Saturday, April 29, 2017

Washington D.C. and the River Farm

Recently, our weekends have been logistically chanllenging.  But, despite my weekly anxiety about getting everyone where they need to be, it always seems to work out, thanks to help from team mates, Aunt Cae Cae and Uncle Frank and babysitters.  Our Easter weekend was no different, but with help from Paw Paw and Honey and a lot of aunts and uncles, we had an amazing long weekend in Washington, D.C. and Maryland.  

A couple of months ago, we were planning a low key Easter at home, when I heard from my high school friend, Catherine that she would be getting married in D.C. on April 15th.  I immediately knew I was going.  My best friends from high school had been on my mind a lot recently and I hadn't seen them in years (some of them since my wedding, almost 12 years ago).  I mentioned the wedding to Honey and she miraculously concocted a whole weekend in the area for our family.  We flew into D.C. Thursday night and Paw Paw Byron picked up Rory and Cal and took them to the River Farm.  Atticus, Finnan, Jude and I stayed at Aunt Julie and Uncle Andy's house in D.C. The four of us spent Saturday exploring he monuments and museums of the National Mall.   It was a gorgeous day and we walked the mall for about 9 hours.  Weggi had gotten Finnan and Jude a D.C. guide book that was set up like a scavenger hunt, so whenever we started to get tired, Finnan would rally us so that we could answer more clues.

Friday night, Aunt Julie and Uncle Andy invited Finnan and Jude to a dinner party at there house, giving Atticus and I the opportunity to go out for dinner with my high school friends.  Then, Saturday, Atticus drove Finnan and Jude to the River Farm so I could spend the day with my friends. It was such a treat to see these women.  I was smiling for days after the weekend.  

Meanwhile, over at the River Farm, my kids were having a blast.  All of Atticus' siblings ended up coming up for the weekend and, as usual, the cousins immediately connected.  Jude and Maddie are quite a pair and Rory and Miller quickly became inseparable as well.  They had a beach day with some second cousins, lots of fishing time with Uncle Loren, four wheeler time with Uncle Lyle and even a woodworking session with Uncle Dan.  

I was nervous leaving Cal.  But, his grandparents, aunts and uncles took very good care of him.  Honey and Paw Paw had cots for Rory and Cal set up in their room and barricaded the door so that Cal could not escape.  One night, Honey said she heard Cal turning the door knob (he had cleared away the barricade).  Another night, Paw Paw caught him heading downstairs in the middle of the night.  Cal ended up in bed with them most of the weekend to keep him asleep and safe!

On Easter morning, Atticus and I woke up early and headed out to the River Farm.  We found the gang at church.  As soon as we got out of our car, we heard Cal's voice outside of church, being monitored by Lyle.  After church, we tried to get a picture of everyone together.  Guess who did not cooperate?

After Cal escaped from Finnan's arms he made a run for it followed by Lyle.  Ultimately, Atticus was able to calm him down.

For Easter dinner, we went to Great Grandmother Schuster's house for a large pot luck and Easter Egg hunt.  I can't believe we did not get a picture of all of the family that gathered.  It was great to catch up with family and the kids loved the extensive Easter egg hunt.

Spring break

This April has been a whirlwind.  Soccer has taken us all of the city.  Finnan has been preparing (and taking) his Milestones tests.  Jude is nearing his First Communion.  Rory has been enjoying soccer and learning to swim strokes with Atticus.  And Cal is doing his best to not just be along for the ride.  We also took two trips this month, but everything started with another solo trip to Paw-Paw and Weggi's house by Rory.  After a couple of days in Atlanta helping me with some back breaking landscaping, Paw Paw, Weggi and Rory drove down to Florida.  Weggi sent many pictures of their adventures, which included Legoland, Sea World, the Orlando Botanical Gardens, the Marine Science Center and lots of soccer and baseball in the backyard.  They sent so many picture of Rory's backyard home runs that I signed him up for Tee-ball this summer.

We then met Paw-Paw, Weggi and Rory in Savannah for our Spring Break camping trip.  We spent the day with Paw and Weggi at the Savannah Railroad Museum and Children's Museum.  

The train museum was a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours and the boys enjoyed exploring some of the old train cars.  However, they were the most enthusiastic about a model train set.  They followed the train around the room, running, giggling and pointing at it's progress.  

The Savannah Children's Museum was not so much a museum as it was an outdoor play area, but it was a great way to spend some time after our long ride.  They had a maze and a bunch of cool outdoor toys.

As usual, Finnan found the reading nook area and settled in...

And Rory more breakdowns then I could count on one hand.  It was clear he was very tired after his week in Florida and very used to being an only child!

After finding lunch in Savannah, Paw Paw and Weggi headed home and we headed to Skidaway Island State Park for our two night stay.  I forgot to take a picture of our enormous tent.  The boys got an 8 person tent for Christmas and I was so happy to have enough room for an air mattress- it made camping much more tolerable for me!  

Finnan decided tending to the fire would be his job and he took it very seriously, cutting wood with his axe, despite the plenty of of firewood around.

Cal on the other hand took staying dirty very seriously.  Every time we tried to clean him up, he would just settle himself down again and reapply dirt.

We took one long hike through the intercostal waterway.

The boys had a lot of fun looking for sand crabs.

In the visitor's center we learned that scientists found the remains of a giant sloth in the area.

Our second day at Skidaway was overcast with scattered showers.  We decided to at least get a look at Tybee Island.  Atticus, Finnan and I stayed bundled up, while Jude and Rory went for a very cold swim and Cal stripped down and decided to run away on the beach.  

It was just too cold and windy to enjoy the beach so we decided to check out Fort Pulaski.  I didn't have high hopes for the excursion, but it was enjoyable the boys were very interested in the military history.  Once again, Cal decided he did not want to hang out with our family and took off, so I followed him at a safe distance while Atticus and the older three explored.

Finally, Cal decided he did want Daddy, so he threw a fit in the rain.  

This fig tree was the highlight of the fort to me.  It was enormous!  And, true to his form, Cal was heading the other way.

After some lunch, we decided to head back to the camp site, where we were greeted with news of a tornado watch.  So we hunkered down in the tent for a while and watched our phones.  The watch never turned into a warning so we were saved from making a run for the bathrooms.  The weather only slightly improved though, so our highlight of the evening was making a trip to the grocery store to get some beer and donuts.  Atticus and I needed to end the trip on a high note.  There definitely were some idyllic camping moments, but it was pretty exhausting for Atticus and I.  Someone needed to have eyes on Cal at all times, which made it hard to spend anytime relaxing and enjoying time as a whole family.  However, while Atticus and I thought the trip was somewhat of a bust, on the way home the boys raved about it and said they couldn't wait until we could go camping again.  I guess we hid our Cal-related anxiety well.  So, ready or not, Maine, here we come!