I hope I remember everything...
Rhys is still waking up at 5:00 am, so the brain is a bit slow
now, onto the story.
Last Thursday found mom, the kids, and me at the airport veddddy early in the morning. I was pretty nervous. Rhys had never flown before and was very excited, as was Irene. I was a jittery mess. I haven’t always been twitchy about planes, but it’s gotten progressively worse since having kids. Lovely. and just to jump forward a wee bit, I’d like to thank Jaye SO SO SO much for giving me her bottle of rescue remedy. I hadn’t even THOUGHT about taking it along with us – how did it not even cross my mind? I just don’t know but I am greatful and beyond to jaye b/c the trip home was MUCH better mentally than the trip there. and truly? I had no more nails to eat/chew off...back to the story...we hoped that the middle seats in our rows would be empty so that the kids would have more wiggle room. that didn’t happen, so the kids were both by windows and mom and I had the middle seats. I think that this added to my anxiety. I did not have both of my babes w/in arms reach. yes, irene was very safely and very happily sitting with mom. yes, mom is extremely capable and wonderful and would, of course, put on the oxygen mask, but she wasn’t within my reach. gah! just thinking about it now makes my heart hurt. we were a little smarter on the way back. boy do I just ramble here and there. we got to atlanta for our lovely 3 hour layover. happily, the kids played on a little step2 play structure for a good 45 minutes or so and then we headed over to our gate and irene found a new friend who played w/irene for the rest of the time.
I really have to say that I have two amazing travelers. I brought goodies for them to do and they were happy and then some with their gifties and irene colored and played happily the entire trip. rhys did too. I am blessed and lucky.
the trip to norfolk (that’s NAHfuk, if you’re wondering how to say it) was uneventful. the person WAITING for us, in norfolk was our very beloved and much adored Lydia. Can I just say how much I love her? she’s so wonderful and fun and brilliant and full of life and joy and real and and and...i’m just lucky to have her as such a good friend. Lydia and I hadn’t seen each other since mom’s mastectomy to rid her of breast cancer FIVE YEARS AGO (it’ll be 5 years for mom on june 19). she had been in pennsylvania and just hopped in her car w/18 month old benny, and zooomed to columbus, ohio where the babies entertained mom and provided good joy therapy for her. lydia and I talked into the night the two days whe was with us and we just clicked like we knew we would. she is convinced (and has convinced me) that we were married in our previous life. so — since seeing each other, our oldest children have aged and are now 6 1/2, and we’ve both had a second child and have had little time to actually talk on the phone without having to get off quickly b/c some child is needing his/her mother RIGHT THIS MINUTE or whatever...it was just SO good to SEE her and give her a giant hug and to introduce rhys to her and for her to see how irene had grown. and, of course, it had seemed as if no time had passed. we clicked easily and there was never ever an awkward moment.
we got to lydia’s and my children were overjoyed b/c benny was still awake. oh how benny has grown! his red hair and blue eyes and his freckles – LOVE his freckles! he has them all over his little nose and cheeks. I wish I could remember exactly what he said to irene when we arrived. he gave her a great sweet hug and said something to the effect of “I’m so glad you are here so I can see you” but it was sweeter than that. we also got to meet dan who is funny with a great dry sense of humor. he was very generous letting us come and barge into their house w/2 more children to add to the mix. dan is good. we like dan.
I think it was about midnight when we all got to bed. sadie was such a sweet thing and let us use her room. rhys slept with me in the double, irene and mom in the queen. it was cozy and very comfy. felt good to let my head hit the pillow.
the kids, miraculously, slept in until 8:00 (of course, that’s only 5:00 pacific time), so I got 8 hours (minus waking up at various times). the kids and I headed downstairs and the children all had a little romp around and checked out this and that and we had breakfast. OH!!! and miss sadie grace - what a little piece of deliciousness she is!!! she is wee and bitty and has the sweetest little "i'll do anything for you" voice. she is darling and beyond and i think i could eat her up in one wee little bite! anyway...mom came down at some point and then we started getting ready to head down to richmond for the mavfest. we headed out around 9:30 and got to Joyce’s really REALLY wonderful quilt shop (Quilting Adventures) around 11:00. we were barely in the door when the wonderful hugs began. Pamela was just like I’d imagined she’d be, but even better and more. she’s exuberant and glowing and just bursting with joy. she was wonderful with the children. she had fabrics and batting for irene and benny to use to make a fish (or a fairy, as the case turned out to be for irene). she had them pick out 3 fabrics for their designs...benny had his 3. I think irene had a bit of every single fabric available. rhys and sadie were delighted to run around joyce’s shop. they ran and ran and ran around the holder for the books. joyce was just lovely. so kind and gentle and very understanding w/the aforementioned running children. her shop is so beautiful. the fabrics there are bright and vibrant and I think that i’d’ve been happy to own every single fabric she has in her shop. it’s like she’s bought the fabrics that please her and that she’d want in her stash. phoebe was very fun and happy and great with the kids and I loved seeing what she was doing with her fabric. her overalls were FFFFFAAAAABBBBULOUS!!! Sage was just bursting with a glowing – does that make sense? you could just see how beautiful she is inside and out. I didn’t get enough of a chance to talk to her or to her beautiful girls, but it was nice to know they were there and all having fun. I also didn’t get much of a chance to talk to billie and her daughter, chrissie, but they looked happy. of course, how could any of us NOT look happy. we were all having fun. becky was in the back sewing away when we arrived. she had found some very sweet ballerina fabric for irene. irene was delighted to meet her after I told her that it was becky who had given her the dream pillow that she used every single night for about 2 1/2 years. she still has it and sometimes uses it. it was fantastic to get to meet joan too. we didn’t have much of a chance to talk (children sometimes divide ones attention a little too much...). she was making a cool face with some really cool lip fabric. we really like the magnet that she gave us. jaye was also there. HOORAY, I say! she and I have been missing each other much too often – trying to figure out how to get together. we hadn’t seen each other since rhys was quite bitty. it was funny that we both had to cross the country in order to be able to see each other, but there you go :) I’ve already told you of her amazing gift of the rescue remedy. jaye is so calming and lovely and good through and through and if you have the chance to meet her, you should jump at it. gads, I hope I didn’t miss anyone...if I did, please know it’s the lack of sleep!! so, when benny’s fish was finished, and irene’s fairy was started, lydia and I decided that the better part of valor was to head out and see if we could find Maymont Park. we found it with no problem, but we didn’t find the animals. what we DID find were the italian and japanese gardens. we got there around 1:30 and we were shocked when we left to discover it was *4:00* (dan had suggested we get out of dodge by 3:30 so that we could miss the traffic). the gardens were really beautiful and the children were delighted by every little thing – from the sprinklers at the italian gardens, to the koi, to the stepping stones, flowers, and the wee bitty turtle we saw. at one point irene said “it’s SO full of LIFE here!” and indeed it was. rhys was thrilled to see lots of dragon flies and was SO proud of himself when he walked on the stepping stones. anyway, we left there and got back to the store where the mavs had a cake for lydia (made by sage’s song bird, I believe) and sang happy birthday (even though, as benny pointed out, it was NOT her birthday anymore — giggle). the boys played a bit more with pamela’s fans...until they started using them as swords again – d’oh! I have no idea what time we actually got on the road, but I think we got home around 9:00 and had pizza for dinner. irene slept that night in benny’s really cool room (he’s got glowing planets hanging from the ceiling and glow in the dark stars and a fairy light). I think they finally really went to sleep around 10:30. rhys was asleep a bit before that, and miraculously, I didn’t fall asleep with him, so I went downstairs and had some lovely adult time. ahhhhhh.
(i don't know if the pictures are working, so i'm just going to send you to the links of millions of pictures: first batch 2nd batch last batch
are you all getting bored yet? I hope not...i have many more days to go!
Saturday – BOAT DAY! it was a bit windy, but cap’n dan said that we could go boating anyway. HOORAY! we didn’t get to go on the chesapeake (it was WAY WAY BIG TIME CHOPPY), so we went to Broad Bay. it was a lovely warm day and all the kids were life vested and having fun. irene tried out the tube w/benny – it has a bottom to it – not like a donut – and she liked it at the beginning, but I think the thought of the jellyfish (of which there are a bizillion in the bay) got into her head and she was worried. so we pulled her in and let benny go very fast. at some point, rhys got his wish to help dan drive the boat. HEAVEN ON EARTH for that little boy of mine...a bit later irene decided she wanted to try again if I went with her, so out we went. she had a BLAST! then rhys wanted to do it, so we switched kids and I stayed where I was. he had fun too – was giggly at times and sometimes he was more interested in the little bit of water in the bottom of the tube. when we got out (oh so gracefully did I get out --- HA!!! I am so funny!), benny and irene went out again. it was all great. they both had SUCH fun...then the wind did funny things and the kids ended up knocking into a pylong and the hearts of the two mothers on the boats STOPPED and we were both ready to dive into the jellyfish infested water before the kids could hit the water. happily, they were both safely inside the tube, though a bit shaken. got irene into the boat, benny wanted to stay. after fierce “thank god you are okay” hugs, she told me she wanted to go back into the tube with benny...and so they did. brave children. I think that lydia and I were still filled with lactic acid and much anxiety, so we were brave too. we got a late start back to richmond after dropping off cap’n dan, but jaye stayed until we got there so that mom wasn’t stranded. it was fun hearing about the class on our drive home. we had a little glitch in the getting home plans when some car apparently stalled and was blocking several lanes of the tunnel we needed to go through in order to get back to norfolk. dan wasn’t home to give us alternate possibilities. rob WAS home and helped us out. THEN, mom found.....a MAP! in the car and lydia trusted me (silly girl) to navigate us home. we managed to get home with few problems and the roast that lydia had put in before we headed to richmond was done but we needed to head out to the harborfest fireworks (the kids were REALLLLLY wanting/needing to see them and b/c they were CRAZY good in the car, we needed to let it happen for them), so we quick like bunnies got some picnicky things together so the kids wouldn’t starve, then we headed out to find a good spot to watch the fireworks. dan found us an AWESOME place to watch the fireworks. I don’t know that rhys had ever seen them before – at least not big ones like that. I think he was asleep last year on july 4. what a GREAT display of fireworks! it was SO worth the craziness to get there. the kids had fun, the adults had fun, and it was all very good. we got home and got the kids to bed and then ate our dinner. oh my DOG that was a good roast. lydia = gooooood cook! I think I went to bed around 12:30 or so...
Sunday – rhys and I went to church w/lydia and the kids. irene and mom stayed home (irene woke up quite late and just wanted to stay put – who can blame her?). I made the mistake of leaving rhys in the nursery w/sadie while I went upstairs w/lydia to the preschool Sunday school class. hindsight and all, I really should have brought him with me....but he was happy to be there and didn’t seem to mind when I left...then, when we were heading into the church, the woman who runs the nursery found me and told me rhys was screaming. oh my poor little love. he was sobbing. he found a little hideyhole and was just sobbing. “I was never going to see you again, mama” yes, that killed me dead and I was crying too. bad bad mama. he wanted nothing to do w/going into the church, so we stayed a bit outside of the church while rhys worked on calming down. it happened eventually and he was more than happy to go to the meet and eat afterwards and have cookies and help sadie by giving her some cookies too. we went home and we just had a relaxing day at home – with the kids playing in the NEW PLAYHOUSE that benny got for his 50 days of violin practice challenge. the kids had a reallllly good time playing together in it. at one point irene decided that it needed a password....it was not really fun for anyone but irene until she made the password “well of COURSE we’re going to throw poo at them!” which is a line from madagascar. THEN it was CRAZY fun and the kids were giggling up a storm. lydia and I drank some coffee and blew bubbles for the kids and visitied and occasionally moderated various situations. it was good to have a day of not driving anywhere since we’d been in the car so so much the previous days. benny and irene tried to sleep together again...didn’t work at irene came down the stairs and into bed after a bit.
Monday we decided to go to the aquarium b/c it was raining. for a very good description of the aquarium, go to lydia’s homeschool blog. there were a zillion and 3 people there, but it was still fun. the kids all really liked the iMAX movie Deep Sea in 3D. I wasn’t sure how irene would do as she’s, um, tentative? sensitive? to movies. she’s also very much sound sensitive, so even when she likes the movie, she watches them in the theater w/her fingers in her ears. anyway, there were only a few parts that she didn’t like. and a few parts that rhys didn’t like. rhys just got very tense and had a racing heart on the parts that were scary. After that we went through the aquarium and saw all there was to be seen. we went home – rhys had fallen asleep in the car and, amazingly, transferred upstairs to bed for a nap while lydia got out her guitar, benny got his violin and we had the box of musical instruments and boas for dancing. it was fun and beyond to listen to the songs that lydia had written for south america school. she needs to make a cd b/c they are fun and interactive and catchy (do you hear that, m’dear??). irene danced her heart out, sadie played several different instruments, finally settling on the bells, and benny played his violin and then the bongos. WAY fun! WAY cool! then we went outside and played in the playhouse some more – drizzle be damned. Joanna (lydia’s sister – aka Ahno) brought dinner that night – it was scrumdiliumptious! the kids took forever and a day to go to sleep. well and truly. I started putting rhys down at 9 and the big kids were going down at the same time. rhys was finally asleeeeep asleep at 10:30. I think the big kids were asleep just before that. lydia was upstairs w/them making sure they actually slept. eventually, we two got to go downstairs and have some champagne. mom and dan were also downstairs. we watched a perfectly AWFUL show called _how to get the guy_ awful awful awful but fun to be catty :) eventually we headed up to bed.
Tuesday...our last day...
Tuesday broke w/the sun shining VERY brightly – PERFECT DAY FOR SUN PAINTS!!! so we had some breakfast and then headed upstairs to the porch and had the big kids start working on the shirts. the little ones soon got into the action and great fun was had by one and all (especially when we got smart and put shoes on so our feet didn’t get hot and blistery). we also painted a big ginormous piece of muslin to make some memory fabric. all of the kids participated in that as well and we have lots of really neat drawings of thngs we did. benny drew the sunpainting and his special pamela fish, irene drew tubing and the waterfall, sadie drew the boat, and rhys drew Rocket, space rocks and saturn. the rest of us didn’t remember that part of the trip, but I’m thinking perhaps he was thinking about sadie’s very most favorite show, Little Einsteins. or he was just thinking about rockets and space rocks and saturn, oh my! ;)
benny had his last violin lesson of the year (school year), so we stayed home while benny et al headed off to the lesson. they came back, we finished packing, and all too soon it was time to leave. I had been taking the rescue remedy since the morning every few hours. that helped the anxiety. anyway, lydia took us to the airport and we bravely said our goodbyes. rhys was sad and said he was going to miss his friends. irene did too, but she also decided that benny is going to come here sometime soon and will get to sleep in her fairy room. I let them know how much I’m going to miss my friend too. we are NOT going to let another 5 years go by before seeing each other this time around. gads! if we did that, irene and benny would be....gulp! 11 1/2!!! and the babies would be almost 8! ack!!! and I’ll be almost 40...yikes.
tropical storm albert didn’t affect us as much as we’d feared when we got to atlanta – phew! we did have some bumpy bits during the flight. we were in between cloud layers – above was the storm, below was regular cloud cover. the last bit of trip again found us with a 3rd person in each row. it was frustrating b/c the rows behind both me and mom had that magical empty middle seat. grr argh! but the people who would have been in the middle were okay with window seats and so I had irene by me and rhys close. rhys lost it at one point and needed to be by me. I felt awful. both my kids just really needed to snuggle with me and I could only do it for one. irene was very helpful and moved over by mom, but I had her sit on the aisle so she was sort of sitting next to me. I could reach her and sort of snuggle her a bit. she was very tired and eventually fell asleep. rhys was tired but didn’t fall asleep until about 1 hour before landing. it was quite bouncy as we headed into reno. not really the most fun, but I survived it.
rob and ken were waiting for us just outside of security – yea! my luggage was about the last off the plane apparently, so we didn’t head for home until 11:00 or so. irene was exhausted and happily went right to bed. rhys finally fell asleep at about 12:30...am!!
so...did you make it? wow! you deserve some sort of a medal b/c this was l.o.n.g.