Back in January we started talking to Kurt's sister, Jenny, and their brother, Jared, about a trip back to Virginia to visit them and their families. We try to go back every other year and we are so blessed to have a business credit card that earns airline miles and we can fly our family back for $10 a ticket!
Well, then February happened and we didn't know if we would be able to go back east. At Kurt's check up appointment in May the doctor released him to fly so we immediately started making plans again. Trying to coordinate 15 kids' summer schedules with camps, trips, sports, etc., can be rather tricky. It always seems that the only week everyone is free is the week of 4th of July so we end up in Virginia for Independence Day quite often.
Before we left, we made a quick trip to Target to get a few items that we needed. After looking in the boys clothing section for a little bit, I turned around and found this cutie. Apparently he had been shopping for a few things too (hat and backpack). Gotta love the pose!
Since we fly on miles, we have to fly the route they give us. It always sends us to Seattle for a layover and then a straight shot to DC. Last time we went, Trevor was just 1 and so he didn't really understand everything. This time he was more into the airplane so when we got on the planes, I showed him different things. When we got on the second flight I showed him the cockpit and one of the pilots was sitting in there. He invited the kids to come in and sit in the pilot seat. They got to push buttons, "drive" the plane and welcome the passengers aboard on the intercom. It was a great experience. Well, maybe not for the people that got backed up behind us but it was great for us!
The only flight that we can take to DC lands at 10 pm. By the time we get our luggage and get to the car, it is about 11 and then we have a 2 hour drive to Jared's house. We usually arrive at 1 am but this trip we hit traffic! At midnight! And we didn't get in until 2 am. Our cousins are early risers so I think they were up about 6 am. We were soooooo tired! Kurt and I just could not adjust to east coast time on this trip. We were dragging the whole week. When we finally got ourselves up and moving the next morning, we went blueberry picking. Last time we did this at the end of the trip and then had a ton of blueberries to eat in just a day or two. This time we decided to go first thing so that we could enjoy the berries all week long.
Emily, Katie, Hailey
Gavin on Jenny's shoulders
Hannah and Kayla
After all the picking was done, we hunted for who got the best berry.
Katie had the winners!
In front of Jared's house, they have this great swing hanging from a tree. It goes out over a large ditch next to the street. Trevor loved swinging on it.
We discovered that our nephew, Gavin, is an amazing climber! Oh my goodness! This boy can climb anything and is NOT afraid of heights.
Cousins - Gavin and Michael
4th of July.
None of us are crowd people so we stay at Jared's and do our own fireworks.
Saturday we went to Maymont which is a 100 acre Victorian estate and public park. They have a zoo and gorgeous, gorgeous gardens.
The Bear was up and walking around.
Siblings (Jenny, Kurt and Jared)
Sister-in-laws (Jenny, me and Dianne)
The Girls (Back - Hailey and Hannah, Front - Kayla, Katie, Megan and Emily)
Our Family Tree
David and Evan
Katie, Hailey and Megan
Jared, Dianne and Emily
Emily, Hannah, Kayla, Katie, Hailey and Megan
It was hot and humid so by the time we got done, we were so tired and sweaty. They conveniently had a shaved ice truck stationed right where you walk up. We enjoyed a sweet and cool treat. The poor guy was just about to close up and head to a party he was booked for when we walked up and ordered 17 shaved ices. He was so nice and stayed for us (plus the people that ended up lining up behind us). The kids loved that they were able to put their own flavors on. I believe most of them did so many flavors that it probably didn't take like any of them.
After we had cooled down we walked down to a tree that we had taken the kids pictures in on our last visit. We pulled up the photo on my blog and tried to arrange the kids in the same order. Man, have the kids grown!
Ok, now a funny one.
After many, many picture of the kids in the tree, they decided the adults needed a tree picture too.
Gavin once again climbed up in a tree and decided to lay down for a little rest.
Spencer showed off his climbing skills too!
Can you tell which kids are real and which ones are statues?
On Sunday, Kurt's Uncle Clarence, Aunt Dana, Cousin Wendy, her husband Steve and their daughter, Amie, came to visit us. They live in Maryland and had quite the journey to come see us. We are so thankful that they came because we really enjoyed spending time with them.
We went to the James River at Pony Pasture and had a great time playing in the river.
During the course of the week the kids built a zip line in the backyard. Spencer and Ryan were in charge of it and they did a great job! Kurt was so impressed with their organization and knowledge on what they needed to do and the materials that they needed. They also built an elevator to pull yourself up to the take off point. Here is Hannah pulling Trevor up.
The day before we left we went to Monument Avenue and walked to some statues. We actually only made it to 2. It was so hot and humid we couldn't make it any further. Here we all are at the Robert E. Lee statue. The girls in the middle at the top were not with our group but they participated in our photos and joined our family for just a little bit.
When we did a silly photo, they joined in and did silly posses!
On the way back we stopped at Cheeburger Cheeburger and got milkshakes, fries and onion rings. We were quite the group.
We had so much fun, as we always do. We so wish that we were closer to Jared and Jenny's families because they have kids the same ages as our kids. They all get along so well and we just love the influence they are for our kids. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful family!