrong way? I filled up the tank and opted not to have us all go inside for the bathroom because it looked really seedy there. And it was soon after that that my troubles began. It was just the worst to be so close to the end, and have the last hour of the trip end up taking two hours.

The kids were very well behaved through it all. The unlimited snacks and movies back there are mostly to thank for that. What did parents do before they could turn on movies for their kids on long trips? I shudder to think. But then Timmy had to use the bathroom and there was nowhere to go, so I pulled over to the shoulder and tried to get him to pee on the other side of the car. He said, "It's OK, I'll wait." We didn't stop for dinner, and my normally picky kids ate every last crumb of whatever I passed back to them from our cooler. (I know this because I checked later. No crusts from the sandwiches even. All got eaten. It's amazing what happens when they are actually hungry.) We all passed around the last bottle of water until there wasn't a drop left. We were so thirsty. I decided I would definitely pack more water for the drive home.

Needless to say, my parents' house was a more of a welcome sight than ever for sore eyes. And how nice to get to see them twice in a summer!

While staying at their house that week we did a lot of swimming in their pool. The kids were delighted when they had both Grandy and Papaw in there playing with them. They can be every bit as goofy as the kids.
My parents have the most welcoming outdoor spaces. There's the back porch that my dad built himself. That leads to a back deck, which leads to a pool. It's perfect, just what I would like to have some day. And everywhere you look, something pretty is growing. None of my pictures do it any justice.
We got to hang out with this little miss -- my sister Grace's baby girl, Elise Josepha. She was born on July 27. Is she not perfection? She is such a good baby too. Grace was worried that she would be this crazy baby who never slept because of all her acrobatics while she was still inside. Now she thinks maybe she got it all out of her system in utero because she's just a calm, contented little thing now. She slept peacefully in the arms of anyone who held her, and we never heard her make a noise aside from a little squeak now and then.
And we hung out with this other little miss, Georgie, my parents' "Frenchton" -- a mix between Boston terrier and French bulldog. I don't want any other dog, I just want Georgie. I thought about tossing her in the back of the Traverse when they weren't looking and taking her back here with us.
They made her a little house and gave her a baby.
August 4 was my dad and brother Scotty's birthday. We went to Scotty and Faith's house for night swimming and treats. I didn't take any pictures besides a few of Scotty tossing kids into the pool. He really tossed them high!
I don't know what it was about being at Mom and Dad's, but the kids and I slept like rocks there. Even Delaney who had been raring to go at 6 every morning of her busy days in Massachusetts, slept until 9 most mornings. There were no special blackout curtains up in the loft where the three of them slept, but there was an air-conditioning unit, so maybe it was the white noise? Or maybe it was just time for rest and recovery for all of us.
We took advantage of having many places to shop (have I ever mentioned that where we live we have only Walmart and TJ Maxx?), and did some back-to-school shoe shopping. OK, the boots were not for school -- they aren't even allowed at school -- but the girls had to have some boots. Delaney's had to be cowboy boots, and while I felt some hesitation about them at first, I have to admit they are really cute on her. Here she is with her cousin Aspen, a little fashionista boot-wearer herself, in one of my favorite pictures from the week.
Soon enough it was time for the long journey home, for which I brought lots of extra water and snacks. As I drove away from my parents' house, I tried to give a little friendly toot goodbye as is the custom in our family. But it was longer and louder than I intended, especially for early on a Sunday morning, and I giggled as I turned the corner of their street. The traffic wasn't quite as bad heading home, but still a very long day -- for me. The kids were not complaining. I was so glad to be home that night. There's nothing like going away for awhile to make you so appreciative of home. Tim had the place nice and clean, and he'd gotten new flowers for the deck to replace the ones that the bonehead teenager who was supposed to be watering them while we were in MA, let die.

And thus ended a great summer of getting to see family and do lots of fun things. Tim and I have already been brainstorming how we want next summer to go, seeing as how we were bored out of our skulls with the weeks we spent here in Beaufort. Summers here just stink, and that is no lie. The kids and I might end up spending a month or more between Ohio and Massachusetts. But I don't want to get too far ahead of myself. Things will be a little different next summer with a 6- to 8-month-old on board, and I'm sure keeping some kind of routine for him will be important to me too. So we'll just have to get through this next year and wait and see.

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