Friday & Saturday - Big Brother Mark & family, and back to Mom's
We were on the road again by 8am, plenty of time to arrive by lunch in Marysville (a mere 3 hours away). We called Mark and Jennifer and let them know where we were and when to expect us. I was way off. It didn't help that we had crossed time zones and I couldn't remember if I had switched the clocks accordingly. We had to stop 4 times and let the kids run around because all of us were so tired of our nomadic lifestyle at that point we could only bear an hour in the car at a time. Walmart made for some decent leg-stretching time. The boys played in the toy section for a good hour.
We finally made the last leg of our trip and were at Mark and Jen's house by 2:30. They had big warm hugs, smiles, and pizza there waiting for us. We hadn't decided yet whether or not we'd be staying the night, but after a few hours of amazing conversation and relaxation we were set on staying. We talked about politics and finances, military life. We caught up on the last 5 years of our lives, which was far too long to go between visits. It was wonderful to talk to my big brother again. He and Jennifer are fountains of wisdom and shared so many great bits of advice with us. Watching them with their boys was educational as well. They are such wonderful kids and their relationship with them is one we aspire to achieve some day. I am so proud of my nephews! :)
Mark gave Noah and Tristan his kids' old DS's with a few games and Noah played it until the batteries dies, then played it some more. His cousins David and Daniel showed him the gaming systems and he was in boy heaven. So many electronics, so little time. Tristan's DS was snapped in half by Brennan almost immediately so it's sitting on my shelf awaiting repairs. Thankfully it still turns on. A little electrical tape and I think we'll be set. Thanks so much again for the toys! It definitely made the last legs of our trip much more palatable.
Dinner was Mark's famous spaghetti sauce, a family tradition (we each have a very distinct but equally delicious sauces). Brennan started losing his mind due to exhaustion, but once I was able to get him down we got to put on a movie. We curled up to watch "The Green Lantern", which my boys were still a bit too young for so they stopped halfway through and headed to bed. The rest of us slept eventually.
In the morning we milled around for awhile. I packed again, got all the dirty laundry together and made a "go bag" for Mom's house while everyone was out and about. Jennifer had to run to the vet with Mark Jr. Mark took the rest of the older boys to game stop where he recorded a fabulous video of Noah playing an interactive game of something volleyball-like, very intensely. It was hilarious! We all met up at Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch and then took off for Mom's from there at 4:30pm. We are so glad we made the stop to see you guys. We had such a great time!!
After such a relaxing 2 days we only had to stop once so we got to Mom's at 7... even earlier than it usually takes! Tristan shouted with joy "it's the same house we were at before!!!". They were so happy to be someplace new, but not. Mom had dinner waiting for us, homemade chicken noodle soup. I know I ate a lot. Right after that I started laundry, including the clothes off their backs. They were happily running around in their underwear. Tired, but wired. Grandma showed them the treadmill and gave them "balance challenges", and they took it very very seriously lol. She wore them OUT. Way to go Mom :) Luckily their good ol' American washer and dryer worked quickly so I was able to clothe the kidlets again. The basement (where the treadmill is) was COLD.
Josh and I stayed up for a bit with Mom and Dad and caught up on our shows, watched a few new ones. We caught them up on our week since we'd been there. I showed them some pictures and made sure the tire swing pic made it to Mom's desktop ;) The plan for tomorrow was set. Hugely fun outing with the whole family!!
Tomorrow - Mosquito Lake & the Hartford Apple Orchard!