You’ve heard the saying, “The road to a friend’s house is never long”? Well, whoever came up with that never traveled to my friend’s house in Virginia in a 15-passenger van with six children! Hee-hee! In all seriousness, the trip was worth it, no matter how long it turned out to be. The plan was to head up to our friend’s house with five of our children while Dozer and Smiley stayed home with grandmothers. We were going to head out after dinner with Smiley on Wednesday, since it was his birthday. However, Superman’s mother came down with the viral bug that’s been going around, and I didn’t want to overwhelm my mother or take the risk of getting Smiley sick, so we took him along. This meant taking the “many” van instead of the “mini” van, which we were a bit nervous about. However, our mechanic said “Go for it, but take it easy” and off we went.
We departed at 12:15 am on Thursday morning, which was later than we had hoped. We didn’t plan the packing part as well as we would have liked, so it delayed our leaving, along with the hiccup the change of plans caused. The kids slept all the way up, waking at around 7:00 am, around the exit to Elon. We stopped for CFA for breakfast and some playtime, and then we headed back out. The kids kept asking “When are we going to be in Virginia?” It was incessant!!! Little did they know that her city is at the top of the state, and crossing the state line simply meant a few more hours of driving. Fortunately for them, though, the welcome center had a little playground. More leg stretching!
So, we get closer to our destination city, and traffic is awful. Backed up due to road construction. We decide to purchase a map and find an alternative route, which was a mistake. Apparently, there are two cities in Virginia by the name of Springfield, and only one is on the map…AND, you guessed it, it wasn’t ours. So we had a detour, which was a great place for the kids to get out and stretch their legs. We packed bikes and ride-ons, so they got out and rode. Unfortunately, when Superman packed up our bikes, he forgot the window in the back of the bus and put a handlebar through it. Needless to say, he wasn’t happy about that. The good news? Our insurance will cover it. If stress on the window created the break, it’s covered. Superman said, “There was certainly some stress- MINE!”
Eighteen hours after leaving our driveway, we arrive at our destination, never happier to be out of a vehicle! We decide against getting out and trying to do anything, and instead let the kids get acclimated to their surroundings and comfortable with their friends. Our friend made us dinner and then took Superman and me into the city to get a visual for planning our day the next day. I slept through most of it, and while SM paid attention, he didn’t remember much because of his exhaustion. The next day we headed out to DC. Parking was…interesting. Our bus wouldn’t fit in any of the parking decks, so we had to park eleven blocks outside of The Mall at the intersection of K and 6th street, which was funny because our friend that we were visiting, Super K, has a name that starts with K and is the mother of six children. It wasn’t funny because it was 11 blocks away!!! We stopped to eat on the way in at Au Bon Pain, which is a yummy Atlanta Bread Co. type of place, and had some amazing mac & chz. The kids were great, and we only got a few stares and questions!
Then we finally made it to Air and Space Museum. Our goal was to hit it and the Natural History museum, which we managed to do. The bad part of the day was that it was sooo cold, and I packed for warm weather. Unfortunately, the temperature dipped 30 degrees from the 96 degrees that it was the day we arrived. Our shorts and short sleeves were not enough to keep us warm. We all have nice colds as proof. Earnhart was awful in the museums. It seems he decided we can’t do much to him to alter his behavior in a room full of people, and we won’t just leave because it means everyone misses out. We must find a solution to this problem, or he’ll never go anywhere with us again. Superman also took Picasso to see one of the art museums while the rest of us went to Natural History, but she wasn’t impressed because there were lots of nudes in the museum they picked. She doesn’t understand why that is art. To her, it’s just plain gross! We took a break in between museums and threw the frisbee in the grassy area of the Mall while I fed the baby. In all honesty, I think that was one of the highlights of the actual DC visit!
The next day, we attended our friend’s soccer game, which they won, and then we headed out to Mt. Vernon for the afternoon. It was packed, but we still enjoyed ourselves. It turns out that George was a really smart fella! He came up with all kinds of innovative strategies and designs for farming, and he was the first President of our country. Super K kept saying how cool it was that he came up with all this stuff without an Internet to research it all! People think I’m smart and creative, but I just know my way around a search engine!
We returned home to our friend’s house to pack up and get ready to drive through the night again. We had a yummy dinner, bathed people, and let the kids play trains a little bit more. The kids in their family set up the trains for the kids in our family, and my kids absolutely loved it! The boys were calling little Super J their new best friend the entire time we were there. They loved him more than the trains! We had a fun, but busy trip, with the highlight being the time we got to spend with the friends we love so dearly. We hated to say goodbye, but we also missed Dozer and we were ready to get back to him. Not to mention, we had a birthday party planned on Sunday afternoon for Dozer and Smiley. The chaos never ends in our family, even on vacation. No, make that especially on vacation!