Actually, we've been back for a couple of days now, but they have been busy days (more on that later) so this is the first chance I've had to blog. And as far as catching up on all the blogs I like to read... forget about it. Maybe I'll be able to chip away at that this week. Don't want to miss the goings-on in the homes of all my favorite mommy bloggers!
So, the car ride to Virginia was a breeze. Really! Samuel did SO great, he didn't fuss to get out of the car once! Not that he really enjoyed being in the car, but he knew we just had to get through it. At one gas station when I tried to get him out to stretch, he didn't want to because he just wanted to get back on the road and get there as fast as possible!
Samuel loved the map I made for him so that he could track our progress, but it took him a little while to get the hang of using it and understanding how fast we moved from each point to the next. When we first got it out, at the Illinois/Indiana border, he took the little car magnet and slid it slowly (so he thought) along the highway, taking about 5 seconds to get all the way to Ohio, and then asked, "Am I moving it too slow, mama?" Um, not exactly, dear. We, unfortunately, were not travelling in a craft that can go 108,000 miles per hour. (Yes, I calculated approximately how fast you'd have to go to cross Indiana in 5 seconds. Yes, I am a geek.)
He also spent 5 hours playing with a little starter set of K'Nex I decided to toss in the bag at the last minute. 5 hours. God bless the makers of K'Nex. We also listened to one of the story CDs by Jim Weiss, and Samuel loved it. I am very impressed and we hope to get lots more of these.
So, that was our ride there. Then, while we were actually at my grandparents' house in the mountains of northwest Virginia, we had tons of fun. Our daily routine went something like this: wake up earlier than I want to because Samuel wants to get up and see who else is awake, drink coffee on the back porch while gazing at the lake and chatting with everyone over breakfast, go play tennis - badly - with dh, my sister, and mother, in various combinations, come back to the house for lunch and try not to stand too close to anyone because I am now drenched in sweat, and finally take Samuel in the lake, which he has been begging for since about ten minutes after waking up. He has a life jacket so that he can swim safely, and loves being able to paddle around independently. Long after our sunscreen has worn off, we trudge back up the hill to the house, shower, have dinner, and then play canasta until we're all exhausted.
While there we got to see lots of family. Great-Grandma and Great-Granddaddy, of course, and my parents and sister were there, but also my Uncle Gil, his girlfriend Carol, my cousins Wesley and Daniel, my mom's Aunt Mary and Uncle Tom, and Aunt Mary Ellen and Uncle Bob.
Here is one of the many creatures we spotted on our trip. There were many, many more, but I was a terrible photographer for the whole trip. I only took 2 pictures. Yes, only 2! This moth, and the turtle below. We were just having so much fun I forgot about the camera every time until it was too late. Oh, well. We also saw deer, rabbits, hawks, purple martins, a woodpecker, a blue heron, various other birds, a snapping turtle, frogs, fish (I caught a bass, and Shawn caught a bluegill), and some bats. One of my favorite wildlife encounters were when we were swimming in the lake and a deer came out of the woods and came to graze under a nearby tree. He didn't seem to notice us, and came very close and stayed there for several minutes. Samuel stayed very quiet and swam pretty close to him and got a good, long look. After the deer finally left, my dad commented that he'd never seen Samuel be quiet for so long. Samuel replied, "Well, I am when I'm sleeping!" My other favorite was when my sister and Samuel and I were out on the golf cart riding through the trails and came upon a rabbit. He was initially afraid of us and seemed undecided whether to freeze or run, but we sat quietly, and he decided we weren't a threat, sat up, and proceded to very thoroughly wash his face!
After a week of fun and visiting, we had to go home. The return trip also went very smoothly. Samuel had a bit more technological assistance this time, since my parents had a DVD player. He watched 2 movies along the way, and thanks to my dad's lead foot, we were home in no time.
Unfortunately, dh had to go to Ohio after only 3 days of Virginia fun, and will be there another 2 weeks to finish one of his on-campus courses for his master's degree from Franciscan University. I really wish we all could have stayed in Virginia just a little bit longer - the time always flies by. Well, there's always next summer!