Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Brady ladies go to Cincinnati

The girls and I just got back yesterday from our week-long trip to Cincinnati.  I decided to brave driving with them on my own, since Tim was unable to take the time off.   We left on Sunday the 20th, Father's Day.  Although we had celebrated Father's Day the day before, it was still hard leaving without Tim.  It won't be the last trip we take without him either.  He doesn't have much of any flexibility this summer until OCS (Officer Candidate School) is over.

The drive went even better than I'd hoped.  We had the rear entertainment system, the potty-to-go, and two coolers filled with snacks, drinks and PB&J.  Anything we needed was in there with room left over, and I found out the back of the Traverse is a comfy place to have a picnic.  The only thing that was kind of a hassle about being the only adult on the trip was when I had to use the restroom and take them with me.  I just strapped Annie on my back in the Ergo, and we went.  The drive there was 9 1/2 hours with three stops included.  We went 95 north to 70 west, and I had both TomTom and OnStar to make sure I didn't get lost.  But it was very easy.

All three times I stopped, Delaney protested: "No, I want to go to Grandy's house."  Funny girl!  I had to reassure her each time that we were still on our way to Grandy's -- we just needed to eat lunch and get gas.  She was such a good girl in the car, but that's really no surprise.  She's always been a good traveler in the car.  I hardly heard a peep from Annie either, and she took a couple naps.  When we arrived at around 6:45, Mom was surprised to see us all in a good mood.

We had a fun and busy week, doing some of our favorite summer activities.  We went to Coney Island twice, and once was just to ride the rides.  There were plenty of little kids' rides, but a few big kids' rides too.  Grace and I were allowed to go off by ourselves to ride the big rides the last night we were there.  I felt like a kid again!  Especially when Grace tortured me on one of the rides by turning our little car completely upside down, making me fear for my life and for my undigested dinner.  We took the kids to the "wet playground" at Woodland Mound Park a couple times, and that was a great way to cool off.  Scotty and Faith took us out to eat at Pirate's Cove, at one of the marinas on the river.  The kids all danced to the music the band was playing, and threw leftovers to the ducks who, my brother pointed out, probably all had diabetes and high blood pressure.  We celebrated the June birthdays: Grace, Roman and myself.  Not Baby Scotty's, though.  Mom said he has to put up with us for a year first.  And almost every night after the girls were tucked into bed in separate rooms, I enjoyed a cold Sam Adams Light on the front porch with my parents, while watching the boats go by on the river and trying to find them with Dad's telescope.

Delaney was so thrilled to be with her cousins, saying "my cousins" a hundred times a day.  After a week around them, she uses the big toilet with a stool all by herself (and no potty seat), and says "What the heck" all the time.
Everywhere Delaney and Miles went, they went hand-in-hand.  They always cried at the end of the day when it was time for him to go back home.
Mom laughed at me for being the dorky adult who would sit in that extra-wide middle seat on the froggy ride.  But I had fun!
Seven grandkids in under five years, holy cow!  L-R: Delaney (2), Grandy, Jaden (2), Annalise (1), Miles (3), Roman (4), Baby Scotty (born June 19), Papaw and Aspen (4)
Baby Scotty arrived the day before we got there.  What a handsome little man!  That's my Aunt Liz holding him.
I wish I'd gotten a better picture of my sister-in-law Faith.  She looks fantastic, and you'd never guess she'd just had a baby.
Grandma (my dad's mom), Annie and I
We took this picture the last night there, after I discovered that our group picture we'd taken that day at Coney Island had somehow been erased.  By then the kids had all stripped down.  It was so hot and humid that day!

For the drive home, I decided to take 64 instead of 70, in order to avoid a long, unhappy Monday night spent on 95 south.  So on Monday morning, the 28th, I pointed our car southeast into the Appalachian Mountains.  Again, the whole drive took 9 1/2 hours with only two stops.  I took a shortcut to 64 that is not acknowledged by Google Maps or TomTom to be a viable option.  It also worried Tim when I told him, but I've done it before.  It's called the AA Highway or Route 9, and it saved me an hour.  It was worth the annoyance of TomTom and OnStar advising me to make a u-turn every few minutes.  

We were on 64 for what seemed a very long time, and I'd bought an ovepriced Starbucks Crappucino at a gas station to try to perk me up, because I was oh so bored when I no longer had to concentrate on driving through mountains.  Then, after we'd been in Virginia an hour or two, OnStar and TomTom started giving me dueling directions.  OnStar wanted me to get off at the next exit, some route I'd never heard of.  TomTom wanted me to keep going and get on 295 in another 50-something miles.  I decided to listen to OnStar.  I prayed that it wasn't a mistake and wished I'd looked at a map before leaving, because it looked like we were in the middle of nowhere.  Soon I found myself not caring because I was driving through scenery that looked like it came out of a book or movie, it was so beautiful.  Delaney and I took turns pointing out what we were seeing out the window -- horses, cows, sheep, corn, and all of it set against a gorgeous sunset.  There were signs that said the name of whatever farm we were passing, or whatever "estate", and I had fun imagining the great big old house that must be at the end of that driveway. We took a few turns, but 22 and 3 are the only routes I remember.  Later, we drove past Wilderness Battlefield and the Chancellorsville Battlefield.  I have a better appreciation for what a beautiful state Virginia is.

After a quick 20 miles on 95 north, we were home again, where Tim was waiting in a clean, uncluttered house with all the closets newly organized.  Yes, I know I'm a lucky woman!

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