Friday, January 16, 2015

December 2014: Trip to VA.

My parents considered coming to San Antonio for Christmas, but instead they generously offered to help us fly out to Virginia so we could all be together. Rick had to work every day between Christmas and New Years anyway, so the kids and I took off for Virginia early Christmas morning.
Very excited to fly and visit Pappy and Grandmama!
Our nonstop flight there was on a small plane, so the boys sat in front of me, and Faye was across the aisle with a grumpy lady who didn't give her the time of day! That lady missed out on some great conversation opportunities.
And I got to hang out with this wiggly thing for three hours. We used mostly Play Dough and these amazing Melissa and Doug water painting books for entertainment. 
These good boys! For about two hours they did their math workbooks. Between that, a few snacks, and the juice from the flight attendants, they were model travelers.
One thing I love about my family is that we are very productive. A list was made of activities we wanted to do, and I believe we did them all! Here we visited the United States Botanic Garden. We saw exhibits of model trains, lighthouses, and replicas of DC buildings and monuments. Everything is made of real plant material.

Just across from the Gardens, we had a little picnic. The weather was just perfect! Here are all the grandkids with Pappy and Grandmama. Five girls and four boys. (We will see if Reagan can even it out this week!!)
It's pretty amazing that no one ended up in the water here! 
Pappy really had Faye laughing hard here for a long time. I'm not even sure what game they were playing, something where he would pretend passerbys were poking her when it was really him. She still talks about this and how funny it was!
We hit up just a couple of memorials. FDR was the most fun; the fountains were turned off, which made for great climbing walls!
Truman gets the award for getting the most wet/messy! This would have been Everett at his age.
I love being at my mom's house. It's just as a Grandma's house should be: filled with memories, 30-year-old toys, good food, and lots of good people too! The boys like for Pappy to show them his wooden crane.
We had our family's Christmas celebration on Sunday evening. We acted out the nativity.
Probably the best picture I got of the nine. Wish my girls had left their tights and shoes on! I guess it's fitting; my kids never have shoes.
Blondie cousins a month apart.
My mom makes a great Bethlehem dinner!
Mackenzie and Beau. Beau was off of work for most of the days we were there, and he spent a lot of time playing with my boys. Very grateful for that, since their time with Rick has been sparse!
Then it was time for the kids' gifts from Grandmama! 
The girls already knew they were getting dolls; I love the anticipation!
They made it a perfect evening with thoughtful gifts for all.
We spent another really fun day at the DC zoo. Elephants!



Tired Isla.
The twins getting a ride from Grandmama in a wheelchair!
This funny little armadillo was so cute skittering around! The little kids watched him for a long time.

Tried to take a picture of all nine... Everett is somewhere back there!
Just a dinner with everyone. 
Truman decided to come over and give Isla some big kisses. It was so cute!

Ran a 10K on a very chilly New Year's Eve. I had never raced a 10K before, so I wasn't sure what a good goal time would be. Mackenzie pointed out a girl from her running group who was about my pace, so I just kept up with her for most of the race and then picked it up the last three miles. It was a small race like the half I did last month, and I got first in my age group again! (After the other girls who beat me took first through third overall.) My mom, Mackenzie and Beau all placed in their age divisions as well!! So fun!
Right after the race, Mackenzie took us to one of the barns where she teaches riding lessons. The kids met Mellie, a nice, slow pony.
All four of them LOVED being on a horse! Mackenzie took them each around a couple of times, and thy would have gone a lot longer. Even though it was very, very cold, they were so happy!
I never thought I'd see the day: I went running with my dad! 
The older cousins went to see Annie. This was the boys' very first time in a movie theater!
New Year's Eve, around 8 p.m. I think!
All the kids went to bed long before midnight on New Year's Eve. I told the boys they could stay up as long as they wanted, with the rule that they had to stay in their beds!! I knew exactly what would happen: Everett went right to sleep, and Carson stayed up reading. (He read Charlott's Web, cover to cover.) A few minutes before midnight he snuck down, and we watched the ball drop. Even all the adults had gone to bed at that point, so it was a quiet celebration!

During the week we also did glow-in-the-dark mini golf, roasted hot dogs and s'mores in the backyard fire pit, had the Christmas feast at Aunt Mel's, and had the Taggs over for more food and games on New Year's Eve. Love spending time with those people!!
Aaand then came the part of the trip I'd like to forget: the flight home on New Year's Day. I had purchased a NONSTOP flight. A few weeks before the trip, I got an email saying the flight plans had changed; they had added an hour-long layover in Houston. Bummer. Well, that layover turned out to be FIVE hours due to the plane not showing up and then having mechanical problems. I think I cried at one point, after already waiting four hours and lining up to board the plane only to have them announce that now there was another problem. Since Rick had worked Christmas, he had New Year's Day off, so we were missing our one day to spend with him!
Thank goodness for new babies to take care of. 
The kids were actually really good, and we got some meal vouchers while we waited. I just really wanted to be home with Rick that day! So, if we erase that time spent in the Houston airport from our memories, it was a perfect Christmas vacation!!