On fall break, we decided last minute to pack up the kiddos, throw some snacks in a bag and hop in the car for a short jaunt up to Pennsylvania. That’s sarcasm by the way. Just making sure you got it. Because nothing is quick and easy in the bower house 😉 This is our Pennsylvania travel diary…more of a photo recap of our time up there.
I have been hoping to see my grandparents and that was sort of our last ditch effort to get up there before all Hades breaks loose with the holidays. Ok confession time. I just can’t seem to get a hold of the fact that Will needs to go to school everyday. I mean I GET IT. But I resist. I am THISCLOSE to wanting to homeschool….just so that we can do whatever the freak we want.
I know….it’s not that simple and sometimes homeschooling is MORE work than just lugging my kid to school every day but seriously….you ever just miss them? or the freedom?? or hate the fact that you get the tired, worn out, played out version of your kid? I am right there. Will is my oldest and he comes home and is so tired….so done with sitting still….and so not understanding the importance of school and grades and all that….and then I feel upset because I am like oh no bud, there is more. And then there is the hour of spelling word practice and sight word practice and reading and math homework and I’m just like — seriously?
Okay so rant over. The point is, my grandparents live ten hours away. A plane ride is out of the question with four little ones. And it takes us a full 24 hours to get up there with all the baby breaks and the diaper changes and the meals. But I was craving time with my Mummum and Pappap so SO much. I just miss them like crazy. I just happened to have the best grandparents in the world….literally the best. They are amazing and kind and hardworking and honorable and selfless. I LOVE them so dang much it hurts. So during fall break, we had a four day block with nothing planned and we packed up and spent three days traveling and one and half visiting. It wasn’t exactly what we would have dreamed but a mini-pack of candy is better than no candy at all, right?
We always take a break right over the GA-SC border. There is Lake Hartwell and we stop at the rest stop and throw stones and branches into the water.
The Georgia red clay is real guys. It’s a killer stain too.
Maxi Knight is a big copy-cat right now. If his brothers are doing it…he’s in.
We really haven’t had cold weather yet….so the kids were really excited to see trees starting to change on the trip and acorns on the ground.
Eventually we got there (yes we had several stops and all those photos are on my phone…sorry) and the kids immediately went to play outside. My Mummum had this gardening wagon….which they broke in about three minutes.
Here she is talking to my mom. She wanted to hold the baby since he has grown so much. It’s really a full circle moment here because my mom (the one on the phone) and Max look a lot alike (the one on her lap) and I can’t imagine having a moment like that….holding one that looks so much like your own baby.
Mummum had a couple strokes earlier this year and it was really hard to hear about her condition. She had lost vision and memory and there is no guarantees with recovery….but so far, she is rocking it out! She is officially done with her rehabilitation and while we were there, she could walk with a cane and was doing really great. But being in her upper 80’s, I know that time is not our friend. I just wish I could pause and rewind sometimes. Like just have a day where we could go back twenty years to a warm summer day of swimming in her pool and eating tomato sandwiches and having card games till three in the morning.
She has lost a lot of weight in her face and it is noticeable to me…but I still think she looks amazing. She is one feisty lady and I love her for it 🙂 Also, she is the one that taught me the ‘photo laugh’ – the concept that you don’t just smile for a photo, you laugh for it….because that captures when you are most happy!
Teaching Max how to put the flag back into the garden. Love these sweet hands!
Later that day, Weston was stung by a yellow jacket and we had to rush him to the doctor. It was scary and now we know that he needs an epi-pen and Benedryl where ever we go….but honestly, I was so angry at those stupid bugs. I mean…they could have just left us alone….we weren’t even close! Thankfully, he did not have any breathing or swallowing problems and now we feel much more educated about the entire ‘allergy’ thing. Thank goodness for medicine and doctors and hospitals and poison control centers!
The next day, we spent a large portion just looking at photos and hearing about my Pappap when he was in Korea.
He has some of the best pictures of my Mummum. What a fox, right!?
I love this one with the white shirt over the bathing suit. It’s so classy 🙂
And there were favorites of my Pappap too…like the one where he had a giant sunflower growing in his yard and he told his buddies at work about it. They of course thought it was a fish story and that he was exaggerating. So he drove home, chopped it down and brought it in. It was huge!
And I took some pics of his diary when he was serving in the war. He wrote about love. Isn’t that the best and sweetest thing?
He grew a mustache while he was over there and my grandmother said that when he got home, he only had it for a short time. Its funny because I had never seen him with any facial hair. ever.
It was a really sweet time. I saw so many photos that I had never seen before. So much family history. So much love. So many snow photos 🙂
The next day he went out and caught some of the yellow jackets so that we could know exactly what stung Weston.
He is always doing things like that. Serving others in ways that nobody even thinks about. Doing the things that nobody wants to do.
That afternoon my Uncle Derek came over and we all played cards. Rummy is our favorite because kids can learn it – Will picked it up and was a pro 🙂 This is the best time in my mind….doing the things we have ALWAYS done. It makes it feel like vacation.
Will was able to sleep over that one night at their house. It was his first sleepover there and he got to have special one-on-one time with MummumTini playing cards and having treats. He probably doesn’t even realize that is a right of passage in our family.
We did manage to get a couple group shots…you know….to remember our short little visit.
Not many kids get to say that they visited their great-grandparents over fall break 🙂
And not many couples can brag about 60+ years of marriage and still going strong 🙂 What an amazing example to us all!
And here is my Uncle – he is single ladies 🙂
Also – I got this blurry photo of my Jeremy playing football with the boys. I made it black & white and I am kinda obsessed with it. I think I might print it out and make it huge for art in our room.
When it came time to say goodbye, we all loaded up, kissed and cried….
Oh man…I miss those people. Like so hard. I miss them in the way that you just never know if this is the last time you will get to give them a squeeze. And in the way that you wish the circumstances could have been different, the distance shorter and the time together slower. I haven’t cried like that in a while….but I did. I ugly cried that night. I ugly cried writing this post. I love them so hard.
The entire time we were there, the kids were so over the car and tight spaces and just wanted to run. We knew it was hard on them so we tried to wake up early and do the entire trip back in one day.
We promised them that we would take them to the hotel pool right after breakfast. You know how much we love hotel pools 🙂
It wasn’t heated and so it definitely was a little chilly 🙂
We cleaned them up and got them ready for the car and left by 10am.
This is us right now. A perfect example of our crew.
On the way back, the weather was SO nice….
We stopped for lunch….
and one more time for a break….
The gorge bridge was closed so there was a detour that we went on and ended up being able to pull off the road to see the river up close….
The kids loved it….
There was more throwing and splashing….less red mud, thankfully 🙂
In the end, it was a beautiful little trip. I don’t know that I would want to do it again until the spring though….not being able to get out of the car is HARD and my kiddos are not cold-weather ready. #southerners I know that this post seems a little down….I don’t want it to be….it was a really bittersweet trip….and I wish that I could have taken my grandparents and shrunk them down and put them in my pocket to bring home with me. I wanted to take them out to dinner and treated them to something special….but that is something that wears them out and they just enjoy being home more.
It’s funny – how things change over time and then some things never change. I just hope that my kiddos know what a beautiful heritage they have….that they may never remember this trip or what happened or what we did or saw…but I hope that one day they realize that they were given the best gift ever….a family that loves deep. And I hope they learn that 24 hours in a car…it’s always worth it. Now everyone go call your family members and tell them that you love them 🙂