I am back in Virginia. I can’t believe my Ohio trip is over. Although it feels like a reallllly long time since I left DC for Columbus a month ago! The second half of my trip was crazy and fun. I spent the majority of it at my brother Ben’s house. He has three kids under the age of 7. And therein lies why it was crazy. I adore my niece and nephews – Emma, Elliot, and Elijah. My brother and sister-in-law do a great job of parenting and nurturing them in an atmosphere of love and creativity. Emma is very smart and is capable of good long conversations. Elliot is fun and loves to laugh and sing. And Elijah is just pure joy. He is very curious and likes to run. He is affectionate but can also be silly.
The first thing I did with Ben, Nicole, and the kids, was go camping. Emma went to an overnight camp for 3 days so the rest of us camped at a state park nearby. It was fun just to play with the boys. We stayed in a tent and had a fire. I hardly ever get to go camping and when I do it fuels even more how much I LOVE it. I love the fact that you can look (and possibly smell) bad and it doesn’t matter. Showers are optional. I love that you wake up with the sun and come out of the tent into the dewey grass with the smell of campfire. I love sitting outside in a camping chair drinking coffee.
After camping was a week of swimming lessons, Bob Evans food, afternoon adventures, and a movie every night! I introduced the kids to Nanny McPhee, and I got to see Cars for the first time. I slept on my niece’s bed while she and her brother slept on an air mattress on the floor of her room. And every night somehow they got the pillows and so I used whatever I could find, usually some kind of stuffed animal, as a pillow. Good times.
Our adventures included the Air Force Museum, Cox Arboretum, Boonshoft Discovery Museum, and a 3 mile hike! Lots o’ fun.
It was hard to say good-by to everyone, but on Sunday I hopped in my car once again and drove back to Columbus to stay with my third brother – Matt – and his wife Becky. We had a much needed easy night with pizza and a movie. While Matt and Becky worked on Monday, I went back to John and Nicole’s and we went to the Columbus Zoo! Monday was capped by a great night catching up with an old friend. Tuesday was spent resting and then ended with dinner with Matt and Becky, a rousing game of dominoes and fro-yo to end the night. Then, yesterday my mom and I made the trek back to Virginia. I really need to get the air conditioning fixed on my car. Sigh.
Trips like these always bittersweet. Obviously it was great seeing my entire family, and for long stretches. I especially enjoyed spending a lot of time with my nieces and nephews. I understand now why people call their children their “pride and joy”. I really feel that way about all of my nieces and nephews. I love them dearly. The bad thing was that I had to say good-by several times. Every time I left a house I had to say “see you at Thanksgiving/Christmas” which was a little heartbreaking every time.
There were some interesting themes: movies. I don’t think I’ve ever watched so many movies in such short a time, and that’s saying a lot for me. I’m not complaining! I loved watching so many movies. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Another theme was ice cream. Good grief my family likes ice cream! I suppose I do too but it’s never something that I crave or have in my house. I ate so much ice cream. Again, not complaining.
I feel blessed that I was able to take the time to visit my home state. I figured out that I hadn’t spent that much time in Ohio since 2005. I have lots of fun, crazy, and unforgettable memories.